Female hormones – why you need testosterone, progesterone, estrogen!


What are hormones?
What is estrogen?
What is progesterone?
Estrogen vs. progesterone
What is testosterone?
Other important hormones
Hormone’s roles in the female body
Hormonal imbalance
The down low

Female hormones are vital in the functioning of the female body. These chemicals provide different effects. They control certain aspects of the body. A few organs produce hormones throughout the body.

Progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone are the primary hormones in the female body. They each have their jobs when controlling the body’s system.

Learn all about the three primary hormones. Discover what other chemicals play vital roles in the female body. Find out the risks of too much or too little compounds in your body.

What are hormones?

Hormones are chemicals that regulate cell and tissue activity throughout your body. They show up in your organs and control the environment. There are three primary hormones in the female body: estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.

Doctors call hormones “chemical messengers” as they travel between tissues in your body. They affect men and women differently. Hormone levels fluctuate during the day. Your body secretes them in pulses throughout the day and night.

Sex hormones are chemicals that are essential to sexual reproduction and development. The adrenal glands and gonads produce most of the sex hormones.

They’re essential for general health and bodily functions.

  • Reproduction
  • Sexual desire
  • Puberty and sexual development
  • Inflammatory responses
  • Regulating cholesterol
  • Regulating muscle and bone growth
  • Body fat distribution
  • Promoting hair growth

Sex hormones fluctuate throughout your life. Some factors can alter the production.

  • Menstruation
  • Environment
  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Menopause
  • Medications

Imbalances in sex hormones can cause health problems. Some patients struggle with hair loss, infertility, and bone loss.

What is estrogen?

Estrogen is one of the major female hormones. The ovaries primarily create this hormone in the female body. Fat tissue, the brain, and adrenal glands can also make it. Fatty tissue produces estrogen in male bodies.

This hormone is best known for its vital role in female reproductive development. Estrogen maintains the menstrual cycle, allowing the uterus to prepare for pregnancy. It’s also responsible for bone growth, regulating mood, and optimizing brain function.

Bodies produce estrogen differently, depending on the sex.

  • Female bodies: estrone, estriol, and estradiol
  • Male bodies: estrone and estradiol
  • Intersex bodies: any combination of estrone, estriol, and estradiol

Risk of low levels

Low estrogen levels can be harmful to your body. Look out for signs that show low levels of this hormone.

  • Low sex drive
  • Bone density loss
  • Osteoporosis00
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of a stroke

What is progesterone?

Progesterone is like estrogen because it shows up in all body types. It’s a steroid hormone that prepares all bodies for reproduction. The corpus luteum is the primary gland that creates this hormone.

Doctors may prescribe this hormone if the body needs higher progesterone levels.

  • Endometriosis
  • Menopause symptoms
  • Amenorrhea
  • Irregular periods
  • Birth control

Progesterone prepares the breasts for milk once a person is pregnant. It also helps the female body to thicken the lining of the uterus. The body continues making this hormone even after it has a fertilized egg.

This hormone is vital in the sexual development role.

  • Maintains fat tissue.
  • Maintains optimal kidney and central nervous system function.
  • Maintains bone health.
  • Stimulates appetite and weight gain.
  • Regulates behavior.
  • Regulates the respiratory, immune, and cardiovascular systems.

There are some risks when taking extra progesterone pills.

  • Acne flare ups
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Increased risk of follicular ovarian cysts

Avoid taking extra progesterone pills if you struggle with some issues.

  • Lupus
  • Breast cancer

Risk of low levels

Low progesterone levels can be detrimental to your health. Look out for signs that show low levels of this hormone.

  • Affected menstruation
  • Affected libido
  • Affected health
  • Affected reproduction
  • Affected weight

Estrogen vs. progesterone

Estrogen and progesterone are the two primary hormones for females. So what’s the difference?

These two compounds are similar in a few ways and different in others. Let’s break down the key factors.

Birth control side effects

There are a few options for birth control. You can choose between an estrogen-progesterone combination or progesterone only. The combination causes you to stop ovulating. The progesterone-only pill prevents sperm from passing through to an egg.

There are a few common side effects of combining progesterone and estrogen pills.

  • Nausea
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Headaches
  • Tender breasts
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Increase in vaginal discharge
  • Decreased libido
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular issues
  • Decrease in bone mineral density

Taking a combination of progesterone and estrogen pills can be problematic sometimes. Avoid this concoction if you are over 35, smoke cigarettes, and some key issues.

  • Breast cancer
  • Blood clots
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Migraine episodes
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease

Treating menopause

Progesterone and estrogen both gradually diminish in your body. Intersex people and females going through menopause experience different side effects. They struggle with vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and mood changes.

Estrogen or progesterone therapy can help manage these symptoms. They may also reduce the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Taking these supplements has similar risks to taking birth control pills.

Taking estrogen without progesterone may increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Cells in your uterus can build up when your body doesn’t shed the endometrial lining. Progesterone thins the lining, reducing the risk of cancer and cell overgrowth.

It’s safer to take estrogen on its own if you’ve had a hysterectomy. This route has fewer long-term risks than combining the hormones during therapy.

What is testosterone?

The ovaries and adrenal glands produce testosterone in women. This hormone enhances sexual response and libido. It helps build muscle and bone and strengthens ligaments. Testosterone can also assist with brain function and assertive behavior.

The testosterone levels in your body influence restful sleep and stamina. It has a protective effect on both men and women against cardiovascular disease.

