A symphony of Oestrogen

Oestrogen is not a single hormone, it is actually the name of a category of hormones.

So, although grammatically speaking it is not accurate, it is helpful to say Oestrogens (with an s). Not only is Oestrogen a family name for a collection of hormones …

Oestrogen(s) are not only made in the ovaries!

They are also made in the adrenal glands, liver, fat cells, placenta (during pregnancy) the skin and bone AND, the place that always blows my mind … the  brain

Oestrogen varieties are classed as major and minor, circulating the entire body and used by practically every cell in the body. For reference they are:


  • Estrone (E1)
  • Estradiol (E2)
  • Estriol (E3)
  • Estetrol (E4) – only during pregnancy


27-hydroxycholesterol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), 7-oxo-DHEA, 7α-hydroxy-DHEA, 16α-hydroxy-DHEA, 7β-hydroxyepiandrosterone, androstenedione (A4), androstenediol (A5), 3α-androstanediol, and 3β-androstanediol.

You may be wondering why I’ve listed them all and what’s the significance of where they are made?


Oestrogens are like the conductor of a hormone orchestra.

The health and well-being of all bodies (male & female) relies on hormones. Oestrogen is often termed ‘a female sex hormone’ because it is part of the chemical messenger system that determines secondary sexual characteristics, as is Testosterone in males. However, Oestrogen and Testosterone are equally important for both sexes. In relation to menstrual health oestrogen, despite it’s overall importance, hardly ever gets a mention outside of its role in periods and pregnancy. This in my opinion is a huge oversight in self care.

Not only are oestrogens important in their own right, they also support and direct the other hormones, a bit like a conductor in a hormone orchestra.

For example,

  • Oestrogens support the insulin response and how we obtain energy from food.
  • In the presence of oestrogens, thyroxin works so much better and the same with serotonin.

You don’t need to know what any of the hormones do individually as such, but when you are aware of the levels of estradiol (the super strong member of the oestrogen family) fluctuating every month as part of the menstrual cycle, then it makes sense that their supportive role fluctuates during the month too.


Each day of the menstrual cycle therefore, has a different relative strength, weakness, opportunity and threat – SWOT

Why Menstrual Health Matters

by Fiona Catchpowle | CLICK PLAY TO LISTEN

Here’s how to join …

My Menstrual Health Made Easy series is a combination of 12 mini podcasts (each less than 5 mins) and 17 one page info-graphics, available via my digital learning platform. Essential information in bite-size pieces. Suitable for all devices. Listen, learn and take action.