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Estrogen is one of the major sex hormones secreted in the body, especially by women. Since it works with other hormones like progesterone and testosterone to influence fertility cycles, reproduction in women may be impacted by too much estrogen. Estrogen also causes the rapid growth of body tissue, creating a number of other complications like tissue scarring and cancer. Psychological impacts are also common. While most issues with too much estrogen pertain to women, some effects — like weight gain — can impact men as well.
For women, the hormone estrogen is particularly important in preparing the egg and the uterus for possible pregnancy. Several different parts of the body are involved in estrogen production, from glands in the brain to the ovaries. When factors such as stress or diet impact these areas, estrogen levels can be influenced as well. Certain synthetic chemicals and birth control drugs have even been implicated by some in abnormal estrogen levels.
Some researchers believe a condition known as estrogen dominance refutes the traditional notion that premenopause and menopause in women results from depleted estrogen levels. Rather, the effects of these conditions are a consequence of too much estrogen. When estrogen and progesterone levels become imbalanced, the traditional symptoms of menopause result. Such effects are especially pronounced in younger women who experience menopausal symptoms early.
Typical symptoms of menopause that may occur with either too little or too much estrogen are numerous. Water retention may cause weight gain. Bloating, painful breasts, and headaches are also frequent. Another common indicator of hormone imbalance is mood swings, such as irritability or anxiety.
At a basic level, estrogen works for tissue growth while progesterone hinders such growth. Therefore, the two hormones create a natural balance. If progesterone levels are depleted, estrogen levels remain elevated and unchecked. Uncontrolled cell growth can lead to any number of consequences. At its most benign, the effect may be mild pain. More severe cases can create conditions for the rapid and uncontrollable cell activities characteristic of cancer. In fact, some theories have linked former estrogen enhancement therapies with increased cases of uterine cancer in women.
Potential long-term consequences for untreated estrogen go beyond pain or cancer. Scarring of reproductive tissue can result, which may in turn contribute to eventual infertility. Thinking capacities can come under attack as well. Decreased blood clotting capabilities and vitamin D hindrance can also cause problems like bleeding and bone fractures. Resulting stresses on the body have even been indirectly linked to heart disease and strokes.
The effects of too much estrogen are not limited to women. Just as estrogen can increase women’s weight levels, it can do likewise for men. Decreased sex drive, depression, and breast development can also coincide with high estrogen levels in men. More alarming still, some experts have correlated the drastic increase in prostate cancer cases in older men with estrogen levels that elevate with age.
Treatments for estrogen abnormalities focus on three main areas: diet and exercise, stress, and medication. As mentioned, stress and diet both play significant roles in maintaining hormone balance. Therefore, stress relief and a healthy diet low in sugars are two important variables in estrogen treatment. Exercise may further reinvigorate the body. Medical treatments may prove necessary in some cases, and these treatments may include hormone replacements like progesterone elevation therapies.
At one time estrogen was used to slow the growth in tall girls.
Recently there was a very controversial case of medical treatment involving the use of estrogen in slowing the growth.
The treatment is known as the 'Ashley Treatment' named after a girl called Ashley X. She was born with many development disabilities. The hope is to help Ashley's quality of life by limiting her growth.
By causing a lack of estrogen she wouldn't be hampered with menstrual bleeding and cramps. Her size would be stunted as well hopefully causing less bedsores. They also removed parts of the breasts believing this would help any discomfort from large breasts as well as help eliminate the possibility of breast cancer, a
factor in her family's history.
There was much public outcry and the hospital later admitted the surgery may have been illegal.
The parents consider the treatment a success. There have been many positive reactions to the treatment as well. Of the over five thousand e-mails received by the family, they say 95 percent were in support. Many of these were from families in similar situations.
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