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Published 20-04-2021

How Do Sex Hormones affect Women’s Life

FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

How Do Sex Hormones affect Women’s Life

Dr. Shivani Nautiyal

Dr. Shivani Nautiyal is a renowned Ayurvedic physician, Panchakarma therapies specialist, and detox expert who has made significant contributions to the field of natural holistic healing and wellness. With her profound knowledge, expertise, and compassionate approach, she has transformed the lives of countless individuals seeking holistic health solutions. She is a Panchakarma expert, which are ancient detoxification and rejuvenation techniques. She believes in the power of Ayurveda to restore balance and harmony to the body, mind, and spirit.

Sex hormones are the body’s chemical messengers connected to sexual health & sexual activity. They act on the brains of both males and females via genomic and nongenomic receptors. Many natural and behavioral functions are affected by hormones, including mood swings, body functions, blood pressure regulation, motor coordination, pain, and sensitivity.

Sex differences exist for many of these functions that are programmed by hormones and not yet defined genetic factors, including the Mitochondrial Genome. These sex differences and responses to sex hormones in brain functions are not previously regarded. As subject to such differences, we are entering a new era to understand and appreciate the diversity of gender-related behaviors and brain functions.

Sex Hormones And Their Regular Functions

Sex hormones in women play an essential role in sexual build-out and reproduction. The glands that produce sex hormones are the adrenal glands and the gonads, including the ovaries in females and testes in males. Sex hormones are also crucial for a range of human body functions and general health.

In males and females, sex hormones are involved in the following activities:

  1. Puberty and sexual development
  2. Reproduction
  3. Sexual desire
  4. Regulating bone and muscle growth
  5. Inflammatory responses
  6. Regulating cholesterol levels
  7. Promoting hair growth
  8. Body fat distribution

Sex hormone levels fluctuate throughout a person’s life. Sex hormone imbalances can also lead to changes in sexual desire and health problems such as hair loss, bone loss, and infertility.

The following are the factors that can affect the levels of female sex hormones:

  1. Age
  2. Menstruation
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Menopause
  5. Stress
  6. Medications
  7. Environment

Types Of Female Hormones

Sex hormones in women contribute to the development and function of the female reproductive organs as well as sex characteristics. In females, the ovaries and adrenal glands are also the leading producers of sex hormones. These hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and small quantities of testosterone. These are the various sex hormones in female along with their function:

Estrogen 

Estrogen is probably the most well-known sex hormone. However, the majority of Estrogen production occurs in the ovaries. Along with that, the adrenal glands and fat cells produce small amounts of Estrogen. Estrogen plays a crucial role in reproductive and sexual development, which starts when a person reaches the point of puberty.

Progesterone 

The ovaries, adrenal glands, and placenta produce the hormone progesterone. Progesterone levels increase during ovulation and spike during pregnancy. It also helps in stabilizing menstrual cycles and prepares the body for pregnancy. A low level of progesterone can lead to irregular periods, difficulty in conceiving, and a higher risk of complications during pregnancy.

The role of progesterone is to:

  1. Maintain the health and lining of the uterus for fertilization of an egg
  2. Support pregnancy
  3. Suppress estrogen production after ovulation

Testosterone

Although testosterone is the primary sex hormone in males, it is also present in minimal quantity in females. It also plays a crucial role in the maintenance and growth of bone in women.

In females, testosterone affects:

  1. Fertility
  2. Sexual desire
  3. Menstruation
  4. Tissue and bone mass
  5. Red blood cell production
Types Of Female Hormones

 

Different Roles Of These Hormones On Female Body

In a woman’s body, hormones are responsible for all the reproductive functions. Also, every hormone has its vital role, and its excess or lack can cause serious health issues. Here are the different roles played by female sex hormones in the female body:

Role Of Sex Hormones In Puberty

In females, puberty starts between the ages of 8 to 13 years and ends around 14 years. During puberty, the pituitary gland starts producing larger quantities of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which stimulates the production of estrogen and progesterone.

Also, increased levels of estrogen and progesterone initiate the development of secondary sexual characteristics, which include:

  1. Breast development
  2. Hair growth on the underarms, legs, and other body parts
  3. Increased height
  4. Increased fat storage on the hips, buttocks, and thighs
  5. Widening of the pelvis and hips
  6. Increased oil production in the skin

Role Of Sex Hormones In Menstruation

Menarche is the onset of a person’s first menstrual period, and it typically occurs between the ages of 12 to 13 years. However, menarche can occur at any time between 8 to 15 years of age.

After menarche, many people have regular menstrual cycles until they reach menopause. Menstrual cycles are usually around 28 days long but can vary between 24 and 38 days. Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone hormones also play an essential role in menstruation and the beginning of puberty.

