Women's Health

Do High Levels of Estrogen Impact Lupus Patients?

Do High Levels of Estrogen Impact Lupus Patients?

Hormones have a bad reputation. They conjure up images of emotional instability, crying fits, and anger jags. However, hormones are essentially the US Postal service of the human body — they are the chemical messengers. However, sometimes for people with certain conditions, these messages get inconsistent.

One such condition is called SLE, or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, which is the most common form of lupus and is found primarily in women between 20 and 40-years-old. SLE is an autoimmune disease that brings inflammation, which can negatively impact various parts of the human body, including the joints, lungs, epidermis (or skin), kidneys, and nervous system. SLE is a hormonally-driven illness, thus birth control options and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) become major concerns when dealing with this disease.

When hormones begin to travel around the body via the bloodstream, it is very possible for them to get disrupted anywhere along the hormones’ journey. This disruption will basically break down the signal between the brain and the target cells. A target cell is where particular hormones are supposed to complete their work. If a hormone does get disrupted, it can easily throw a person off of their routine.

Now, women with lupus have a decision to make: should they use birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy in order to stabilize their hormones? SELENA (the Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus National Assessment) observes both postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy as well as birth control pills, and their studies suggest that estrogen increases the autoimmune response in lupus patients. Their researchers have found this by looking into the rations and levels of the chemicals in the blood and joints of women, all of which point to a potential connection with hormones.