The function of estrogen
Estrogen is the female equivalent of testosterone and is produced in the ovaries. This test measures estradiol (E2), which is considered to be the most important and potent of the three estrogen hormones.
Estrogen has many significant functions for the body. In addition to its importance for bone mass in women, it also increases the estrogen levels of HDL particles in the blood, which have a protective effect on blood vessels. Estrogen also increases the body’s conversion of omega 3 fats from vegetable sources to the DHA fatty acid which is important for brain function.
Estrogen also stimulates growth, especially in the uterus and mammary glands. This means that the hormone can increase the rate of cell division in these tissues, which can thus increase the risk of cancer. The longer you are exposed to estrogen (early menstrual onset and late menopause), the greater the risk of developing cancer. It is also estrogen that controls the typical fat distribution in women with more fat around the hips, breasts and thighs. When you are overweight, the levels of estrogen in the body increase and one reason for this is that testosterone is converted to estrogen in the adipose tissue. The more fat you have, the higher the estrogen content.
Estrogen is vital both for the immune system and our memory in both men and women as it counteracts osteoporosis and protects against cardiovascular disease. Like testosterone, estrogen also has fat burning and muscle building effects. Menopausal women with low estrogen levels are at high risk of losing bone mass and suffering from osteoporosis.
The amount of estrogen decreases during menopause, but can also decrease due to stress, lack of nutrition and intense training. Estrogen deficiency can affect the body in many ways and the symptoms can be mood swings, dry mucous membranes and weight gain. If you suspect that you are suffering from estrogen deficiency, it is important to find out if it is the estrogen that is low or if your symptoms are due to something else.
Common symptoms of hormonal imbalances:
- Low progesterone
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- PMS & tender breasts
- Headache / migraine
- Mood swings / depression
- Weight gain
- Pain during sex
- Urinary tract infections
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irregular or absent periods
- Mood swings / depression
- Weaker bone structure
- Swollen and sore breasts
- Decreased sex drive
- Irregular human cycle
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Fibrocystic breasts
In the case of hormonal imbalances, the symptoms can sometimes be similar to each other so it is good to first measure the hormones so that you can support the body in the right way.
The function of progesterone
Progesterone, also called corpus luteum hormone, is primarily a female sex hormone that affects fertility and ovulation. It is also a precursor to the sex hormones testosterone, estrogen and cortisol and is important for the central nervous system. Altered values of progesterone both cause major imbalances for other hormones and affect central functions in consciousness, cognition and mood. Progesterone levels fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle and increase after ovulation.
The list of all the functions of progesterone can be made long:
- Balances estrogen
- Regulates the menstrual cycle
- Is antidepressant and calming
- Affects sex drive
- Is fluid repellent
- Is a precursor to testosterone, estrogen and cortisol
- Prevents excessive production of cortisol
- Important so that you don’t have a miscarriage
Progesterone levels rise when you ovulate and fall at the end of your menstrual cycle, about a week before your period. Too much progesterone can make you tired and lethargic. Low levels of progesterone can lead to PMS and menopause. Women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and infertility problems usually have low production of progesterone and at the same time too high production of testosterone. Too little progesterone can also cause bad skin and irregular periods as a result of missed ovulation or because the body cannot cope with a high enough production.
Lack of progesterone means risk of infertility, spotting, miscarriage and the opposite of progesterone’s positive effects such as blood clots, cancer and functional hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism in turn causes weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, etc.
When should you collect the sample
Menstruating women should collect the sample one week after ovulation, which means that in a normal cycle, the sample should be collected between day 19-23. If this happens during a weekend, we ask that you store your test tube with the saliva in the fridge until you send the sample to the lab on a Monday. Women who have reached menopause can collect the sample at any time during the month.
Many women choose to test estrogen / progesterone in combination with our Cortisol test. Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone and there is a hypothesis that because cortisol is produced from progesterone, a body under stress will prioritize the production of cortisol, whereupon progesterone levels may decrease. We also offer a more comprehensive hormone test; Women’s Hormone Profile, which analyses in addition to estrogen, progesterone and the ratio between them DHEA, testosterone and cortisol.