Side Effects Of Estrogen: The Good And The Bad
As with most things in life, side effects of estrogen can be beneficial or they can be harmful. Depending on circumstance, this natural human hormone can bring healthy development or a development of serious consequences. Becoming aware of how estrogen works and how it can go dangerously wrong is a smart step towards health and well being.
WHAT IS ESTROGEN?
Just as males have testosterone, females come equipped with an ample supply of reproductive steroid compounds called estrogen. Occurring in three varieties; estrone, estridiol, and estriol during different times of a woman’s reproductive life, estrogen hormones play a huge role in female development. Despite popular understanding, estrogen is not limited to females. In fact, small amounts of these compounds have also been identified as necessary for normal male reproductive functioning.
Estrogen’s most predominant creation in females begins with the ovaries. However, there are alternate sources for hormone production within and outside of the human body. While not major supply areas, the following have been proven capable of producing estrogen in both men and women:
- Fat cells
- Adrenal glands
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF ESTROGEN?
As mentioned earlier, side effects of estrogen are far reaching and can either be good or bad. Under normal circumstances, estrogen is a vital hormone that is difficult, but possible to replicate. However, when levels are depleted or excessive, negative side effects are inevitable. The following is a list of several effects estrogen has on the body:
Both men and women need estrogen to function properly in reproduction. Without estrogen, male sperm would fail to mature and female menstrual cycles would become unstable. Estrogen is also partly responsible for lubrication and thickening of vaginal walls and encouraging growth of the uterus.
Besides reproduction, estrogen has many major functions in female advancement. Responsibilities of the hormone include breast growth, bone formation, and determining height and how fast metabolism will be.
INTERNAL ORGAN FUNCTION
Estrogen isn’t limited to use in development. Healthy lungs, blood, and digestive system all require the implementation of estrogen use. Without adequate levels of the hormone, bowel movements become impaired, blood fails to coagulate, and breathing would be difficult.
MEDICAL AND MENTAL FUNCTION
For women who suffer from severe depression due to reductions in estrogen levels, medical hormone replacement therapy may be administered. Side effects of decreased estrogen levels during times leading up to and after menopause can be alleviated with medical administration of imitation estrogen. Typically used to reduce symptoms such as hot flashes and irritability, estrogen can also act in a contraceptive role and to prevent lactation in postpartum women.
A major negative side effect of estrogen is the development of breast cancer in millions of women every year. As estrogen supply is necessary for cancerous breast growth, physicians have determined that by lessening estrogen production is a viable way to fight breast cancer. On another note, it has been noted in many clinical studies that increased estrogen supplies in males helps to battle against cancer of the prostrate.
Balanced levels of estrogen have been shown to help woman stay heart healthy and reduce their risk of stroke. However, the opposite is true when estrogen levels are reduced drastically or are manufactured in excess.
Strangely enough, estrogen hormones are so resilient that they can affect the environment long after being used. Studies have shown that estrogen contained in female urine and oral birth control medications have a huge impact on the world’s water systems. As a result of estrogen in water and repeated exposure to it, many marine animals and human males have shown a surprising development; assuming sex traits similar to that of a woman.
Although many studies have been conducted on the usefulness and harmfulness of estrogen production and replacement, one fact remains unchanged: both male and female require the hormone for many important reasons. Whether manufactured or naturally produced, estrogen is a compound we really can’t afford to live without.