What Does Estrogen Do to Women?

by Jan 2, 2020

Estrogen hormones are essential for your sexual and reproductive development. Because of the hormone’s primary functions, it’s commonly referred to as the “sex hormone” or “fertility hormone”. Estrogen refers to three hormones that are similar to each other on a molecular level: estradiol, estrone, and (o)estriol.

This hormone affects your body inside-out, from the looks of your hair and skin, all the way down to bone development, chances of conceiving, and many other bodily functions.


Types of Estrogen

The amount, and type of estrogen your body creates to maintain balance regularly varies. There are three types of estrogen and each has its own primary function.

Estradiol: This hormone is heavily present for the development of puberty and during your transition to menopause. The levels of estradiol you produce will alter based on the current stage of your menstrual cycle.

Estrone: Women produce their largest amounts of estrone during pregnancy. The usual amount of estrone most women produce is significantly smaller, after menopause.

Oestriol: is known as the pregnancy hormone, which helps support the development of the fetus.


Progesterone and Estrogen

Progesterone is a building block for other hormonal functions that are responsible for regulating stress, adrenaline and electrolyte balance. Testosterone, cortisol (stress hormone) and estrogens are built up of progesterone.

Progesterone help protect your fertilized egg and fetus. During pregnancy, progesterone keeps your uterine lining thick enough to protect the fetus. Therefore, a significant drop in progesterone levels could result in miscarriage.

Progesterone is a naturally safe hormone. Hormone imbalances are monitored by the ratio of estrogen and progesterone levels. Sufficient progesterone levels are essential for a healthy hormone balance. When progesterone is in synthetic form, it becomes progestin, which may pose several health risks.


Sexual and Fertility Functions


Reproductive system

The ovaries are where most of your estrogens are produced. These hormones are produced by fat cells, and your adrenal gland as well. Your ovaries are grape-sized organs that sit right beside the uterus, they are a crucial part of your endocrine system.

Estrogens are used to develop the female reproductive system. The anatomy of your body depends on this hormone: pubic hair, breast development, vagina, and uterus, etc.



Estrogens help regulate your menstrual cycle by controlling the growth of the uterine lining. if your egg is not fertilized after ovulation, your estrogen levels decrease, and the uterine lining sheds. After the uterine lining sheds, menstruation occurs, this is the beginning of your period.

Ovulation can be tracked by monitoring changes in your luteinizing hormone (LH). Ovulation can start as soon as one day after your LH levels surge. Fertility hormones like LH can be tracked using the Mira Fertility Tracker to find your specific fertility hormone concentration levels. Mira is launching the Estrogen and Progesterone test wands by early 2020! Estrogen will precisely measure all fertile days. And Progesterone confirms if ovulation has happened which is very useful for people who try to avoid pregnancy in a natural way. Both test wands work perfectly with the current Mira Analyzer on the market.



If your egg ends up becoming fertilized, then estrogens are supposed to stop you from ovulating. Because, after conceiving, ovulation is no longer necessary.

The placenta produces estrogens while pregnant, mainly estriol hormones. Estrogens are responsible for breast development during pregnancy, and adolescence. Your breasts may swell up, or feel tender during pregnancy.


Physical Functions


Bone Formation

Estrogen works with nutrients and other hormones to help your bones naturally rebuild and develop. Estrogen production starts to decline past middle age, and the rebuilding process slows down along with it. Postmenopausal women, end up breaking down more bone than they rebuild, putting them at an increased risk for menopause. According to the Cleveland Clinic, women whom have reached menopause are four times more likely to develop bone diseases.


Blood Clotting

After you get an open wound, platelets and red blood cells form a plug inside the wound. This process helps prevent you from bleeding out. Estrogen raises the level of clotting factors, a lack of the hormone can lead to issues with bleeding out to easily.

Also, hormones help strengthen the vaginal wall and help prevent bleeding during sex using lubrication.


Skin and Hair

According to John Hopkins estrogen has a strong effect on physical appearance: skin, hair, complexion, etc. For instance, the thickness of your hair or the complexion of your skin. Scientists believe that this information can help develop estrogen-based tanning creams, by activating hormonal changes.

Dr. Tod Ridky says, “If you expose melanin forming cells to estrogen, they respond by making more melanin, but they don’t have the classic estrogen receptor”. He is also an author of a study on the relationship between estrogen and skin color.


Mood Changes

This hormone affects you psychologically and physically. A study from the National Library of Medicine shows a strong link between low levels of the hormone and reduced mood.

