Progesterone...What it is, What it does and Why you want the RIGHT amount.
Hi, we talk a lot about hormones. Most people think of Estrogen as the quintessential "female" hormone, but what about Progesterone? Let's talk about it.
Let's start with what it is... Progesterone is a hormone that plays a crucial role in the female reproductive system. It is primarily produced in the ovaries by the corpus luteum, after ovulation. However, small amounts of progesterone are also synthesized by the adrenal glands (which are the stress handling system).
Progesterone is involved in regulating the menstrual cycle and preparing the uterus for pregnancy. During the menstrual cycle, progesterone levels rise after ovulation and help thicken the uterine lining (endometrium) in preparation for implantation of a fertilized egg. If pregnancy occurs, progesterone continues to be produced to support the early stages of pregnancy and maintain the uterine lining. It also helps prevent the uterine contractions that could trigger premature labor.
Progesterone has other effects throughout the body. It interacts with various tissues, including the breasts, brain, and cardiovascular system. Progesterone also influences the immune system and plays a role in maintaining normal blood clotting.
Progesterone is essentially a counter-balance to Estrogen. It's important to have a healthy ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Often, this is off-balance. Even though estrogen and progesterone levels are "In Range", one can be on the high end (usually estrogen) and one hormone on the low end (usually progesterone). This is especially true around age 35 and beyond. As women approach menopause, their levels of progesterone tend to decline faster than their estrogen levels. This makes them feel "Estrogen Dominant"
If progesterone levels are off balance, they are most likely low. Here are a few symptoms that might be felt:
Irregular menstrual periods: Low progesterone can lead to irregular or absent menstrual cycles. This may include shorter or longer cycles, lighter or heavier bleeding, or missed periods.
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome): Decreased progesterone levels can contribute to more pronounced premenstrual symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, bloating, breast tenderness, and headaches.
Infertility or difficulty conceiving: Progesterone is essential for maintaining a healthy uterine lining for implantation and supporting early pregnancy. Low levels of progesterone may make it challenging to conceive or maintain a pregnancy.
Mood changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels, including low progesterone, can affect neurotransmitters in the brain and contribute to mood swings, anxiety, depression, and irritability.
Fatigue: Some women with low progesterone may experience increased fatigue or a feeling of low energy.
Sleep disturbances: Progesterone plays a role in promoting healthy sleep patterns. Insufficient levels of progesterone can lead to difficulties falling asleep or disrupted sleep.
Changes in libido: Low progesterone may contribute to a decreased sex drive or changes in sexual function.
Vaginal dryness: Insufficient progesterone can cause a decrease in vaginal lubrication, leading to discomfort during intercourse.
Weight changes: Hormonal imbalances, including low progesterone, may contribute to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
It's so important to know what your hormone levels are if you are experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance. There are several testing options - blood, saliva and urine. All have pros and cons. I like to speak with someone to find out what's going on, so I can help them decide which testing makes the most sense. Then, we can deal with underlying issues and correct the imbalances to get them feeling like normal again!
If you would like to schedule a free call to discuss that process, please click the link below. I'm happy to speak with you and try to help!
To your health,
It's worth noting that these symptoms can also be associated with other health conditions, so it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis. A healthcare provider can perform hormone level tests and provide appropriate treatment if necessary. This article is not intended to provide personal medical advice.