Women’s Health Needs Proper Management Of Progesterone
The key to hormone happiness is balance. You don’t want too much or too little. Too much estrogen can create significant medical issues, but estrogen is not the only important female hormone. Your body craves balance between both estrogen and progesterone.
Because these two hormones do not naturally play with each other on their own, we must consider the importance of progesterone to the bigger picture and how proper management contributes to reproductive health, and overall female wellness.
Progesterone is an essential element of a long and healthy life. Your body’s need for this hormone spans an entire lifetime, from being essential for conception to offering disease prevention and other significant health benefits throughout all life stages.
Progesterone is a steroid hormone, which means that it is derived from cholesterol. It is produced and secreted from the adrenal gland, and, during menstruation, production of progesterone is dependent on three other hormones: follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and estrogen.
Progesterone & Pregnancy
Progesterone plays an important part during menstruation and through pregnancy. Its role is to work with estrogen to trigger the release of an egg from the ovary, and then to control the thickening of the uterus lining in preparation for receiving a fertilized egg.
If the egg is fertilized, its role continues during pregnancy to ensure uterine health, prevent ovulation, and aid in the development of the cervical mucus plug.
It also helps to prepare the breasts for breastfeeding, while also strengthening the pelvic wall muscles for delivery.
Progesterone may also help to:
- Improve the live birth rate in women with recurrent miscarriages by up to 15%
- Decrease the chances of preterm birth by 35% in women with a previous preterm delivery.
- Reduce preterm births by up to 42% in women with a short cervix.
Progesterone deficiency can occur during the stages in a woman’s life when her hormones are in fluctuation: namely, puberty and menopause. In these cases, a woman may experience a range of symptoms, including the following:
- Headaches / PMS Migraines
- Loss of libido
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular / Painful periods
- Gum aches
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
Because progesterone plays such an important role in the female body, it is important to look out for these symptoms and take the necessary action to treat low levels of progesterone.
In non-pregnant women, low progesterone levels may be a result of hypothyroidism, heightened levels of cortisol, and body weight that is either too high or too low. During pregnancy, low progesterone levels may be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Progesterone & Menopause
If you’re considering progesterone treatment for menopause, treatment should be started at the beginning of menopause. Women over 60 years old or those who have been menopausal for longer than 10 years need to work with a hormone specialist to determine the best approach for symptom relief.
After menopause, once the menstrual cycle stops, the ovaries no longer produce progesterone. However, the body still needs it and continues producing it in the adrenal glands and nerve cells.
The same is true for women who undergo a hysterectomy. Many healthcare practitioners prescribe only estrogen, with no progesterone, for a woman who has had a hysterectomy, with the mistaken belief that progesterone’s only role is protection against endometrial cancer.
While she may no longer need that protection, her body still needs progesterone after a hysterectomy.
Women who use estrogen supplementation should also use progesterone, whether or not they have a uterus. Estrogen promotes the overgrowth and enlargement of hormone-sensitive cells, and progesterone is essential to slow this proliferation and promote normal cell development.
Progesterone provides an important estrogen-balancing, anti-cancer effect.
When estrogen and progesterone are taken together, it’s often in pill form or a cream. Progesterone on its own can also be in the form of a pill or a cream that contains micronized progesterone, which is easily used by the body at low doses.
Progesterone is very important to a woman’s overall health and wellness throughout her entire lifetime, affecting all life stages. Through puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum and through menopause, proper progesterone management is vital.
A chronic deficiency can lead to a wide range of health issues, including breast cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, a progesterone deficit can be treated. As your body evolves, your need for additional support will change as well.
If you’re ready to use an integrative approach to your women’s health needs, connect with our New Patient Coordinators here at Kare Health & Wellness.