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Estrogen is a group of female sex hormones, or steroid compounds, that are produced primarily by the ovaries. Found in both men and women, in men estrogen is a by-product of testosterone and is produced in very small quantities. In women, estrogen promotes sexual development and regulates the menstrual cycle.

Estradiol, estriol and estrone are the three main forms of estrogen that are found within the body. Estradiol is the primary estrogen hormone producing the hormone estrone, while estriol is the breakdown produce of estradiol. Estriol is abundant in the body during pregnancy. While estradiol is the main estrogen hormone found in the body throughout one’s young and middle-aged life, estradiol levels plummet after menopause, allowing estrone to become the primary estrogen present in the body.

Estrogens are found in oral contraceptives and are used in estrogen replacement therapy for menopausal women, as well as hormone replacement therapy in transgendered adults. An estrogen deficiency can lead to osteoporosis.

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