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This chapter discussed the male and female reproductive systems, hormones involved in their development, and various conditions that can occur throughout a client’s lifespan. Major ovarian hormones include estrogen, progestin, FSH, LS, and GnRH. Major testicular hormones include FSH, LS, GnRH, testosterone, and androgens. Hormonal drugs are used to replace low levels of natural hormones, treat some types of cancers, prevent pregnancy, minimize symptoms of menopause, and treat debilitated clients who need tissue building and increased red blood cells. Reproductive hormones are produced naturally by the body and have complex effects. Synthetic hormones have been developed for administration when natural hormone replacement is not possible. Nurses must be aware of the intricate ways in which hormones are interrelated and affect health and illness overall.

Medications used in special situations such as infertility, pregnancy, labor, and postlabor were discussed. These include drugs that can either delay (tocolytics) or stimulate (oxytocics) uterine contractions during labor and delivery, the use of abortifacients, and fertility drugs. There are also special considerations when using drugs during pregnancy and lactation. Drugs used for menopause include hormone replacement therapy and medications that treat conditions that can develop during menopause, such as osteopenia and osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates, calcium, vitamin D, and estrogen receptor modulators (ERMs) are used to treat those conditions. Male-specific conditions treated with medications include hypogonadism, delayed puberty, erectile dysfunction, and BPH. Some testicular hormones (testosterone) and anabolic steroids are used to treat clients with debilitative conditions such as chronic illness or who may have had long-term steroid use.


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