Hormones & Women's Health: What Every Woman Should Know
HormonesEvery multi-cellular organism on Earth produces and utilizes hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers within the body responsible for the delivery of cell signals through the bloodstream. Put simply, the main function of hormones is to regulate the function of specific target cells. When a hormone is secreted and recognized by a certain cell receptor, an action is elicited known as signal transduction response. This response is a signal for the cell to increase or decrease its particular function.
Female Sex HormonesThere are two primary female sex hormones. These two hormones include estrogen and progesterone. Both estrogen and progesterone are responsible for a variety of roles within the body, particularly to the reproductive system. However, these hormones can not be limited to the reproductive system, as they fulfill a variety of functions within the body.
Female Sex Hormone: EstrogenEstrogen is a term used to describe a group of steroid compounds responsible for certain functions within the estrous cycle. Estrogen is known as the primary sex hormone in females. Estrogen is responsible for a variety of functions within the female body. This is not a comprehensive list of functions, but some of the most common functions that are associated with the hormone estrogen.
- Promotion of secondary sex characteristics
- Stimulation of endometrial growth
- Uterine growth increases and elasticity
- Reduction of bone re-absorption
- Increases in bone formation
- Fluid balancing
- Acceleration of metabolism and height growth
- Reduction of muscle mass
- Maintenance of skin and blood vessels
Female Sex Hormone: ProgesteroneProgesterone also serves many functions within the body. Again, the following is not a comprehensive list, but a list of the most common functions that are associated with progesterone.
- Endometrial conversion: Prepares the uterus for implantation
- Vaginal epithelium changes: Increases production of cervical mucus
- Menstruation: Decreases in progesterone production is cause for menstruation
- Lactation: Inhibits lactation during pregnancy, decreases to enhance milk production after birth
- Labor: Facilitates labor
- Immune response: During gestation, progesterone decreases the overall immune response, increasing the rate of pregnancy acceptance
- Smooth muscle: Decreases contractility of uterine smooth muscle
Hormone SynthesisHormones are a necessary component for the maintenance of general health, particularly reproductive health. However, your body is capable of synthesizing these hormones naturally when given the proper nutrients. Both estrogen and progesterone are synthesized (produced) naturally by the ovaries. The natural production of hormones decreases with age, but maintenance of a healthy diet and lifestyle typically serves to stimulate the creation of the necessary hormones. Hormones are an essential component of not only reproductive health, but overall general health. If you feel that your body may not be naturally producing enough of these hormones, consult your physician.
[sniplet Menopol]Sources: http://www.worldhealth.net/p/134,4507.html http://health.discovery.com/centers/sex/sexpedia/hormone.html http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020722/story.html