Understanding Progesterone Replacement Therapy
Progesterone is the hormone that promotes gestation. Progesterone has hundreds of functions in the female body, including mood, libido, managing estrogen receptors, slowing cell growth, and promoting maturation of cells. Bioidentical progesterone has an anti-breast cancer effect as well as eliminating many of the symptoms of menopause.
The Menopause-Progesterone Connection
In many ways, progesterone is the yin to the estrogen’s yang. A lack of balance between these two hormones can cause many uncomfortable symptoms and a less than ideal quality of life. The root causes of low progesterone in women include genetics as well as stress and menopause.
Recognizing Low Progesterone in Women
When a woman enters menopause, hormonal balances that cause symptoms like headaches, breast tenderness, sleeplessness, anxiety, and weight gain often manifest. These symptoms can begin before menopause as perimenopause, or pre-menopause sets in with younger women. Beyond menopause, though, hormones found in foods women eat (xenoesterogens), lack of exercise, chronic stress, poor nutrition, and insulin resistance can lead to progesterone imbalances. Stress leads to cortisol production, which drives down progesterone levels and may lead to estrogen dominance.
Recognizing High Progesterone in Women
On the other side of the swinging pendulum, women overdosed with progesterone may suffer from progesterone levels that are too high. When this happens, symptoms including depression, fatigue, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness, and low sex drive can result. This is a common event in women who purchase and use over-the-counter progesterone, again demonstrating the need for lab testing and a physician knowledgeable in bioidentical hormone therapy.
Balancing Progesterone Hormones
The good news is bioidentical estrogen replacement therapy can help women balance estrogen hormone levels and relieve these symptoms of aging. Chicago’s Ageology anti-aging physicians begin by exploring diet and lifestyle issues that may be contributing to estrogen imbalances. But we also assess saliva, urine, blood, and serum work to determine, when necessary, how to best optimize hormone levels. When your estrogen and progesterone are balanced--and when you lead a healthy lifestyle--you can feel, act, and even look young again.
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