There is a misconception that estrogen is evil but that is not the case. Both men and women need a certain amount of estrogen in order to be hormonally balanced and healthy. Yes, men have estrogen too! just not as much as women do. Estrogen replacement therapy is designed for women since men do not require estrogen replacement as their bodies tend to make the small amount that they require.
There is not just one type of estrogen in your body. Estrogen is a group of over thirty related hormones. The three primary estrogen hormones are estradiol (E2), estrone (E1), and estriol (E3). Estradiol is considered the most potent estrogen and estriol is considered the weakest estrogen. A number of oncologists have promoted the use of estriol in breast cancer patients who require assistance in alleviating the symptoms of menopause. Estrone is felt to be the estrogen that promotes cancer whereas, estriol appears to be protective against cancer. Estradiol is believed to be cancer neutral (not increasing or decreasing the risk of cancer).
Cholesterol is the source of your steroid hormones–estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and cortisol. It is important to have cholesterol in your body for many reasons, one of them is to create the hormones that your body requires. Cholesterol is the building block for making pregnenolone which is then converted to progesterone. Progesterone has a wide variety of affects in your body. Progesterone is also converted to either cortisol (another hormone with a variety of functions in the body) or to testosterone through a series of enzymatic reactions. Testosterone is then converted into the main estrogens through the action of an enzyme known as aromatase. This enzyme aromatizes the testosterone molecule and turns it into an estrogen molecule. The main place for aromatizing estrogens are the ovaries. In menopause, the adipose tissue (fat cells) can also convert testosterone to estrogens since the fat cells contain a small amount of aromatase. A small amount of estrogens are also secreted by the adrenal glands and the testicles (men only).
The estrogens circulate in the blood stream and bind to the target cells, affecting the functions mentioned above. It is important to have the correct estrogen balance in order to feel and look your best.
Too much or too little estrogen can affect how you look and feel. Finding the optimal balance for you is the goal. When replacing a low estrogen level with bio-identical hormones we recommend either topical creams or pellets. Oral supplementation can potentially affect the liver and increase blood clot risk. Estrogen injections result in volatile estrogen levels and are not recommended. Typically a combination of estradiol and estriol is used in order to be effective and provide a low risk for side effects. Estrone is not used because of its potential to promote cancer. The topical estrogen creams are applied once or twice a day onto the body and the pellets are a procedure done in the office and last 3-6 months. For vaginal complaints, it is recommended to also use an estriol vaginal cream several nights a week to keep the vaginal area healthy and with the ability to lubricate normally. Your specific therapy is customized to your needs.
Once your estrogen levels are optimized, along with your other hormone levels, you should feel like yourself again! Our goal is to help you to prevent osteoporosis, dementia, and the overall decline in well being that is prevalent in today’s society. You can feel and look good, age well and live a full, vital life. We are here to help you with that goal.