How female hormone secretion works
●Female hormones secrete by command from the brain
Female hormones refer to two types of hormones: the follicular hormone (estrogen) and the corpus luteum hormone (progesterone). They are secreted from the ovary during a month’s time based on a certain rhythm. The cerebrum is responsible for the secretion of these hormones, where the mechanism from the hypothalamus—to the pituitary gland—and to the ovary works.
Let’s check the mechanism by looking at the illustration below:
1.Hypothalamus in the interbrain checks the amount of hormones in the blood at all times, and secretes the luteinizing hormone releasing hormones at the necessary timing.
2.Receiving the command, the pituitary body secretes the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and orders the ovary to secrete hormones.
3.Receiving the command, the ovary secretes follicle hormones and corpus luteum hormones as instructed.
Gonad function and hormones
●How each female hormone works
Let’s see how female hormones work according to the menstrual mechanism
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is a kind of gonadotropic hormone, is secreted from the pituitary body.
- When the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) reaches the ovary, it stimulates the primordial follicle inside the ovary, and one of them starts to grow.
- Follicle hormone (estradiol) is secreted from the grown follicle, which makes the endometrium grow gradually thicker.
- When the amount of the follicle hormone (estradiol) reaches its peak, luteinizing hormone (LH) is secreted from the pituitary gland.
- When luteinizing hormone (LH) reaches the ovary, the mature follicle is stimulated and the ovule inside pops out. This is ovulation.
- After ovulation, the follicle from which the ovule went out changes into what is called the corpus luteum, and begins to secrete large amounts of corpus luteum hormone (progesterone). At this time, follicle hormone (estradiol) is also secreted, though in very small amount.
- Corpus luteum (progesterone) works toward the endometrium so that it may be prepared for the fertilized egg (→introduced in the ”Pregnancy/childbirth” section) to be implanted at any time.
- If fertilization is not organized, the amount of corpus luteum (progesterone) and follicle hormone (estradiol) falls sharply; endometrium will peel off, and go out of the body in the form of menstrual bleeding. This is menstrual discharge (menstruation).
Adjusting the secretory balance of hormones
●What happens when female hormones lose balance?
We often say “there is a hormone imbalance”: This indicates a state in which female hormones are not being secreted in a satisfactory or adequate manner. However, we do not know which organs associated with the secretion of hormones--hypothalamus, pituitary body, or ovary—are not working right unless we actually examine the organs. The secretion state of each organ may be checked by measuring the amount of hormones within the blood by a blood test. As a result, by checking the decrease or increase in the amount of hormones, we are able to identify which organs are causing trouble.
●Harmful effects are extended all over the body when there is a hormone imbalance
When there is an imbalance with female hormones, it will lead to irregular menstruation or amenorrhea. On the contrary, when irregular menstruation or amenorrhea occurs again and again, it is likely that your hormone secretion is disturbed. Moreover, your autonomic nerve may lose balance, and may affect your whole body. Should this happen, you will have headaches and dizziness; hot flash or bad circulation; irritation and other complications. This is because the hypothalamus in the interbrain also serves as the center of the autonomic nerve. You should consult a gynecologist when you are having a hard time.
●Keep your hormone state at its best with an orderly life.
Hypothalamus controls the secretion of hormones, but it is weak against stress. When you feel a significant amount of stress, hormone secretion becomes disturbed, which causes ill health. In contrast, when you are being stimulated in a comfortable way; for example, listening to a favorite music, your hormone balance will adjust, and you will also be physically fit. As hormones are affected also by the balance of autonomic nerves, it is important to lead an orderly life.