Marla Ahlgrimm Q & A About Hormones

Marla AhlgrimmRetired pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm spent her entire career focused on women’s health, specifically where hormones are concerned. Here, the Madison, Wisconsin based healthcare entrepreneur answers questions about the chemicals that keep us going.

Q: What are hormones?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Hormones are chemicals produced by different glands throughout the body. They are responsible for regulating the biological systems that keep us healthy. Hormones affect every system of the body and are vital to normal growth and development.
Q: From where do hormones derive?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are 10 primary hormone producing glands. These are the hypothalamus, parathyroid, thymus, pancreas, thyroid, adrenal, pituitary, pineal, ovaries, and testes. Each gland controls specific hormones. For instance, the parathyroid gland controls the body’s calcium levels while the testes in men produce testosterone and sperm. The thymus and thyroid control immune system maturity and the body’s ability to burn calories respectively.

Q: What are the major types of hormones in women?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estradiol, or estrogen, is the primary sex hormone in females. It is the chemical that triggers the onset of puberty, regulates the menstrual cycle, and gets a woman’s body ready for pregnancy. Progesterone is another important hormone and it assists in pregnancy and healthy menstrual cycle patterns.

Q: Do men have different hormones than women?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Men’s bodies are built differently and have evolved to have a different physical structure. While the hormones are the same in both sexes, men have higher levels of testosterone, which is the main sex hormone for males. They also have much lower levels of the hormones that are typically associated with womanhood. Testosterone, like estrogen in women, causes puberty in teenage boys. It is also responsible for facial hair and the higher volume of muscle mass that men have, as compared to women. Testosterone is also important in the healthy formation of bones in men as men have denser bone mass than women.

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