Estrogen — Estrogen is a female hormone that is primarily generated in the ovaries and is required for the development and function of reproductive organs.
It controls menstruation, promotes endometrial growth, and directs the development of female secondary sex characteristics.
To prevent pregnancy, estrogen is mixed with other hormones in birth control tablets.
It inhibits ovulation and thickens cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to reach an egg.
Estrogen also helps to regulate the menstrual cycle, lowers the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer, and may give other health advantages such as acne reduction and bone density enhancement.
The presence of estrogen in birth control tablets increases the risk of blood clots and stroke, particularly in women who smoke or have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Although estrogen may raise the risk of breast cancer, the absolute risk is minimal.
The mild estrogen adverse effects of birth control tablets are nausea and breast pain.
These negative effects are generally transient, lasting only a few weeks.
Other mild side effects include headaches, mood swings, and libido fluctuations.
For the great majority of women, the advantages of estrogen-containing birth control tablets exceed the dangers, but any concerns or potential side effects should be discussed with a healthcare professional.
Birth control that is both effective and low in estrogen is being researched.
Using a mathematical model, researchers discovered that reducing the estrogen level in conventional contraceptives by 92% still has the ability to prevent conception.
The findings were reported in the April 13 issue of PLOS Computational Biology.
They stated that ovulation could be prevented by taking a modest amount of progesterone, another contraceptive hormone, or a combination of the two hormones.
The medications, however, would have to be administered at a vital period in the menstrual cycle.
Many highly effective contraceptives include enough estrogen to make them ineffective for some people, especially those with a family history of hypertension or breast cancer.
Furthermore, demonstrating in clinical trials that lower dosages of the hormones block ovulation may provide access to estrogen-based contraception to patients at high risk of severe adverse effects.
The mathematical model
Brenda Lyn Gavina and Aurelio de los Reyes from the University of the Philippines Diliman in the Philippines developed a menstrual cycle mathematical model that built on an existing one.
They examined real-world data from 23 women ranging in age from 20 to 34.
The model considers the complexities of blood hormone levels from three key sources:
- The pituitary glands
- The ovaries
- Hormonal birth control
The researchers replicated progesterone or estrogen levels that prevented ovulation throughout a menstrual cycle.
They employed the same dosage levels as normal birth control procedures.
The researchers then used optimal control theory, a mathematical method, to estimate the minimum level of estrogen or progesterone that may inhibit ovulation.
They discovered that giving 8% estrogen 11 days after the start of the menstrual cycle impaired the ovary’s ability to produce an egg.
Gavina and de los Reyes also discovered that using less estrogen and progesterone during that time period disrupted ovulation.
The dosage might be supplied by injections or implants, according to the researchers.
“We did not only lower the dosage, but we also identified when to administer the contraceptive,” said de los Reyes.
A small quantity of estrogen, according to Alison Edelman, a gynecologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, would certainly alleviate some of the bad effects.
According to Edelman, the new discoveries will not be used to make better contraception anytime soon.
The model assumes that estrogen from birth control remains constant throughout time and ignores how the hormone is absorbed by the body.
It is likely to alter, affecting the medicine’s efficacy.
“I want to assure people that [low-dose estrogen in birth control] is already being looked at,” said Edelman.
She stressed that people may now utilize safe and effective hormone-based birth control.
Gavina and de los Reyes stated a desire to collaborate with doctors such as Edelman in order to make their models more relevant to researchers working on low-dose birth control medications.