The four main hormones I often look at to assess hormone balance in women are estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and often (but not always) DHEA. There are a lot of roles that each of these hormones play in maintaining healthy metabolism, menstrual regularity and fertility, and endocrine function. There are many other hormones and chemical processes that take place before and after these have done their job. 

Before I get into detail on each of these key players, I want to emphasize that addressing one or any of these hormones individually does not always create a balance, and that is because so many things take place to get them out of balance.


Estrogen, a key hormone predominantly found in females, plays a complex role in maintaining various physiological functions within the body, including the regulation of body weight. Understanding the relationship between estrogen and weight gain is crucial in comprehending the impact of hormonal imbalances on metabolic health.

Estrogen affects body weight through several mechanisms. Firstly, it helps regulate energy balance by influencing appetite and satiety signals in the brain. Estrogen receptors are present in regions of the brain involved in appetite regulation, implying that this hormone can affect feelings of hunger and fullness. Changes in estrogen levels, such as during the menstrual cycle or menopause, can disrupt appetite regulation and potentially contribute to weight gain.

Additionally, estrogen influences fat distribution in the body. In general, premenopausal women tend to accumulate more fat around the hips and thighs, referred to as the "pear-shaped" body type. This is partly attributed to the protective effects of estrogen against excess fat storage in the abdominal region that is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases. However, during menopause, as estrogen levels decline, there is a shift in fat distribution, leading to a more central or "apple-shaped" pattern of fat accumulation. This change can be associated with an increased risk of metabolic disorders, including insulin resistance and cardiovascular diseases.

Furthermore, estrogen plays a role in regulating metabolic rate. It influences the activity of enzymes involved in energy expenditure and the breakdown of fats. Balanced estrogen levels can promote a higher metabolic rate, contributing to the maintenance of a healthy body weight. However, imbalances or deficiencies in estrogen can impair these processes, potentially leading to weight gain or difficulty in losing weight.

Too much- or not enough- of estrogen can definitely lead to weight gain, which is why it's always important to look at your levels throughout the entire menstrual cycle, rather than on one particular day. A full map of your menstrual cycle will key you in on whether you have too much, too little... or if other hormones present low/high levels in ratio to estrogen. The DUTCH Map test is the gold standard in gaining this kind of insight.

Overall, estrogen plays a significant role in the regulation of body weight. Disruptions in estrogen levels, whether temporary or long-term, can have implications on appetite, fat distribution, and metabolic rate, all of which can influence weight gain. Understanding the intricacies of the estrogen-weight relationship is vital for addressing hormonal imbalances and designing individualized strategies for preventing and managing weight-related issues.

Estrogen is primarily known for its involvement in the reproductive system, but it influences many physiological processes and systems in the body that effect mood, mental health, bone strength, and cardiovascular health.

One of the key contributions of estrogen to women's health is its impact on mood and mental well-being: 

Estrogen receptors are present in regions of the brain associated with emotions and memory. Fluctuations in estrogen levels throughout the menstrual cycle and during menopause can influence neurotransmitters and receptors involved in mood regulation, potentially contributing to mood swings, depression, and anxiety.

Furthermore, estrogen plays a vital role in maintaining bone health and strength. It helps regulate bone remodeling by stimulating bone formation and inhibiting bone breakdown. Lower estrogen levels, particularly during menopause when there is a significant decline in estrogen production, can lead to accelerated bone loss and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Hormone therapy that includes estrogen has shown to have beneficial effects on bone health in postmenopausal women.

Estrogen also exerts protective effects on cardiovascular health. It helps maintain the health and function of blood vessels and improves blood flow throughout the body. Estrogen promotes the dilation of blood vessels and reduces inflammation, contributing to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke[2]. However, it's important to note that the relationship between estrogen and cardiovascular health is complex, and further research is still needed to fully understand its mechanisms and implications.

In conclusion, estrogen plays a multifaceted role in women's overall health. It influences mood and mental well-being, bone health, and cardiovascular function. Understanding the contributions of estrogen to these aspects of women's health is essential for developing strategies for prevention, intervention, and personalized healthcare.


Progesterone, a hormone primarily produced in the ovaries of women, plays a crucial role in maintaining women's overall health. It is involved in various physiological processes and systems within the body, influencing reproductive health, maintaining pregnancy, and contributing to overall wellbeing.

One of the primary functions of progesterone is its role in regulating the menstrual cycle and supporting reproductive health. During the second half of the menstrual cycle, progesterone levels rise to prepare the uterus for potential pregnancy. It helps to thicken the uterine lining, promoting implantation of a fertilized egg, and supports the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. 

