Dec 14th, 2020

Let us start with structural functions. Estrogen forms the female secondary sex characteristics. This means it:

  • Accelerates metabolism.
  • Stimulates endometrial growth.
  • Increases uterine growth.
  • Increases uterine growth.
  • Thickens the vaginal wall.
  • Maintains the vessels and skin.
  • Reduces bone resorption and increases bone formation.
  • Increases hepatic production of binding proteins.

Coagulation functions of estrogen. Bet you didn’t realize that estrogen affects many of the coagulation functions in your body. Here there are:

  • Increases circulating levels of factors 2, 7, 9, 10 and decreases antithrombin III.
  • Increases platelet adhesiveness and increases angiotensin II and vasopressin.
  • Helps your blood pressure and helps you from getting blood clots!

Did you know that estrogen:

  • Decreases LDL and fat deposition.
  • Increases HDL.
  • Increases cholesterol in bile and reduces bowel motility.

Estrogen will increase SHBG and balance out the sodium and water retention.

Estrogen supports hormone-sensitive breast cancer.

Promotes lung function by supporting alveoli (in rodents, but probably also in humans).

Estrogen together with progesterone promotes and maintains the uterine lining in preparation for implantation of fertilized eggs and maintenance of uterus function during the gestation period and up-regulates oxytocin receptors in the myometrium

The surge in estrogen (around day 12 of a woman’s menstrual cycle) induces the release of luteinizing hormone, which then triggers ovulation by releasing the egg from the graafian follicle in the ovary.

Estrogen promotes sexual receptivity in estrus (an animal in heat) and induces lordosis behavior (behavior of lowering of the forelimbs but with the rear limbs extended and hips raised). Did you know that female non-human mammals are not sexually receptive without the estrogen surge (i.e., they have no mating desire when not in estrus) and neither are we!

Estrogen is responsible for the development of the female secondary sexual characteristics during puberty, including:

  • Breast development
  • Widening of the hips
  • Female fat distribution.

Conversely, androgens are responsible for pubic and body hair growth, as well as acne and axillary odor.

Estrogen has great many number of effects on our DNA:

  • Regulates DNA repair mechanisms in the brain
  • Has neuro-protective effects.
  • Regulates the transcription of DNA base excision repair genes as well as the translocation of the base excision repair enzymes between different subcellular compartments.

Did you also know that estrogen increases your level of cognition and verbal memory scores are frequently used to measure this? The protective effects of estrogens on cognition may be mediated by estrogen’s anti inflammatory effects in the brain. Studies have also shown that estrogen increases the efficiency of the prefrontal cortex and working memory tasks.

Estrogen is considered to play a significant role in women’s mental health:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in lab mice may be caused by low estrogen levels.
  • When estrogen levels were raised through the increased activity of the enzyme aromatase in male lab mice (not sure why they didn’t use females) OCD rituals were dramatically decreased.
  • Hypothalamic protein levels in the gene COMT are enhanced by increasing estrogen levels which are believed to return mice that displayed OCD rituals to normal activity.

Estrogen may play a role in suppressing binge eating. The mechanism may be due to the replacement of serotonin 5-HT neurons. Estrogen works to activate 5-HT neurons, leading to suppression of binge like eating behaviors.

Estrogen also has vasculo-protective action and helps in preventing atherosclerosis. It helps in maintaining the delicate balance between fighting infections and protecting arteries from damage, thus lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

And lastly, did you know that estrogen also has anti-inflammatory properties?

There’s so much more but I just wanted to share a few things estrogen does for your brain and body in case you wondered why it is so critical to your health that we restore it after menopause.

Gretchen Jones PA-C is a recognized expert in the use of bioidentical hormones for treatment of ovarian dysfunction, menopause, peri-menopause and low testosterone in women and men. She is a leading advocate for changing the way in which hormone therapy is understood and managed by healthcare professionals. She provides the expertise, the experience, and the motivation necessary for successful bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She can be reached at


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The goal of WHN is to expand the Standard of Care by promoting, advocating, and advancing women's wellbeing and longevity through clinical research and education about the benefits of Physiologic Restoration to reduce the symptoms of hormone imbalance, chronic disease and degenerative decline.
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