Hormones are chemicals released by cells or glands in one part of the body which affect cells in other parts of the body. To put it simply, they are chemical messengers that transport signals between cells. Our hormones play a critical role in our lives, especially in the lives of women.
Hormones are powerful. It takes only a tiny amount to cause big changes in cells or even your whole body. That is why too much or too little of a certain hormone can be serious. Laboratory tests can measure the hormone levels in your blood, urine or saliva. Our South Florida Hormone Center can perform these tests if you have symptoms of a hormone disorder.
Listed below are several of the common hormones related to women’s lives.
What is estrogen?
Estrogen is an entire class of related hormones. They include estriol, estradiol, and estrone. Estriol is made from the placenta. It’s produced during pregnancy.
Estradiol is the primary sex hormone of childbearing women. It is formed from developing ovarian follicles. Estradiol is responsible for female characteristics and sexual functioning. Also, estradiol is important to women’s bone health. Estradiol contributes to most gynecologic problems such as endometriosis and fibroids and even female cancers.
Estrone is widespread throughout the body. It is the only one of the estrogens that’s present in any amount in women after menopause.
Testosterone in Women
It may surprise you to know that men don’t have a monopoly on testosterone. Testosterone belongs to a class of male hormones called androgens. But women also have testosterone.
The ovaries produce both testosterone and estrogen. Relatively small quantities of testosterone are released into your bloodstream by the ovaries and adrenal glands. In addition to being produced by the ovaries, estrogen is also produced by fat tissue in the body.
These sex hormones are involved in the growth, maintenance, and repair of reproductive tissues. But that’s not all. They influence other body tissues and bone mass as well.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is an endogenous hormone, and secreted by the adrenal gland. DHEA serves as precursor to male and female sex hormones (androgens and estrogens).
DHEA levels in the body begin to decrease after age 30, and are reported to be low in some people with anorexia, end-stage kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, AIDS, adrenal insufficiency, and in the critically ill. DHEA levels may also be depleted by a number of drugs, including insulin, corticosteroids, opiates, and danazol.
There is sufficient evidence supporting the use of DHEA in the treatment of adrenal insufficiency, depression, induction of labor, and systemic lupus erythematosus.