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Home Useful Information Female Hormones

Odds are, you've probably heard the word 'hormones' before. Hormones are commonly talked about, and even blamed for feelings and emotions, but a large amount of women don't truly understand what hormones are. Here is a breakdown of some of the most basic female hormones.

What are the basic female hormones?

The female body, although it has many hormones in common with the male body, has some hormones that are gender-specific. Even hormones that are found in males and females, are found in different amounts depending on the person's gender. Some of the main female hormones include the estrogens (estrone, estradiol, estriol), lutenizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, progesterone and human chorionic gonadtropin.

What are the estrogens?

Many women are surprised to discover that 'estrogen' isn't a single hormone, but rather a group of three hormones. These hormones include estrone (referred to as E1), estradiol (referred to as E2) and estriol (referred to as E3).

Estrone can be found in the ovaries, urine and placenta. It has the lowest amount of biological activity out of all of the estrogens and high amounts of this particular estrogen have been linked to breast cancer.

Estradiol is the resposible for many of the biological functions specific to the female body, such as the growth and development of the breasts. Estradiol is the primary form of estrogen produced by the female body and is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics. Estradiol is resposible for ovulation, menstruation and menopause.

Estriol is created by the breakdown of estradiol. Estriol production is higher during the childbearing years, and increases dramatically during pregnancy due to the baby's live and the placenta producing additional estriol. Estriol is the most common form of estrogen used in hormone replacement therapies for women going through menopause.

What is lutenizing hormone (LH)?

The lutenizing hormone (referred to as LH) is constantly present in the female body, however, the levels vary dependent on the woman's age and the point she is at in her reproductive cycle. The lutenizing hormone is at it's peak just before ovulation and is responsible for the release of an egg during ovulation. Many woman hoping to conceive test their urine for LH to determine when intercourse should happen to achieve a pregnancy.

What is follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)?

Follicle stimulating hormone (often referred to as FSH) is responsible for the production of follicle on the ovaries that allow for, and promote healthy growth, development and maturation of eggs. Without follicle stimulating hormone, pregnancy is impossible to achieve. Levels that are too high may also cause problems with achieving a pregnancy.

What is progesterone?

Progesterone is released from the woman's ovaries following ovulation and Progesterone is responsible for preparing the lining of the uterus for implantation, should the woman become pregnant. If the woman becomes pregnant, her progesterone levels will continue to increase daily due to the placenta producing additional progesterone.

What is human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)?

Human chorionic gonadotropin (commonly referred to as HCG) is only present in a woman's body when pregnancy has occurred, however, if a woman is undergoing certain hormonal treatments or has certain conditions, HCG may be present in her system without her being pregnant. HCG is produced by the placenta and is generally detectable in a woman's urine within 10-14 days of conception. The presence of HCG is used to diagnose a pregnancy.