Estrogen is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. Men actually produce estrogen from conversion of testosterone, although this is an extremely small amount. There are three types of estrogen found in a woman’s body: Estrone or E1, Estradiol—E2, and Estriol—E3. The levels of all of these hormones fall dramatically at the onset of menopause, which is responsible for the symptoms and detrimental health effects of menopause.
Some of the characteristic symptoms of menopause are:
Lower back pain
Skin feeling crawly
Urinary tract infections
Unfortunately the disease processes, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s only increase in the absence of estrogen. The rapid loss of bone after menopause has been attributed to the decline in the production of estrogen, which is essential for bone growth. Osteoporotic fractures are one of many of the diseases of aging that result in significant morbidity and mortality. In addition, the loss of estrogen results in the development of heart disease, which is the number one killer of both men and women. When a woman’s estrogen level drops, the risk of heart disease soars. Postmenopausal women on estrogen have a 70% decrease in mortality from heart disease. Estrogen also has been shown to lower total blood cholesterol and raise HDL, the good cholesterol. Not only does estrogen protect vessels of the heart, it also protects against Alzheimer’s disease. Over 100 articles in the last 30 years have documented the cardiovascular benefits of estrogen.
Synthetic Progesterone (Provera/progestin) and Premarin, synthetic estrogen, have been shown to increase risk of heart disease and cancer, respectively, in clinical studies. Never equate synthetic estrogen with natural or Bio Identical estrogens. The media might lump them together, but they are not equal. It is not until the body lacks the natural hormones that we see the problems and deterioration. This can be avoided by simply putting back in the same identical hormone that was there before. This is the molecule that the body recognizes, metabolizes and uses as if it was its own. If you are a woman without estrogen, you should be taking natural or bio-identical estrogen (and progesterone). A woman without estrogen means being menopausal or have had surgically induced menopause (a complete hysterectomy). By replenishing your estrogen levels in your body to levels similar to what you had when you were younger, you feel and function as you did before menopause.
In summary, estrogen replacement protects against Heart Disease, Stroke, Osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and memory disorders. It protects against vaginal atrophy, urinary incontinence, and urinary tract infections. It prevents symptoms of menopause and improves overall well being and also prevents bone loss. Estrogen is prescribed individually, and compounded for you by a pharmacy, into a transdermal cream or gel that you apply externally to your skin on the inner arms, thighs or as directed by your physician. There is also a gel based estrogen patch that is applied to the lower abdomen twice weekly.