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What are Female Hormones?

By Josie Myers
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are two hormones that are associated with females: estrogen and progesterone. These hormones, along with the traditionally male hormone testosterone, are produced in the ovaries. They all work along with the unisex follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone(LH). All of these hormones, together, have specific functions in a normal female reproductive system.

Testosterone is usually associated only with males, but plays an important function in females as well. This steroidal hormone influences sexual drive in women. Women in their 20s appear to have the highest levels of testosterone in their system. Studies have shown that, in small doses, testosterone therapy can help women with a failing sex drive, particularly following menopause. Too much testosterone can reshape the female body and produce other negative effects, such as unwanted hair growth.

The female hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible for most of the functions associated with the female sex. The levels of these hormones rise and fall with ovulation, menstruation and pregnancy. These increases and decreases can cause some mood changes, including the event known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Progesterone stimulates the uterine lining during the latter half of the menstrual cycle to get ready for potential implantation. It also seems to protect the fetus during growth, and keeps the mother's immune system from rejecting the fetus as foreign. Women who have had repeated late miscarriages sometimes require progesterone therapy to be able to carry a baby to term. The levels of progesterone drop right before labor, allowing for the contraction of the uterine muscle and the start of lactation.

Estrogen is the best known of the female hormones. It is produced in the ovaries when FSH and LH stimulate the ovaries. This most influential of the female hormones is responsible for forming the female shape including such factors as limiting muscle mass and height, as well as and formation of the breasts.

Estrogen has a precarious link to breast cancer. While estrogen is necessary for normal female sexual function, it has been shown to increase the risk of certain types of breast cancer, since it stimulates the growth of breast tissue. Some studies suggest that the suppression of estrogen can be successful in slowing the growth of these types of cancer.

Hormone replacement has become a popular option for women undergoing menopause. Female hormones like estrogen are replaced using skin patches, topical creams, and injections. These therapies reportedly relieve some of the most common menopausal complaints like hot flashes and night sweats. Some women even report that their skin becomes more youthful and moister and their bone mass is improved. Those considering this treatment, however, should be aware that some studies indicate that it may increase the risk of cancer.

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Discussion Comments

By anon998593 — On Jul 11, 2017

I'm 17 and I feel like I need to take hormones because of a huge lack in breast development and a period that started only a month before I turned 17, and basically I don't feel like I'm "feminine" enough. What hormones can I take and what would be the effects if I take them?

By anon947338 — On Apr 25, 2014

What are xenoestrogens? Thanks in advance.

By anon298099 — On Oct 18, 2012

I'm 52, and I've been losing my hair in an extremely fast manner. I would say I only have like 1/4 of my hair left. Does it have to do with a hormonal imbalance? Do need a certain hormone to stop my hair from falling out?

By anon291557 — On Sep 15, 2012

I am 41 years old. My doctor told me that my fsh level is 91 percent. How can I get pregnant? What else can I do?

By anon283866 — On Aug 07, 2012

I am 46 years old. I had surgery to remove my uterus and ovaries 10 years back. Should I continue taking hormone pills?

By anon165264 — On Apr 04, 2011

Research vitex fruit or chaste berry tree.

By anon143577 — On Jan 17, 2011

I am a 35 year old mother of four precious children, my youngest just eight months old. In 2000, we wanted to start our family and it wasn't happening. After trying for two years, I went to my doctor who diagnosed the same problems for me as you all: hormones too high and imbalanced.

I was told of the therapies I could use, many different ones but all included hormones, and synthetic at that, being put into my body to balance my levels. I was against using these synthetic forms so I saw a naturopath.

I stated using an herbal cream used for menopause and within three months I was pregnant! I used the cream again successfully three more times and now our family is complete with two precious boys and two precious girls!

The cream is available at most reputable health food stores,not cheap, usually $55 a jar, but the price of the doctors' method is much dearer. It is Anna's wild yam cream.You can also buy it online. If you look up the name, heaps of suppliers come up. You rub a teaspoon of the cream into the soft skin on the inside of your upper legs each night before going to bed.

Don't be disheartened if it takes a while. It took me three months first time and my last baby took six months to conceive! Give it a go. It is all natural so it won't build up or hurt your body.

By anon74448 — On Apr 02, 2010

I have the same problem with hormones. i went to the doctor to know about conceiving. they took my blood and checked it. I got the report that my hormones are at a very high level. They should be 5 to 7 but mine are 15 to 18. It could result in unwanted hair and i have unwanted hair on my body.

What is the reason? i am very grateful if anyone gives an answer.

By anon73560 — On Mar 28, 2010

which hormones are active during puberty?

- Eliza (This is for school, very important)

By anon58456 — On Jan 02, 2010

i'm 29 years old and i don't have a child because i have hormone problems so please help me.

By anon33977 — On Jun 15, 2009

i want to know how i decrease my estrogen & progesterone level which is too high in my body, i am 31 year old lady, when i was 22 my menses suddenly stopped so i visit the dr. in my report these hormones were so high. i am under treatment for last 8 years but levels are not under control,pleasehelp me how i can get these hormones in our body normal.

Thanks, Nishat

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