Different Types of Estrogen

Estrogen also goes by the name eostrogen. It is found in both the males and the females. In females, estrogen is the major sex hormone responsible for the development of the female reproductive system, secondary female characteristics which include; pubic hair, enlarged breasts, widening of the hips, smaller waist, a more rounded face with softer features, and their regulation.

Estrogen has a variety of uses including usage as contraceptives, in Menopause, hypogonadism, transgender women, prostate cancer and breast cancer. All vertebrates, as well as insects, synthesise estrogen.

Estrogen, in its natural form, can diffuse through the cell membrane where they bind to estrogen receptors(ERs), activating them which in turn modulate the expression of many genes. Estrogen also can bind to and activate rapid-signaling membrane estrogen receptors (mERs), such as GPER (GPR30).

There are two main types of estrogen namely steroidal and non-steroidal estrogen.

Steroidal Estrogen

Steroidal estrogen means, the form of estrogen that is related to steroid hormones or their effects.

Herein, steroidal estrogen is subdivided into endogenous and pharmaceutical estrogens.

Endogenous Estrogen

Endogenous estrogens are caused or mainly originate from inside the body. Endogenous estrogens are majorly: estrone [E1], estradiol [E2] and estriol [E3].

These three estrogens are synthesized from cholesterol and secreted mainly from the gonads.

Estetrol [E4] estrogen is a minor estrogen produced only during pregnancy by the fetal liver.

Estrone [E1]

Also known as eostrone. Estrone is a weak estrogen.

Administration of estrone produces a variety of effects including; breast changes {enlargement and sense of fullness, increased sensitivity, pigmentation of nipples, nipple erection, tingling within breast mammary gland tissue, aching and soreness of breasts}, reproductive tract changes of the vagina, cervix, and endometrium {growth, thickness, differentiation of the endometrium, reversal of vaginal and cervical atrophy accompanied by increased congestion of the cervix and mucous discharge from the cervix, increased vaginal lubrication}, relief from the subjective symptoms of ovariectomy, as well as increased libido.

Estrone is also the predominant estrogen during menopause; a period of time in women when menstruation ceases.

Previously estrone was used in the treatment of symptoms of hypoestrogenism; estrogen deficiency. However, due to the availability of greater potent estrogens, estrone estrogen usage has been limited.


Estradiol is also known as oestradiol.

Estradiol dominates highly during reproductive years.

Produced by the ovaries, estradiol is important in the regulation of estrous and the female reproductive cycles. Estradiol also plays a key role in the development and maintenance of the female reproductive tissues

Estradiol may also act as a growth hormone for tissues of the reproductive organ. How? Estradiol enhances the growth of the myometrium

In males, estradiol is produced by the action of aromatase which functions to prevent apoptosis of the male sperm cells.

It has also been noted that absence of estradiol causes tallness and eunuchoid: lacking fully developed male sexual organs or characteristics due to the closure delaying of the epiphyseal or its closure may not even take place.

Estradiol can be used to treat symptoms of menopause. Estradiol prevents osteoporosis which is increased bone weakness in postmenopausal women. Estradiol may be used in replacement of estrogen in women with ovarian failure. From time to time estradiol has also been used as part of cancer treatment in men and women.


Estriol is also known as oestriol. Estriol is a weak estrogen and a minor female sex hormone. Estriol is produced in high quantities during pregnancy by the placenta and is the most produced estrogen in the body so far.

In terms of serum levels during pregnancy, estriol is the predominant circulating estrogen.

Estriol is used in hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms.


Pharmaceutical estrogens are mainly medicinal and are majorly prepared for use or sale.

They include: synthetic estrogen esters, such as estradiol valerate, estradiol cypionate, estradiol acetate, estradiol undecylate, polyestradiol phosphate and estradiol benzoate are used clinically. Ethinylestradiol estrogen is used widely in hormonal contraceptives.

Non-steroidal estrogen

Non-steroidal estrogens simply lack steroids.

They are generally used in increasing the growth of the endometrium, accelerating metabolism, increasing fat stores, increasing uterine growth, increasing vaginal lubrication, thickening the vaginal wall and maintenance of vessel and skin.

Medical uses of non-steroidal estrogens include hormonal contraception, hormone replacement therapy, prostate cancer treatment and breast cancer treatment.

Non-streroidal estrogen is classified into the pharmaceutical type and the xenoestrogen type.


Pharmaceutical estrogens include the stilbestrol group of which benzestrol, dienestrol, dienestrol acetate, diethylstilbestrol di-propionate, fosfestrol, hexestrol and methestrol di-propionate have been used clinically.


They are synthetic or chemical compounds that function like estrogens. They generally have estrogenic effects on living things even though they may be chemically different from estrogens that are biologically produced by the body.

Synthetic xenoestrogens include PCBs, BPA, and phthalates.

Natural xenoestrogens include phytoestrogens that are plant derived, also known as dietary estrogens as they are majorly absorbed through consumption of phytoestrogenic plants.

Mycoestrogens are estrogenic substances derived from fungi.

Xenoestrogens have been used in combating precocious puberty: puberty occurring at an early stage, and other disorders of the reproductive system.

Xenoestrogens may be in the form of those that have been introduced into the environment by companies and those that have always been a part of the environment known as archaestogens.

Nevertheless, administration of estrogen has been noted to have adverse effects if not administered in cautious quantities of in proper ways. Some of the adverse effects include an increase in the risk of thrombosis. There is also an increase in the risk of stroke and deep vein thrombosis in postmenopausal women 65 years of age or older.


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