What Are Female Sex Hormones?

Female sex hormones, such as progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, play a huge role in the sexual development, reproduction, and general health of women.

The levels of female sex hormones do change over time as a woman grows older, but they are already developing and changing as early as puberty, pregnancy, and finally into menopause. These fluctuations in hormone balance during the menopausal period may require therapy to stimulate increased sex drive.

Moreover, female hormones are important to a woman as they affect muscle and bone growth. They get released into the bloodstream and help to regulate many bodily processes such as sleep patterns, growth, and appetite. They play a vital role in her sexual development that promotes increased sex drive and reproduction. In both men and women, sex hormones are involved in:

  • Reproduction
  • Puberty and sexual development through to the menopause
  • Sexual desire and increased sex drive
  • The regulation of bone and muscle growth
  • Regulation of cholesterol levels
  • Inflammatory response
  • Body fat distribution
  • Promotion of hair growth

Certain natural factors affect the levels of female sex hormones. These are aging, menstruation, pregnancy, medication, menopause, stress, and the environment. These factors will even affect your sexual desire as well as impact your health.

The Different Types of Female Sex Hormones

Female Hormones Level
Each female sex hormone increases sex drive in females. They are:

1. Estrogen

Estrogen is the hormone responsible for reproduction as well as the female physical features. Men have estrogen, too, but in smaller amounts, as women also have testosterone, the main male hormone.

Estrogen[1] is extremely important because it helps to bring about the physical changes that you see in a young girl that turn her into a woman. This time of her life is known as puberty. The changes that you will see in a young girl turning into a woman are:

  • Her breasts will start to grow and enlarge
  • She will get pubic hair as well as hair under her arms
  • She will start her menstrual cycle

It is estrogen that increases sex drive in females, also contributing to cognitive health, bone health, and the health of other bodily processes. This hormone is crucial for the brain, mood, skin, the heart, and it also keeps cholesterol in control.

The ovaries produce a woman’s egg. They are the main source of estrogen. Estrogen moves through your blood, acting everywhere in the body.

Sometimes, your body makes too little or too much estrogen. Taking birth control pills can often cause too much estrogen. Some women take ERT or estrogen replacement therapy when they have insufficient estrogen.

The body makes three different types of estrogen hormones. These are:

  • Estradiol (E2) – Found in women of childbearing age
  • Estriol (E3) – The main estrogen during pregnancy
  • Estrone (E1) – The estrogen that the body makes after menopause when menstrual periods stop

2. Progesterone

Progesterone[2] hormone plays an important role in your menstrual cycle, as well as the early stages of pregnancy. It also takes an active part in the growth of certain cancers.

Progesterone is secreted by the corpus luteum after ovulation during the second half of the menstrual cycle. It prepares the endometrium[3] for the potential to fall pregnant after a woman has ovulated.

It will cause the lining to become thick to accept a fertilized egg, preventing the muscle contractions of the uterus to reject the egg.

If a woman doesn’t become pregnant, the corpus luteum breaks down, lowering the progesterone levels in the body. When this happens, menstruation begins.

If the body does conceive an egg, progesterone continues to stimulate the body to provide the blood vessels that will feed the new baby in the endometrium.

The placenta develops and starts to secrete progesterone, keeping the levels elevated through the pregnancy. This prevents the body from producing more eggs. It also prepares the breast to produce milk for the new baby.

If a woman has low levels of the progesterone hormone, she will have menstrual struggles. She will battle to get pregnant and at risk for a miscarriage. Low progesterone levels can also cause her to experience irregular or missed periods, spotting, and abdominal pain during pregnancy.

3. Testosterone

Although testosterone[4] is the main sex hormone in males, you will find it in small doses in women. When combined with estrogen, the female testosterone hormone helps with the growth, repair, and maintenance of women’s reproductive tissues, bone mass, and human behavior.

The Mayo Clinic gives the ranges of testosterone levels for females. If a woman has an imbalance of testosterone[5] in her body, it can damage her health and sex drive.

Furthermore, it is thought that by boosting testosterone levels in a woman, she will experience increased sex drive.

The Roles Female Sex Hormones Play

roles female sex hormones

1. Puberty

When a girl is in puberty, her body will produce more estrogen and progesterone. This period is between 8 to 13 years of age and ends when she is around 14.

At puberty, the pituitary gland will produce larger amounts of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These stimulate the production of estrogen and progesterone.

A girl gets curvier, gains weight on the hips, and breasts develop. Girls need to know that gaining some weight is part of them developing into a woman. It’s unhealthy at this time for girls to diet to stop normal weight gain.

After about 2 years from the start of puberty, females will get their menstrual period. It means puberty is progressing, and the hormones are doing their job.

2. Menstruation

The time for menstruating is called Menarche. It’s when a girl gets her first menstrual period at around 12 or 13 years old, or even as late as 15.

After the start of the menstrual cycle, a woman will continue to have a regular monthly cycle until she reaches menopause. The menstrual cycle is around 28 days, but it can vary from shorter to longer. The menstruation phase occurs in 3 phases – the Follicular phase, Ovulatory phase, and Luteal phase.

3. Pregnancy

Pregnancy commences the minute a fertilized egg gets implanted in the woman’s uterus.

The placenta[6] will start to develop and produce a few hormones such as progesterone, relaxin, and the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone.

During this time, the progesterone hormone levels will rise steadily. As the hCG levels rise, they stimulate more production of estrogen and progesterone.

It can be so rapid that often nausea and vomiting can occur, as well as the need to urinate more often.

The hormone levels continue to rise, only declining when the pregnancy is over. When a person breastfeeds, it lowers the estrogen levels in the body, and this can prevent further ovulation from occurring.

4. Menopause

Menopause is the time when a woman stops having her menstrual periods. Then she can no longer get pregnant. It occurs on average in women from around 52 years old. A product that increases sex drive in females might be requested by the doctor.

Hot flashes

Perimenopause is the time that leads up to the woman having her final period. In this transition, hormone levels may fluctuate, which can cause a woman to experience symptoms, like irregular periods, hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, mood changes, and vaginal dryness. Perimenopause lasts for about 4 years but can last longer.

Menopause occurs when a person has not had a period in one year. Then, the ovaries will produce a small amount of estrogen and progesterone.

5. Sexual desire and arousal

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone all affect sexual desire and arousal.

When the estrogen hormone levels are high, the body promotes vaginal lubrication with an increased sex drive.

Also, an increase in progesterone can reduce sexual desire. Some debate continues about testosterone therapy[7], and how it can enhance the effects of estrogen, which increases sex drive in females – see what you think.


Hormones are chemical messengers that help regulate the bodily functions and general health of women. Sex hormones play a crucial role in sexual development and reproduction.

In women, the top hormones are estrogen and progesterone. The production of these hormones, which includes testosterone, occurs in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and during pregnancy.

The female sex hormones also influence hair growth, body weight, muscle, and bone growth. Even though these important hormones fluctuate naturally throughout a woman’s life when there are long-term imbalances, a range of health conditions can arise and some unwanted symptoms.

The good news is that the path to healthier female sex hormones and increased sex drive towards greater sexual satisfaction could well lie in what a woman consumes.

These top foods will provide her with the right balance of hormones and nutrients. It might be not so easy to believe that such a simple solution could get a woman closer to sexual satisfaction and improved intimacy. However, never forget to discuss this matter with your doctor.