(3) Anabolism increases the synthesis and decreases the breakdown of
protein. Androgens also act to produce secondary sex characteristics associated with
the male (like development of pubic hair and facial hair, development of a deeper
pitched voice, and development of increased sebaceous secretions). In females, there
is limited androgen production by the adrenal glands.
Section II. USES OF REPRODUCTIVE HORMONES
In the previous section, the reproductive hormones were discussed in terms of
their site of production and the effects produced on the body. As you have probably
realized by now, these substances affect the body in many ways. Therapeutically,
physicians take advantage of the different ways these substances affect the body in
order to use them to treat certain disease conditions. This section will focus on the uses
associated with the reproductive hormones discussed in Section I.
USES OF ESTROGEN
Estrogen has a variety of uses in medical practice. Following are some of those
a. Hormonal Replacement. In cases where there is insufficient estrogen
present, the woman can suffer various conditions (like dryness of the vagina). The lack
of sufficient estrogen in the woman's body could be attributed to surgery (removal of the
ovaries), to menopause, or to other conditions. In such cases, the physician might elect
to prescribe estrogen therapy to provide the needed estrogen.
b. Palliative Treatment of Breast Cancer and Prostatic Cancer. Palliative
refers to lessening the severity of symptoms or pain, such treatment does not
necessarily mean cure. Estrogen is sometimes administered to relieve "bone pain," a
condition experienced by some men who have cancer of the prostate that has
metastasized to bone causing severe pain. In females, some breast tumors are
sensitive to estrogens if there is an "estrogen receptor" present. The presence of such
an estrogen receptor can be determined by laboratory tests. If such a receptor is
present, estrogen therapy can lead to a decrease in the size of the tumor. At the
present time, it is not known if an estrogen receptor is present in cases involving cancer
of the prostrate. It is recommended that other treatment (for example, chemotherapy)
be used in conjunction with estrogen therapy.
c. Oral Contraceptive. Estrogen alone, or in conjunction with progesterone,
can be used to prevent pregnancy.