Progesterone and estrogen are like partners in crime. They simply can’t do anything without the other.
Most of the time we talk about estrogen. But progesterone is actually as powerful hormone in the body, but only a few knows so much about it.
Let’s get to know more about progesterone shall we? See how it can help improve our health, especially during menopause.
What is progesterone?
It is a hormone that is responsible for several roles in the body. Its main functions include the preparation and maintenance of the uterus for pregnancy and inhibition of female ovulation while pregnancy is on. It is a precursor to estrogen, produced in the ovaries. Men also have progesterone, but females levels are much higher.
Other uses of progesterone include the following:
- Natural diuretic – allows you to pee naturally
- Effectively burns fat and turn it into energy
- Promotes oxygenation to the cellular level. This means that all parts of the body gets better oxygen supply
- Helps in building the bones and prevents development of osteoporosis
- Naturally good antidepressant
- Regulates the level of blood sugar
- Could also help with keeping a favorable sex drive
According to the Natural Progesterone Information Service, the progesterone keeps the estrogen levels normal. It makes sure that there is a balance between estrogen and progesterone in the body. However, as a woman ages and reach menopause, levels drop to low amounts.
Know more about the importance of menopause in women. Dr. Sean Breen explains in this video the uses of progesterone and why it is significant for health maintenance and prevention of diseases in women. Watch the clip below (6.17 minutes long)
Dr. Sean Breen is an expert in the field of Hormone Replacement Treatment and is also a specialist in other fields of medicine. Learn more about Dr. Breen and how he could help you, by visiting his website today.
What Happens in Menopause?
When a woman reaches menopausal age, she experiences changes in her body. Before, the studies and treatments were focused in increasing the level of estrogen to prevent the symptoms of menopause. However, more recent studies tell us that progesterone levels could also decrease in levels during menopause and it could somehow cause several symptoms to arise. Estrogen levels decrease about 35% of its normal amount, but progesterone decreases 70% in amount.
In fact, there tends to be more estrogen in the body because of the excessively low progesterone levels. It will look like there is already depleted progesterone, but still high estrogen. This event is called “estrogen dominance“. It is important to keep a good amount of progesterone in the body, especially during menopause. This is to keep a balanced ratio between the two hormones.
But, how do we know if we actually need progesterone?
To know whether you have very low, just enough or too high levels in the body, laboratory tests may be needed. However, you don’t have to go straight to the laboratory for it. You can try to feel how your body is working. Some signs and symptoms can also give you information about your levels.
According to Dr. John R. Lee, the optimum amount is 20 mg to 25 mg. If you go so much lower than 20 mg, you may experience bloating and water retention, depression and breast tenderness. You may also experience headache and dizziness, low sex drive, hot flashes and night sweats. If you have most of these low level symptoms altogether, you may want to have your levels checked.
The signs and symptoms that you feel are warning signs and you can’t use them as a final basis for diagnosis. In this case, some tests can help. There are three major tests that can give you results.
Blood Test – Blood serum tests can show your levels. However, they do not usually give very exact results. Even in situations where blood test is the only choice, it can somehow be useful.
Saliva Test – This test can also yield results for levels in the body. This method is easier to do. Hormones that can be absorbed through a transdermal route can effectively be tested through saliva. This includes hormones like testosterone, progesterone and estrogen.
When testing levels through saliva, most laboratories use RIA or Saliva Hormone Radioimmunoassay. The normal range of progesterone for this test is 0.3 ng/mL to 1.5 ng/mL. You can check some test kits for Progesterone and Estrogen Dominance from Dr. Lee’s. The good thing with getting these tests kits is that they can be covered by your insurance. You can get the Health Insurance Codes for specific Saliva tests from Dr. Lee´s website.
When your body is unable to produce optimal amounts, you can increase its level with supplementation.
Availability of Progesterone
There are two main types of progesterone in the market today. Experts in the medical field have diverse beliefs on the efficiency of both treatment options. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses too. But, what may be effective for you may not be effective for others. It’s a matter of taking care of your needs when choosing progesterone supplements.
For now, check out on these types that you can choose from.
These are the synthetic forms. It is also referred to as the progestins in the market. This is made available in oral forms to provide long-lasting and stronger type of progesterone. This type is often used in the American medical set up, where it is mainly prescribed as an agent for contraception.
There are different forms of progestogens:
- MPA or Medroxyprogesterone acetate – Used in both HRT and contraception. In an injectable form if used for contraception and for uterine bleeding management. Considered as an HRT or Hormonal Replacement Therapy when applied to address conditions related to menopause.
- Norethindrone – Commonly used in contraceptive forms
- Megastrol acetate – A form of progesterone used in cancer management
- Norgestrel – Used for oral contraception, but in conjunct with estrogen forms
- 17-a-hydroxyprogesterone caproate – Another synthetic form of progesterone similar to Megastrol acetate
Progestogens or progestin is highly available in the market today. However, they also pose dangers to some women, especially those who are at risk for any medical issues. Despite their positive functions, progestins are also known for side effects like irritability, mood swings, headaches and weight gain.
Natural Progesterone or Natural Micronized Progesterone is an older form of supplemental progesterone. This is the type that identically looks and works as a progesterone naturally produced by the body. This is primarily made in laboratories, from Mexican Wild Yams and Soy. These are just simple plants but they are the source of diosgenin. Diosgenin is a phytoprogesterone or plant substance that works and looks like progesterone. The plants (Mexican Wild Yam and Soy) are purified to get all the hormonal and therapeutic substances from them.
Although this form of progesterone is derived from plants, it is not usually made as an oral supplement. The professionals want to offer the needing populations with easy and effective means of introducing progesterone into the body. In this case, natural progesterone as topical creams. Experts know that the hormones can get destroyed if they pass the acidic environment of the stomach. Because of that, there will be minimal to no absorption at all of oral progesterone.
How to Use Progesterone Cream
Most of the transdermal applications are rubbed directly onto the skin surface. Although it is effective to apply the cream on the skin, there is one way to do it better, applying it unto the vaginal walls. The vaginal wall has a lot of veins. This means that there are many blood vessels that could easily absorb the cream and help bring progesterone to the different parts of the body. The process would then work just like a normal progesterone produced from the ovaries and sent to the various bodily locations.
Look into some tips for cream application. Watch Barbara Hoffman describe the good sites to apply progesterone cream onto. Check this video out (5.21 minutes long)
Aside from treating menopausal symptoms, natural progesterone is also good for the prevention of osteoporosis, endometriosis and improvement of lipid profile. The women who have actually taken Natural Progesterone have reported that their menopause symptoms seem to have reduced. Instead of giving them side effects, it have provided more positive effects to the body.
Isn’t it surprising that one of the most forgotten hormones can actually make a big difference in our body? It’s high time we give some loving attention to progesterone as well! Any thoughts that you want to share? Comment below!