Oestrogen is a group of steroid hormones which are mainly responsible for development of female sex organs and secondary sex characteristics. Oestrogen is one of the major female sex hormones found in females, although it is also found in males. Oestrogen plays a key role in the female menstrual cycle and is involved in the interplay with follicle stimulating and luteinising hormones.
Oestradiol (E2) is one of four forms of oestrogen found in the body. The hormone is present in both men and women.1
Although considered to be a predominantly female sex hormone, Oestradiol has a major role in male sexual function, too. It is required for the regulation of libido, erectile function and the production of sperm. There is a complex balance within males between testosterone, oestradiol and aromatase and the oestradiol receptors found in the testes, penis and brain. Oestrogen is made in the testes and the adrenal glands in males.
Oestradiol is the most potent form of oestrogen. It is the principal oestrogen in reproductive years. Oestrogens are produced by the granulose cells of the ovaries and is carried around the body to target cells by sex hormone binding globulin.
Oestradiol levels fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. The levels increase during the follicular stage and peak just before ovulation. After ovulation, the corpus luteum releases oestradiol at about half the amount of the peak level. If fertilisation of the egg doesn’t happen, then the levels fall and the next menstrual cycle begins.
Oestradiol is important for the growth and development of female reproductive organs like vaginal lining, lining of the fallopian tubes and endometrium. It also helps to keep the environment of oocytes in the ovary at optimum levels. Other roles of oestradiol in females include:
Oestrogen levels will vary throughout a female menstrual cycle so the result must be interpreted in line with the stage of the cycle. As a woman ages, the level of oestrogen in the body naturally reduces. Once oestradiol production is below a threshold point menopausal symptoms present as a result of oestrogen withdrawal:
The reduction in oestrogen can cause osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and in elderly men. In postmenopausal women, the exposure of increased circulating oestrogens, usually from hormone replacement therapy, can increase the risk of breast cancer.
In men, high levels of oestradiol and low levels of testosterone can result in a greater erectile dysfunction severity. Not only can this make it difficult for men to get and maintain an erection, but it can put strain on a relationship and potentially cause psychological and emotional issues.
In menopausal women diet and exercise may help to reduce their symptoms. While it may be possible to decrease the risk of osteoporosis in men and women with diet and exercise.
There are some foods which can make the symptoms of the menopause worse for women. Some steps you can take include:
Diet is key for reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin D and calcium are important for maintaining bone health. Dairy products provide high amounts of calcium, protein, magnesium, potassium, zinc and phosphorus. Dairy products include:
Other sources include:
You can get vitamin D from the sun. So, you should spend some time outdoors to ensure you get enough, particularly in the summer months. However, in the UK more than half of the adult population have insufficient levels of vitamin D and around 16% have a severe vitamin D deficiency during the winter months. Therefore, most of the UK population are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. This can be prevented through supplementation. Public Health England recommends that all adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D. This may be solely a vitamin D supplement or a daily supplement but should contain at least 10mcg of vitamin D. European Guidance for the Diagnosis and Management of Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women recommends that’s women need over 1000 mg/day calcium, 800 IU of vitamin D and 1mg/kg of body weight of protein. This can be achieved by consuming a healthy, high in dairy diet.
Exercise is beneficial for menopausal women and is good for improving bone health. Exercise benefits include:
Strength training like weights and impact exercise such as walking, running and jogging can prevent osteoporosis by reducing bone density loss.
A hormone check for women who believe they may be starting to transition through the menopause.
A comprehensive test of key male hormones which can affect libido, muscle strength, energy and much more.
This profile analyses key biomarkers which can not only affect your fertility, but also mood, energy and weight.
For women in various stages of the menopause who want to check hormone levels as well as the impact changes may be having on their overall wellbeing.
 Lab Tests Online UK. (2014). Oestrogen. Available at: https://labtestsonline.org.uk/tests/oestrogen
 Schulster, M., Bernie, A, M and Ramasamy, R. (2016). The Role of Estradiol in Male Reproductive Function. Asian J Androl: 18(3), pp 434-440.
 Stillwell, W. (2016). Chapter 20 – Bioactive Lipids. In: An Introduction to Biological Membranes (Second Edition).
 Riggs, B, L. (2000). The Mechanisms of Oestrogen Regulation of Bone Resorption. J Clin Invest: 106(10), pp 1203-1204.
 Travis, R, C and Key, T, J. (2003). Oestrogen Exposure and Breast Cancer Risk. Breast Cancer Res: 5(5), pp 239-247.
 El-Sakka, A, I. (2013). Impact of the Association Between Elevated Oestradiol and Low Testosterone Levels on Erectile Dysfunction and Severity. Asian Journal of Andrology: 15, pp 492-496.
 Lewin, J. (2017). Eat to Ease the Menopause. Available at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/eat-beat-menopause
 Pearce, S, H, S and Cheetham, T, D. (2010). Diagnosis and Management of Vitamin D Deficiency. BMJ: 340.
 National Health Service. (2016). The New Guidelines on Vitamin D – What You Need to Know. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/the-new-guidelines-on-vitamin-d-what-you-need-to-know/
 Rizzoli, R., Bischoff-Ferrari, H., Dawson-Hughes, B and Weaver, C. (2014). Nutrition and Bone Health in Women After the Menopause. Women’s Health: 10(6).
 Mishra, N., Mishra, V, N and Devanshi. (2011). Exercise Beyond Menopause: Dos and Don’ts. Journal of Midlife Health: 2(2), pp 51-56.