Hormonal Health – Female Hormone Chemistry
Functions of Female Sex Hormones
Estradiol and Progesterone affect several target organs involved in a successful conception and pregnancy. Additionally, these hormones maintain a number of secondary sexual characteristics such as reduced body hair, soft skin texture, a higher voice pitch, possible release of certain pheromones, etc..
Target Organs of Estrogen & Progesterone
1. The Uterus
Estradiol prepares the uterus for conception and produces a 3-5 fold increase in the thickness of its inner lining, and also promotes uterine gland development and mucus secretion. Progesterone causes a swelling of the uterine lining, an increase in glycogen (a complex sugar) content, and an increase in the mucus secreted by the uterus. If conception does not occur, the uterine lining is shed, resulting in the menstrual flow.
2. Fallopian Tubes
Sex hormones stimulate the fallopian tubes to move the egg toward the uterus. The fallopian tubes also secrete nutritious fluids that nourish the egg, the sperm and ultimately the embryo when fertilization occurs.
Estrogens promote the thickening of the vaginal lining and increase its secretions, which makes the lining more resistant to infections.
Before puberty, the breasts grow only in proportion to the rest of the body, but under the influence of Estradiol and Progesterone during puberty, the breasts develop to maturity. During the menstrual cycle, excess Estradiol causes breast swelling and tenderness.
In the adult female, Estradiol and Progesterone play an important role in the inhibition of osteoporosis and improve the incorporation of calcium and magnesium into bone. This is why doctors prescribe Estrogen for menopausal women.
Estrogens cause the body to retain sodium which results in fluid buildup. Conversely, Progesterone causes a loss of excess sodium and retained fluid. Before the period begins, there may be a relative excess of Estrogen over Progesterone which commonly leads to several of the PMS associated complaints.
Estradiol has stimulatory effects on liver proteins which may reduce thyroid hormone availability and increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. Estradiol also slows the process of liver detoxification of various harmful substances.
Estradiol can elevate blood sugar in certain susceptible individuals. Progesterone can increase the appetite and has a general calming effect on the nervous system, especially at night.
What female hormone testing can do:
1. Detection of Luteal Phase Defect
There are at least three luteal phase defect patterns which are characterized by a reduced output of Progesterone that leads to Estrogen dominance. This imbalance is usually associated with PMS, infertility, fibroids and other female hormonal problems and can be readily detected by our panels.
2. Hormonal Imbalance and PMS
Many women suffer from hormonal imbalance in the Estrogen to Progesterone ratio. Our panels can objectively evaluate the hormonal state with great accuracy which, in turn, provides specific insights for appropriate intervention or treatment to relieve hormonal imbalance and PMS related symptoms.
3. Customized Hormone Therapy
Presently, female hormone therapy is not individualized to the needs of each woman because current diagnostic tests do not provide sufficient data. Consequently, most women are empirically treated without regard to their individualized physiology and specific needs. The FHP,™ for the first time, will allow a clinician to customize therapy to each female patient.
- Functional infertility
- Influence of lifestyle (diet, exercise, etc.) on the cycle
- Menstrual problems originating in the brain
- Early pregnancy problems – spontaneous miscarriage
- Cycle irregularities, following the use of birth control pills
- Dysmenorrhea, i.e. painful and heavy periods
- Migraine headaches
- Endometriosis and cystic ovarian disease
- Early Osteoporosis
The team at Ann Arbor Holistic Health is here to help you.
Please call (734) 222-8210 at any time. We can set up a free evaluation and consultation when you’re ready.
Other women’s hormone issues discussed here: