Estrogen is crucial to a woman’s reproductive function and cycle. This powerful hormone affects the following body areas:
- Ovaries: Estrogen is responsible for stimulating the growth of an egg follicle.
- Vagina: Estrogen stimulates the growth of the vagina and its structures. It also increases vaginal acidity to help fight bacterial infections and it lubricates the vagina.
- Fallopian tubes: It also stimulates the growth of the muscular walls of the fallopian tubes, and for the muscular contractions that transport the egg cells.
- Uterus: It helps maintain the lining of the uterus (endometrium) and enhances blood flow and uterine contractions during childbirth. In addition, estrogen also helps get rid of dead tissue in the uterus during menstruation.
- Cervix: It aids in the fertilization process by enhancing the transport of a sperm cell to an egg.
- Mammary glands: During adolescence, estrogen stimulates the growth of breast tissue. It also regulates the flow of milk during breastfeeding.
Aside from its key role in maintaining the growth and development of the female reproductive system, estrogen also has the following important functions:
- During puberty, estrogen slows down the growth of females and enhances the body’s response to insulin.
- In the liver, estrogen works to regulate cholesterol production.
- It causes body hair to become finer.
- It creates the ideal female body frame by making the bones smaller and shorter, the shoulders narrower, and the pelvis broader.
- It enhances body contour by increasing fat storage around the hips and thighs.
- It enhances the effects of certain brain chemicals.
- It gives females a higher-pitched voice by making the voice box smaller and vocal cords shorter.
- It helps maintain bone strength and quality.
- It helps regulate body temperature.
- It improves skin thickness and quality by increasing the production of collagen.
- It reduces the incidence of acne and oily skin by suppressing the activity of the oil glands.
- It regulates the brain region that is linked to sexual development.