Testosterone and estrogen work hand-in-hand in keeping the female body functioning. This hormone affects aspects of the female body despite being a male-dominant hormone.

  • Sexual desire
  • Fertility
  • Tissue and bone mass
  • Menstruation
  • Red blood cell production

Risk of low levels

Low testosterone has a few symptoms in the female body.

  • Lack of energy
  • Low sex drive
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Loss of strength
  • Infertility
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Thinning hair
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Brittle, dry skin

Other important hormones

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone aren’t the only hormones your body produces. Your organs create various chemicals that all serve an essential purpose.

Let’s look at the other essential hormones your body makes.

Estrogen subcategories

Estrogen comes in different forms, primarily estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Each of these has its functions.

  • Estradiol is one of the most potent forms of estrogen. The adrenals, ovaries, and fat cells create this hormone. It affects the function of most of your body’s organs.
  • Estriol is the least active, weakest form of estrogen. It primarily functions during pregnancy.
  • Estrone is the primary estrogen form your body uses after menopause. Fat cells create this hormone.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is the hormone that circulates the most. The adrenal gland and ovaries make DHEA. Your brain and skin produce smaller amounts as well. DHEA protects against the effects of inflammation and physical stress.

DHEA controls the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep phase. It helps maintain normal cholesterol levels and enhances memory. Your body can use fat, bone, muscle, and liver to convert this hormone into testosterone and estrogen.

This hormone also increases sexual arousal and drives up libido. DHEA improves motivation and creates a sense of well-being. It also enhances the function of your immune system and decreases pain.


Pregnenolone is the building block for all the other steroid hormones. Your body converts it directly into DHEA or progesterone, depending on your need.

Cholesterol makes pregnenolone, and your adrenal glands produce it. Some smaller organs create this hormone, like skin, eyes, brain, and liver. The levels of this hormone drop with age.


The adrenal glands create cortisol. It stimulates glucose production and regulates the immune response. This hormone also helps short-term memory and aids the body in adapting to stress. Cortisol can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

Cortisol testing is an important habit to pick up. A decline in this hormone can be detrimental. It increases in the early morning and decreases late in the evening. Cortisol levels follow the circadian rhythm.

Hormone’s roles in the female body

Hormones play a significant role in a woman’s reproductive system. Each chemical has its responsibility for the different aspects of the female body.

Puberty and menstruation are among the vital female bodily functions. Hormones control or affect each aspect of these occurrences.


Puberty typically begins when a female reaches 8–13 years old. It usually ends once they are about 14 years old.

The pituitary glands produce large quantities of follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormones during puberty. This production stimulates the production of progesterone and estrogen.

Progesterone and estrogen start the development of secondary sexual characteristics.

  • Hair growth on the legs, underarms, and pubic region
  • Increased height
  • Breast development
  • Increased fat storage on the buttocks, thighs, and hips
  • Increased oil production in the skin
  • Widening of the hips and pelvis


Females typically have their first period between eight and 15 years. The cycles usually last 28 days but can be between 24 and 38 days.

Mensuration is a sign of your body being able to fall pregnant. Some women take fertility supplements to encourage the fertilization of an egg.


Progesterone levels rise during pregnancy. This increase causes the cervix to widen, forming the mucous plug. Estrogen levels also rise during the second trimester. Hormones decline once the pregnancy ends.


Menopause happens when a person stops having their menstrual periods. They can no longer have children at this point. Most women go through menopause at 52 years old.

You finish going through menopause once you’ve gone an entire year without a period. The ovaries then produce small, constant amounts of progesterone and estrogen.

Perimenopause is the transitional phase leading up to a person’s last period. Perimenopause lasts around four years but can go on for up to eight years. Hormones fluctuate in large amounts, resulting in a range of symptoms.

There are a few signs to look out for when identifying perimenopause.

  • Hot flashes
  • Mood changes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Irregular periods

Sexual arousal and desire

All three primary hormones affect sexual desire and arousal. Higher estrogen levels result in increased vaginal lubrication. Progesterone can decrease sexual desire.

There are some side effects of taking extra testosterone to improve sexual arousal.

  • Irritability
  • Balding
  • Weight gain
  • Clitoral enlargement
  • Excess facial hair

Hormonal imbalance

A steady hormone balance results in well-being and general good health. Hormone replacement therapy for men and women can aid in rebalancing the body.

Learning about hormones is vital. You can easily detect problems once you understand how your body works. These chemicals affect processes like sleep, appetite, and growth.

A hormone imbalance can cause an array of side effects.

  • Excess facial and body hair
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Low sex drive
  • Irregular periods
  • Acne
  • Hot flashes
  • Tender breasts
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Night sweats
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irregular mood changes
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping

There are a few disorders or other issues that can cause an imbalance in a woman’s hormones.

  • Primary ovarian insufficiency
  • Hormonal birth control
  • Excess body weight
  • Stress
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Ovarian cancer

The down low

Hormones are essential in the function of the human body. Female bodies create chemicals that affect the vital stages of life. They also control bodily activities.

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the primary hormones your body produces. There are secondary chemicals that are just as important. These play vital roles in keeping the body functioning and healthy.

Visit our blog for more in-depth information about all things health. We have various articles covering an array of topics. Learn all about the body and what supplements you can take to improve everyday life.

Author: Dr. Jason Phan NMD – Founder of LIVV Natural – Anti-aging – regenerative medicine – peptide therapy