What Are the Benefits of Estrogen Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy consisting of estrogen supplementation has been around for decades and has received quite a bit of positive and negative publicity. The fact is that there are many superior benefits of estrogen replacement therapy for women, and for that reason it should not be discounted for use except in those females who have certain risk factors such as breast cancer or blood clotting issues, to name a few.
Most people know that hormones are crucial for our very existence, but perhaps most do not realize just how vital it is to maintain proper levels of these essential chemical messengers. Aside from performing the task of signaling various parts of the body to carry out specific actions, many hormones actually play a function in the stimulation of other hormones.
The instructions they pass on to receptor cells in organs, tissues, and glands are crucial to keeping the body working in proper order. Not only do the benefits of estrogen therapy aid in the area of sexuality and fertility, but they also play a role in bone health, urinary performance, good (HDL) cholesterol, mood modulation, and maintenance or ideal weight.
In a woman’s body, estrogen production occurs in the ovaries, the adrenal glands, and in fatty tissue. There are three different types of estrogen in the body:
During pregnancy, the placenta produces estriol, whereas the other two forms of estrogen are produced in the ovaries until menopause when secretion begins to decline. It is at this time that women turn to the benefits of estrogen replacement to give them back what they have lost. Further detail on the specifics regarding the benefits of this hormone therapy can be found below.
Estrogen Therapy: Benefits List
As estrogen circulates in the bloodstream, it searches for and binds to estrogen receptors on the cells of the target bodily tissues. In this way, estrogen can have an impact on metabolism, sexuality, the breasts, the uterus, bones, liver, heart, brain, and other tissues.
Here are some specific estrogen therapy benefits for women who are experiencing a deficiency in the production of this essential hormone:
- Vaginal and Urinary Tract
During menopause, estrogen production begins to decline sharply. This can also decrease vaginal lubrication and make the walls of the vagina thinner. Many women tend to shy away from sex due to its painful nature resulting from these changes. Another issue that develops is that the lining of the urethra also begins to thin. This can increase the incidence of urinary tract infections in women.
Vaginal estrogen therapy is often used to improve lubrication and decrease urinary infections.
Estrogen is one of the links in the chain that helps to maintain strong bones. Along with testosterone, growth hormone, vitamin D, calcium, and other hormones and minerals, estrogen helps to prevent new bone production from slowing down.
It has been reported that women are susceptible to losing up to 20 percent of their essential bone mass following menopause, and estrogen replacement therapy benefits may help to prevent this from occurring.
Perimenopause is the beginning of the transition that a woman experiences leading up to menopause. The amount of time a woman spends in this part of her life can vary from only a couple of years to nearly a decade.
The symptoms that can be helped by estrogen therapy include:
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular or troublesome menstrual cycles
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Night sweats
The Role of Estrogen in Women
Estrogen causes the lining of a woman’s uterus to thicken so that it will be ready for implantation of a fertilized egg at the start of pregnancy. It works together with another hormone, progesterone, in this process. However, as we have shown, there are many other important reasons why a woman needs to maintain a proper amount of estrogen in her body throughout her life.
One way the benefits of estrogen work is by raising the levels of serotonin in the brain to stabilize and prevent erratic mood swings. The brain is not the only beneficiary of this vital hormone. In over thirty studies, estrogen has been shown to have an effect on lipids and vascular reactivity that can help lower the risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women. Other studies have shown a reduction in the chance of colon cancer.
It is clear that there are estrogen therapy benefits that can be helpful for many women. There are other options for hormone replacement therapy that can bring some of these same benefits for women who cannot use this form of HRT, or who are looking for another method of decreasing the effects of menopause. The doctors and medical advisors at National HRT® can provide insight into other options available to women dealing with symptoms associated with estrogen decline and menopause.