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Hormones Explored & Explained

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 8 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Hormones; Endocrine System; Oestrogen;

The human body is an extremely complex collection of cells, tissues, chemicals and structures and each individual is very different from the next though the workings of the internal body are principally run by the same needs and functions.Hormones play an extremely important role in human function an without them we would not be able to survive.

What Are Hormones?

A hormone is a chemical substance in the body that is created and released in response to certain changes in the physiological processes that occur. They are essentially messenger substances that carry information between cells and allow us to metabolise, grow, reproduce and alter our moods.

The arrangement of the hormones in the body including where they are made, how they work and what they are used for is known as the endocrine system.

Where Are Hormones Made?

Hormones are made in the thyroid gland, the pancreas, the adrenal glands, the pituitary gland, the thymus, the pineal gland and either the ovaries or testes.These glands secrete hormones all the time and the levels in the body fluctuate continuously which aim to keep us healthy and regulated. They can of course vary wildly in their levels which is when problems can arise.

The Main Types Of Female Hormones

Melatonin.Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland and is responsible for our wake and sleep cycles. It is produced naturally in the body and will adjust to our needs easily as the human body will be able to cope surprisingly well with any changes.

Insulin.Insulin is made and secreted by the pancreas and is essential for managing our blood sugar levels. As food is broken down the blood needs insulin in order to access the glucose held within the cells. If the body does not produce enough insulin or none at all the person is said to be diabetic.

Progesterone.This is a female hormone found in the ovaries that is needed in order to be able to prepare for conception, ovulation, pregnancy and also is thought to play a role in sexual desire.During the menstrual cycle progesterone is responsible for instructing the inside lining of the uterus to release certain chemicals ready for implantation of a fertilised egg and to maintain the environment within the uterus and of the placenta during pregnancy.

Oestrogen.Another of the female hormones but also found in males, oestrogen is produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands and is produced as the ovary is preparing to release an egg. It circulates in the body and binds to oestrogen receptors in different parts of the anatomy. During the menstrual cycle the oestrogen is partly responsible for the thickening of the endometrium (lining of the womb) ready for a fertilised egg to implant., after which ovulation ceases. When used in contraceptive products it works with progesterone to mimic pregnancy and prevent any further ovulation.

Testosterone. Predominantly thought of as a male hormone, testosterone is also present in women is much smaller quantities. It is thought to play a role in muscle mass, strength and sex drive.

The body is made up of many hormones and this has brief mentioned a select few. The endocrine system is responsible for many human functions and a large number of physiological structures and functions play a role in the maintenance and production of the long list of hormones in the healthy adult female.

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