Hormones in a Nutshell

Estrogen
  • Improves vaginal tone, decreases pain with intercourse, and enhances sexual experience.
  • Protects against bone loss.
  • Protects against breast cancer, if prescribed the right combination and the right route.
  • Protects against heart disease and flow by enhancing blood flow, dilates small arteries, and prohibiting platelet aggregation and plaque formation.
  • Reduces LDL cholesterol and increases HDL.
  • Improves blood pressure.
  • Maintains collagen and improves skin elasticity, decreases wrinkling.
  • Helps maintain memory, increases concentration, improves mood, and sleep patterns.
  • Decreases the risk for colon cancer.
Progesterone
  • Balances estrogen.
  • Protects against endometrial cancer.
  • Protects against breast fibro cysts.
  • Has an anti-depressant, natural calming, and anti-anxiety effect.
  • Improves sleep.
  • Improves concentration and memory, helping to alleviate the “mental fog” of menopause.
  • Promotes bone growth.
  • Helps lower blood pressure.
  • Helps libido.
  • Is a natural diuretic.
  • Increases metabolic rate, helps the body use and eliminate fats.
  • Increases the beneficial effects of estrogen on blood vessels.
  • Offers some protection against breast cancer.
  • Maintains secretory endometrium.
Testosterone

Females

  • Increases sexual interest and ability to climax.
  • Helps maintain muscle mass and strength.
  • Helps keep the skin from sagging.
  • Elevates norepinephrine in the brain, producing a tricyclic effect.
  • Improves memory.
  • Helps maintain bone strength.
  • Helps regulate cholesterol.
  • Improves fatigue.

Males

  • All of the above, to a greater effect.
  • Improves oxygen uptake and promotes cardiovascular health.
  • Helps control blood sugar levels-significantly.
  • Improves mental concentration, memory, and mood.
  • Helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
DHEA
  • Precursor to Testosterone, Estrogen, and Progesterone in men and women.
  • Increases energy level and overall sense of well being.
  • Improves immune system function.
  • Decreases body fat.
  • Increases bone growth.
  • Protective against heart disease and cancer.
  • Improves brain function.
  • Increases insulin sensitivity.
  • Decreases cholesterol levels.
Cortisol
  • Increases blood sugar (therefore energy levels)
  • Neutralizes inflammation, stimulates the immune defense system.
  • Calms the stimulating effect of excessive adrenaline, enhancing mood.
  • Increases stress resistance and work capacity.
  • Has anti-rheumatic and anti-pain properties ( improves joint and muscle pain)
Thyroid
  • Increases blood flow, heart rate, heat production.
  • Increases metabolism, energy production, and consumption.
  • Stimulates intestinal mobility, thirst, and urination.
  • Improves speed of thought.
  • Decreases total cholesterol and LDLs.
  • Decrease diastolic blood pressure.
  • Decreases edema and increases the elimination of old waste products inside the cells
Pregnenolone
  • Is a precursor to stress hormones and adrenal hormones.
  • Functions as a neurotransmitter in the area of the brain responsible for memory.
  • Repairs traumatic nerve damage
  • In high doses has an anti-rheumatic effect (relieves joint pain)
Melatonin
  • Induces sleep by shortening the time it takes to fall asleep.
  • Relaxes smooth muscles and nerves making sleep better.
  • Calms the intestinal tract during sleep.
  • Has anti-oxidant properties-protects against free radicals.
  • Helps set the pace for circadian rhythms such as the sleep — wake, temperature, and hormone cycles.
  • Calms excessive cortisol activity.
  • Can increase serum levels of growth hormone and thyroid hormone.

HRT: The Answers by Pamela Wartian Smith M.D., MPH