The term “estrogen” actually refers to a group of related hormones, each with a unique profile of activity and purpose. Under normal circumstances, a woman’s circulating estrogen levels will fluctuate based on her menstrual cycle.
However, this isn’t always the case, especially after menopause. These are the three main estrogens female humans produce and their function in the body.
Estrone- E1: This makes up between 10-20% of the body’s circulating estrogens. It is also the primary type of estrogen produced after menopause.
Estradiol- E2: This makes up between 10-30% of the body’s circulating estrogens. It is the most potent product in the ovary and is very secretory. It is also the predominant estrogen produced before menopause and the major form of estrogen in pre-menopausal women.
Estriol- E3: This makes up between 60-80% of circulating estrogen. This dominant estrogen is not only protective against breast cancer, but it can help in the treatment of different menopausal symptoms. Clinical studies have found this estrogen can help with painful intercourse, vaginal atrophy, dryness and vaginal infractions.
The good news is, with Hormone Replacement Therapy, estrogen is prescribed in combination to re-establish a normal physiologic balance.