Estrogen is a female sex hormone which plays an important role in growing and maturing the uterine lining. It also helps mature the egg before ovulation. The ovaries produce most of the estrogen. Adrenal glands also produce estrogen in smaller amounts. During the follicular phase, which is the first half of the menstrual cycle, the level of estrogen is at its peak, and then it gradually comes down.
Why Does the Level of Estrogen Drop After Ovulation?
To simply answer this question, the follicle produces a large amount of estrogen at the beginning of a cycle in an effort to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Increased estrogen levels trigger the pituitary gland to produce more luteinizing hormone (LH). This rise in LH encourages the release of the egg from the follicle. This also increases the levels of progesterone along with estrogen in anticipation of pregnancy. The levels of progesterone and estrogen will come down when no fertilization occurs.
Here are more about the process of menstrual cycle to help you get a more detailed answer to "Why does the level of estrogen drop after ovulation?"
When your body is preparing for ovulation, it is in the follicular phase. The ovarian follicle grows during this phase which lasts about 14 days and completes just before ovulation. During this phase, the pituitary hormone FSH signals follicle cells to produce estrogen.
The production of estrogen is quite steady in this phase. The hormone plays a role in the production of fluid that forms a fluid-filled cavity in the follicle. During this period, follicle cells keep increasing in size.
When estrogens reach a certain level, they signal the pituitary gland to produce LH. While the levels of LH are still on the lower side in this phase, they still stimulate follicle cells to start producing progesterone.
A woman's menstrual cycle usually approaches mid-cycle by the 13th or 14th day, and that is usually the time when estrogen levels reach its peak.
Progesterone changes gene expression in follicular cells to help prepare the ovary for ovulation. This ovulatory phase continues for 16-32 hours and ovulation occurs with the completion of this phase. Once ovulation occurs, the follicle ruptures and lets the egg come out of the ovary along with some follicle cells. The combination of the cells and the egg is called the cumulus.
Once ovulation occurs, some follicle cells that are still in the ovary turn into a structure known as the corpus luteum. The structure still produces a small amount of estrogen which triggers the production of progesterone. The level of progesterone reaches its peak by about day 21. During this luteal phase, the uterus gets prepared for implantation of an embryo.
The production of progesterone continues in case an embryo implants at this stage. The ovary produces progesterone until the placenta takes over the responsibility and starts producing the hormone. However, the corpus luteum will degenerate in case no conception takes place. This leads to a fall in progesterone and estrogen levels as they are no longer needed, which triggers the menstrual flow.
Know More About Estrogen
Why does the level of estrogen drop after ovulation? Now you know the answer, and you may want to know more about this hormone.
Can Estrogen Be Responsible for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
Estrogen plays an important role in PMS, but it is not the only factor causing premenstrual syndrome.
One of many PMS symptoms is quick mood swings, and an increase in estrogen can affect your brain chemistry and your emotions in many different ways. You may be extremely happy one day and completely depressed the next day. Estrogen changes the levels of endorphins and serotonin that can make you feel happy or depressed.
You may also notice strong cravings for certain foods like sweets and chocolate before your period, and that is mainly because your estrogen levels are at their peak.
Is There a Link Between Estrogen and Libido?
Estrogen can have an impact on your desire for sex. Estrogen helps lubricate your vagina and prepares you for sexual intercourse. Moreover, estrogen may help make you happy, which can also have a link to your cravings and enthusiasm towards sex. While estrogen plays a role, your libido also depends on another hormone called androgen.
What Other Roles Does Estrogen Play in Your Body?
The main purpose of estrogen is to take care of the female reproductive system, but it has other benefits as well. Research shows that estrogen helps lower your risk of breast cancer. It helps keep you younger by making your skin look healthy. With the levels of estrogen going down, your risk of cardiovascular disease goes up. Moreover, estrogen plays a part in solidifying the gender of the fetus during pregnancy.