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Estrogens are a group of hormones that play an important role in the normal sexual and reproductive development in women......
What is estrogen?
Estrogens are a group of hormones that play an important role in the normal sexual and reproductive development in women. They are also sex hormones. The woman's ovaries make most estrogen hormones, although the adrenal glands and fat cells also make small amounts of the hormones.
In addition to regulating the menstrual cycle, estrogen affects the reproductive tract, the urinary tract, the heart and blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and the brain. Secondary sexual characteristics, such as pubic and armpit hair, also start to grow when estrogen levels rise. Many organ systems, including the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, and the brain are affected by estrogen.
What are androgens?
Androgens are a group of sex hormones. They help start puberty and play a role in reproductive health and body development. All genders make androgens, but males make more of them. Testosterone is the most common androgen. The testicles in the male reproductive system and the ovaries in the female reproductive system make androgens. The adrenal glands that sit on top of each kidney also produce these hormones.
How estrogen affects your whole health
Puberty and sexual development
Estrogen is responsible for the development of your reproductive system. The anatomy of your vagina and uterus is dependent on this busy hormone. Pubic hair, the hair under your arms, and the development of your breasts are all thanks to estrogen.
The development of your bones is owed to estrogen. As you age, estrogen works to protect your bones against loss of mass. Once you enter menopause and your estrogen production decreases, the loss of bone mass increases. You become at-risk for osteoporosis, which can lead to fractures, severely impacting your quality of life and healthy aging.
You may be familiar with post-menopausal women who are on hormone replacement therapy in an effort to protect their cardiovascular health. That’s because once menopause hits and your estrogen levels drop, your risk for heart disease goes up. Estrogen plays a major role in heart health. This helpful hormone keeps blood vessels healthy and pliant, controls cholesterol, and prevents increased inflammation, a huge threat to heart health.
Estrogen boosts the production of the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin balances your mood. That’s why, when estrogen levels drop, in postpartum or menopause, many women suffer from depression.
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