• Clinical science

Estrogen and associated diseases


Estrogen is a female sex hormone that is produced in the ovaries and, to a lesser degree, in the adrenal glands and adipose tissues. It is essential for the development of primary and secondary sex characteristics, as well as function of the reproductive organs. Estrogen also plays a role in several other processes, including bone metabolism and liver function. While ovarian insufficiency, aromatase deficiency, and hyperprolactinemia result in pathologically low estrogen levels, a decrease in estrogen is a normal feature of menopause. Possible symptoms of estrogen deficiency include menopausal symptoms, vaginal and endometrial atrophy, and osteoporosis. Increased estrogen levels may also have adverse effects, including gynecomastia, thrombosis, and an increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer.


Obesity increases the risk for postmenopausal breast cancer. It is hypothesized that this is due to estrogen production in adipose tissue!

Measurement of unconjugated estriol (uE3 or free estriol) is part of the prenatal screening for fetal anomalies (i.e., triple screen test and quad screen test). Decreased levels are associated with Down syndrome, Edward syndrome, molar pregnancy, and fetal demise.



Estrogen is a steroid hormone that promotes female sexual development and stimulates the growth and maturation of primary and secondary sex characteristics.

Genitalia/sex characteristics

Extragenital tissue


Adverse effects

Adverse effects of estrogen can arise from high levels secondary to increased endogenous production or medication. :

Although estrogen is a risk factor for the development of some types of cancer, it reduces the risk of colon cancer!

High estrogen levels increase the risk of thrombosis!




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last updated 11/15/2020
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