Progesterone is a natural steroid found in much higher concentrations in women. This hormone belongs to the family of hormones known as progestogens and is involved in several bodily functions such as menstrual cycle, formation of the embryo, and pregnancy. Progesterone is produced and released by the ovaries and it works harmoniously with the hormone estrogen in maintaining fertility in women.
Progesterone’s main functions are associated with the maintenance of the female reproductive system. The levels of this hormone are known to surge during ovulation, marking the peak of fertility. At healthy levels, progesterone plays the following important roles in women’s body:
Just like estrogen, progesterone is also present in men in smaller amounts. Progesterone in men is produced in the testes and adrenal glands. Unlike in women, men’s progesterone levels do not vary on a cycle, although there are various factors like diet, stress and lifestyle that can significantly affect the production of progesterone. This hormone has several important effects in men such as the following:
Progesterone is a precursor to the hormones testosterone and estrogen. Falling progesterone levels can also cause these hormones to diminish, which can have detrimental effect on health. The levels of progesterone are relatively low prior to ovulation, and they usually spike when the ovaries release an egg. Elevated levels of progesterone remain for several days and either continues to remain elevated if pregnancy occurs, or drop during menstrual cycle.
Progesterone levels may fall because of several medical conditions such as the following:
In women who are not pregnant, falling progesterone levels can lead to the following signs and symptoms:
On the other hand, pregnant women with low progesterone levels may experience the following signs and symptoms:
In men, signs and symptoms of low progesterone include:
Progesterone levels can also spike at dangerous levels causing detrimental effects on health. This condition can lead to:
In order to diagnose progesterone imbalance, a qualified hormone replacement therapy doctor will order a blood test. The results can help determine the cause of infertility, help monitor pregnancy health, help diagnose abnormal uterine bleeding, and correct any medical condition related to low or high progesterone levels.
Most highly trained and qualified doctors will prescribe PRT in order to treat signs and symptoms of progesterone deficiency. Progesterone medications called progestins are usually produced in the laboratory and are prescribed for those with progesterone deficiency. These synthetic steroid hormones have progesterone-like properties and are available as capsules, creams, vaginal gels, implants, injections, and intrauterine devices (IUD). The health benefits of PRT are backed by an overwhelming body of clinical research, making it an effective therapeutic option for various age-related medical maladies.
Progesterone has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat and prevent a wide array of inflammatory conditions. Numerous clinical trials suggest that progesterone fights inflammation through the following important mechanisms:
Progesterone can also help prevent the detrimental effects of obesity on health by promoting weight loss and reducing total body fat percentage. There is mounting evidence that progesterone can help you achieve a healthier weight:
Progesterone also has potent antihypertensive properties that can help bring down blood pressure to healthy levels. Numerous clinical trials support this beneficial effect of progesterone:
In both men and women, low progesterone levels may lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body doesn’t normally respond to the effects of insulin. If left untreated, insulin resistance can cause fatal diseases including diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart failure, and other debilitating conditions. Evidence suggests that progesterone reduces insulin and regulates blood sugar levels, thereby improving overall health:
Progesterone modulates sexual desire or libido in women. The age-related gradual decline in ovarian function decreases the levels of progesterone, accompanied by decreased sexual desire in large portion of postmenopausal women. Studies show that progesterone therapy can help ramp up sexual power in women, thus restoring sexual vitality and improving sexual function:
Progesterone stimulates bone growth through several important mechanisms. Several lines of evidence suggest that progesterone supplementation can help maintain bone health:
Progesterone can boost one’s health with its anti-cancer properties. There is increasing evidence that this powerful hormone can help protect against one of the most deadly diseases in the world:
Stressful situations as well as advancing age can lead to low mood in both men and women. Interestingly, there is strong scientific evidence that supports the mood-enhancing effects of progesterone:
Aging, certain medical conditions, lifestyle, and other factors can significantly affect sleeping pattern and sleep quality. Aside from lifestyle modifications, doctors also prescribe PRT for patients with sleeping difficulties. There is mounting evidence that progesterone administration can help achieve a restful sleep:
Menopause marks the end of the menstruation period and it’s diagnosed after you don’t have any menses after a year. While menopause is a natural biological process, it can cause various physical symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, chills, night sweats, sleep problems, weight gain, dry skin, thinning of hair and mood changes. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments available, from lifestyle modifications to PRT, and studies show that restoring progesterone to healthy levels can help improve the quality of life of menopausal women:
Progesterone is known as the “hormone of pregnancy” because it plays several important bodily functions during this stage such as maintenance of the lining of the uterus, survival of the embryo, prevention of immune rejection of the developing baby, development of the fetus, and proper utilization of fat and energy. Because of these vital functions, several studies assessing the beneficial effects of progesterone supplementation on fertility issues have been performed and results indicate that progesterone is safe and effective:
Progesterone is not only a hormone that maintains the reproductive system. Scientific research found that this versatile hormone can also help build muscle mass, prevent muscle wasting related to chronic diseases, and improve body composition especially in the elderly:
Hair loss or “alopecia” is characterized by hair thinning or loss of hair from the head or body. While hair loss is a natural body process, certain factors such as stress, medication, genes, and hormonal imbalance can result in baldness. Today, many effective alternative treatments such as hormone therapy are being prescribed for hair loss. Latest research shows that progesterone therapy can help regrow hair and prevent age-related baldness:
Progesterone levels start to decline during mid to late 30’s, which leaves the skin looking dull and old. Interestingly, stronger scientific evidence suggests that this revitalizing hormone is beneficial for skin elasticity and circulation, making it an effective anti-aging treatment:
Progesterone is classified as a “neurosteroid” because of its many critical functions in the nervous system. Among them, protecting the brain from injury and promoting repair of nerve cells (neurons) makes progesterone an important hormone in the maintenance of nerve health. In fact, numerous research studies attest to the neuroprotective effects of progesterone:
Progesterone is known as a “natural diuretic”, which means that it helps the body get rid of toxins by increasing urination. Stronger scientific evidence supports the detoxifying effect of progesterone:
For many women who are experiencing headaches, migraines may become more frequent and severe as they approach their menopausal years. This is because hormone levels fluctuate unevenly. While headaches and migraines during this time period can be debilitating, studies show that progesterone administration can be beneficial:
Progesterone has been shown to have direct effects on immune cells, thereby boosting the immune function. Evidence suggests that progesterone can be beneficial in maintaining the immune health through various important mechanisms:
In 2002, the results of the large Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study have been controversial. As one of the largest clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of progesterone on women, the authors of the WHI study concluded that progestin plus estrogen administration can increase one’s risk of developing breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and overall harm, which led to early stoppage of the clinical trial.  However, a large body of clinical trials and other authors do not agree with the results of the WHI study because of the following reasons:
The reasons for this are the following: [265-269]
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