Why you need estrogen for fertility and the menstrual cycle.

A woman’s level of fertility or lack thereof is intimately tied to estrogen. Lets dive into estrogen’s function and roles in the menstrual cycle and reproduction and testing.

Estrogens, yes first you should know there is more than one type of estrogen, in fact, there are three, Estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Estrogens are secreted from the placenta, ovaries, and the adrenal cortex. Fat cells also help create estrogen. When it comes to fertility and the menstrual cycle estradiol is the most potent and important.

Estrogen influences the body by entering into cells and binding to estrogen receptors. The more estrogen around the more estrogen receptors the body makes. This compounding effect allows for tissues to grow, such as a healthy uterine lining.  The receptors are located throughout the body and largely found in the brain, heart, breast, bone, and genital tract.

The impact of estrogen can be seen throughout a woman’s body from, the development of the reproductive organs, feminization of the skeleton, breast development, female body fat patterns (hips, abdomen, and breasts), and in the maintenance of elasticity of skin and blood vessels.

Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh

How does estrogen promote fertility?

Estradiol has many important actions on female reproduction. Here are a few, estrogen encourages egg development and ovulation by increase the number of FHS and LH receptors on follicle cells (surrounding the eggs). As such, you can see why estrogen is very important for an anovulatory cycle. It is also responsible for that thin fertile mucous that is required for sperm to be able to reach their destination the egg. Interestingly, estrogen activates fallopian tubes so that their movements gently transport the fertilized egg towards the uterus.

Getting your estrogen levels tested can be a helpful tool in evaluating your menstrual or fertility health. Estrogen levels fluctuate throughout the month. Pertinent information can be gained by knowing what day your testing on and correlating that with your cycle patterns. Random day testing may only be useful if you’re menopausal or not cycling.

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