Is Estradiol Safe for Post-Menopausal Women?
By Judy Couch, FNP-C
Did you know that estrogen is crucial for the health of both women and men? It’s true. Men’s estrogen comes from converting a percentage of their testosterone, while women produce three forms of estrogen (estradiol, estrone, and estriol).
Today, I want to educate you on the main form we focus on: Estradiol (also known as E2). This is the one that we commonly replace in postmenopausal women. It’s considered the workhorse of our estrogen and relieves many of the symptoms women in menopause face.
Estrogen’s bad rap
Ever since the misunderstood 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) report, estrogen has had a bad rap in terms of women and their concerns about breast cancer. The results of this study were somewhat worrisome to women; the headlines falsely reported that estrogen caused breast cancer. Unfortunately, this scared many women and physicians, causing women to stop their hormone replacement therapy.
The truth, however, is that the headlines misinformed us. In the WHI study, women only using estrogen were examined. The results of this group proved that estrogen does NOT increase our risk of breast cancer. In fact, it may even help decrease it.
High-dose estrogen was actually one of the first known chemotherapies used to treat breast cancer. What we can learn from the WHI study is that it’s important to read a variety of studies, information, and perspective when choosing estrogen replacement.
- Cardioprotective. Estradiol helps protect women from cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in women. A lack of estrogen can be a reason for atrial fibrillation – a condition in the heart where the heart beats very quickly.
- Menopause relief. Traditionally, menopause is known to have temperature dysregulation (hot flashes, night sweats, etc.). Estradiol helps our bodies regulate temperature better to prevent these swings.
- Improved balance. Many women will struggle with static balance and weaker bones as they age, but estrogen will help keep your bones strong and improve your balance.
- Prevent memory disorders. Estradiol helps keep our brains strong, meaning you may not be as likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Thicker vaginal lining. As we age, our vaginal lining can thin, causing dryness, urinary tract infections, or painful intercourse. Thus, it’s important to take estrogen as a preventative measure and for healthy vaginal tissue.
- Better skin and breast tissue. One of the main ways you see a lack of estrogen is in your skin and breast tissue. They will become dull, wrinkled, thin, or droopy. Estradiol can help prevent this for a healthier glow.
How to check your levels
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to get your levels checked. We offer testing here at Your Wellness Center as part of our hormone replacement therapy program. If we find that your estradiol is low, we will work with you to replenish those levels. To schedule your blood draw, please fill out our consultation form. This will give us some background into your health concerns and history, so we can request the right tests. For any other questions, please call us at 513-791-9474.