For the overall health of the body, it is important to maintain a balance between the levels of estrogen and other sex hormones. High estrogen levels lead to weight gain, mood disorders, and severe PMS in women. In men, erectile dysfunction can be observed with increased levels of the female sex hormone, since its levels are low in the male body.
Serum estrogen concentration changes rhythmically over time, but maintaining constant high levels can lead to significant health consequences.
Estrogen is important for male and female sexual development. It regulates cholesterol levels, supports bone health, and affects emotional balance. In women, it controls the onset of puberty, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. There are three types of estrogen:
- Estrone – E1 – the primary form of estrogen in men, as well as in women after menopause. It is produced by the ovaries, placenta, testes, and adipose tissue from androstenedione and androgens.
- Estradiol – E2 – the form of the female sex hormone with the most pronounced effect. The values of this hormone are highest in women of childbearing age. The examination of the serum concentration of this hormone is used to evaluate ovarian function.
- Estriol – E3 – the placenta produces this type of estrogen, which reaches its maximum value during pregnancy. The amount of estriol increases as the fetus grows.
Changes in female sex hormone levels can affect various organs and systems – genitals, skin, hair, bones, muscles, brain, and breasts. High estrogen levels are due to several reasons:
- Increased production;
- Changes in estrogen metabolism;
- Changes in the release of the female sex hormone from the body.
Other factors that increase estrogen levels include:
- Obesity – the increased amount of adipose tissue leads to an increase in estrogen levels since this tissue performs the function of a gland that secretes female sex hormones.
- Stress – the rise in cortisol as a result of stress leads to a depletion of progesterone and a compensatory rise in estrogen.
- Alcohol consumption – leads to an increase in estradiol levels and difficulties in metabolizing estrogen.
- Dysbiosis – an increased level of populations of certain pathogenic intestinal bacteria. This condition leads to disturbances in the release of estrogen and its accumulation in the body.
- Exposure to chemicals in everyday life – some chemicals, such as bisphenol A – BPA and phthalates, which are contained in plastic and many cosmetic products, lead to an increase in the serum concentration of estrogen.
- Some diseases – polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, some cancers, and insulin resistance lead to an increase in estrogen levels;
- Tumors – malignant and benign neoplasms of the adrenal cortex and the adrenal gland lead to an increase in estrogen levels and a characteristic enlargement of the breasts is observed.