As you approach menopause, you will hear much discussion about natural hormones. The body produces a number of hormones and it can be difficult to distinguish the differences between them all. The following sections contain information about two of the main hormones that your body produces and how they function.
Estrogens are the primary female sex hormones. This group of compounds is named for their significance in the estrous cycle of humans and other animals and is produced in all vertebrates. Their presence in both vertebrates and insects suggests that estrogenic sex hormones have an ancient evolutionary history. Natural estrogens are steroid hormones, while some synthetic estrogens are non-steroidal.
Estrogen is used in a wide variety of hormonal treatments. They are a key ingredient in some oral contraceptives and in estrogen replacement therapy for postmenopausal women. Estrogen is also used in hormone replacement therapy for transgender women, to help treat breast cancer in women, and sometimes to treat prostate cancer in men. Like all steroid hormones, estrogens readily diffuse across the cell membrane. Once inside the cell, they bind to and activate estrogen receptors, which then modulate the expression of many genes.
Progesterone is a naturally occurring steroid hormone that promotes development of the normal mammary gland. It is an important hormone manufactured by the adrenal glands in men and women, but more specifically in the ovaries in women. Extra amounts of progesterone are also manufactured by the placenta during pregnancy.
Progesterone is responsible for numerous functions that are necessary for optimum health. Progesterone is capable of transforming itself into estrogen and adrenal steroids; adrenal steroids get used up during stress reactions. It also regulates other vital organ functions, including thyroid performance, glucose metabolism, and mineral mechanisms. When we are oversaturated with naturally produced estrogen or estrogen-like substances, such as those obtained from food or environmental pollutants and even from excessive growth of the fungus, candida albicans, in the gut, we do not seem to be able to compensate with an adequate production of progesterone.
Although it is important to understand the differences between the hormones that your body produces, it is also important that you learn about many of the other synthetic hormones that are available. If you want to find out more, click on the following link about hormones.