A progestogen sex hormone and naturally occurring steroid in the body, progesterone plays vital roles in pregnancy, embryo growth, and the menstrual cycle. Belonging to a group of hormones called progestogens, progesterone is also needed to produce corticosteroids (for regulating the immune and stress response and inflammation) and sex hormones.
The most important role progesterone plays during a woman’s reproductive years is stimulating secretion of proteins in the preparation of receiving and nourishing a fertilized egg. If pregnancy occurs, the placenta produces ample amounts of progesterone throughout the pregnancy to encourage the growth of lactating glands in the breasts.
Perimenopause, Menopause, and Progesterone
Sometime around age 40 (perimenopause), the ovaries gradually stop producing estrogen and progesterone as the body prepares to enter menopause.
Symptoms of low progesterone include lack of interest in sex, hot flashes, recurring headaches/migraines, anxiety, depression and finally, cessation of your period.
As progesterone levels continue to fall, women may experience dry/cracked skin, brittle nails, acne, fatigue cognitive problems (“foggy” thinking) and weight gain due to sugar cravings and a slower metabolism.
Other adverse effects of reduced progesterone include decreased copper and zinc levels (needed for skin, bone and blood health), interference with your body’s ability to draw on fat for energy and impaired vascular tone. 1
How bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can relieve symptoms of low progesterone
Your skin contains estrogen and progesterone receptors specifically made to accept and utilize these hormones during your reproductive years. Reduced progesterone can cause increased skin wrinkling, thinning and decreased firmness and elasticity.
Combined with lack of collagen and surface lipids due to aging, lower progesterone levels often contribute to signs of premature skin aging, especially in women who smoke, use tanning beds or spend too much time in sunlight. 2
BHRT provides bioidentical progesterone benefits for skin by replacing lost progesterone with a plant-based hormone mimicking the molecular structure of ovary-produced progesterone.
Bioidentical hormones do not cause the side effects known to accompany traditional hormone replacement therapy, such as an increased risk of heart disease, high cholesterol or cancer, because they so closely resemble your natural hormones.
Hormones that are not bioidentical are made of synthetic chemicals that are not as easily accepted by your body’s hormone receptors. Health professionals think this may be why bioidentical hormones do not come with the health risks associated with laboratory-made hormones. 3
Nervous System Support
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), pregnenolone (a hormone supporting brain health) and progesterone belong to the neurosteroid class of endogenous steroids that are all utilized by your central nervous system.
Neurosteroids maintain brain cell health and promote the growth of new brain cells. They also facilitate communication among brain cells by helping your brain produce a substance called myelin essential for nerve signaling.
Using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to increase progesterone levels may reduce your risk for experiencing cognitive issues and age-related dementia. 4
Progesterone and Inflammation
Progesterone exerts anti-inflammatory properties comparable to those of hydrocortisone acetate, a steroid used to relieve inflammation caused by numerous conditions and diseases.
Hydrocortisone and corticosteroid medications containing hydrocortisone acetate work by suppressing immune system functioning to decrease inflammation. However, progesterone provides anti-inflammatory benefits without suppressing your immune system. 5
Progesterone and Endometrial Cancer
In several studies with women taking estrogen alone and women combining estrogen and progesterone, results appear to indicate that progesterone reduces the risk of endometrial cancer when used in conjunction with estrogen. 6
Progesterone and Diabetes
Known to play a vital role in supporting pancreatic function and insulin signaling, progesterone replaced through BHRT may reduce the risk of menopausal and postmenopausal women developing diabetes.
In addition, progesterone can help boost metabolism and promote oxidation of fat stores, which contributes to maintaining a healthy weight. People weighing over 30 pounds their normal weight are susceptible to suffering signs of pre-diabetes and eventually, type II diabetes. 7
While bioidentical progesterone benefits vary among women according to their current health status, age and other factors, most women choosing to replace progesterone with BHRT will experience improved general health, a noticeable decline in the severity of unpleasant menopausal symptoms and less instances of “foggy” thinking.
Our bioidentical hormone replacement therapy program involves implantation of tiny pellets under your skin containing a certain amount of progesterone specific to your needs. We base pellet amounts on results of a clinical saliva test that indicates how much progesterone is in your bloodstream.
Call Renew Health and Wellness today to learn more about the benefits of progesterone and BHRT.