Medical Specialties: Internal medicine, Obstetrics/gynecology

Clinical Definition

In women, estrogen is a hormone produced primarily by the ovaries and to a lesser extent by the adrenal glands. Estrogen is responsible for inducing the estrus cycle and the development of female secondary sex characteristics. The hormone also plays a role in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health. Estrogen levels decline in females post-menopausal, which can lead to demineralization of the bones, and other menopause symptoms.

In Our Own Words

Estrogen is a hormone made mostly by the ovaries and to a lesser extent, the adrenal glands. (In men, estrogen is made by germ cells in the testes and has a role in male fertility).

Estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle in women each month. It is also responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics in women including breast development and widening of the hips.

In addition to the reproductive system, estrogen also affects the bones, heart, skin, urinary tract, and brain. As women age, estrogen levels decrease, which can lead to an increased risk of weakened bones and other symptoms of menopause.

Relevant Conditions
  • Menopause
  • Puberty
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