Estrogen is a hormone that can be found in the body. It is made up of a group of compounds, which include estradiol, estriol and estrone. Estrogen is the main sex hormone in females and is an important hormone in the menstrual cycle. Even though estrogen can be found on both men and women, it is in the latter that higher amounts of this hormone are found, especially on women who are already at the stage in their life when they are capable of reproduction.
Estrogen is the main contributor to the development of secondary sex characteristics. These are the marked differences between men and women that are not related to the reproductive system. Among these female-centric characteristics are the development of breasts, a wider pelvis and larger amounts of body fat around the buttock, hip and thigh regions. Estrogen is also the main reason why women have smoother skin and also lesser facial hair compared to men.
Estrogen is important in the reproductive process. It is the hormone that helps regulate the menstrual cycle and it’s also responsible for preparing the uterus for pregnancy by initiating the change in the endometrium to make it thicker and more enriched. Two hormones assist in how the body produces estrogen in order for them to ovulate – the luteinizing hormone or LH and the follicle stimulating hormone or FSH. The ovaries are the main organs that produce estrogen and it does this by developing egg follicles. Estrogen is also produced by a particular part of the ovary called the corpus luteum. The placenta also produces estrogen. Other organs that produce estrogen – though in very small quantities – are the liver, adrenal glands and breasts.