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What Are Estrogen Pills?

By Marisa O'Connor
Updated Jan 27, 2024
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Estrogen pills are pills that contain the female sex hormone estrogen. They are very versatile and may come in supplement form, or in the form of birth control pills. Birth control pills use estrogen to prevent conception, while some supplements are prescribed to aid conception in women with estrogen deficiency. Estrogen deficiency naturally occurs during menopause, and these pills can be used to ease the symptoms of menopause.

Estrogen is responsible for the development and proper functioning of the female sexual organs, and completion of the skeletal system. This hormone also regulates the menstrual cycle and is required for proper maintenance of pregnancy. It helps develop the egg follicle and aids in the thickening of the endometrium, or uterine lining, preparing it for the fertilized egg. During pregnancy, estrogen promotes the growth of the milk ducts in the breasts, and aids in producing the milk. Estrogen levels decline significantly during menopause.

Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptive pills, are medications designed to prevent pregnancy. These pills contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, or just progestin, which inhibit the release of follicle stimulating hormones and luteinizing hormones from the pituitary gland in the brain. By preventing the release of these other hormones, estrogen pills interfere with the development of the egg and preparation of the uterine lining. This is a very effective method of birth control, failing less than one in every hundred women during the first year of use.

Estrogen pills are incredibly versatile, in that they are used to both prevent and help induce pregnancy. Women with naturally low estrogen levels may not be able to conceive, due to how vital this hormone is to reproductive function and health. If a woman's ovaries do not produce enough estrogen, supplements may be prescribed to aid conception. These supplements have shown statistically significant increase in the likelihood of conception, and greatly improves the lives of those it helps.

Menopause is notorious for its unpleasant symptoms, which are caused by a deficiency of estrogen. When the body passes its reproductive prime, the amount of estrogen needed to keep the reproductive system healthy is no longer needed. Symptoms include mood swings, night sweats, hot and cold flashes, irritability, insomnia, headaches, and fatigue. Estrogen replacement therapy, in the form of estrogen pills, is the most effective way to ease these symptoms.

Estrogen is responsible for the distribution of female body fat, primarily to the hips and breasts. During puberty, it aids in the growth of healthy breast tissue. Some women believe that taking estrogen pills will increase their breast size, and it can in some women. Breast growth after puberty will be very minimal, however, because the dramatic growth seen at puberty is subject to a limited time frame and reliant on other growth hormones.

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Discussion Comments
By donasmrs — On May 24, 2014

@bluedolphin-- My sister received estrogen therapy because she couldn't get pregnant. The therapy worked, she got pregnant a few months afterward.

I'm not too sure about the use of estrogen pills in menopause though. It's okay for some menopausal women but not all. For example, my mom is in menopause but her doctors told her not to use estrogen. They won't even allow her to take natural supplements and herbs that mimic estrogen in the body. She has a fibroadenoma in her breast and apparently, estrogen pills can cause it to turn into a cancerous tumor.

So I think women in menopause should not use estrogen pills unless the doctor specifically says it's okay. I certainly wouldn't use them unless I get routine mammograms that show no problems.

By bluedolphin — On May 23, 2014

@Raynbow-- I don't think they're dangerous if your doctor has prescribed them. Some people need estrogen therapy because their body doesn't make enough of it. Women in menopause also have many issues because of the lack of estrogen.

By ysmina — On May 22, 2014

@Raynbow-- I'm not a proponent of estrogen pills. I understand that some people need them due to various health reasons. But I don't think they are very safe as birth control pills.

Estrogen pills cause blood clots in some women which can be dangerous. A blood clot can cause embolism (obstruction of a blood vessel) and even a stroke. They also cause side effects like weight gain, mood swings and depression.

Estrogen pills basically fool the body. They make the body think that it's pregnant, that's how they prevent pregnancy.

By Ocelot60 — On May 22, 2014

@raynbow- Though estrogen therapy can be very beneficial to some patients, it may cause others to have more risks for various cardiovascular issues. This is especially true for women who are older, have histories of heart disease in their families, or who smoke cigarettes.

If you need to take estrogen for any reason but have concerns, it is important that you work with your doctor to make the best decision for you.

By Raynbow — On May 21, 2014

I have heard that taking estrogen pills can be dangerous for some people. Does anyone have information about who should be careful when taking this hormone?

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