Similar term(s): estradiol, oestrogen.
Primary female sex hormone produced mainly by the ovaries. Estrogens are also produced in smaller amounts in the testes of men.
In women, estrogens are primarily involved with the development of female sexual characteristics and the maintenance of the reproductive system and menstrual cycle.
Estrogens are also thought to be important in the development of nerve cells and in the maintenance of a healthy heart.
Certain dioxins, PCBs and other substances, may cause estrogen-like effects when introduced in the body and may thus affect reproduction.