Progesterone is defined as “a female steroid sex hormone (C21H30O2) that is secreted by the corpus luteum to prepare the endometrium for implantation and later by the placenta during pregnancy to prevent rejection of the developing embryo or fetus.” But what does that mean for your body and your health?
Most women often hear about progesterone alongside estrogen. In simple terms, progesterone is a steroidal hormone that helps to balance estrogen dominance. For this reason, many doctors prescribe progesterone as a treatment for a variety of hormonal conditions.
So, what are some of these conditions and do you recognize any of them in your day-to-day life?
Overall Health – Conditions often associated with low progesterone:
– Low Libido
– Uterine fibroids
– Mood swings and depressions
– Gallbladder and Thyroid dysfunction
– Decreased bone density
– Unexplained weight gain
Studies show that progesterone therapy can lower premenstrual symptoms, help to regulate cycles, and combat heavy and uncomfortable period bleeding.
In the early stages of pregnancy, the small embryo, known at this stage as blastocyst, must implant into the inner uterine wall (endometrium) starting approximately one week after ovulation. Those that suffer from multiple, very early miscarriages, also known as chemical pregnancies, can be prescribed progesterone to increase the chances of a healthy implantation.
This is the time when periods become irregular and will lead up to full cessation of menstruation, or menopause. During this phase, your estrogen levels will increase, beginning estrogen dominance. Increased estrogen levels can lead to a higher risk for breast cancer and female-organ cancers, like uterine, cervical, and ovarian. Progesterone can be described to counterbalance these estrogen levels.
Do you feel as though you might fit the criteria for some of these symptoms? Make an appointment with your OB/GYN to discuss your feelings and concerns to see if progesterone therapy is right for you.