Information About Progesterone
What exactly is it and why is it important?
Progesterone is a hormone present in both females and males. Despite having the reputation as being primarily a ‘female hormone’, it serves an important function in both men and women. In women, it is responsible for maintaining pregnancy and regular menstrual cycles. In men it plays an equally important role. It helps curb the effects of estrogen and is a precursor to the male sex hormone, testosterone.
Where is it produced?
In women progesterone is produced in the ovaries during ovulation and it helps to prepare the lining of the uterus for fertilization. In men progesterone is produced in the testes and has been associated with maintaining prostate health, and maintaining the correct levels of estrogen. Progesterone is also produced in small amounts by the adrenal glands in both women and men.
What are the symptoms of low progesterone levels?
When a woman’s progesterone levels get too low, she may experience symptoms such as breast tenderness, hot flashes, PMS, irregular menstrual cycles, fibrocystic breasts, endometriosis, and fibroids. Many people also experience a lack of energy and sluggishness, increased anxiety levels, depression, and a decreased libido. A male with too little of this important hormone may experience symptoms of estrogen dominance which can lead to prostate enlargement, an increased risk of prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction.
What is estrogen dominance?
Estrogen dominance can occur in both men and women. Ironically, estrogen dominance is a condition more commonly caused by low progesterone levels, not high estrogen. In fact, a person with normal, or even low, estrogen can experience estrogen dominance. This is because the term “estrogen dominance” is actually describing the ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone have a harmonious relationship, each needing the other in order to properly function.
There are many factors that contribute to estrogen dominance; obesity, xenoestrogen exposure, and aging being the most common. Obesity leads to increased estrogen receptors in adipose tissue. Environmental toxins, preservatives, and certain foods are referred to as xenoestrogens, meaning that they mimic estrogen and its effects once they enter the body. Aging causes a natural decline in all hormone levels, however progesterone levels plummet significantly faster than others. By the time a women reaches her late 30’s, estrogen levels have fallen by 35%, but progesterone production is down by almost 75%.
To maintain healthy estrogen and progesterone levels in men we may prescribe Anastrazole.
What is the difference between progesterone, progestagen, and progestin?
If you’re new to bioidentical hormone therapy, or even if you are a seasoned hormone recipient, you have probably come across the terms progesterone, progestagen, and progestin, and you might be slightly confused. To clarify:
- Progesterone refers to either the actual hormone produced by the body OR the structurally identical equivalent hormone produced from plant source (bioidentical/natural progesterone).
- Progestin is a synthetically produced hormone that differs in structure from progesterone
- Progestagen is a general, blanket term for any hormone that acts like progesterone. It includes both progesterones and progestins.
How is progesterone typically administered?
It is typically taken orally in the form of a pill. It is also available as a compounded cream but we typically prescribe the pill form to ensure a more accurate dosage. The dosage will change dependent on your symptoms, as will the timing of your dose. If you are still menstruating your dose will mimic the natural cycle of progesterone produced by your body, but if you are post- menopausal you will likely be prescribed progesterone daily for symptom management.
What are the benefits?
- Increased energy levels
- Reduced symptoms of PMS
- Reduces menstrual cramps
- Elevation of mood
- Offers cellular protection
- May protect against osteoporosis
- Increased libido
- Facilitates thyroid hormone action
If you require additional information about your medication, give us a call today at 561-243-1219.