What is progesterone? Why is this hormone so important? For too long, estrogen has been considered the star of the show when it comes to female hormones. Estrogen is responsible for the development of your “sex characteristics,” breasts, curvy hips, pubic hair, as well as other functions: maintaining the menstrual cycle, and preparing the uterus for pregnancy. Progesterone, on the other hand, promotes regular sleep patterns, prevents bloating, maintains the libido, fosters a calming effect on the body, stimulates bone building, and thickens the uterine lining to promote survival of a fertilized egg (ovum). Although progesterone was discovered in 1933, our understanding of its equally crucial role in the hormone story continues to unfold through current research. Many common hormone problems, such as PMS, irritability, and weight gain, are related to progesterone.
The truth is, you cannot consider estrogen without discussing progesterone, too. These two hormones operate like two sides of a seesaw, shifting up and down throughout the course of a woman’s monthly cycle. When your body produces the optimal amount of each, you feel healthy and balanced. As you get older, the amount of estrogen and progesterone your body produces can change from month to month and year to year. Due to the influence of stress and “environmental estrogens,” hormonal fluctuations can occur at any age (as early as a woman’s late 20s or early 30s) and can also affect men’s hormone levels.
When your progesterone gets low, that side of the seesaw hits the ground, and negative symptoms arise: for women, that typically means poor sleep, fatigue, anxiety, heavy periods, weight gain, uterine fibroids, irritability, and even rage. The result of low progesterone is a condition called “estrogen dominance.” This is what happens when the progesterone side of the seesaw gets “stuck” on the ground: the estrogen side is “elevated,” relatively speaking. It’s not (necessarily) that your estrogen level is high — it’s that your progesterone level is so low that estrogen effectively “dominates.”
In men, progesterone is produced in the adrenal and testicular tissue. As men get older, falling progesterone levels lead to a drop in testosterone levels. As both progesterone and testosterone decline, the levels are not enough to balance out the circulating estrogen, and men also become “estrogen dominant.”
The solution is to supplement with bioidentical progesterone to get your hormone level back to normal again. When you use a “bioidentical” progesterone supplement, it is chemically identical to the kind your body naturally produces. The effect on your body? The seesaw shifts back into equilibrium again, relieving and eliminating your symptoms.
Many people have found relief from their symptoms of hormone imbalance using Dr. Randolph’s over-the-counter formulation of Natural Balance Progesterone Cream
; however, the best approach is to have your hormone levels checked with a simple blood test. Hormone balance is intricate endocrinology, and sometimes there are several hormone imbalances at play! Our clinicians will evaluate your health and lifestyle issues, check your hormone levels, and write prescriptions for exactly the hormones your body needs. Each formulation is compounded at our on-site pharmacy and can be picked up or shipped as needed.