Estrogen is responsible for the production of serotonin. Serotonin is commonly known as a “feel good” hormone because it can have an uplifting effect. Serotonin is essential for mood regulation. Many women in menopause suffer from depression due to a lack of serotonin.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that is more common for women in their reproductive years. The disorder means your endocrine system is unable to produce enough hormones for your follicles to release an egg. PCOS causes hormone imbalances which results in various reproductive issues. PCOS often results in follicular cysts.

The most common type of ovarian cyst is a functional cyst. Ovaries have small glands called follicles, which is where immature eggs develop. When the follicle is unable to open up during ovulation, then it fills up with fluid, resulting in a cyst. This type of functional cyst is called a follicular cyst.

Estrogen hormones are used to help deal with an ovarian cyst. Most functional cysts naturally resolve themselves. However, some women are prone to ovarian cysts. Hormonal birth controls(patches, pills, etc.) can help prevent the development of certain types of cysts in the future.


Changes in estrogen levels

Your hormone levels will fluctuate many times throughout your life, and during your cycle. For instance, estrogen levels tend to rise during puberty and pregnancy, then dip during menopause. Estrogen levels usually decrease after giving birth.

Health conditions like PCOS can result in lower estrogen levels. Also, constant physical stress or weight-loss can lead to a decrease in fat storages. Fat is responsible for producing estrogen; Therefore, your body may not be able to produce a regular amount of hormones. Low body fat can result in irregular periods, periods with light bleeding, and sometimes skipping periods.


High Estrogen Levels

Estrogen dominance occurs when your estrogen levels are relatively high compared to your progesterone levels. This may cause you to develop low testosterone or progesterone levels, possibly resulting in a hormone imbalance.

High estrogen levels can develop naturally, or due to lifestyle changes. Hormone imbalances can be caused by medications and hormone replacement therapy — Common treatments for symptoms related to menopause.



Despite the strong relationship between diabetes and hormone levels, the science behind it is not completely clear. The Diabetes Care Association links high hormone levels with type 2 diabetes, but other journals disagree.

However, hormone levels affect how receptive your body is to insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. A spike in hormone levels is not always caused by diabetes. However, there is a relationship between blood sugar spikes and hormone levels during your cycle.


Medication and Treatment

Birth Control Pills: Estrogens can be discovered in the majority of orally ingested birth control pills. Estrogens are naturally produced by the body to stop ovulation during pregnancy. Birth control pills prevent ovulation by tricking your body into thinking it’s already pregnant.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Symptoms of menopause are reduced by hormone replacement therapy treatments, some of these treatments include estrogen. Hormone replacement therapy is used to help treat menopausal symptoms.

Possible symptoms of menopause include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Night-sweats
  • Mood disorders,
  • Vaginal lining, atrophy, and inflammation


Side Effects


Body Development

While hormones are important in body development, too much can be a bad thing. Estrogen levels rising too high can increase your risk of injury. A study from the Journal of Medicine shows that risks of ligament injury could be decreased by using oral contraceptives.



Most breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen because it can accelerate tumor growth. These types of cancers are receptive to hormones. People with this type of cancer may need to reduce hormone production with estrogen blockers or other treatments. These procedures are done to prevent cancer from developing or to help slow down tumor growth.

According to BreastCancer.org alcohol can boost a woman’s chances of breast cancer that is receptive to hormones. Also, alcohol increases the effect estrogen has on the growth of breast cancer tumors, and other diseases associated with hormones. This disease is treated by lowering estrogen levels and non-estrogen treatments. The only issue with this treatment is that lower levels of estrogen can make you non-fertile.



Hormone replacement therapy, which contains estrogen, can be used to treat menopausal symptoms. According to the FDA, when it comes to dosage levels, patients are recommended to use significantly small amounts.

The Women’s Health Initiative also suggests that using hormone replacement therapy has added health risks. Hormone Replacement Therapy increases the risk of certain breast cancers, heart diseases, and stroke. Women should refrain from using hormone replacement therapy to help prevent(not treatment) certain conditions. The advice excludes women with a high risk of bone diseases, and can not take non-estrogen/low-estrogen therapies.


High blood pressure

It seems that fluctuating hormone levels are partly responsible for high blood pressure issues. The American Physiological Society states chronic exposure in large amounts to the hormone is linked to high blood pressure.  According to the National Kidney Foundation, hormonal treatments, medications, and therapies, can affect your body’s ability to regulate blood pressure.


Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

The symptoms of estrogen dominance in women include:

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Cysts in the breast area
  • Abnormal cycles
  • Mood swings, depression, anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Sleep issues: insomnia, fatigue, trouble sleeping
  • A decrease in sex drive
  • Headache
  • Hair loss


Order Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.

Reserve Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.