Hormones are chemicals produced in certain parts of the body and transported by the blood to various body organs and tissues. Hormones produce a wide range of effects in various parts of the body. They are released by the ovaries, testicles, pituitary gland, thyroid glands, and pancreas among other organs. They play important roles from conception to death.
- Three hormones are produced during conception:
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
- Estrogen, and
- Luteinizing hormone
As the name suggests, follicle stimulating hormones stimulate the ovaries to release fully developed ova inside follicles.
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The follicles then produce estrogen, which provides a suitable environment for the survival of sperms. The effects of follicle stimulating hormones and estrogen increases the chances of becoming pregnant. High estrogen levels triggers the release of luteinizing hormone, which causes the follicle to burst and release the egg.
After successful conception, the body produces Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) hormone. This hormone regulates the amount of estrogen and progesterone released into the bloodstream. The two hormones help to maintain pregnancy. However, this role is taken up by the placenta once it is fully established.
Several hormones are involved in the birth process:
- Triggers sudden and accelerated muscle contractions that push the baby out
- Promotes flow of milk from the mammary glands
- Helps establish a bond between the mother and the baby
- Gives the mother the feeling that the baby belongs to her and that she should protect him/her
Noradrenalin and adrenaline (catecholamine)
- Provides the energy required for birth.
Prolactin (the mothering hormone)
- Aids in the production of breast milk
- Promotes the willingness of the mother to breastfeed the baby
- Helps in maturation of the baby’s lungs
- Stimulates the production of prolactin
- Promotes the production of breast milk
- Causes development of a mutual relationship of dependence between the baby and the mother
One of the most important hormones during infancy is cortisol. It determines the intellectual, emotional, and social development of the baby and can affect the child for the rest of his/her life. High amounts of cortisol affect brain functions and how an individual will be able to manage stress later in life. A high concentration of the hormone does not provide a conducive environment for brain growth and development. This can be avoided through breastfeeding and by letting the baby spend as much time as possible with the mother. This gives the baby a feeling of belonging, affection, and safety.
Growth is the most important activity during this stage of life. The Human Growth Hormone plays important roles in the growth of cells, muscles, and bones. It also stimulates the digestion of food in order to provide nutrients to the body. It works best when we are sleeping.
After childhood, the body releases hormones that transition it into adulthood. The hormone responsible for these changes is referred to as gonadotropin-releasing hormone produced by the hypothalamus. The hormone stimulates the pituitary gland to produce luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone.
In boys, these hormones trigger the production of sperms and another hormone called testosterone. Testosterone causes physical changes experienced during puberty including breaking of the voice, growth of beard, increase in muscle mass, and broadening of the shoulders.
In girls, FSH stimulates the release of a mature ovum in the form of a follicle while LH stimulates the follicle to burst providing an egg ready for fertilization. FSH also stimulates the release of estrogen, which together with FSH and LH; cause the physical changes girls experience during puberty including broadening of the hips, breast development, and menstruation.
Boys and girls are able to reproduce once they reach puberty. During reproduction, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone is produced, which stimulates the release of FSH and LH. The two hormones stimulate the production of ova and sperms. In women, estrogen and progesterone prepare their bodies for conception. Failure to conceive leads to menstrual period. Estrogen provides a suitable environment for fertilization to occur. Progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy and promotes the production of milk from the breasts. When conception does not occur, the level of the two hormones reduces and the cycle begins all over again.
This refers to the age when a woman loses the ability to become pregnant. Estrogen and progesterone cease to be released, which means that ova cannot be released. However, women produce small amounts of testosterone during this period, which is converted into estrogen and stored as body fat. This is why women tend to add weight after reaching menopause.
Men also get to a certain age when they cease to be reproductive. This is characterized by a general sense of tiredness, decrease in libido, weight gain, weak bones, shrinking of muscles, and hair loss. These changes occur due to a decrease in the level of testosterone, which leads to an increase in estrogen levels.
Old age is characterized by weak bones, weak immune systems, poor memory, thin sagged skin, fatigue, poor functioning of organs such as the heart, kidney, lungs, ears, and eyes. This is usually caused by a drop in the levels of estrogen and human growth hormone (HGH) as well as high levels of cortisol. Decrease in HGH also leads to a general sense of worry, unhappiness, and weight gain. However, these symptoms can be minimized by injecting the body with hormones.
Cortisol is usually released during stressful situations. Its levels often drop immediately, once the stress subsides. However, cortisol levels usually remain high during old age regardless of the situation. This leads to death of brain cells, weakening of the immune system, poor performance of vital organs like the heart, kidney and lungs, decrease in muscle mass, and thinning of the skin. Eventually, death occurs because the body is not in the best condition for survival. However, this does not mean that one can die any time after reaching the age of sixty five. You can enhance the quality of your life by eating right, exercising regularly, balancing your hormone levels through supervised bio identical hormone optimization therapy, getting enough rest each night, and avoiding stress.
Hormones play important roles in our bodies and lives from conception to death. Even behavior, moods, and physical features are the effects of hormones.