There is no real point in my spouting out the technical/medical description of the hormone cycle since it is written all over the place. A page that I found informative and easy to follow was on The RedSpot. Go read it then come back :)
I have never experienced my own hormones concretely, in that I have never been aware of their presence. I don't know if I have high or low hormones levels compared to the national/global average. They are not so concentrated in my bloodstream that I can detect them by smell or anything. If I drink coffee my pee smells caffienated, but estrogen has no such effect, even on the pill.
However, I do notice side-effects on days when my hormones would be high (ovulation time etc), mainly breast tenderness, and these are noted on the next page.
As mentioned, I take extra hormones by way of the birth control pill. My particular brand (LoEstrin) contains a daily dose of 1.5mg Norethindrone Acetate (a progesterone I think), and 30mcg Ethinyl Estradiol (an estrogen), with one week off every 3 weeks.
I have just recently figured out how these hormones stop me from being fertile. Every doctor and medical professional I've asked about this effect has produced an illustrated public health birth control poster with 3 things written on it to explain how the pill works: 1. It stops you from ovulating, 2. It makes the uterine lining inhospitable, and 3. It makes the cervix difficult for sperm to penetrate.
Ya. If you need a breather to absorb the massive technical information in that, help yourself. Alternately, the simple "The pill makes your body think it's pregnant" is a popular explanation.
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