Estrogen - the most important female hormones, which are responsible for implementing a variety of functions in the body, both women and men. There are several types of estrogens, but often, when they are all in mind, the term "estrogen" is used in singular.
Estrogen is produced primarily in the ovaries. His secrete follicle and corpus luteum - after mature egg enters the fallopian tube, and placenta - during pregnancy. Luteinizing hormone, which is produced in the anterior pituitary gland, ovaries gives signals that they produce estrogen. With age, the luteinizing hormone stimulates the ovaries are less, and the level of estrogen decreases.
Estrogen synthesis starts with the transformation of cholesterol into androstenedione - substance having mild androgenic properties. Androstenedione is converted to testosterone, and he, in turn, to estrone and estradiol - a form of estrogen. The catalyst for the process of conversion of androstenedione to estrogen is an enzyme of the adrenal glands - aromatase.
Estrogen levels change during the menstrual cycle, and is the highest just before ovulation.
Small amounts of estrogen produced in the liver, adrenals and breast cancer. These secondary sources of estrogen are especially important for women who have menopause.
Cells adipose tissue also belong to a secondary source of estrogen. This is the main reason that the likelihood of infertility is high in women with too little and too much weight: the excess or shortage of estrogen is bad for fertility.
Functions of estrogen
The main objective of estrogen - the development of female secondary sexual characteristics, since the period of fetal development. This hormone is responsible for the growth of breast and endometrial, and is also involved in regulating the menstrual cycle. Due to estrogen produced by vaginal lubrication, vaginal wall and compacted. The level of estrogen in a woman's body is as high as possible in the interval between menarche (first period) and menopause.
Estrogen slow resorption (destruction) of bone, and it promotes the formation of new cells. They are involved in the process of protein synthesis, increases the level of beneficial cholesterol (HDL), and lower levels of LDL-cholesterol. At the same time, estrogen promotes the deposition of fat and a decrease in the volume of muscle tissue (precisely because of sex hormones in men and women different ratio of muscle and adipose tissue).
Estrogen may stimulate the growth of certain types of cancer, including - breast cancer.
It is believed that estrogen is important for the mental health of women. The sudden drop in estrogen levels in the blood often coincides with the emergence of a variety of psychological problems. Low estrogen levels after childbirth, during the pre-menopausal
Premenopausal women - one step in a woman's life
and after menopause, may contribute to the development of depression
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Already many years ago, it became clear that estrogen is an important substance for skin health. They improve the composition and quality of the collagen fibers increased the density of the skin and improves blood circulation in the skin.
Estrogen deficiency is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease, atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis. In the male body, estrogens are responsible for spermatogenesis and metabolism of cholesterol; they also increase bone density.
Estrogen in medicine
Estrogen is a component of many of hormonal contraceptives. These drugs reduce the secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone, and prevent ovulation. Most hormonal contraceptives contain the synthetic estrogen and progestin. In modern contraceptive pills generally contain from 20 to 50 .mu.g of estrogen - a safe dose for most women. The first combined oral contraceptives, which will be available a few decades ago, contained much more estrogen; reception of contraceptives has been associated with an increased risk of blood clots and heart disease and stroke. Current hormonal contraceptives are much safer, although they may cause various side effects.
Estrogen and other hormones used for hormone replacement therapy to prevent osteoporosis and relieve menopausal symptoms such as menopausal hot flashes, vaginal dryness
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, Urinary incontinence, dizziness, fatigue, irritability
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Women who started taking drugs with estrogen for hormone replacement therapy for three years after the onset of menopause, and took them, in total, over 5-10 years, significantly reduced the risk of fractures in the elderly. Hormone therapy lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood. On this basis, scientists have suggested that supplementation with estrogen after menopause reduces the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis in the future.
Estrogen is part of ointments, which are used for the treatment of vaginal dryness in postmenopausal women. Studies have shown that estrogen can be used for the treatment of bulimia, certain liver diseases and in certain circumstances, for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Estrogens (phytoestrogens including - phytochemicals with estrogenic properties) are also present in some cosmetics, but their use for skin care is currently considered unsafe.