The Female Hormones You Need To Know

The Female Hormones You Need To Know

One of the great mysteries of our bodies, hormones are responsible for a lot more than we give them credit (or blame!) for. We’ve all been told that they’re important, we might even know a few of the hormones that affect us, but we are often not sure what they do or how they impact health and wellness. Hormones are the body's messengers, produced in the endocrine system. They are secreted into the blood and carry vital information to organs and tissues. Put simply, when the hormones are out of whack, so are you. Now, let’s learn a bit more about what these female hormones are and how they affect your mind and body.


The primary female hormone, estrogen, is produced mainly in the ovaries. It is responsible for functions like ovulation, menstruation, breast development, and increasing bone and cartilage density. 

In the brain, it boosts the function of neurotransmitters that affect sleep, mood, memory, libido, and cognitive factors such as learning and attention span. On the other hand, it reduces the perception of pain, preserves bone mass, and increases HDL – the good cholesterol. 

When in excess, it can cause depression, weight gain, headaches, low sex drive, anxiety, sleep trouble, and menstrual problems. Too little of it can be responsible for menstrual problems, fertility issues, and mood disorders. 



Like estrogen, progesterone is majorly associated with the female reproductive organ. It helps prepare the uterus for pregnancy and helps stabilize menstrual cycles. Levels of this hormone affect how regular your periods are, your mood and sleep cycle.

Low progesterone levels can cause heavy or irregular menstrual periods and fertility problems. If progesterone levels drop during pregnancy – meaning your uterus is not prepared enough for the egg – it can cause premature labor or miscarriage. Progesterone deficiency can cause vaginal dryness, depression, insomnia, yeast infections, hair loss and more. 



Predominantly a male hormone, it affects women’s health as well and is one of the principal androgens (types of male reproduction hormones) present in the body. This hormone contributes to sex drive, fat distribution, muscle strength, bone mass, and red blood cell production in both men and women.

Women who have too much testosterone may have thinning hair on their heads, excess body hair, facial hair, acne, more body fat, low libido, and smaller breasts. Having high testosterone can also cause irregular periods and contribute to fertility problems.


Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) 

Also known as the pregnancy hormone, HCG is yet another hormone that is produced naturally in women. It’s produced by the placenta during pregnancy and is found in the urine or blood around 10 to 11 days after conception (when a sperm fertilizes an egg). Hence, testing for HCG in blood or urine is a way to determine if you’re pregnant! They also affect your mood during this time by making you irritable, restless or anxious. 


Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

The Follicle-Stimulating Hormone is produced by the pituitary gland, in both men and women and regulates the functions of both the ovaries and testes. It plays an important role in sexual development and functioning. 

FSH helps control the menstrual cycle in women and stimulates the growth of eggs in the ovaries. Throughout the course of the menstrual cycle, the FSH levels change and it's the highest during ovulation. Lack or low levels of it can cause loss of fertility and poor ovarian functions.


Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Released in the pituitary gland, LH has different roles in the two halves of the menstrual cycle. In weeks 1-2 of the cycle, it stimulates the ovarian follicles to produce the female sex hormone, oestradiol. Around day 14 of the cycle, a surge in luteinising hormone levels causes the ovarian follicle to rupture and release a mature oocyte (egg) from the ovary, a process called ovulation. If a woman conceives, LH also supports the early stages of pregnancy. 

High levels of LH can result in PCOS and low levels can cause irregular periods or difficulty in ovulation. 



Another product of the pituitary gland, prolactin’s main jobs are to govern egg release and stimulate breast-milk production in new moms.

Although rare without pregnancy, high levels of prolactin can reduce sex drive and even bring on menopause-like symptoms. Post-childbirth, normal levels can help you reduce weight faster as well. 

Besides these, there are other hormones that affect your body and mind like cortisol, Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), adrenaline and more. A quick call with a doctor or research on the internet can help you discover more about yourself! 


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