By regulating the menstrual cycle and supporting reproductive health, progesterone plays a fundamental role in women's fertility and ability to conceive. Additionally, progesterone contributes to the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. In early pregnancy, it helps to establish a suitable environment for the developing embryo by promoting the growth of blood vessels in the uterus, supporting nutrient supply to the fetus. Progesterone also relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus, preventing contractions and thus reducing the risk of premature labor. Throughout pregnancy, progesterone levels remain elevated to support the growth and development of the fetus.

Progesterone also influences various other physiological processes in the body, including bone health. It is known to have a positive impact on bone mineral density and can help protect against osteoporosis. 

Moreover, progesterone contributes to the regulation of mood and overall well-being. Fluctuations in progesterone levels throughout the menstrual cycle can affect neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain, potentially influencing mood and emotional states.

Overall, progesterone plays a vital role in women's overall health. From regulating the menstrual cycle and supporting reproductive health to contributing to the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy and influencing other physiological processes, progesterone is crucial for women's wellbeing.


Testosterone, although commonly associated with men, also plays an essential role in women's overall health. While women have lower testosterone levels than men, this hormone still contributes to various aspects of their well-being.

One of the key contributions of testosterone to women's health is its role in maintaining bone density. Testosterone helps support bone health by stimulating bone formation and contributing to the maintenance of bone strength. It aids in the production of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for building new bone tissue, which helps prevent the development of osteoporosis and reduces the risk of fractures.

In addition to its impact on bone health, testosterone also plays a role in maintaining muscle mass and strength in women. It contributes to the development and maintenance of lean muscle tissue, helping to support overall physical strength and performance. Adequate testosterone levels can enhance exercise capacity and promote the preservation of muscle mass as women age.

Furthermore, testosterone has been linked to mood regulation and cognitive function in women. Studies have shown that testosterone may influence aspects of mental health such as mood, energy levels, and cognitive abilities4. It may contribute to a sense of well-being and help improve cognitive performance, memory, and spatial awareness5.

Testosterone also plays a role in women's sexual health and libido. Although testosterone is predominantly considered a male hormone, it is vital for maintaining healthy sexual desire and function in women. It contributes to the regulation of sexual arousal, desire, and satisfaction67.

In conclusion, while testosterone levels in women are lower compared to men, this hormone nonetheless plays a significant role in their overall health. It contributes to maintaining bone density, muscle mass, cognitive function, and sexual health. Understanding the contributions of testosterone in women is important for addressing hormonal imbalances and promoting optimal well-being.


DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and plays a crucial role in women's overall health. It serves as a precursor to various hormones in the body and contributes to several key aspects of women's well-being.

One of the key contributions of DHEA to women's health is its impact on hormone balance because it is a precursor to both estrogen and testosterone, and it helps regulate the production of these hormones and maintain a balanced ratio of estrogen and testosterone

Furthermore, DHEA is known to have important anti-aging effects. It acts as an antioxidant and plays a role in protecting cells against oxidative stress and damage. Studies have suggested that DHEA may promote skin health, help maintain youthful skin appearance, and potentially reduce signs of aging[^4]. Additionally, DHEA is involved in maintaining the integrity and density of connective tissues, such as skin, promoting overall tissue health and resilience.

DHEA also contributes to women's cognitive function and mood regulation. Research has indicated that DHEA may have a positive impact on memory and cognitive abilities, particularly in older women. Additionally, DHEA has been associated with improved mood, reduced symptoms of depression, and enhanced overall well-being. It appears to play a role in the regulation of neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain, influencing mood and emotional states.

Moreover, DHEA has been linked to metabolic health in women. Studies have suggested that DHEA may help maintain healthy body composition, improve insulin sensitivity, and support optimal metabolism. By promoting metabolic health, DHEA may contribute to weight management and overall metabolic balance in women.

In conclusion, DHEA plays a vital role in women's overall health by influencing hormone balance, supporting anti-aging effects, contributing to cognitive function and mood regulation, and promoting metabolic health. Understanding the significance of DHEA in women's health can help address hormonal imbalances and promote optimal well-being.

In summary, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA all play crucial roles in women's overall health and well-being. The exact balance and levels of each hormone can vary depending on various factors such as age, pregnancy, and menopause. Understanding the functions of each hormone can help women make informed decisions about their health and well-being.


Energy, fitness, For Women, goals, Health, weight loss, Weight Management, Womens health

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