The estrogens are chemicals that work within the female body (but also in the male, but less relevant). They are steroid hormones that can diffuse into and out of the body’s cells and act through intracellular receptors called estrogen ER receptors.In women, there are three main estrogens : estradiol , estrone, and estriol . Of these, estradiol is the most abundant and its main source is the ovary, which also produces estrone in less quantity. The source of estrone is peripheral tissues, and estriol is generated primarily in the liver. All three are also produced in adrenal glands and adipose tissue.

What are estrogens for?

Estrogens are mainly considered feminizing hormones , due to the effects they exert on the reproductive functions of the female . However, they fulfill more physiological functions.

Estrogens serve to:

  • Changes in body fat stores
  • Breast growth and development
  • Stimulate uterine cell proliferation
  • Stimulate the cell proliferation of the fallopian tubes
  • Stimulate cell proliferation of the vaginal epithelium
  • The maturation of the ovaries
  • Produce steroid hormones during the luteal phase of pregnancy
  • Participate in the control of female sexual behavior
  • Maintain fluid and electrolyte balance and bone mass (hence the osteoporosis problems that appear after menopause)
  • Epithelial proliferation of blood vessels (for this reason they are cardioprotective factors)

In addition to its physiological importance in the female body, estrogens also have it in physiological processes in males, which has finally discarded the idea that androgens define males and estrogens define females. The studied effects of estrogens in man are:

  • Negative feedback on testosterone secretion. This is because estrogens inhibit the secretion of luteinizing hormone in the pituitary gland. Since the luteinizer stimulates testosterone secretion through the Leydig cells of the testes, estrogens give negative feedback and decrease testosterone as a consequence.
  • Participate in conjunction with androgens to execute sexual behavior and behavioral patterns such as erection and riding, from the central nervous system.
  • The most important effect of estrogens, at the reproductive level of the male, is to control the reabsorption of fluids at the level of the epididymis, a process that causes an increase in the amount of sperm in the semen and therefore increases the probability of fertilization.
  • Estrogens act on the prostate gland , whose development and functioning are influenced by the action of these hormones, either indirectly (as in negative feedback to testosterone) or directly, through the activation of receptors to the estrogens.

In man, the main source of estrogens are the testes , in which, in Leydig cells, testosterone is biochemically transformed into estradiol, through an aromatization reaction catalyzed by enzymes of the cytochrome complex called aromatases.

It is always advisable to monitor hormone levels and physiological responses to the lack or decompensation of hormones such as estrogens in routine check-ups. If there is, the doctor can prescribe an additional administration of these by means of a pharmaceutical product. Avoid self-medicating.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical opinion. Consult your doctor.

 

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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