Sex Hormones and Reproductive Functions

Female Sex Hormones and Their Functions

Ovaries and adrenal glands are the sites of sex hormone secretion in females. These sex hormones are responsible for several crucial functions in a female's body. Estrogen (Oestrogen) and progesterone are the two main types of female hormones. Besides, a small amount of testosterone is also secreted in a female’s body. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for secondary characteristics in males but is also secreted by female glands in a very small amount. On combining with estrogen, testosterone helps in the growth and repair of the female reproductive tissues. Before going to the topic female hormones and their functions, let’s enumerate the types of hormones in females.

Estrogen: Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone and is responsible for secondary characteristics in females and the development of the female reproductive system. There are basically three types of Estrogen- estradiol, estrone, and estriol.

Progesterone: Progesterone is secreted by an endocrine gland called corpus luteum and is responsible for the preparation of endometrium during pregnancy. The hormone secretion makes a female's body ready for pregnancy by thickening the lining of the uterus (for accepting the egg) or contraction of the lining (for rejecting the egg).

What is The Function of Oestrogen In Females? 

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Let’s Talk About the First Subtopic – what is the function of Oestrogen in females? So, oestrogen is the female hormone responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in females. Following is the list of what is the function of oestrogen in females:

  • Growth of Ovaries: Oestrogen is responsible for the growth of egg follicles. Also, it helps in regulating the menstrual cycle.

  • Maintenance and Repair of the Vagina: Oestrogen is responsible for maintaining the thickness of the vaginal wall. It also helps in the lubrication of the vagina.

  • Development and Maintenance of Uterus: Oestrogen is responsible for the maintenance and development of the mucous membrane lining of the uterus and regulates the flow of the mucous secretions in the uterus.

  • Development of Physical Characteristics: Oestrogen is responsible for the development of physical characteristics like breasts, wider hips, pubic hair, etc.     

Since we were talking about what is the function of oestrogen in females, we hope that all the functions are pretty much clear.

What is The Function of Progesterone?

The following are the functions performed by progesterone:

  • Progesterone is responsible for the preparation of endometrium during pregnancy.

  • It helps in thickening of the uterus lining to accept the egg.

  • It is responsible for muscle contraction if the egg is to be rejected by the uterus.

What does Low Estrogen Cause?

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Let’s see what low estrogen causes or what the symptoms of low estrogen in the body are.

  • Increased urinary tract infections (UTIs), caused due to thin uterus lining

  • Irregular periods (amenorrhea)

  • Mood swings

  • Breast tenderness

  • Insomnia

  • Fatigue/headaches/depression/lack of focus, etc.

What causes estrogen to increase- hormonal contraceptives, medicines, phenothiazines, etc.

Male Sex Hormone

Male Sex Hormone Name: Testosterone

Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in males. It is the hormone responsible for secondary characteristics in males and the development of male reproductive tissues.

Let’s look at the functions performed by testosterone.

Functions of Male Sex Hormone- Testosterone

The male sex hormone, testosterone is responsible for several functions in males, which are enumerated below:

  • Development of Secondary Sexual Characteristics: Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in males.  

  • Sperm-Count Regulation: besides being the hormone responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in males, testosterone also regulates the sperm count.

  • Sex-Drives: As we males reach puberty, they start developing a longing for sex, which also a function of testosterone.

  • Muscle Cells and Distribution: As testosterone increases, muscles begin to develop.

  • RBC Production: testosterone regulates the production of Red Blood Cells in males.

Generic Functions of Sex Hormones

To summarize, we’ll be enumerating the generic functions of sex hormones (in both males and females)

  • Hormones responsible for the development of secondary sexual characters in males and females 

  • Reaching puberty

  • Promoting hair growth

  • Body fat and muscle mass distribution

  • Cholesterol level regulation

Fun Facts

“Women aren’t actually “hormonal” during periods”. Due to the secretion of other hormones when the egg is waiting to be fertilized and then a sudden drop, periods are actually the time when women are lowest in their hormones.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q 1: What is the Function of Oestrogen in Females?

Ans. The following is what oestrogen does to the female bodies:

  • Growth of Ovaries: Oestrogen is responsible for the growth of egg follicles. Also, it helps in regulating the menstrual cycle.

  • Maintenance and Repair of the Vagina: Oestrogen is responsible for maintaining the thickness of the vaginal wall. It also helps in the lubrication of the vagina.

  • Development and Maintenance of Uterus: Oestrogen is responsible for the maintenance and development of the mucous membrane lining of the uterus and regulates the flow of the mucous secretions in the uterus.

  • Development of Physical Characteristics: Oestrogen is responsible for the development of physical characteristics like breasts, wider hips, pubic hair, etc.

Q 2: What are the Functions of Testosterone in Males?

Ans. The following are the functions of testosterone in males:

  • Development of Secondary Sexual Characteristics: Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in males like broadening of shoulders, pubic hair, facial hair, etc.

  • Sperm-Count Regulation: Besides being the hormone responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in males, testosterone also regulates the sperm count.

  • Sex-Drives: As males reach puberty, they start developing a longing for sex, which also a function of testosterone.

  • Muscle Cells and Distribution: As testosterone increases, muscles begin to develop.

  • RBC Production: Testosterone regulates the production of Red Blood Cells in males.