Definition: Generic term for any substance, natural or synthetic, that exerts biologic effects characteristic of estrogenic hormones such as 17ß-estradiol. Estrogens are formed by the ovary, placenta, testes, and possibly the adrenal cortex, as well as by certain plants; they stimulate secondary sexual characteristics, and exert systemic effects, such as growth and maturation of long bones, and are used therapeutically in any disorder attributable to estrogen deficiency or amenable to estrogen therapy, such as menstrual disorders and menopausal problems. They control the course of the menstrual cycle.
[G. oistrus, -heat, estrus, + -gen, producing]
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