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Women’s reproductive function
The menstrual cycle usually lasts between 25 to 28 days and begins on the first day of the menstrual period. The term from begins on the first day of the menstrual period to next beginning of menstrual cycle is called as “one cycle”. Accurately knowing your menstrual cycle is important for the success of your pregnancy. The menstrual cycle can be divided into three main terms. The follicular phase is the term when the follicle begins to develop into a mature follicle, the ovulatory phase is the term when the ovary releases the egg, and the luteal phase is the term when the follicle becomes a corpus luteum after ovulation.
The menstrual cycle is regulated by a number of hormones. At the onset of menstruation, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) which are one of gonadotropin act on the ovaries, and as the results, follicles begin to develop and produce estrogen. Estrogen leads the endometrium to grow and thicken, and preparing the uterus to receive a fertilized egg. When the main follicle grows to about 20mm, the body judges that the follicle has developed sufficiently because follicle produce a lot of estrogen. After that, the concentration of LH rises rapidly (LH surge), the egg matures and ovulation occurs. After ovulation, the follicle becomes a corpus luteum which produces progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone makes the thickened lining of the uterus more receptive to implantation for a fertilized egg. If the fertilized egg does not implant (i.e. there is no pregnancy), the corpus luteum expires after about 14 days and becomes a white body, so estrogen and progesterone will be decline. This causes the thickened endometrium to flake off and be expelled, and resulting in menstruation. After that, the concentration of LH rises rapidly (LH surge), the egg matures and ovulation occurs.
Function of gonadotropins
Gonadotropins are hormones secreted by the pituitary gland which include such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). The female body is controlled by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which is secreted by the hypothalamus and it is responsible for the normal menstrual cycle, including follicle development, maturation and ovulation. When GnRH is secreted by the hypothalamus in the brain, the pituitary gland in the brain receives it and secretes FSH and LH. Then, FSH and LH move to the ovaries through the bloodstream and these gonadotropins work for development and maturation of follicles. Hormone secretion is regulated by a feedback mechanism to ensure a normal menstrual cycle. In the treatment of infertility, when FSH and LH levels are found to be insufficient, FSH and LH may be administered as a drug to stimulate follicle growth and maturation.
How female hormones work
Female hormones are the general term for estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen (E) is also called ‘follicle hormone’ because it is produced as the follicle develops. There are three types of estrogen: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2) and estriol (E3), but estradiol is the main estrogen that acts during sexual maturity. Estradiol is the most active out of these three estrogens and it is usually the main component of estrogen in blood which is measured by the test.
Progesterone has a fertilized egg to be easily implanted in the endometrial film, and after implantation (pregnancy), it works to continue pregnancy. In addition, since progesterone works on the heat regulating center of the brain that takes a body temperature, it works to raise the body temperature, so that the temperature is high while progesterone after ovulation is secreted (= high temperature), 0.3- It rises about 0.6 ° C. If it is determined that estrogen or progesterone is not sufficient in infertility treatment, it may be administered as difficult to promote the growth and thickening of the endometrium.