Progesterone: Our Most Protective Hormone
I wanted to talk about a very, very important hormone in our bodies, specifically the female body- progesterone. Both men and women have progesterone, however it plays a much larger role in women’s health and the symptoms they may experience when it’s depleted.
Let’s jump in with a brief understanding of what exactly progesterone is!
By Judy Couch, FNP-C
What is Progesterone?
When talking about hormones, one typically only hears about testosterone and estrogen. While important, it’s vital we do not ignore progesterone. In fact, it’s our body’s most protective hormone (more on that later)!
Progesterone is a hormone in the body that provides many beneficial effects for women; it protects our brain, bone, uterine and breast tissue. It’s a natural antidepressant and can decrease the risk of breast cancer and heart attacks. With all of that said, it’s unfortunate how quickly our levels of this vital hormone begin to decrease.
When do we start losing it? What happens?
Progesterone is one of the very first hormones that starts becoming depleted in our bodies and this process starts happening in our mid– to late–30’s. So, for many women, many of the below symptoms start occurring around this time.
Symptoms can include:
- Weight gain
- Low libido
- Hot flashes/night sweats
We often think “I’m depressed,” but no it may actually just be that you’re lacking in progesterone. After pregnancy, a woman’s progesterone levels can drop significantly, causing the dreaded postpartum depression. Especially considering the progesterone “high” you’re on in that second or third trimester when levels are soaring.
When our levels of progesterone begin to decline, we often see a rise in our estrogen levels, causing a state of estrogen-dominance. While estrogen
itself is also vital to women’s health, a dominance can create negative side effects such as: fatigue, depression, weight gain, PMG symptoms, low libido, and anxiety.
So it’s important to have all of our hormones in balance, working together.
How is it protective?
Like I touched on before, progesterone is the most protective hormone that our body ever produces. When I say protective, I mean not just emotionally (anxiety or depression), but physically as well. I’m talking about our brain tissue, our breast tissue, our bones, and certainly our uterus.
Oftentimes, as women are aging, they’ll notice that their periods change. Their flow may become heavier or lengthier; sometimes they may even have two periods in a month. That’s a lack of progesterone. Earlier in our life span, if you’re having issues having with infertility or potentially (and unfortunately) miscarriages, that again could be a lack of progesterone.
It’s also very cardio-protective to us. This is important to note because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women. So anything we can do to promote heart health, we absolutely should be doing; looking at all the things that we can do that help keep our heart healthy. One of my favorite benefits, really of any hormone, is the cardio protection that they offer to us.
There are also many studies that show progesterone to be apoptotic to breast cancer cells, meaning that it can kill breast cancer cells. So it’s not hard to see why once our body starts to become depleted of progesterone, our overall health begins to decline as well.
Get Your Levels Checked!
As you can see, progesterone plays a vital role in our health and truly is our most protective hormone. When we hit our mid- to late-30’s we start to lose it and along with it, that protection. Which is why we must seek to find balance with our levels, especially if noticing any of the above symptoms.
If you’re experiencing any of the issues or symptoms discussed here today, please fill out our initial consultation form. After some brief bloodwork, we’d love to sit down with you to discuss where your levels sit and how we can get your health back on track.
These symptoms, the anxiety, depression, hot flashes, low libido, etc. – these are not symptoms that you just have to “live with.” They can be fixed and corrected; life can go back to what it was at an earlier age or time. We’re here to help in any we can. So fill out the consultation form or give us a call at (513)-791-9474 to get started!
While you’re here, be sure to check out some of our blogs below:
- “Hormone Imbalance in Women: What to Do”
- “Adrenal Fatigue: The Cause and The Solution”
- “Why Estrogen Does Not Cause Breast Cancer”