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Female Sex Hormones: What Role Do They Play?

By Stacy Lloyd HERWriter
 
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what role do female sex hormones play in our bodies?
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Hormones are chemical messengers secreted by a cell or gland. These messengers are sent out from one part of the body to affect cells in other parts, according to About.com. Hormones are often released directly into the bloodstream, but they can also be secreted into ducts.

As hormones travel throughout the body, they coordinate complex processes. PBS.org wrote that they can influence the function of the immune system, and even alter behavior.

About.com said that female sex hormones also help control the reproductive cycle and prepare the body for changes such as puberty, childbirth and menopause.

The female sex hormones include estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

Estrogen is made in the adrenal glands, fatty tissue and the ovaries. According to LiveStrong.com, its main jobs are to stimulate breast growth in puberty and assist with the growth of the uterine lining in the beginning of the menstrual cycle.

Basically estrogen causes the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes to mature during puberty, said NetDoctor. It also plays a role in growth spurts and alters the distribution of fat on a girl's body.

Discovery’s How Stuff Works wrote that estrogen also affects almost every other organ in the body and is thought to have important protective effects on the cardiovascular system. Estrogen plays a critical role in bone strength.

Estrogen maintains bone strength by working with calcium, vitamin D and other minerals to prevent bone loss, said LiveStrong.com.

Progesterone is also produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. While estrogen is busy during the beginning of the menstrual cycle, progesterone performs in the second half of the cycle, wrote LiveStrong.com.

Discovery said that progesterone prepares the uterine lining for an egg to implant, but it also has other important effects on many of the tissues sensitive to estrogen.

Progesterone production begins to wane in a woman's 40s, and again after menopause, stated LiveStrong.com. When progesterone levels are low, it can cause symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, weight gain, depression, pain and osteoporosis.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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