The ovaries present in a women’s body create sex steroids that are known as the female sex hormones or simply female hormones. The two most important female hormones are progesterone and estrogen. The ovaries also produce some amount of male hormones such as testosterone. Estrogen plays a key role during puberty by developing the breasts and aidsin the maturity of the uterus, vagina, and more importantly fallopian tubes which are responsible for carrying eggs into the womb. The deposition of more fat on the hips, thighs and buttocks is also due to the alerts sentby the female hormones. The testosterone in woman helps develop muscle and bones.
After a girl attains puberty, several other female hormones, in addition to estrogen and progesterone start functioning resulting in the commencement of periods or menstrual cycle. Each individual hormone has its own specific function which it performs individually contributing at different points during the cycle. These hormones together form a sequence of events that help the menstruation cycle Out of the several hundred thousand eggs present in each of the ovary, only one egg travels through the fallopian tube and enters the womb every 28 days. This egg is supposed to be ripe. Most of the times the egg is not fertilized due to which the estrogen and progesterone level decreases leading to shedding of uterus lining.This results in bleeding causing periods.
Women have been found to be more prone to depression and psychiatric problems in the period between puberty and menopause as compared to men. Menopause and post partum are the high vulnerability periods for a woman. Many women who have been hospitalized or even jailed were close to their menstruation cycle according to research. Presence of transdermal estrogen hormone in increased amount in the body has been found to have an antidepressant effect. This proves that fluctuation in hormonal level can have influence on the psychology of women and their behavior. The PMS which is what women have before their periods start or have started is another mood swing that a lot of women experience during their menstrual cycle which is also attributed to the female hormones. During PMS, women can cry at one moment and be happy the next which might totally frustrate the other sex.
When the egg is released into the womb and is fertilized, a woman becomes pregnant and her body experiences dramatic changes in hormonal levels and functioning. The estrogen and progesterone do not decrease and a new hormone-human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) comes into play which is produced by the placenta during its preliminary stages. The ovaries are stimulated as well during the pregnancy so that adequateamounts of estrogen and progesterone are producedfor sustaining the pregnancy. As the pregnancy reaches second trimester, around the 4th month placenta starts performing the function of producing estrogen and progesterone instead of ovaries. These female hormones then form a thick lining on the uterus wall and enhance the blood supply to the womb and the breasts. The presence of progesterone along with another hormone relaxin enables the body muscles and ligaments to relax so that the baby can pass easily through pelvis during labor. Other hormones play a key role during labor, post delivery and production of milk.
The female hormones decrease considerably after childbirth bringing some physical changes in the new mother. The womb comes back to its non pregnant size, the muscle tone of pelvic floor becomes tighter, and the blood circulations to all body parts comes back to normalcy. Since these hormonal upheavals can cause dramatic changes in the physique of a woman, it can sometimes result in postnatal depression or post- partum depression which requires the support of both spouse and family and should not be underestimated as a new mother can get very depressed sometimes and might not be able to get herself out of it by herself.
Menopause is begnning of the end of the menstruation cycle and the most important female hormone changes happen during the last period. Generally if a woman does not have a period for over a year, she is supposed to have reached menopause. During this period the functioning of ovaries slows down due to which her periods are either heavier or lighter. During menopause ovaries produce very little of estrogen and hence there is not enough lining formed on the uterus to shed.
Almost all her life a woman is protected by the special female hormone-estrogen by protecting heart and bones, and by maintaining womb, breasts, bladder and the vagina in good health. The loss of estrogen after menopause can hence prove detrimental for the health of a woman. It can cause several uncomfortable symptoms like night sweats, hot flushes, increase in heart disease risk and occurrence of bone disorders like osteoporosis. Vaginal dryness, incontinence, recurring urine infections and discomfort while having intercourse are some other physical problems occurring due to depletion in female hormones. Menopause can also lead to irritability, depression and poor concentration. Taking extra calcium and talking ot your doctor can help alleviate these symptoms and in intense cases, estrogen therapy is started to help women have a better quality of life.