What is progesterone?
- Progesterone is a steroid hormone, often referred to as a sex hormone.
- Progesterone is one of two main reproductive hormone groups, besides Estrogen.
- It is made by the ovaries of menstruating women.
- It is primarily a hormone of fertility and pregnancy.
Functions of progesterone in our body are (to mention few of its many functions)
- Performs multiple roles in balancing the effects of estrogen upon the human body
- To promote the survival and development of the embryo and fetus in the uterus
- To provide a broad range of core biologic effects
- Maintains insulin in the body
- Supports sex drive
- Prevents breast tissue overgrowth
- Protects against cystic disease
- To act as a precursor (building block) of other steroid hormones (e.g.: estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol).
- Aids in the Central Nervous System producing calming effects (natural antidepressant), improves sleep patterns, impacting memory and understanding abilities.
- Works with Estrogen to assist in regulation of the action of the cells that form new bones and deemphasize the effects of mineral corticosteroids, such as cortisol which are essential in reducing water-retention and bloating.
When it's properly balances, progesterone has many benefits to the human body
Bio-Identical progesterone performs these same functions!!
Normal range of Progesterone
The normal values are as reference range. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values may still be normal for you or your lab.
According to Natural-Hormones.net, normal levels of progesterone vary according to the menstrual cycle as well as the cycle of a woman's life. Pre-menopausal states have characteristic declines in progesterone, leading to the lowest levels during menopause.
There are many other conditions which can change progesterone levels. Doctors shall discuss any significant abnormal results with you in relation to your symptoms and past health.
Symptoms of low levels of progesterone include: (few from its many symptoms)
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Difficulties in concentrating
- Memory impairment
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Frequent urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Strong menstrual cramps
- Joint pain
- Breast tenderness
- Dry skin
- Lack of libido.
Low progesterone values may be caused by
- Problems with ovulation.
- Possible miscarriage.
- Chronic stress.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Insulin resistance
- Excessive estrogen production
- Certain hormonal medications.
- Chromosomal defects (according to "Comprehensive Gynecology.")
What happens during progesterone deficiency?
Low progesterone levels have been discovered in many women who are affected by recurrent miscarriages or who are unable to get pregnant. It is vital for these women to be well informed about progesterone hormone therapy to increase their chances of maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Functions of Progesterone in Menopausal Women
- To balance or oppose the effects of Estrogen. Unopposed estrogen creates a strong risk for breast cancer and reproductive cancers.
- Precursor to so many other steroid hormones; its use can greatly enhance overall hormone balance after menopause.
- Stimulates bone-building and thus helps protect against osteoporosis.
Estrogen levels drop only 40-60% at menopause, which is just enough to stop the menstrual cycle. But progesterone levels may drop to near zero in some women!
Available formulations (bio-identical progesterone)
- Progesterone creams, vegetable capsules and suppositories.
Why Choose Bio-Identical Progesterone?
Bio-Identical Progesterone is preferred than progestin (a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone) because it is natural to the body and has no unwanted side effects when used as directed.
For example, the placenta produces 300-400 mg of progesterone daily during the last few months of pregnancy, so we know that such levels are safe for developing the baby.
But the progestins, even at fractions of this dose, can cause birth defects.
The progestins also cause many other side effects, including partial loss of vision, breast cancer in test dogs, an increased risk of strokes, fluid retention, migraine headaches, asthma, cardiac irregularities and depression.
However, the vast majority of women who use bio-identical hormones feel that their quality of life benefits outweigh any unknown risks!