Hormones are essential chemicals that serve as messengers, transmitting signals from one set of cells to another inside a person’s body. These hormones are typically secreted into the bloodstream by a collection of glands called the endocrine system, which includes the hypothalamus, the adrenals, the thyroid and the ovaries. More than 50 different hormones have been identified in the human body so far. They influence and regulate processes like metabolism, growth and development, as well as sexual and reproductive functions.
The production of hormones is regulated through feedback loops. The amount of hormones produced by the endocrine system is based on the amount of raw materials available for the manufacture of these sophisticated substances, as well as the current levels of hormones within the body.
The majority of hormones circulate throughout the body via the bloodstream. A given hormone targets a specific type of cell that possesses the receptor for that particular chemical. When the hormone binds with the receptor, a predefined biological process takes place, which results in a specific physical change to the female body. Although some may be present in a male’s body in varying amounts, several hormones are more prevalent and have a greater impact on the female body. These female hormones play a key role in a woman’s fertility. They include estrogen, progesterone and testosterone as well as HCG, or human chronic gonadotrophin.
Produced by the adrenal glands and the ovaries, estrogen promotes the growth of breasts and the lining of the uterus. It works with vitamin D, calcium and other minerals to maintain bone density. Also generated by the ovaries and the adrenal glands, progesterone helps to regulate the second half of the menstrual cycle. It prepares the lining of the uterus for the implantation of the egg after ovulation.
Although testosterone is predominantly a male hormone, a woman’s body produces a small amount of the substance. It boosts energy, strengthens muscles and stimulates sexual responsiveness. Rising during the initial few weeks of pregnancy and then leveling off, HCG helps maintain the lining of the uterus. It is the hormone found in urine during a pregnancy test.
The levels of female hormones in the body decline as women reach their forties and following menopause. Symptoms associated with dropping hormone levels include mood swings, depression, weight gain and osteoporosis. The good news is, hormone replacement therapy can help to treat these conditions.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to a hormonal imbalance, schedule a consultation at Innovative Medicine in Lafayette. Our skilled team of experts will perform a thorough examination and perform any required diagnostic tests. The results will be used to develop the proper course of treatment that alleviates these frustrating symptoms and restores your quality of life. Contact us today to book your appointment to learn more.