Estrogen and Progesterone
Estrogen and Progesterone: two important hormones
A woman’s life can be explained by the fluctuations of two hormones, estrogen and progesterone. When these hormones are in balance a woman’s life is wonderful. When they are out of balance problems follow. To better understand the consequences of these hormone disturbances, we must first discuss the normal functions of estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen, a steroid hormone, carries physiological messages to body organs and systems. These messages differ for each body organ and system. Estrogen sends messages to the uterus to grow and replace the lining that is shed during the previous menses.
Bone resorption is decreased by estrogen. Bone is constantly being broken down and replaced. Estrogen is needed to maintain a proper rate of bone breakdown and prevent bone loss. The vagina and female bladder functions are maintained under the influence of estrogen. It keeps the vagina moist and prevents the bladder from leaking urine.
In adolescence, estrogen is responsible for developing female sex characteristics.
Estrogen causes breast to grow by increasing breast cell numbers and their multiplication. It also stimulates the development of female sexual organs.
Estrogen decreases the function of thyroid hormone.
Estrogen increases the production of a protein called thyroid binding globulin. This protein binds thyroid hormone making it inactive. Thereby, decreasing metabolism and increasing fat deposits. The body stores fat in order to have enough energy for a fetus if a pregnancy develops.
Estrogen effects the brain. Its effect on the brain is very tenuous. At normal levels estrogen prevents depression and insomnia , increases concentration, and maintains normal sex drive . If estrogen is to high or low, depression, anxiety, insomnia, decreased sex drive and decreased concentration may result.
Progesterone, a steroid hormone, also carries messages to other organs. The messages are directed to the same body organs and systems as estrogen but the messages are different.
Progesterone is produced by the ovary after ovulation. It instructs the uterine lining to stop growing so that it might develop and mature e in preparation for a possible pregnancy . Progesterone is produced for fourteen days after ovulation. If there is no pregnancy, progesterone decreases and signals the beginning of menses.
Progesterone decreases the target organs response to estrogen by decreasing the number of receptors the organ has for estrogen. Receptors are molecules on the cells that recognize specific hormones and allows them to carry their message to the cell.
Progesterone also decreases breast cell growth. It is involved in the maturation of breast cells and decreases the rate of multiplication. Progesterone also promotes normal cell death in the breast which is important in the prevention of cancer.
While estrogen decreases the rate of bone breakdown, progesterone stimulates bone osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are responsible for making new bone to replace old bone.
By decreasing thyroid binding globulin, progesterone increases the activity of thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone increases metabolism, and utilizes the fat stored under estrogen influence for energy. Normal progesterone levels are important for a normal body composition. Low progesterone levels can lead to weight gain.
Progesterone stimulates normal sex drive because it can be converted to testosterone which is involved in male and female sex drive.
It blocks aldosterone receptors. Aldosterone promotes water retention and swelling. Progesterone blocks aldosterone causing normal fluid loss and decreasing swelling.
Progesterone decreases uterine muscle contractions which cause menstrual cramps by promoting uterine muscle relaxation.
In the brain, progesterone binds GABA receptors. These receptors decrease anxiety, insomnia and depression. Anti-depressants and barbiturates bind these same receptors. Progesterone is a natural antidepressant and prevents anxiety.
Estrogen Dominance Symptoms
|Cyclic anxiety||Cyclic weight gain depression|
|Crying spells||Cyclic migraines|
|Decreased libido||Breast cancer risks|
If you have two or more of the symptoms listed above, you may be experiencing estrogen dominance. It occurs when your exposure to estrogen is greater than your ability excrete estrogen on to produce adequate progesterone levels. They are many factors that increase our estrogen exposure. Consuming hormone fed animals increase our estrogen exposure. Pesticides sprayed on fruits and vegetables can behave like estrogen. Obesity increases our estrogen exposure because fat cells make estrogen.
Stress effects your ability to ovulate or produce an egg each month. If a woman does not ovulate, progesterone is not produced , therefore it is not available to counteract the effects of the estrogen made during the menstrual cycle. Adolescent girls and peri-menopausal women with irregular menses, mood swings and emotional outbursts may benefit greatly from progesterone therapy and are most likely to be estrogen dominant.
We also offer Progesterone Pellets. Learn more here.
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