Progesterone Bioidentical HRT— The Facts
Your Body’s Need for Progesterone
While both men and women produce differing levels of the steroid hormone progesterone, women require much higher concentrations in order to carry out specific physiologic functions. These include monthly menstruation and the preparation of the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg.
Progesterone is also needed in a woman’s body to build new bone tissue and to balance the effects of too much estrogen that can cause excess growth in the uterine lining. When progesterone levels begin to diminish, so too can estrogen and testosterone in the female body.
One Hormone—Many Benefits
Progesterone plays many roles in the female body including:
- Helps protect the body against breast cancer
- Maintains the uterine lining
- Protects against certain cancers (endometrial)
- Promotes building of bones
- Protects against osteoporosis
- Helps with symptoms of PMS
- Promotes thermogenesis
- Acts as a natural diuretic
- Normalizes blood sugar levels
- Helps with thyroid hormone activity
- Helps maintain elevated mood
- Helps with blood clotting
- Maintains sex drive
- Helps support embryo and fetus through pregnancy
- Maintains cellular oxygen levels
- Helps maintain normal levels of zinc and copper in the body
The Progesterone Imbalance
Because progesterone provides for a variety of important functions within the body, any fluctuation in levels can cause a multitude of symptoms.
Low progesterone can result in:
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Changes in mood including nervousness, irrational fears, irritability
- Hot flashes
- Low sex drive
- Irregular or heavy menstrual periods
- Menopause and peri-menopause issues
- Pyroluria, (a hemoglobin disorder)
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Postpartum depression
Causes of low progesterone include:
- Estrogen dominance
- Insulin resistance
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of exerciser
Natural progesterone bioidentical capsules, creams, patches and sprays are available as hormone supplements to consumers in the United States currently. In pill form the FDA-approved product; Prometrium is prescribed for patients with perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms seeking relief. Products vary among manufacturers and are said to be biologically “identical” to hormones produced naturally by the body. Bioidentical progesterone is obtained from the extract of yams and micronized (ground) for greater absorption by the body.
Risks for Compounded Products
Many people assume that because some progesterone bioidentical products compounded in pharmacies are derived from natural sources they are completely safe and without any risks or side effects. According to the Food and Drug Administration, there is no evidence to support claims that these are safer than commercially manufactured hormones.
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