Estrogens, or the female hormones, are very important for your sexual and reproductive health and development. These are mainly produced by the ovaries and some of it is also produced by the outer area of the adrenal gland that is located on top of each kidney.
What does estrogen do?
Once you hit puberty, your ovaries start releasing the estrogen hormone. Estrogen is responsible for the development of some key female characteristics, like pubic hair, development of breasts, menstruation cycle and your reproductive system.
Should I take estrogen?
For long now, women have been taking hormonal medications that help replace those female hormones that your body is no longer creating. While this was quite a normal practice, the side effects of taking hormonal supplements is now making more women look at a healthier approach.
Lower production of estrogen often leads to symptoms like hot flashes, dryness in the vagina and certain other symptoms associated with menopause. While it is not recommended, if you really want to try hormonal supplements, the best way to know if it is safe for you is by talking to your doctor.
How will estrogen supplements help?
Hormonal supplements may help you with the following:
- Reduce occurrence of hot flashes
- Reduce vaginal dryness
- Reduce pain during intercourse, which is mainly caused due to excessive vaginal dryness
- May reduce chances of osteoporosis
What are the risks of taking estrogen supplements?
Just the way it can help you, taking these supplements also have their side effects, the most common being:
- Breast cancer
- Heart attack
- Problems in the gall bladder
- Blood clots
When should I not take estrogen?
You should definitely not take any form of estrogen supplement in the following cases:
- If you are pregnant or are planning to conceive
- Have suffered a heart attack, stroke or any kind of cancer in the past
- Have any liver problems or blood clot issues
- Have experienced vaginal bleeding which was out of the normal
What is the dosage I should take?
Your doctor will be your best guide when it comes to dosage, if you are given a nod. It is always good to start with the lowest possible dosage and see how it works for you.
What are the ways I can take estrogen?
Once your doctor confirms it is okay for you to take estrogen, you can use it in the following ways:
- Oral pills
- Patch on the skin
- Topical cream, gel or spray
There are many factors, like your overall health, your age and when you had your menopause, that will determine whether it is safe for you to take estrogen or not. Ensure you weigh all the pros and cons before taking a hormonal supplement.