Hormones In Women: The Big Three In Reproductive Health
The three primary hormones in women which affect reproductive health are oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The ovaries produce all three.
Oestrogen’s most important function is its contribution to a healthy reproductive system. Oestrogen also plays a role in breast development and bone health. After menopause, oestrogen levels in the body fall to very low levels.
Progesterone’s most important role relates to conception. It also helps regulate menstrual cycles. During perimenopause, progesterone levels decrease, and the ovaries completely cease to produce progesterone after menopause.
Testosterone also plays a role in women’s reproductive systems, by contributing to oestrogen production and libido. It is also instrumental in a male fetus’s development. By the time a woman reaches menopause, her ovaries produce half the amount of testosterone they did when she was in her 20s.
The levels of progesterone and oestrogen in a woman’s body vary throughout her reproductive years. One common result of this is PMS, or premenstrual syndrome. Symptoms of this condition may include irritability, mood swings, headaches, and carbohydrate cravings, among others.
Progesterone-level and oestrogen-level changes also lead to perimenopausal symptoms in the latter phase of a woman’s reproductive years. Oestrogen-level fluctuation may cause night sweats, hot flushes, and fatigue. Decreased progesterone levels also lead to various symptoms. Some of the more serious ones include menstrual irregularity as well as dysmenorrhea, or more painful periods.
While the effects of decreased testosterone levels are not completely understood, increased levels may lead to PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. Symptoms may include increased body hair as well as decreased fertility.
Fluctuations in the levels of all three hormones throughout a woman’s lifetime may lead to significant challenges. However, many of the unpleasant side effects may diminish with hormone-replacement therapy, dietary adjustments, and other holistic remedies.
For more information on how to ease the symptoms of hormone imbalances, please contact me.