Written by: Mutshidzi Kwinda
Understanding the female body can seem like an impossible task. But once you know the basics, the rest is pretty easy. Which is why the first place to start is understanding our hormones. The things that make it possible for us to have sex, grow breasts and have babies.
The three major types of sex hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Both males and females have all these hormones in varying quantities. For example, women have testosterone, and men have estrogen in their bodies – but in very small amounts.
Female hormones are the hormones that the body produces to help with feminine physical, reproductive, and sexual development. Estrogen and progesterone are the dominating female sex hormones whereas testosterone is the dominating male sex hormone.
The main female sex hormones, in particular, play a significant role in puberty, menstruation cycle, pregnancy, and during the menopausal stage.The estrogen hormone is released by the ovaries (organs that produce the woman’s egg). And in addition, there is a small amount of estrogen produced by the adrenal glands (which are located on top of each kidney). Estrogen hormones play a big role in the development and growth of breast, pubic, and underarm hair. It also facilitates the starting process of the menstrual cycle.
After the release of an egg by the ovaries, a temporary gland called corpus luteum (found in the ovaries) produces progesterone hormone. The progesterone hormone is important in preparing the woman’s body for pregnancy- just in case the released egg gets fertilized. If fertilization does not occur, the temporary corpus luteum dies out and the menstrual cycle starts over again. However, if fertilization occurs, the progesterone hormone is produced in more quantities to help maintain and support the pregnancy.
It is important that these hormones are in a balanced state to maintain healthy sexual and reproductive systems. An imbalance in sex hormones may lead to gynecological problems, mood disorders, changes in libido, and sometimes skin problems such as acne. Which is why one of the first things to do when experiencing the above issues, is to ask your DR to check your hormone levels. These can sometimes be rebalanced with medication, or changing up your lifestyle. What ever the case, knowing about these hormones and the role they play is one of the first steps to taking control of your body. After all, knowledge is power.