Women's Health

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

View the Birth Control Options Slideshow

Quick GuideWomen's Health Pictures Slideshow: Nutrition and Health Care Reform

Women's Health Pictures Slideshow: Nutrition and Health Care Reform

Female hormones

A hormone is a chemical substance secreted by one tissue that travels by way of body fluids to affect another tissue in the body. In essence, hormones are "chemical messengers." Many hormones, especially those affecting growth and behavior, are present in both men and women. Nevertheless, women are more often portrayed as being under the influence of their hormones, as being subject to hormonal "tides" or "storms."

Some hormones are of special concern to women. The sex hormones produced by the ovaries are not only involved in the growth, maintenance, and the repair of the reproductive tissues, but they also influence other body tissues, including bone mass as well. This can be a problem for women who strive for lower body fat (for example, athletes, models, and ballerinas) and for women with eating disorders. Women with low body fat often do not produce sufficient amounts of sex hormones. They can, therefore, experience a cessation of menstruation, osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), fractures, and other conditions similar to those faced by many post- menopausal women.

After menopause, a woman's body produces less of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Symptoms of the menopausal transition can be troubling for some women. Many doctors prescribe hormone therapy (HT, HRT, ERT, ET) to ease menopausal symptoms, although this therapy should be administered for a short duration due to increases in heart attack and slightly increased risk of breast cancer associated with hormone therapy.

Hormonal problems for women are not confined to those involving the sex hormones. For example, thyroid disease, including hyperthyroidism (over-activity of the thyroid gland) and hypothyroidism (under- activity of the thyroid), is far more common in women than in men.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/12/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Women's Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Women's Health - Menopause Symptoms

    What were your first symptoms and signs of menopause? Which symptoms were/have been the most challenging?

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Menstruation - Symptoms

    What symptoms do you experience during your menstrual period? How do you relieve your worst symptoms?

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Pregnancy - Symptoms

    What were the first changes you noticed in your body early in your pregnancy?

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors