As women, we hear talk (and blame) of our hormones all the time. But what do they really mean for our bodies and our skin? As the body’s chemical messengers, hormones control everything from your metabolism and development to reproduction and your response to stress. Balanced hormones are essential to maintaining the healthy ecosystem you need to thrive. This guide will help you understand each of the hormones — what they do and the questions to ask about them.
Female sex hormones, or sex steroids, play vital roles in sexual development, reproduction, and general health. Sex hormone levels change over time (and throughout your cycle), but some of the most significant changes happen during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Estrone, one of the three types of Estrogen, is the only type of estrogen that is produced after menopause.
Estradiol, one of the three types of Estrogen, is the one commonly referred to as “estrogen” as it dominates during the reproductive years.
Estriol, one of the three types of Estrogen, is much more prevalent during pregnancy when it is produced by the placenta as well as the ovaries.
DHEA is a building block hormone that helps produce other hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone.
DHT, an androgen, is responsible for some aspects of female puberty like the growth of body hair.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
FSH, acts as a messenger during the menstrual cycle telling your ovaries that it’s time to produce an egg.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)
HCG is known as the “pregnancy hormone” that both at-home and doctor’s office tests measure to confirm pregnancy.
Kisspeptin is produced in your brain to stimulate production of sex hormones - testosterone and estrogen.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
LH acts as a messenger during the menstrual cycle telling your ovaries that it’s time to release an egg.
Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone” because it is associated with human bonding behaviors like trust, empathy, and sexual arousal.
Progesterone is a key player in regulating your monthly cycle, but its main role is to prepare and support a pregnancy.
Prolactin's primary role is milk production, but it also plays a role in metabolism, the immune and reproductive systems and helps to regulate behavior.
Relaxin is most well known for its role in pregnancy, allowing your muscles to literally “relax” and make room for a growing baby.
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
SHBG helps to signal how well sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone are being absorbed or used by the body.
Testosterone, an androgen, is part of the delicate hormonal balance that leads to healthy menstrual cycles and a properly functioning fertility system.