Estrogen functions during Pregnancy
During your reproductive cycles, the pituitary gland, located in your brain, develops some hormones that stimulate the follicles present in your ovaries. A fresh egg (oocyte) from one of the follicles that attains full maturity gets released from its walls each month. With the follicle developing, it begins producing estrogen, which helps in thickening the uterine lining.
In the middle of your menstrual cycle/periods, the production of Progesterone hormone gets augmented once the ovulation takes place in you. Progesterone facilitates preparing of the uterine lining in anticipation of receiving and implanting a fertilized egg. Thus, knowing ovulation and your most fertile days are vital for attaining pregnancy. Once the egg gets implanted in this lining, progesteroone nourishes it to develop into an embryo, which later becomes a fetus, and, eventually, a baby to be delivered.
In case the fertilization does not happen, the levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones sharply drop. And, the uterine lining breaks down, resulting in your menstruation. If fertilization does happen, both estrogen and progesterone begin working jointly to thwart further ovulation during your pregnancy.
Oral contraceptives, such as Pills, are formulated to create such a condition in the uterus by adjusting your hormone levels. These pills prevent thickening of the endometrium (in a layman language the uterine lining). The thin lining in the uterus is unable to receive a fertilized egg, and hence, there is no question of a fertilized egg getting implanted in your uterus. Besides, they condense the cervical mucus, which prevents entry of sperm in your cervix ruling out the egg fertilization.
Oral contraceptives that contain estrogen may be also helpful in relieving cramps during your periods and several perimenopausal (around the natural menopause time) symptoms. Besides, these contraceptives help in regulating your periods that has gone awry because of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Moreover, researchers believe that pills help in reducing the probability of ovarian, colorectal and uterine cancers.
Other Functions of Estrogen
Estrogen generated by your ovaries helps in preventing bone loss as it helps prevent bone loss and works collectively with Vitamin D, Calcium, apart from minerals and other hormones, essential for building your bones. Absence of estrogen may cause osteoporosis in you.
It is the silent disease that develops gradually over a period of time and makes your bones fragile and too weak to support your daily activities. Bones are your dynamic organs. Your body process consistently builds and modifies your bones.
This process is known as resorption and deposition. Don’t get surprised if we tell you that until around the age of 30, your body builds more bones than it smashes down. But, this process begins slowing down as your estrogen levels go down. After attaining menopause, just opposite to your younger days, more bones in your body break down than their rebuilding process.
Researchers believe that just upon attaining menopause, women generally lose their bone mass by nearly 20 per cent. This bone loss, after the menopause, levels off in due course of time. This process happens to keep the bone structure healthy and strong and preventing osteoporosis, before the disease becomes a challenging task.
Vagina and Urinary Tract
As happens in menopausal stage, estrogen levels become low, causing dryness in your vagina and making the vaginal walls thin. So, copulation with your spouse becomes painful in the absence of enough lubrication.
Apart from the above, the lining of your urethra becomes thin. (The urethra is a small tube that carries urine from your bladder for emptying it outside the body). Some women might experience increased infections in their urinary tract (UTI), which may be improved upon with the vaginal estrogen therapy.
Perimenopause: The Menopause Transition
During the transitional phase of your menopause, you may experience fluctuating estrogen levels that influence physical and emotional changes in you. This transitional phase is known as Perimenopause (around the time of menopause).
This transitional period may typically last for two to eight years. Estrogen levels may persist fluctuating even after attaining menopause for nearly one year. Some of the symptoms are:
You may experience an unexpected feeling of heat in your face, chest and neck immediately followed by profuse sweating. Your pulse rate may increase and you may increase your pulse rate and make you experience dizziness and nausea. These hot flashes generally last for about 3 to 6 minutes.
Sometimes, the sensation lasts longer and may disturb your sleep, if it happens during the night.
- Your Menstrual Cycles may become irregular
- Your breasts may become tender
- If you have been suffering from migraines, these may become severe
- You may experience swift mood swings