Have you ever had one of those days? You know, a day when nothing is going right and everything is just plain irritating? Like how you notice your work mate talks a lot, or how your boyfriend forgot to close the windows, or how irritating the water that is flowing from the faucet sounds.
Everything is not going as you planned and you think that everyone is probably conniving and planning against you to make your day bad. Then you either keep it inside and cry your eyes out in the ladies room, or you go ape-like crazy and yell at everyone who breathes the same air as you do.
Then you step back, observe and realize that the specific chain of events is something that happens to you regularly and you did not feel the same way on those days – unless you do, in which case you need to arrange for some serious counseling sessions.
But if you’re feeling extra irritable today and you snap at anyone, it’s not really you who’s talking. Well, not exactly. It’s still you. Don’t worry, you’re not possessed by any demon spirit and this is not a horror story.
If anyone’s to blame, it’s good old estrogen. That’s right ladies. Blame it on the hormones. On those days when you feel over-emotional, you hold a pity party every chance you get, or you’re easily irritated, it’s simply blood chemistry and your body’s reaction to whatever is going on inside you. So, here are some of the most common questions about estrogen and why it makes you go all Cruella deVil on everyone sometimes:
1. What Is Estrogen?
Estrogens are a group of hormones that are found in women. They are also called female sex hormones. A group of hormones, meaning they are part of a set of bodily chemical functions that works on the sexuality of a woman. But estrogen is generally known as just female hormones that define a woman physically and manages her reproductive system.
2. What Does Estrogen Do For Women?
The main function of estrogen in a woman’s body is to develop the sexual and reproductive attributes of the reproductive system and other womanly parts of the body.
This would include the menstrual cycle, the height increase of a woman during puberty, the muscle building and developing the breasts. In men, it helps with the maintenance and health of the sperm cells.
Psychologically, estrogen is being linked to the mood swings of women, which would be high from puberty to the pre-menopausal period.That’s quite a long time, if you really think about it. But your body is already used to it.
Estrogen mixes with the brain and triggers emotions, especially pre-menstruation which the hormone can be at its highest rate of production. This means a woman can be highly ecstatic or severely depressed, depending on the amount of estrogen levels.
3. Is Estrogen All About Emotions?
Relatively, yes. When you say estrogen is all about emotions, it means that estrogen levels affect the brain chemistry of a woman, which alters her mood altogether. This would explain how a woman can be overly enthusiastic one day, and then subdued and depressed the next day.
Studies and research has traced estrogen to mood swings in females. The amount of estrogen in the body determines the moods of a woman.
It can also affect the urges and cravings, which explains the need for certain foods like chocolate and sweets during the pre-menstrual period, where estrogen levels can be at the highest. This also explains the need for comfort or the clinginess of some females during their hormonal cycles.
4. Does Estrogen Cause PMS?
It can be considered as one of the biggest factors affecting premenstrual syndrome, but it does not take all the credit – or blame, for that matter.
However, studies show that estrogen affects the serotonin in the brain and endorphins, which is the happy hormone in the brain.
This regulation increases during pre-menstruation in women. That means it indirectly affects the mood swings that a woman has when her period is about to happen.
On a specific standpoint, it is still a mystery exactly how estrogen affects the mood of a woman as a whole. The explanations of serotonin and endorphin levels do not really address the question, but it’s the closest thing that scientists can correlate to it.
5. What Is The Connection Between Estrogen And The Desire For Sex?
One of the many things that estrogen does for a woman is improve the lubrication of the vagina. So, it may not heighten your libido, but works with it, and it definitely helps make sexual intercourse comfortable.
Moreover, the main function of estrogen is to take care of the female reproductive system, which makes it a major player in your desire for sex.
Since it releases happy hormones, a significant amount of estrogen in the blood chemistry can also be linked to your enthusiasm and cravings towards sex. However, the desire for sex is mainly defined by another hormone, which is called androgen.
6. What Else Can Estrogen Do?
Estrogen is not only good for the female reproductive system. Studies show that a healthy amount of estrogen in the body can help prevent breast cancer in women.
It is also known to help with the maintenance of collagen in the skin, therefore making the skin look healthy and glowing. A decrease in estrogen levels can increase the risks of heart related diseases in women.
During pregnancy, estrogen can also help keep the development of the fetus healthy. This hormone also solidifies the gender of the fetus where a significant amount of estrogen would make it a girl and testosterone would make it a boy.
7. Is It True That Estrogen Can Make Me Go Loony?
The simple and honest answer is yes. Estrogen plays an important role in a woman’s mental health.
A decrease in levels of estrogen in the blood can lead to low mood, sadness, depression and irritability. Severe cases of low estrogen can lead to total depression, and sometimes severe psychological cases.
Now that may seem concerning. Actually, there are timelines and periods where estrogen levels are low in the female blood chemistry. Pre-menopausal periods, post-menopausal periods, after childbirth and pre-menstrual periods show a sudden decrease in estrogen levels in the blood. These are controllable instances and can be treated if symptoms of psychological impact occur.
8. Is Estrogen Good For The Heart?
Yes. As a matter of fact, a decrease in estrogen levels in the body can lead to heart disease.
Not only because of anxiety and depression, but also because of the physical effects that a low estrogen count can affect with your blood chemistry.
This hormone helps in the regulation of the blood in the arteries and veins, and also in the nerves. A significant lack of estrogen in the blood can lead to atherosclerosis, a plaque build up in your arteries, which can cause heart attacks.
9. We’re Not The Only Gender Who Has Estrogen, Right?
Yes. Men have estrogen in their blood, too. Although not as significant as the amount of it in a woman’s blood chemistry. Just as how women also have low testosterone levels in their bodies, men also have low amounts of estrogen. However, it doesn’t affect a man’s brain, as it does with women. This explains the reason most men are not quite as moody as women.
10. How Can I Keep My Estrogen Levels Healthy?
This is an easy question and the answer is simple. Stay healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. The estrogen levels in your body works like a timeline. When you hit puberty, that’s when it starts mass-producing the hormone, right up until you hit menopause, when it gradually slows down. If you stay healthy, the blood chemistry, hormones and their cycles will remain healthy, as well which means your estrogen will be in acceptable levels.
You’re not a mean girl. This is not a movie. Although, if you are, it’s caused by a totally different thing that has nothing to do with hormones.
Because every female has estrogen in her body, every woman experiences the same things, yet in different levels and intensities, every woman goes through the same basic hormonal phases in life.
Don’t fret, don’t blame yourself and don’t – emphasis here – think that you’re a bad person, just because your hormones decide to toy with your feelings.
However, you need to remember that although you are only responsible for the things you say, and not for how people feel when you talk to them, when words or actions are done, you cannot be take them back.
You still need to be careful, no matter how much you think your friend is acting stupid, or your boss is giving you too much work to do. When the phase passes and the hormones cool down, you’re left to deal with anything that your storm passed through. So, be careful and think before you speak. Work on having a more positive attitude, and ask for help if you struggle. Your doctor can test your hormone levels and provide valuable advice.