Here are some of the functions of estrogen:
It stimulates the rebuilding of the uterine lining after menstruation; it helps cells in the Fallopian tubes, uterus and vagina divide and mature, and it helps to maintain the structure of the vagina and prevent atrophy.
It helps to form the shape of the breasts and hips during puberty; it helps to dilate blood vessels to carry more oxygen, and helps maintain a healthy cholesterol balance.
It also helps to maintain the blood supply and prevent atrophy in the urinary tract, and in the skeleton, it slows the rate of bone loss in the maturing body; in the brain, it helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and the body's thermostat.
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When you are trying to get pregnant, there is a lot of talk of not having too high of Estrogen. One concern is that if your estrogen is over 75 pg/ml, it may mean your FSH is falsely low. Also mid-range levels of estrogen usually mean you will stim better for the RE. And if your estrogen levels are very high, you could have a functional cyst, or even diminished ovarian reserve. All these mean that you may have harder time getting pregnant, or getting medical help.
Hormone to Test : Estradiol (E2)
Time to Test : Day 3
Normal Values : 25-75 pg/ml
What Value Means : Levels on the lower end tend to be better for stimulating. Abnormally high levels on day 3 may indicate existence of a functional cyst or diminished ovarian reserve.
But what if your estrogen is too low? Can that be a problem too? Yes, if your estrogen is low on day 3 of your cycle, and doesn't climb, it may take you a very long time to ovulate - or you may not even ovulate that cycle.
If you are having a long unending cycle, and your estrogen is still low, taking Prometrium or Provera to try to kick-start your next cycle, probably won't work.
If you can't maintain your estrogen levels in your luteal phase (from ovulation to menses), you may not be able to maintain a pregnancy. Your body needs both estrogen and progesterone to maintain a pregnancy.
Symptoms of Low Estrogen – Hot flashes, Shortness of breath, Night sweats, Sleep disorders, insomnia,Vaginal dryness, Dry hair/skin, Hair loss, Anxiety, Mood swings, Headaches, Depression, Short term memory loss, Frequent urinary tract infections, Heart palpitations, Frequent yeast infections, Vaginal shrinking, Loss of pubic hair, Painful intercourse, Inability to reach orgasm.
Excessive exercise, low body weight, and eating disorders all adversely affect the pituitary gland, so that it doesn't send proper signals to the ovary. Women with these conditions are found to have very low levels of estrogen; they do not bleed in response to the progestin challenge. These women also do not release eggs and hence can not ovulate
Treatment for low estrogen levels.
In situations where a woman is not getting her periods normally (ovulating only four to six times a year) and the underlying cause can't be changed, estrogen-containing medications can help to induce ovulation. Natural remedies such as tofu, dong quai and yams have some estrogenic qualities, but there has not been much medical literature published on their benefits.
Certainly, it's crucial from a medical perspective to diagnose and treat low-estrogen levels. In addition, low estrogen levels can also have harmful emotional and psychological effects arising from late puberty or hampered fertility.
Estrogen Maintains Pregnancy, Triggers Fetal Maturation:
With one hormone triggering the production of another, which in turn regulates the development and release of still others, and with cells changing structure and function as they mature, it’s a complicated story. Estrogen regulates progesterone, protecting pregnancy. It also kick-starts one of the major processes of fetal maturation. Without it, a fetus’s lungs, liver and other organs and tissues cannot mature.
Luteal Estrogen Supplementation In Pregnancies Associated With Low Serum Estradiol Concentrations
The frequency of preclinical pregnancy losses among the 102 women with hCG less than 5mIU/ml and E2 [100pg em="em" ml="ml"](p=0.04) The increase in preclinical pregnancy loss rates among women not receiving luteal E2 resulted in a decrease in ongoing pregnancy rate (8%), compared to those receiving luteal E2 supplementation (31%) (p=0.002). Our results indicated that a subset of women losing pregnancies preclinically after GnRHa and FSH stimulation due to low luteal phase serum E2 level may benefit from luteal estrogen supplementation.
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More "Pregnancy Over 40" blogs to visit:
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• You Can Get Pregnant in Your 40's - Sharing articles, discussing options and suggestions
• Stories of Pregnancy and Birth over 44 - sharing news stories I find online, for inspiration!