A Tale of Two Hormones
Most women are at least vaguely familiar with the terms estrogen and progesterone, but few really understand them and the differences. While a thorough discussion of these hormones could easily fill a book, we’ll take a quick look at some of the differences and the functions in the body.
Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone and is actually a generic term for three different forms of hormone called Estriol, Estradiol and Estrone (with Estradiol being the most potent). It is produced primarily by the ovaries, but it is also produced by fat cells and the adrenal gland.
Although not an exhaustive list, here are some of the effects of estrogen on the body.
• Help maintain body temperature
• Help regulate liver’s production of cholesterol
• Helps to regulate parts of the brain that prepares the body for sexual and reproductive development
• Stimulates the start of a woman’s cycle. Necessary for proper ovulation.
• Helps to preserve bone density
• Decreases sex drive
• Causes breast stimulation
• Increases body fat (Curves anyone?)
Progesterone is part of a group of hormones called the progestogens and is the major one found in the body. The ovaries, placenta, and the adrenal glands produce progesterone.
Again, not a complete list, but here are some effects it has on the body.
• Necessary for survival of embryo
• Restores sex drive
• Protects against fibrocystic breasts
• Helps use fat for energy (Hurray!)
• Natural diuretic (increases the excretion of water/urine from the body)
• Natural antidepressant
• Normalizes blood sugar levels
• Restores normal sleep patterns
• Skin moisturizer
There’s an ideal ratio between these two hormones and so when they get out of balance, problems WILL surface. A common term you may have heard is “estrogen dominance” where your progesterone reserves are depleted, and thus your estrogen level is “dominant”. This condition can cause all kinds of symptoms and problems.
If you suspect you are experiencing hormone problems, are confused about Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), or just have questions about hormonal health, call our office today to schedule a consult with Dr. Sayed Shah. Dr. Shah is very knowledgeable about correcting hormonal imbalances and will give your health the attention it needs to put you back on the right track.