Female sex hormones are very crucial for sexual development, reproduction, and overall health in general. The level of various sex hormones change with time, but the most significant and impacting changes in the level of hormones happen during the important phases of woman’s life, which are puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
What Are Hormones?
They are the chemical messengers that are secreted by the endocrine glands directly into the bloodstream. The hormone helps to regulate various body functions, for instance, appetite, sleep, and growth.
Sex hormones are the hormones that play a crucial role in sexual development as well as reproduction. The gonads and the adrenal glands produce sex hormones.
Female Sex Hormones
Progesterone and Estrogen are the female hormones, which are produced, in the female body. Testosterone is a male sex hormone however it is also produced in small quantities in the female body.
Female Sex Hormone – Estrogen
It is the most important hormone and is majorly secreted by the ovaries. Adrenal glands and fat cells also produce a small amount of estrogen. It is also secreted by the placenta during pregnancy.
Estrogen has a major role in the overall sexual development and reproductive functions of the female body.
Other than this the level of estrogen in the female body also affects hair growth, brain, skin health, cardiovascular system, a musculoskeletal system as well as urinary tract.
After the ovulation has taken place, ovaries secrete progesterone. The placenta produces progesterone during pregnancy.
This hormone plays a pivotal role throughout pregnancy. It helps in thickening of the endometrium for embedment of the fertilized egg. It supports pregnancy. Additionally, it also suppresses the production of estrogen after the ovulation has taken place.
Although testosterone is a male sex hormone it is selected in small amounts by the ovaries and adrenal glands. Testosterone has an important role in various bodily functions, like regulating the menstrual cycle, sexual development, and more.
Role Of Female Hormones
Female sex hormones play a very vital role in the various function of the female body.
The level of various hormones changes to a large extent during various phases of a woman’s life.
Everyone’s body function in a unique way however, normally girls enter puberty in the age group 8 – 13. And it is triggered by female sex hormones.
The pituitary gland produces follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.
During puberty, the production of these hormones increases as a result of which the secretion of sex hormones takes place, especially Estrogen. The secretion of female sex hormones leads to:
- Breast development
- Pubic and Armpit Hair Growth
- Growth spurt during
- Deposits body fat around this and hips
- Onset of Menstruation
Normally the girls get their menarche around the age of 10 and 16 years. That is around two years after their breast development begins.
During the menstrual cycle, if the sperm does not fertilize the secreted ovum, it is converted into corpus luteum. The level of estrogen falls down drastically and the menstruation begins.
Sexual Desire And Contraception
All the female sex hormones namely progesterone and estrogen play a vital role in the libido which sexual desire of female and also sexual functioning.
The level of sex hormones fluctuate throughout their menstruation cycle and with it changes females desire to have sex. The female’s libido is at the highest level just before the ovulation phase. However, if any kind of hormonal contraceptive is used there is less fluctuation in the sexual desire of the female.
Furthermore, the libido also fluctuates less after the menopause. The libido may drastically dropdown if the female has undergone a surgery to remove her ovaries or adrenal glands due to some medical reasons.
The rise in the level of progesterone helps in the thickening of the endometrium lining, thus making sure that the uterus is ready to receive and embed a fertilized egg.
Progesterone contributes to the thickening of the cervix so that the uterus is protected from the probable infection and also the entry of the sperm is inhibited.
Estrogen levels are also higher during pregnancy, which also, contributes to the thickening of the endometrium, a lining of the uterus. Estrogen and Progesterone ensure the milk production by dilating the milk ducts of the breasts.
As soon as the conception takes place, hCG is secreted, that can be detected in the urine and thus the pregnancy is tested.
hCG also increases the secretion of progesterone and estrogen because of which the menstruation is prevented and sustaining the pregnancy.
hPL is a hormone secreted by the placenta. This hormone helps in the provision of nutrition for the fetus, and also stimulates the milk secretion for breastfeeding.
The level of the hormone relaxin also increases during pregnancy. This hormone helps in the formation of the placenta and makes sure that the contractions begin at the right time. at the right time. And when the labor begins hormone relaxin helps to relax the ligaments of the pelvis.
Postnatal and Breastfeeding
After the birth of a baby, the level of hormones falls drastically and eventually reach the prepregnancy levels. This sudden drop in the hormones after the delivery may lead to postpartum depression.
Breastfeeding keeps the level of estrogen low and thus prevent ovulation. However one should always use birth control methods to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Perimenopause is the period that leads to menopause. During this period the production of the hormone in the ovaries slows down. There is fluctuation in the levels of Estrogen and there is a steady decrease in the levels of progesterone.
As the level of the hormone drops, the vagina becomes less lubricated and the libido decreases.
The main symptom of this phase is that the menstrual cycle becomes irregular.
When the woman does not get her periods for more than 12 months, it implies she has reached menopause.
The levels of both the female sex hormones namely progesterone and estrogen are consistently low. Normally Menopause occurs around the age of 50, however, it may vary from person to person. Thus, different hormones present in the female body helps in various body functions