Estradiol and Progesterone
Estrogens are the most important of the female sex hormones. Estrogen is actually made up of a group of hormones, but Estradiol is biologically the most active during the fertile years of women.
It is responsible for:
- The development of the female body, from girl to woman
- The monthly regeneration and protection of the endometrium (womb)
- Breast growth
- The elasticity of the blood vessels
- Radiant skin and healthy hair
- Moist eyes and mucous membranes
- Clear thinking processes
- Stabilisation of moods
Progesterone is produced by the ovaries shortly after ovulation in order to prepare the uterus for a possible pregnancy and to protect the mucous lining of the uterus. Together with Estrogen, the most important of the female sex hormones, progesterone regulates the menstrual cycle.
The sensitive balance between estrogen and progesterone
Estrogen values tend to fluctuate throughout a woman’s lifetime, not just during the menstrual cycle. The strength of these fluctuations is different for each individual and the body reacts to them with different symptoms. It is not just a deficiency in Estrogen that can cause physical complaints: an excess, or Estrogen dominance, can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, such as water retention, nausea, depressive moods, tiredness, listlessness, lack of concentration, anxiety, breast sensitivity, cysts and fibroids, painful menstruation, and weight gain.
Although it may sound contradictory, an Estrogen dominance can occur at the same time as an Estrogen deficiency due to the fine, coordinated balance between Estrogen and progesterone. The Estrogen levels define how much progesterone is needed. An Estrogen dominance can occur if the body is not producing enough progesterone for the level of Estrogen. This means it can also occur if the body is not producing enough Estrogen (Estrogen deficiency) if the body is also not producing the relative amount of progesterone.
Therefore, in the case of an Estrogen deficiency it is important to not only determine the absolute values of the individual hormones, but also the ratio of Estrogen to progesterone.
DHEA and Cortisol
Cortisol and DHEA are both produced in the adrenal glands. Cortisol is the most important stress hormone besides adrenaline: Stress hormones help the body to react to particular strain. They release energy reserves in order to prepare the body for “escape” or “attack”. During hard, physical work, competitive sports, psychological, physical and mental stress situations, or during a severe illness, the distribution of cortisol is also stimulated.
Cortisol and DHEA play an important role in the different metabolic processes in the body. In immune processes, cortisol helps with its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect, and has an important function in maintaining the health of the body.
DHEA is a precursor of female and male sex hormones. The production of DHEA declines with advancing age from the age of 30 and its deficiency can cause various diseases.
It is responsible for:
- Burning of body fat
- Prevention of osteoporosis
- Minimizing cancer and heart diseases
- Strengthening the immune system
- Slowing down the aging process
- Positively influence memory performance
However: Both too low and too high levels can cause unpleasant symptoms.
It is well known that chronic stress is unhealthy – and stress is, in turn, the most important impulse that causes the increase of the distribution of cortisol. If the cortisol levels are too high, symptoms can include immunodeficiency, depression, physical exhaustion, metabolic disorders, diabetes, obesity and sleeping disorders. Excessively high cortisol levels can indeed cause unpleasant symptoms.
Just the same, excessively low cortisol levels can interfere with general well-being: Cortisol is vital. Apart from the provision of energy reserves, it also plays a role in the cardiovascular health,gastrointestinal health, the immune system and brain functions. As does DHEA. Low DHEA levels are susprected to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, osteoporosis, depression, heart disease and obesity. High DHEA levels can cause in women a deeper voice and an increased hair growth all over the body.
Testosterone is a sex hormone that is mainly associated with men – after all, it is responsible for the characteristics that distinguish the appearance of men from women, such as beard growth: it ensures the development of the male sex organ and is responsible for sexual potency and fertility. In addition, it strengthens the heart, brain and bones, supports muscle growth and fat decomposition, counteracts diabetes and high blood pressure, and helps to lower cholesterol levels.
However, testosterone is also important for women, even though they produce 20 to 30 times less testosterone than men. Testosterone has a mood lifting effect, ensures for more assertiveness and enhances the desire for sex in both women and men. It also enhances sexual sensitivity, making it easier for women to reach orgasm.
The body can only profit from all of these positive properties by having a healthy testosterone level; a deficiency can cause the complaints listed above and an excess can, amongst other things, lead to excessive aggressiveness, acne, oily skin and unwanted body hair (face and body) in women.
Testosterone deficiency can affect women as well as men.
Some of the symptoms connected with a testosterone deficiency:
- Decreased libido, potency problems (♂), orgasm difficulties (♀)
- Decrease in muscles / few distinctive muscles
- Fat deposits in the stomach and breast areas
- Cellulite, varicose veins
- Slack arms and face, wrinkle development, dry skin
- Decreased hair growth (e.g. beard (♂))
- Low stamina, consistent tiredness
- Low assertiveness, uncertainty
- Decreased stress resistance, nervousness
- Anxiety, depressive moods