Role Of Sex Hormones In Pregnancy

When fertilized egg implants in the wall of a woman’s uterus, this condition is considered the start of pregnancy. Following implantation, the placenta begins to develop and starts producing several hormones, including progesterone, relaxin, and human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG).

When women conceive, their hCG levels rise in the body and then, stimulate the production of estrogen and progesterone.

During the first few weeks of pregnancy, progesterone level rises speedily, thickens the cervix, and forms the mucus plug. This rapid increase in hormones leads to early pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and the need to urinate more often.

Estrogen and progesterone levels continue to rise during the second trimester of pregnancy. At this time, Human Placental Lactogen (HPL) is produced by the cells in the placenta. HPL regulates women’s metabolism and helps nourish the growing fetus.

Hormone levels reduce when a pregnancy ends and gradually return to normal levels. When a person breastfeeds, it can lower Estrogen levels in the body, which prevents ovulation.

Role Of Sex Hormones In Menopause

Menopause occurs when a person stops having menstrual periods and is no longer able to get pregnant. Around the globe, the average age of experiencing menopause is 52 years.

Pre-menopause refers to the transitional period leading up to a woman’s last period. 

During this transition, significant fluctuations in hormone levels can cause a person to experience a range of symptoms that includes:

  1. Irregular periods
  2. Hot flashes
  3. Sleeping difficulties
  4. Mood changes
  5. Vaginal dryness

A woman reaches menopause when they have gone an entire year without having a period. After menopause, the ovaries will only produce tiny but constant estrogen and progesterone amounts.

In this case, lower Estrogen levels may reduce a person’s sex drive and cause bone density loss, leading to Osteoporosis. These hormonal changes may also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Role Of Sex Hormones In Sexual Desire And Arousal

Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone all affect sexual desire and arousal. Higher levels of Estrogen promote vaginal lubrication and enhance sexual desire. Also, the increases in Progesterone and Testosterone can reduce sexual desire.

However, Testosterone therapy appears effective for treating low sex drive in females. A low level of Testosterone can also lead to unwanted side effects that include:

  1. Weight gain
  2. Irritability
  3. Balding
  4. Excess facial hair
  5. Clitoral enlargement

When Do Females Face Hormonal Imbalance?

Hormones will naturally fluctuate throughout your lifetime. This is usually due to expected changes such as puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding, pre-menopause, menopause, and hormonal contraception or hormone therapy. 

However, there can be unexpected hormonal imbalance as well. These can sometimes be a sign of something more serious, such as:

  1. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder among young females. PCOS can cause irregular menstrual cycles and interfere with fertility.
  2. Androgen excess is an overproduction of male hormones. This can cause menstrual irregularities, infertility, acne, and male pattern baldness.
  3. Hirsutism is a disease caused by a high level of testosterone in the body, resulting in an increase in hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen, and back. It’s caused by excessive male hormones and can sometimes be a symptom of PCOS.
  4. Hypogonadism, which is a shortage of female hormones
  5. A miscarriage or abnormal pregnancy
  6. Multiple pregnancies (having twins, triplets, or more)
  7. Ovarian tumor

Signs That You Should See A Physician Or Gynaecologist

You should always see your primary care doctor or gynecologist once a year for a routine wellness test. Your doctor can discuss these changes and answer any other questions you may have.

You are advised not to wait until your annual test if you’re experiencing unusual symptoms, including:

  1. Morning sickness or other signs of pregnancy
  2. Decreased sexual desire
  3. Vaginal dryness or pain during sex
  4. Skipped periods or increasingly irregular cycles
  5. Difficulty conceiving
  6. Pelvic pain
  7. Hair loss or hair growth on your face or trunk
  8. Depression after giving birth
  9. Prolonged menopause symptoms that interfere with your life

Hormones Imbalance Treatment In Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, the balance of hormones can be maintained by following a proper diet or changing the diet slightly. 

Here are few diet and lifestyle recommendations for hormones imbalance treatment naturally:

  1. Regular consumption of fresh papaya, pomegranate, and pineapple helps to balance the hormones
  2. Reduce stress by practicing Yoga, Pranayama, and meditation regularly
  3. Use oils like coconut and olive oil for cooking
  4. Consume a glass of almond milk with three or four dates daily.

 

Hormones Imbalance Treatment in Ayurveda

 

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Conclusion

In females, the leading sex hormones are Estrogen and Progesterone. The production of these hormones mainly occurs in the Ovaries, Adrenal gland, and Placenta. Female sex hormones also influence body weight, hair growth, bone, and muscle growth. Although these hormones naturally fluctuate throughout a person’s lifetime, long-term imbalances can cause a range of symptoms and health effects. Thus, it is important to track sexual moods or activities for both men & women to get proper Ayurvedic medicine for sexual weakness in case of need.

Last Updated: Aug 11, 2023

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