Hormones After Menopause: Do I Need Them?
Expert’s Name: Gail Edgell
For many menopausal women the quest for information regarding this transformative period in their lives begins and ends with Estrogen. While Estrogen plays an important role in menopause and perimenopause it is the balance with Progesterone that most influences a woman’s body. It is important to remember that menopause, like most things in life, is about achieving a natural balance.
There are three types of Estrogen found in every woman’s body.
- Estradiol – The strongest and most well known type of Estrogen, in Hormone Replacement Therapy, this is the hormone that is typically used.
- Estriol – The weakest type of Estrogen found in greater abundance in a woman’s body. There are some that believe this type of Estrogen is protective against the strong effects of the other types, therefore it is desirable to have increased levels of Estriol in relation to the levels of Estradiol and Estrone.
- Estrone – The least abundant of the three types of Estrogen. This is the only type of Estrogen which is present in post-menopausal women.
So What Does Estrogen Do?
Estrogen is a stimulating hormone that promotes the growth of uterine tissue, uterine muscle, and uterine lining. It is also key in stimulating breast development, bone development, and the development of fat around the hips and abdomen. While Estrogen is important to women’s health, it is the balance between hormones that can affect the body more drastically.
Perimenopause, Estrogen on the Rise?
During the years leading up to menopause and the perimenopausal period, it is typically thought that a woman’s body is producing too much estrogen, leading to the traditional symptoms of menopause. However, this is not the case. During perimenopause, women’s Estrogen levels usually remain normal; it is a decreased production of Progesterone relative to Estrogen that causes menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Once a woman reaches menopause, however, it is typical for both Estrogen and Progesterone levels to balance once again.
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