Do women going through menopause have lowered levels of progesterone?
Recent research tells us that women do suffer from decreased levels of progesterone and also experience other symptoms such as unexplained weight gain (particularly in the stomach area), depression, fatigue, hair loss, memory loss, mood swings, migraines and loss of libido. A natural cream can balance estrogens without side effects.
Progesterone and estrogen are the two main hormones made by women’s ovaries when they are menstruating. Smaller amounts of these hormones are also secreted by the adrenal glands. It’s necessary for the survival of the fertilized ovum, its embryo as well as the fetus during gestation.
Progesterone’s primary functions include: acting as a precursor to estrogen and testosterone; it maintains uterine lining and aids in gestation; protects against fibrocystic breasts, endometrial and breast cancer; acts as a natural diuretic, helps use fat for energy; can be a natural antidepressant; aids thyroid hormone action; normalizes blood clotting; restores sex drive; normalizes blood sugar, zinc and copper levels; restores proper cell oxygen levels, has a thermogenic effect; builds bone and helps to protects against osteoporosis.
Some doctors feel that menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis and heart disease may not be due to a deficiency of estrogen, but to a relative estrogen excess due to progesterone deficiency.
Synthetic progestins, such as an HRT drug called Provera (a synthetic chemical), do not have the same biological effects as natural progesterone and have been known to cause side effects including: fluid retention, depression, breast tenderness, stroke, jaundice, blood clotting and cervical erosions.
On the other hand, natural progesterone has no known side effects and has been found to be helpful in alleviating symptoms such as PMS and hot flashes. It has also been credited with helping to prevent osteoporosis.
Many doctors now prescribe for women in menopause the use of a low-dose, natural progesterone cream during the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle. (On a personal note, I use the Emerita cream and believe it single-handedly stopped my mood swings and sudden outbursts of crying.) The cream is easily absorbed into thin-skin areas such as the breasts, inner arms, neck or belly by the subcutaneous fat and then released into the bloodstream. You should be careful of the dosage level in these products. Some may have none to very little and others provide 20-30 mg in an average application. It’s always best to first check with a doctor.