Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Know your oestrogen levels

Published:Monday | August 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM

When you hear the word oestrogen, you think of femininity and womanhood, but the hormone that makes us who we are is the same hormone that causes us much harm if we do not understand it.

"Oestrogen is known as the "female" hormone. In women, oestrogen helps initiate sexual development. Along with another female sex hormone known as progesterone, it also regulates a woman's menstrual cycle and affects her entire reproductive system," as defined by www.healthline.com.

So when it comes to our voluptuous breasts and 'bodacious' hips, long hair, and soft features, we give thanks to oestrogen. We are thankful for it when we decide to have children and our ovaries and reproductive systems seem to be working just as they should. If any of these fall short, we tend to think that our oestrogen levels are low. In some cases, our oestrogen levels could just be too high.

 

HIGH LEVELS OF OESTROGEN

 

One of the factors that never crosses our mind is that a high oestrogen level may lead to infertility. How is it that the hormone that makes us women is the same hormone that prevents us from being able to do the one thing that only a woman can do - have a child?

"PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is the most common cause of ovulatory infertility and it's believed that oestrogen dominance is part of the reason. Lack of ovulation results in continuous high levels of oestrogen and insufficient progesterone. Unopposed by progesterone, constant oestrogen exposure may cause the endometrium to become excessively thickened, which can lead to heavy and/or irregular bleeding (dysfunctional or anovulatory uterine bleeding)," as mentioned by https://www.verywellhealth.com/ on its article on oestrogen dominance in women with PCOS.

Similar symptoms are also seen with women who suffer from endometriosis and fibroids which both can lead to infertility in women. High levels of oestrogen can also stimulate certain cancers that only affect women.

 

Birth Control

 

As it pertains to birth control, one of the main ingredients is oestrogen.

The reality is that women tend to not test for their oestrogen levels unless they are diagnosed with one the aforementioned illnesses at the request of their doctor. However, symptoms like severe premenstrual syndrome or mental illnesses like depression and anxiety could be signs that hormone levels might be a bit too high, thus women should take them more seriously and check with a gynecologist and get the necessary tests done.

The doctor will then be able to guide you as to what medicines to take or lifestyle changes as it pertains to diet that might be required to lower this. As women, oestrogen is something that we should embrace because it makes us what we are, but it is a prime example of too much of a good thing just cannot be good.