The Role of Teenage Hormones

The are three main teenage hormones that come into play in puberty.  They are not just teenage hormones, of course. Below you will find information about how each of these hormones functions in the body and the effects that they can have on both teenagers and adults.


Estrogen
•    is the main female hormone which governs the development of girls from babyhood to womanhood.
•    influences behavior and tends to produce a more nurturing attitude.
•    is the main reason girls grow breasts and start having periods.
•    helps to produce the egg white like fluid in the uterus and vagina that help sperm to travel towards the egg and encourages the formation of tissue in the womb that provides the right environment for a fertilized egg to settle and grow.
•    is fundamental in maintaining high calcium in bones.
•    helps to maintain level mood and avoid mood swings and painful periods. Too little estrogen can affect the levels of  “good mood” chemicals in the brain.
•    excess estrogen can cause water retention and swelling, cause unhelpful changes in brain chemicals, affect the absorption of some vitamins and minerals, and cause anxiety, paranoia and low blood sugar.
•    excess estrogen can be a cause of cancer.
•    surprisingly, estrogen plays a role in the of male hormones in adolescent boys.


Progesterone
•    is necessary for the production of estrogen and testosterone.
•    is present in large amounts after ovulation which helps to keep a fertilized egg in place and maintain a pregnancy.  If there are low levels of progesterone a miscarriage is much more likely.
•    has a protective role in preventing cancer.
•    helps to reduce bloating before a period.
•    has a role to play in maintaining weight - when progesterone is properly balanced with estrogen if prevents fat being laid down in the body and uses it for energy instead.
•    helps to balance mood and prevent tiredness and depression. 
•    promotes a balanced thyroid.
•    encourages a balanced menstrual cycle with fewer sugar cravings before a period and fewer blood clots during a period.
•    helps to prevent osteoporosis by encouraging bone growth, balances the adrenal glands and maintains good oxygen levels in the brain.


Testosterone
•    is produced by the testes in adolescent boys and in men.   
•    triggers the growth of facial and body hair.
•    causes a boy’s voice to ‘break’ and become lower.
•    too much testosterone can cause aggression.  However balanced levels result in an more assertive approach rather than pure aggression.
•    the increased body strength in teenager boys and men is a result of a greater protein content in muscles and bones produced by testosterone.
•    again surprisingly, testosterone has a role to play in the development of female hormones in adolescent girls.

It is clear that these hormones have fundamental effects on physical growth, mood and emotions.  In adolescence these teenage hormones produce profound changes and it is important to ensure that they are well balanced through diet, herbs and food supplements.

Return to Stress Management for Teens from Teenage Hormones