What Are the Female Hormones?

The two main female hormones are oestrogen and progesterone, which can have significant effects on your health, fertility and wellbeing throughout your life. Women also produce smaller amounts of testosterone, which is usually considered a male hormone and men also have low levels of oestrogen and progesterone. However, most of the oestrogen and progesterone produced in women’s bodies comes from the ovaries and the main effects are associated with reproductive health. Hormones are chemical messengers that travel around in the bloodstream, so they can have significant effects on different parts of the body after they are released.

What Are the Female Hormones?

Oestrogen

Oestrogen plays an important role in women’s health starting from puberty. It triggers a lot of the changes that happen during puberty and it helps to control the menstrual cycle. Changes in oestrogen levels can affect your mood, energy levels, and skin at different points in the cycle. Oestrogen is also partly responsible for the lower risk of cardiovascular disease in women so it has a big impact that goes beyond your reproductive health. If you become pregnant, more oestrogen will be produced by the placenta and it will help with the baby’s development. As oestrogen levels drop during the menopause, you can lose some of these benefits so you may notice your skin and hair changing. Your skin can become drier and your hair may get thinner.

Progesterone

Progesterone is another important female hormone that changes its levels during the menstrual cycle. The effects of progesterone are less widespread than for oestrogen. Progesterone mainly affects the womb lining, causing it to grow thicker during your menstrual cycle. If you become pregnant, progesterone produced by your ovaries and the placenta will ensure that the womb lining remains thick and healthy so that it can support the developing baby. Progesterone levels also drop during the menopause as you no longer need to grow a new womb lining every month.

Hormones and Your Health

The female hormones oestrogen and progesterone play vital roles in the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy. As they fluctuate during a normal cycle, they can have various effects on your mood and wellbeing. The drop in your hormone levels during the menopause can also have a big impact on how you feel. Some gynaecological conditions are also linked to hormonal imbalances.

One way of tackling these issues is to correct the imbalance with medication. Hormonal contraception such as the pill contains artificial versions of the female hormones and it can often relieve symptoms such as period pain or irregular cycles. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during the menopause also works by replacing the female hormones that your body is no longer producing so that the decline occurs more slowly, with fewer symptoms.

If you're experiencing menstrual problems then it is a good idea to talk to a gynaecologist to figure out what is wrong. In many cases, the problem can be treated using hormonal contraception to regulate your cycle and relieve the symptoms of hormonal imbalances. Although other treatment may be required in some cases, getting your hormones under control can have a huge impact on your health and wellbeing.

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