<endocrinology, hormone> A generic term for oestrus producing steroid compounds, the female sex hormones.

In humans, oestrogen is formed in the ovary, possibly the adrenal cortex, the testis and the foetoplacental unit, it has various functions in both sexes. It is responsible for the development of the female secondary sex characteristics and during the menstrual cycle it acts on the female genitalia to produce an environment suitable for the fertilization, implantation and nutrition of the early embryo.

Oestrogen is used in oral contraceptives and in hormone replacement therapy for the relief of the discomforts of menopause, inhibition of lactation and treatment of osteoporosis, threatened abortion and various functional ovarian disorders.

American spelling: estrogen

(11 Mar 2008)