What Is Estrogen

What Are Hormones Series

Estrogen Functions

Estrogen plays a key role in the development of secondary sex characteristics, such as breasts and hips, as well as the regulation of the menstrual cycle and pregnanc

Estrogen And Menopause

Changes in estrogen production are largely responsible for womens menopause symptoms.

What Does Estrogen Do?

Estrogen, a hormone that is essential for reproductive health, is commonly associated with people assigned female at birth (AFAB). It plays a crucial role in the development of secondary sex characteristics, such as breasts and hips, as well as the regulation of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. While AFAB individuals have higher levels of estrogen, all genders produce this hormone to some extent.

Understanding the Types of Estrogen

There are three major forms of estrogen: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Each type of estrogen serves a specific function within the body.

The Role of Estrogen in Reproductive Health

Estrogen acts as a chemical messenger, signaling the body when to initiate and cease processes related to sexual and reproductive health. It is involved in various functions throughout the reproductive system.

Puberty And Estrogen

During puberty, estrogen levels rise, leading to the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as breast growth and changes in body composition. These changes are vital for the overall physical development of individuals assigned female at birth.

Menstrual Cycle

Estrogen, along with other hormones like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), plays a crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle. Estrogen is responsible for ovulation, the release of an egg from the ovary, and thickening the uterine lining in preparation for potential pregnancy.

Pregnancy & Fertility

Estrogen levels peak in the days leading up to ovulation, making this period the most fertile for individuals with a menstrual cycle. Estrogen also influences cervical mucus production, creating an environment that facilitates sperm motility and fertilization. Additionally, estrogen helps maintain the elasticity and lubrication of the vaginal walls, promoting comfortable intercourse.


During menopause, estrogen levels decline, leading to a cessation of ovulation and menstruation. The decrease in estrogen may cause symptoms such as vaginal dryness, mood changes, night sweats, and hot flashes. The primary form of estrogen also shifts from estradiol (E2) to estrone (E1) during menopause.

Estrogen in Male Reproductive Health

Estrogen also plays a role in the reproductive health of individuals assigned male at birth. In males, estrogen affects sex drive, erectile function, and sperm production. Imbalances in estrogen and testosterone levels can lead to low sex drive, infertility, erectile dysfunction, and gynecomastia (enlarged breasts).