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Estradiol: it's important!

Posted Sep 12 2012 9:47pm

Calling all women (and men)! You owe it to yourself to read up on estradiol and the effects of not having enough of it in your body. And just in case I don’t have your attention yet, it relates to your sexual health ... yeah, I thought that would do it.

Estradiol is a naturally occurring steroid in the body that acts as a hormone and like other steroids it is derived from cholesterol. (You see, cholesterol isn’t all bad!) 

Produced primarily by the ovaries in women and testes in men, it can also be produced in smaller quantities by the brain and in the walls of the arteries.

Estradiol is the most potent naturally occurring type of estrogen and it plays a key role in the growth of tissue in the reproductive organs. That includes the lining of the vagina, the lining of the fallopian tubes, the cervical glands and the inner membrane of the uterus. Estradiol also has a starring role when it’s baby time, helping with ovulation and pregnancy.

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and wondered how you turned out the way you did, ladies? Well, estradiol is to thank/blame for that, too. While going through puberty, it affects breast development, changes to the shape of your body, your bones, your joints and how fat is deposited in your body.  

Estradiol is so important to bone growth that when females start to produce less of it later in life due to the onset of menopause, it leads to loss of bone density. 

Because estradiol plays such an important role in the human body (especially females), it’s important to know if you have enough of it. Post-menopausal women especially need to keep close tabs on their estradiol level. 

This list of symptoms may indicate an estradiol hormone imbalance: 

Women

Acne or oily skin

Bloating

Bone loss

Decreased fertility

Depression

Hot flashes

Heavy or painful periods

Irregular periods

Irritability

Loss of muscle mass                    

Low libido

Memory lapses

Mood swings

Obstructed bile secretion or function

Poor concentration

Sleep disturbances

Tender or fibrocystic breasts

Uterine bleeding

Vaginal dryness

Men

Decreased mental clarity

Decreased muscle strength

Decreased stamina

Decreased urine flow              

Erectile dysfunction

Hot flashes

Increased abdominal fat

Increased urge to urinate

Irritability

Low sex drive

Mood swings

Night sweats

Poor concentration

Sleep disturbances

But don’t worry! If you do have a deficiency of estradiol, there are numerous ways to get your levels back up to counter the onset of hypoestrogenism. (Don’t let that big ol’ word scare you. It’s just a fancy way of saying estrogen deficiency.)

You can get oral medications or creams and there are also injectable solutions or vaginal preparations. Because oral medications have to pass through the liver and thus are susceptible to losing their potency, treatments that can enter the body in other ways may be better for you. But, of course, your physician will be able to go over that with you. Oral treatments that pass through the liver also have the added risk of initiating unwanted side effects. 

There is no doubt that estradiol is a vital part of a healthy body, especially for women and doubly especially for post-menopausal women. You owe it to yourself and your health to ensure that you have enough of this important element for your age and gender. 

 

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