Information About Reproductive Hormones

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Reproductive Hormones: A Review

Posted by The MAB Team on 9/11/2012 to Fertility
Estrogen HormoneWomen

Estrogen is made in the ovaries of the female body, as well as the adrenal glands and fatty tissue of the body in both men and women. Best known as the “female sex hormone,” estrogen facilitates breast growth during puberty and growth of the uterine lining during the initial stages of a menstrual cycle. Estrogen also works in collaboration with various vitamins and minerals including calcium and Vitamin C to help maintain bone strength and prevent bone loss.

Men

The levels of estrogen in the male body start off small in formative years and slowly increase with age. Testosterone slowly converts to estrogen over time through a process called the ‘aromatese reaction.’ Aromatese is found mostly in fatty cells throughout the body, so the more fat cells men have (especially in the abdominal region), the more aromatese present. High or excessive estrogen levels in men can cause several health issues and can contribute to heart disease and prostate cancer. And of course high body fat can lead to diabetes and high lipids, among many other health problems.

Testosterone HormoneWomen

As mentioned above, testosterone is considered THE male sex hormone, but like the small amounts of estrogen found in men, women also produce testosterone (albeit in much smaller quantities). Secreted mostly in the ovaries but also in small amounts from the adrenal glands, the testosterone produced in women play the same role as it does in men, but to a lesser degree. Much like it does in men, testosterone helps to strengthen energy levels, sexual response, libido, bones and muscles in women.

Men

The testes primarily secrete testosterone. Testosterone is widely known as the primary “male” hormone. This hormone is responsible for the development of male reproductive tissues that make up the testis and prostate. It also promotes the development of body hair, bone mass and muscle

Progesterone Hormone

Women

Progesterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands just like estrogen is. Progesterone and estrogen work together to facilitate a woman’s menstrual cycle. As mentioned above, estrogen supports the growth of the uterine lining during the beginning stages of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Progesterone takes over in the second half of the cycle and preps the uterine lining for egg implantation. Progesterone levels typically start to decrease when women are in their 40s and also after menopause. Low progesterone can lead to a number of symptoms including mood swings, weight gain, depression, osteoporosis, muscle pain, irritability and estrogen dominance.

Men

While progesterone is also an important hormone found in men, when we think of progesterone its role in the male reproductive system is often overlooked. Progesterone offsets the effects of estrogen in a man’s body. Progesterone and testosterone are essentially the hormones that make a man masculine.

Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin Hormone (hCG)Women

hCG is a hormone that is produced in the cells of the placenta while a woman is pregnant. This is the hormone that is used to detect pregnancy in both blood and urine tests. After a baby is conceived, hCG levels typically double every three days within the female body and tend to plateau around the 12th week of pregnancy. The main role of the hCG hormone is to maintain both healthy progesterone production and the uterine lining during pregnancy. It also facilitates the normal egg development in the ovary of a woman.

Men

Although it occurs naturally in the female body, hCG is often used as an injectable hormone not only to enhance egg development in women who do not produce enough of it on their own, but men can also inject hCG to increase sperm count. hCG has also been used to treat pituitary gland disorders in young boys, a condition characterized by the testicles not being able to properly descend during puberty. There are some serious side effects associated with injectable hCG in men, including an increased risk of blood clots, early puberty in boys, headaches, weight gain, depression, irritability, excessive sweating and acne.

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)Women

LH is produced by the pituitary gland and helps to regulate menstrual cycles and egg production. LH levels increase rapidly in women just before their ovulate, which is why the LH hormone is used in ovulation urine tests. Both the LH hormone and the follicle-stimulating hormone rise and fall together throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. An LH test can also be used to treat fertility problems, menstrual irregularities and to gauge a woman’s egg supply.

Men

The LH hormone is also secreted by the male pituitary gland. The LH hormone works to stimulate the Leydig cells located in the testes, which tells them to start producing testosterone. An LH test can be used to gauge male sperm counts.

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Women Just like the luteinizing hormone, the follicle-stimulating hormone is also secreted by the pituitary gland. For women, FSH helps to regulate menstrual cycles and healthy egg production in the ovaries. LH, FSH, estrogen and progesterone are all hormones that are measured to determine how fertile both men and women are. An FSH test can be conducted to find the root cause of infertility problems in women, menstrual irregularities and also to gauge her egg supply. Men Also secreted by the pituitary gland in men, FSH works in collaboration with testosterone to stimulate the Sertoli cells of the testes, which in turn works to help sperm cells mature. An FSH test can help to evaluate low sperm counts in men.

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