How do Estrogen And Progesterone Levels Affect Women With Age?
The endocrine system is crucial for regulating reproduction, fertility, metabolism, and even your mood. But did you know that aging can profoundly impact the working of your endocrine system?
As you age, your body tends to reduce the production of some hormones while ramping up the output of others. The most significant impact of fluctuating hormone levels in females occurs right around menopause. Estrogen and Progesterone, two of the most important fertility hormones, start declining after menopause.
Let’s take a look at how your age affects the levels of Estrogen and Progesterone and what impact it has on your fertility and ability to conceive.
Estrogen And Progesterone Levels
As we age, our hormone levels change over time, and our estrogen & progesterone levels are no different.
There are four different types of estrogen naturally present in your body- Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), Estriol (E3), Estetrol (E4)
Physicians in Australia prefer to monitor Estradiol (E2) levels rather than Estrone (E1). It is the most powerful type of estrogen during the reproductive years, and its primary role in the body is to maintain the reproductive system.
Progesterone is another hormone essential for the human body. It aids in the development of the uterine lining during pregnancy, regulates the menstrual cycle & regulates calcium levels in the blood. It is essential in maintaining pregnancy as it helps develop a healthy placenta.
Estrogen & Progesterone
Unlike other hormones, these two are produced by endocrine glands called “companion” glands. Ovaries produce estrogen while adrenal glands produce Progesterone. That said, ovaries can also make small quantities of Progesterone if needed under some circumstances.
But both these hormones are closely intertwined with each other regarding their functions & deficiency symptoms. They provide support or balance to each other when needed. For example, estrogen increases progesterone production in ovaries if required. Progesterone can increase estrogen levels by producing more enzymes responsible for its output & so on.
But there are more details you should know about Estrogen And Progesterone Levels affecting aging women.
Many women start taking synthetic hormones when they age, especially when nearing their menopause, to alleviate some of the symptoms caused by the low levels of these two vital female sex hormones.
What Are Hormones and Why Are They Important For Aging Women?
Every woman’s cycle typically consists of 28 days or four weeks. Each week signifies a different phase in the menstrual cycle:
- The menstrual phase (days 1-5)
- The follicular phase (days 6-14)
- The Ovulation Phase (day 14), and
- The luteal phase (days 15-28).
The end of your period is when your estrogen levels drop, and progesterone levels rise to prepare your uterus for implantation. If implantation does not occur, you shed the uterine lining, and estrogen and progesterone levels go back down again.
Estrogen Controls Everything In Your Body
Estrogen is essential for women during pregnancy, as it is what keeps your uterine lining thick enough to prevent miscarriage. The hormone also controls the production of other hormones. It helps produce more serotonin, which regulates mood and appetite. It also contributes to bone growth and affects tire muscles (causing symptoms like restless leg syndrome).
What Factors Affect Our Estrogen Levels?
Our levels of estrogen can be affected by a variety of factors, including genetics (for example, women diagnosed with endometriosis are more prone to hormonal imbalance), lifestyle choices (drinking alcohol interferes with estrogen production), environmental toxins entering the bloodstream via our digestive tracts and natural aging processes.
If you experience symptoms you suspect may be related to low estrogen levels, it is best to consult with your OBGYN.
How do Estrogen and Progesterone Levels Play a Role in Regulating the Menstrual Cycle?
Estrogen is necessary for female reproduction. Higher estrogen levels help promote egg development before ovulation. Without proper estrogen levels, menstruation does not occur. Low estrogen levels can lead to early or late-onset puberty in females depending on the age of the deficiency. It also explains why girls who start menstruating earlier may require treatment for delayed puberty.
Progesterone is necessary to prepare the endometrium or uterine lining for implantation. If fertilization occurs, progesterone levels remain high, and if no pregnancy occurs, Progesterone and Estrogen drop off, which causes bleeding and the start of a new cycle.
How does one’s age affect their Estrogen and Progesterone levels?
As women age, they produce less estrogen than when they were younger. After menopause, estrogen production stops since no viable follicles are present to produce it. Some older women may experience hot flashes due to fluctuating hormone levels. A woman’s cycle gradually becomes irregular as she ages, leading to progesterone levels.
As females get older, it is normal to see changes in their menstrual cycle. Irregular periods are often the first sign of menopause in Australian women, which may begin between ages 45-55.
Females are at higher risk for certain health conditions, including heart disease and osteoporosis, due to lower estrogen levels. Women who have low estrogen or progesterone levels should consult their doctor before trying any herbal remedies.
What are some symptoms associated with irregular estrogens and progesterone levels?
Bloating, weight gain, mood swings, fatigue, excessive bleeding during menstruation, acne, breast tenderness, abdominal pain, and water retention are all symptoms that may be associated with fluctuating hormone levels.
What can cause irregular estrogen and progesterone levels?
Hormone imbalance, lack of physical activity, exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides that mimic estrogen in the body, alcohol consumption, weight gain, stress, and obesity may all contribute to irregular hormone levels, which will affect menstruation. Please consult your gynecologist before starting any supplements or herbal remedies as they may interfere with your current medications. If these symptoms continue or worsen, accompanied by pelvic pain or fever, see your OBGYN immediately.
Why do women experience more hot flashes after having a hysterectomy?
After a hysterectomy (removal of uterine) with oophorectomy (removal of ovaries), there is a drastic decrease in estrogen, which can cause more extreme symptoms of menopause. It includes hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue, and vaginal dryness.
What are some treatments for irregular menstruation?
Treatment depends on the underlying root cause of the irregularity. If an underlying medical condition is to blame, that should be treated first before any medication, or herbal remedies are given to help regulate the cycle. Birth control pills are often prescribed along with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) if the body produces a lack of Progesterone during menstruation. HRT can quickly restore hormone levels, but it does have side effects, so your doctor will monitor you while on this treatment.
Women should avoid taking HRT as it has been linked to heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. It is important to exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables with lean protein intake, reduce or quit smoking, limit alcohol consumption, and use natural remedies for irregular menstruation.
In conclusion, estrogen and progesterone levels change with the different menstrual cycle stages. In a normal menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone levels vary during these stages: the follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase. During the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle (the follicular phase), estrogen levels are relatively low, while progesterone levels remain fairly stable or slightly increase from the previous month.
Estrogen production begins to rise in the middle of a woman’s menstrual cycle, causing an increase in her body temperature, which leads to increased perspiration and feelings of warmth. It is called the “estrogen surge” that signals your body that you’re about to ovulate. The ovary then releases an egg into one of the fallopian tubes, where fertilization usually occurs. If this doesn’t happen, progesterone levels remain stable, and estrogen levels gradually decrease until menstruation begins again. This cycle repeats itself over and over.
Hot flashes and night sweats can be very uncomfortable and sometimes interrupt a woman’s daily activities. Low estrogen triggers hot flashes in women approaching menopause, but not all women who experience hot flashes have low estrogen levels. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with progestin can also cause hot flashes and other side effects such as fluid retention, depression, blood clots, strokes, heart disease, and breast cancer.