When you think of the primary female sex hormones: estrogen and progesterone, what comes to mind? Is it the role estrogen plays in reproduction or the way in which progesterone supports pregnancy? If either of these functions registered, you’re not wrong - both estrogen and progesterone are crucial in the realm of fertility. In saying that, it’s important to remember that these hormones are responsible for a number of other important functions and wear many different hats!
Some of the other important roles of the primary female sex hormones include:
- Sexual desire
- Regulating bone and muscle growth
- Promoting hair growth
- Weight distribution
What do the primary female hormones do?
While the primary female sex hormones: estrogen and progesterone, are known to be the drivers of reproduction, they also play a key part in keeping our bodies healthy and functioning in a number of other different ways.
Estrogen and progesterone can affect both sexual desire and even arousal. According to a study undertaken by the University of California, when a woman’s estrogen levels have hit their ‘monthly peak’, their sexual desire is at its highest. In contrast, high progesterone levels are often associated with low libido .
It’s completely natural to experience a shift in libido every now and again. However, if it’s affecting you or your relationship, check in with your doctor, and potentially your hormones, to find out more.
Regulating bone and muscle growth
Estrogen and progesterone are important for overall bone health in women. This is why when levels of these primary hormones begin to decline during menopause, it can potentially cause bone loss in women .
If you are currently going through menopause, remember that there are still many ways to keep your bones healthy and strong! This includes sticking to a healthy and balanced diet and trying out some strength training exercises - or even a nice brisk walk can do the trick.
Promoting hair growth
The relationship between female hormones and hair growth, and loss, is a strong one. In fact, according to Mayo Clinic, an imbalance in sex hormones can cause excess hair growth, and low levels of hormones or thyroid function can be responsible for hair loss [3,4].
During menopause, it’s common for women to find it slightly difficult to maintain their ‘usual’ weight. This is because of the important role our hormones play in weight distribution. During menopause, both estrogen and progesterone decline, which can make weight gain more likely, particularly around the abdomen area .
Checking in on your hormone levels isn’t just reserved for those interested in their fertility status. Female hormones play important roles in a number of different bodily functions which makes regular testing a good idea for any and every woman!
LetsGetChecked’s range of at-home Women’s Health Tests allow you to understand your hormonal health from the comfort of your own home. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available throughout the process to answer any questions you may have.
- University of California, Santa Barbara. Hormone levels and sexual motivation among young women. Online: Sciencedaily.com
- NHS. Osteoporosis. Online: NHS.uk
- Mayo Clinic. Hirsutism. Online: Mayoclinic.org
- Mayo Clinic. Hair loss. Online: Mayoclinic.org
- Mayo Clinic. Menopause weight gain: Stop the middle-aged spread. Online: Mayoclinic.org