Estrogen: The Difference Between Estriol and Estradiol

As a woman’s ovaries age, the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone decline. This hormonal shift stops menstruation and triggers the onset of perimenopause and menopause, bringing an array of symptoms that affect all women, albeit somewhat differently. Many symptoms of menopause have been recorded, with more common experiences including hot flashes, brain fog, mood swings, and gynecological symptoms. What steps can a woman take to counteract the symptoms of menopause?

The Role of Estrogen Receptors

Think of estrogen receptors as specialized switches on the surface or inside your body’s cells. They respond to specific signals, like keys fitting into locks. When estrogen connects with these receptors, it turns a light switch on or off. This interaction affects various functional processes throughout the body:

  1. Cognitive Health: Estrogen can boost the brain’s flexibility, affecting learning, memory, and cognitive function.
  2. Vaginal Health: Estrogen maintains vaginal health, preventing dryness and reducing the risk of infections.
  3. Bone Health: Estrogen inhibits bone loss and promotes bone growth, and the loss of estrogen during menopause increases the risk of osteoporosis, weakening the bones.
  4. Mood Regulation: Estrogen influences “feel-good” neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which contribute to sensations of happiness and well-being in the brain.
  5. Cardiovascular Health: Estrogen protects the heart and blood vessels with anti-inflammatory properties, good cholesterol maintenance, and proper blood flow.

Estrogen also plays a crucial role in hair preservation and skin elasticity, metabolism, sexual desire (libido), uterine health, and the immune system. The whole-body impact of estrogen and the loss of it during menopause can cause significant and wide-ranging physiological changes throughout the body.

The good news is that there are options to alleviate menopausal symptoms. Estrogen therapy, including estradiol or estriol, can help replenish declining estrogen levels and reduce its effects on the body. But what are estradiol and estriol, and how do they differ?

The Difference Between Estradiol and Estriol

Estrogen is a general term for female sex hormones and encompasses two major subtypes: estradiol and estriol. Estradiol is considered the powerhouse estrogen in premenopausal women. As a woman enters menopause, estradiol levels significantly decline, contributing to many of the symptoms felt during this life stage.

Estriol is considered a weaker estrogen than estradiol. It is produced during pregnancy and plays a role in maintaining the viability of the developing fetus. Treatment with estriol in nonpregnant females has shown anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Estradiol and estriol bind to estrogen receptors to work differently on cells in the body.

Estradiol and Estriol: How Are They Different?

Estradiol is common in hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It attaches to alpha-estrogen receptors, known for their potent effects on cellular processes and tissues. It explains why loss of estradiol with menopause is responsible for many menopausal symptoms due to its powerful influence on the body.

Estriol, on the other hand, is indeed a weak estrogen for attaching to alpha estrogen receptors. Instead, estriol attaches mainly to beta-estrogen receptors. Attaching to only beta estrogen receptors has been shown to improve cognition and protect the brain from atrophy while having much less effect on alpha receptors that mediate side effects in uterus endometrium and breast tissue. Estriol’s preference for beta receptors makes it suitable for women looking for a milder form of estrogen therapy. Estriol has been used throughout Europe and Asia for decades to treat menopause.

While estradiol and estriol can lessen menopausal symptoms, estriol has neuroprotective properties that can help support and maintain brain health, improving active memory. This functional benefit plays a key role in preventing brain fog during menopause.

What is Right for You?

Navigating perimenopause and menopause is a personal choice, with various prescriptions, over-the-counter, and natural supplements making different claims for relieving menopausal symptoms. The estrogen in PearlPAK is estriol, which eases common symptoms of menopause while preventing brain fog.

Whatever path you take to treat menopausal symptoms, arm yourself with information to make the right decision for your health needs. At CleopatraRX, we encourage you to consult with your gynecologist or healthcare professional to learn more about the different types of estrogen therapy. Contact us today to learn more about PearlPAK prescription treatment and to speak with one of our HIPPA-compliant, board-certified consulting physicians.