Estrogen is the primary female hormone. It has been prescribed for over 80 years in women suffering from symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, bladder problems, difficulty concentrating, and anxiety. With time, many of these symptoms may diminish; unfortunately, the disease processes such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease continue to increase in the absence of estrogen.
Women using estrogen have seen favorable changes in muscle tone, wrinkles, hair texture, and sex drive. Multiple studies illustrate that estrogen should not simply be used as a treatment for menopause, but rather as a life-long therapy for the deterrent of age related diseases such as heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
Estrogen is produced primarily in the ovaries and adrenal glands. Men also produce estrogen through a conversion of testosterone, although this is an extremely small amount. There are three types of estrogen found in a female’s body—estrone, estradiol, and estriol. The levels of all of these hormones fall dramatically at the onset of menopause.
Rapid bone loss after menopause has been attributed to the decline in the production of estrogen, which is essential for bone growth. In addition, the loss of estrogen results in the development of heart disease, which is the number one cause of death for both men and women. Postmenopausal women on bioidentical estrogen replacement have a 70% decrease in mortality from heart disease. Bioidentical estrogen along with a dramatic improvement of both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol, protects vessels of the heart and brain, and may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and a number of other medical conditions.
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