Progesterone

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Improvement in restful sleep, improvement in moods, decreased hot flashes.

WHAT IT IS:

A hormone made by the ovaries to stimulate uterine lining growth.

WHAT IT DOES:

Progesterone is responsible for making the uterus ready for implantation of the egg during pregnancy (or gestation). It declines naturally with age and is depleted almost completely after the ovary stops ovulating (menopause). This is a key hormone for mood, sleep, mental cognition, hot flashes and night sweats. Progesterone is a counterpart to estrogen, acting as a “checks and balances” to the effects of estrogen. “Unopposed estrogen” refers to taking estrogen supplement without the progesterone counterpart which can lead to endometrial (lining of uterus) overgrowth which can cause cancer.

WHY IT MATTERS:

If you are pre-menopausal and have used supplements that can affect progesterone (ie anabolic steroids, testosterone) your progesterone production can become stunted and you may not menstruate which can affect fertility if not corrected. If you are postmenopausal, low progesterone can cause poor sleep (especially staying asleep), “foggy brain” symptoms and fatigue.

FACTORS THAT DECREASE:

Age, ovarian dysfunction.

FACTORS THAT INCREASE:

Hormonal replacement, zinc, B-complex vitamins, stress management. Stress triggers a release of cortisol which competes for the same sites on cells that progesterone affects. So higher levels of cortisol decrease natural progesterone.

RISKS:

Abnormal vaginal bleeding, breast tenderness, ovarian cyst growth

BENEFITS:

Improvement in restful sleep, improvement in moods, decreased hot flashes.