Produced by the ovaries, the estrone hormone is one of three types of estrogen, and it is one of the major hormones found in the bodies of postmenopausal women. While research into estrone and its function is still ongoing, largely due to the fact that it is the least powerful of the three types of estrogen, women should still understand this hormone and its known effects on the body.
Specifically, estrone (also called oestrone) is an estrogen like estradiol and estriol. Unlike the other two, estrone comes from the ovaries, as well as the adipose tissue and adrenal glands. It is a weaker estrogen, commonly found in higher quantities in postmenopausal women.
As an estrogen, estrone is responsible for female sexual development and function. Because it is less powerful than the other estrogens, estrone can sometimes serve as a repository for estrogens, and the body can convert it to estrogen when needed.
The effects of low estrone or high estrone levels are not yet well known. Women who have breast cancer or men who are being treated to reduce testosterone levels — such as in prostate cancer treatment — may need to have their estrone levels monitored, because estrone levels can increase in these cases. Women who are obese will produce more estrone from fatty tissue. Too much estrone has been linked to breast and endometrial cancer growth. Besides this potential outcome, other results of increased estrone levels are not yet known.
Women who have too little estrogen hormones, including estrone, may develop osteoporosis. Low estrogen levels can also cause the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, fatigue, poor sex drive and depression. For women who are postmenopausal and who are still struggling with these symptoms, low estrone levels may be the reason. However, research has not yet found a definite link between the ovary hormone and these symptoms.
If you have a condition that requires estrone monitoring, you likely have already spoken with a doctor about this hormone. If you are concerned about estrogen levels and the role estrone plays in your health, consider asking these questions:
If you are not currently working with an endocrinologist, find one in your area today.
The Hormone Health Network is the public education affiliate of the Endocrine Society dedicated to helping both patients and doctors find information on the prevention, treatment and cure of hormone-related conditions.
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