Progesterone is a critical hormone for female health and arguably one of the most important but it is also one of the most neglected hormones of all! Rarely is it discussed not to mention measured or used in the proper form. Women of all age’s pre and post menopause need to pay critical attention to it. Ladies you need to read this article very carefully and make sure you understand it. For some women it could save your life!!
If you are suffering from PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, irregular periods, fertility problems, chronic migraines, regular miscarriages or wish to greatly protect against breast, ovarian or cervical cancer or improve your fight against these cancers, then measuring the hormone progesterone could be the miracle you are looking for.
These conditions are often due to estrogen dominance in the body. I repeat these conditions are often due to estrogen dominance in the body! Estrogen dominance can occur where you have either excess estrogen and/or a deficiency in progesterone. Indeed you also can have low estrogen levels and still be estrogen dominant. That situation can especially occur post menopause or post hysterectomy!
You see what counts in the female body is not just the amount of estrogen and the amount of progesterone but the ratio or balance between the two. Progesterone balances many of the functions of estrogen. Estrogen is a great hormone but excess causes over stimulation of tissues. Progesterone helps balance this effect and keep your system under control. Therein lies the secret to transforming health and amazing health protection for many women. For many women improving their progesterone level with the use of bio-identical progesterone would vastly improve the quality of their lives.
You see we live in an estrogen dominant World! High sugar intake, processed foods and especially saturated fat and excess alcohol contribute to the production of excess estrogen. Add overweight (yes fat cells produce estrogen!), birth control pills and the fact that many women due to stress are anovulatory (not ovulating!) and so not producing very much progesterone and the problems get even worse. Remember you can be getting your period but not ovulating during your monthly cycle!
The very least we should be doing when there is a health concern is measuring the 3 main estrogens in women – estrone (E1) the second strongest estrogen accounting for 5 to 10% of your total, estradiol (E2) the strongest and most potent accounting for another 5 to 10% of your total and estriol (E3) the weakest, safest and most abundant accounting for 80% of your total estrogen. Critically we should also be measuring progesterone levels. Amazingly very often only estradiol (E2) on its own is measured. People are working in the dark!
Now I’m not trying to claim that progesterone is a cure all for all problems, however it would often be a major helping factor. Reducing weight, sugars, processed foods, saturated fats and alcohol and adding more fibre, fruit, vegetables and exercise are the most critical steps to reducing estrogen dominance but the addition of bio-identical progesterone could be hugely beneficial for many. Make sure to get your 3 estrogens and your progesterone level checked so that you can make an informed decision.
I would like to make it crystal clear that if there is a need for progesterone replacement then strictly only bio-identical progesterone should be used. Progestins are NOT the same as bio-identical progesterone no matter what you are told. They are strictly NOT the same thing. Progestins have many side effects. Progestins are altered progesterone and are NOT same as bio-identical progesterone. Bio-identical progesterone used in normal physiologic amounts has no known side effects. If progesterone replacement is required strictly only bio-identical progesterone should be used.
I would also like to make it clear that after menopause although estrogen declines the major problem for post-menopausal women is that progesterone virtually goes to zero leaving them without vital protection to balance the estrogen they have left! There are some women who do have very low levels of estrogen and for whom bio-identical estrogen replacement could be very helpful but NOT the altered estrogen replacements normally used. However for the majority of post menopausal women the biggest concern should be progesterone levels.
Now let us look at some key female health issues and how checking your progesterone levels could be of great benefit……
This has no single cause or deficiency and is a complex problem. There are 4 different types and 66% of women suffer from type A where estrogen has been shown to dominate progesterone. A study from the University of Calgary published in 1997 and the Institute of Endocrinology published in 1998, together with numerous other studies have shown that excess estrogen and/or progesterone deficiency are key factors. The results speak from themselves with amazing results where bio-identical progesterone treatment has been used.
Fibroids & Endometriosis
Both the growth of fibroids and the condition of endometriosis is clearly connected with estrogen dominance. After menopause when estrogen falls fibroids normally stop growing and endometriosis drastically subsides. Both these conditions drastically improve with pregnancy when progesterone is very high!! Bio-identical progesterone can greatly help with stopping fibroid growth but to shrink them you will also need to make dietary and exercise changes as recommend above. Bio-identical progesterone can really calm down the inflammation of endometriosis giving your body the chance to get on top of this condition in the future. Fibroids and endometriosis should never be a justification for hysterectomy.
Researchers are beginning to link estrogen dominance with interfering with the signals from the brain that start the whole fertility process in the body. Then even if the brain signals do get through many women are anovualatory (not ovulating!) due to low progesterone levels but still getting their periods so they may not even realise this. Stress can be a key factor in this. Even if you do ovulate many women do not have enough progesterone to sustain the lining of the womb to protect the fertilised egg and therefore they mis-carry. If you are having trouble getting pregnant or suffer frequently from miscarriages you need to look at not just your 3 estrogens and progesterone level but also the balance between them!
Although estrogen is important for your sex drive, excess estrogen kills of your libido because of its side effects including water retention and mood swings. Progesterone and testosterone are very important for sex drive in women. Remember progesterone is the dominant hormone at ovulation when woman is most fertile! Progesterone treatment has been shown to greatly help with the female sex drive.
Cysts, tumours and cancer are the 3 major problems here. This tissue is strongly hormonally influenced. Estrogen stimulates breast tissue and progesterone is protective, controlling and maturing breast cell growth. Women with low progesterone have been shown to have 500% more risk of breast cancer. Remember 85% of breast cancer occurs after the age of 45 when progesterone levels virtually go to zero! Studies clearly show that women low on progesterone suffer much more from every known breast disorder.
Don’t Have A Hysterectomy
This is a major life changing event for a woman and is done all too easily. Cancer should be the only justification for this surgery which forever alters the mental and physical well being of a woman. Even if you are left with your ovaries they generally wither and die within 3 years despite what you may be told. Most causes of hysterectomy could be solved with proper measuring and balancing of all female hormones including the 3 estrogens and especially progesterone.
The idea that estrogen improves bone density is a myth. Proof of this is that most cases of osteoporosis start when women are in their 30’s and normally have plenty of estrogen. Estrogen actually helps osteoclasts the bone cells that remove dead bone. Progesterone is the real bone builder because of its stimulating effects on osteoblasts, the cells that actually build bone. Countless university studies show that progesterone is the real bone builder. If you want good bones then check your progesterone levels!
I hope I have given you plenty to think about and plenty of hope for the future. All I am asking is that health decisions be made based on more detailed measuring and balancing of all your female hormones and especially progesterone. Any hormone replacement should be based on the very careful use of ONLY bio-identical hormones no matter what you are told about the so called benefits or similarities of other versions!!
As always I hope you get something useful from this article and please share it with others. Someone making one simple change can lead to big improvements. If you have any questions on the above conditions or another condition please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply.
David McDonagh (Nutritionist, fitness trainer & creator of System 10 Weight Loss)
My system is about real weight loss done the right way! My plan takes into account all the above reasons and more and makes sure weight loss will work for you. Don’t miss my NEW online plan starting soon where you can lose 10+ lbs in 4 weeks or 20+ Ibs in 8 weeks and get an amazing change in shape because it is real weight loss. Click here for more details on these options. Alternatively arrange a one to one consultation in your nearest clinic by clicking here.
You can find more articles here on health, fitness and weight loss.