This Subtle Hormone Change Can Sneak Up On You

by | May 30, 2024 | Health, Hormone Help | 0 comments

During perimenopause and even after menopause, progesterone levels decline along with estrogen. But it’s not a gentle slide down with these hormones. Progesterone levels can suddenly plummet, while estrogen remains high, and it’s this unbalanced ratio between estrogen and progesterone that causes a lot of health issues.

This low progesterone-to-high estrogen imbalance – or estrogen dominance, can cause symptoms ranging from weight gain, acne, insomnia to anxiety and irritability.

How do I Know if I Progesterone is Low?

Estrogen usually gets all the attention when it comes to menopause symptoms and other hormonal issues. But in reality, it’s often progesterone levels that cause the noticeable symptoms. Common signs of low progesterone in perimenopause include:

  • Insomnia- Many women complain of poor sleep in their forties and fifties. This is often due to declining levels of progesterone. Progesterone helps supply the brain with a neurotransmitter called GABA. GABA is a very calming brain chemical and is necessary for a good night’s sleep without waking up during the night. If sleep is what you need, progesterone may offer help.
  • Heavy or irregular periods if you still have them- Progesterone is the main hormone responsible for regulating your cycle. Typical menstrual cycles are about 28 days long. If your cycle is much longer, much shorter or just unpredictable then this could be due to low progesterone.
  • Weight gain – If you are eating well and exercising, but have hormonal imbalance – including low progesterone – your body can go into weight gain mode no matter what you do.
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability and insomnia – Progesterone interacts with your neurotransmitters, particularly GABA. GABA is a calming, soothing hormone. When progesterone is low you may have symptoms of depression, anxiety, irritability and insomnia will worsen before your cycle.
  • Adult acne – When your body’s progesterone and estrogen levels are thrown into imbalance, it can have a cascading effect on your other hormones, particularly an androgen called DHT (Dihydrotestosterone). DHT is thought to be a prime trigger for women’s adult acne. Studies have shown that progesterone helps to regulate the production of DHT and is a key to keeping it under control.
  • Low libido & sexual dysfunction- When progesterone is low, the imbalance can contribute to vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy (a loss of muscle tension), and decreased clitoral sensitivity. It can be really difficult to get in the mood when these issues take hold.
  • Headaches – Women with low progesterone tend to get migraines, particularly before and during their cycle. This might be related to the increase in estrogen with low progesterone. Higher estrogen can cause vasodilation and water retention which can trigger headaches.
  • Sagging skin and wrinkles – Progesterone helps to stimulate production of collagen, which is essential for maintaining skin health. Without enough progesterone, skin can become saggy, dry and wrinkly.

Stress Can Use Up Progesterone

Progesterone is a master hormone and is one of several used by your body to make other hormones. Some progesterone is made in the adrenal glands and is converted into cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone.

Chronic stress causes the body to use cortisol at a much faster rate. As a result, the cortisol begins channeling progesterone for direct use in cortisol production. Less progesterone is available for other purposes, like your menstrual cycle – and symptoms can intensify.

Low Progesterone can Cause Low Thyroid Function

Progesterone is actually a necessary helper for thyroid hormones. Progesterone helps the body convert thyroid hormone, T4 into the usable form of thyroid hormone, T3. When progesterone levels are low, the thyroid does not convert T4 into T3 as readily, causing you to feel low thyroid symptoms such as, fatigue, weight gain, depression, constipation, and brain fog.

Can OTC Progesterone Cream Be Used?

So, now you’re probably wondering, is there anything you can do to boost your progesterone levels – or smooth out imbalanced progesterone-estrogen ratio? Diet may provide a little help because certain foods and nutrients may have an effect on progesterone levels in your body.

Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts) contain a chemical called indole-3-carbinol that is thought to counter the effects of high-estrogen-to-progesterone. Vitamin B-6 (in foods like chickpeas, tuna, spinach and lean red meat) supports liver function which can help balance hormones, including progesterone and estrogen.

But there are other options that help restore balance and provide symptom relief. USP Natural Progesterone cream is considered bioidentical to women’s own naturally occurring hormones and can be a companion to other therapies or used alone.

For women who have tried other options that only provide partial relief — or none at all — bioidentical progesterone topical creams may help roll back some of the effects of hormonal imbalance. This is where non-prescription topical progesterone comes in. Progesterone creams are chemically similar to the progesterone in your body and have been proven safe.

Other Health Benefits of Progesterone

Supplemental progesterone can actually help to reduce many of the symptoms of estrogen dominance. But that’s not all, progesterone can have far-reaching benefits for the whole body. Other benefits of progesterone include:

  • Reduces ovarian cysts
  • Helps prevent uterine cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer
  • Lessen the chances of ovarian cysts
  • Stimulates bone formation
  • Helps prevent autoimmune disease
  • Improves estrogen receptor sensitivity
  • Helps prevent arterial plaque and prevents heart disease and strokes
  • Lessens fibrocystic breast issues
  • Aids the body in metabolizing fat
  • Gets rid of excess stored fluids
  • Increases GABA in brain and drastically reduces anxiety
  • Antidepressant
  • Facilitates deeper, more restful sleep
  • Helps balance and normalize thyroid function
  • Normalizes and balances blood sugar
  • Protects against blood clots
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Protects the brain from injury after strokes or traumatic brain injuries
  • Important for repair of nerves, especially the myelin sheath (MS)

Is it any wonder we have noticeable symptoms when progesterone drops?

Will Topical Progesterone Work For You?

Even with dramatic hormone fluctuations in perimenopause, your body has the ability to adapt to the changes. Many women get very good results with topical progesterone over time without having to worry about side effects. The best topical progesterone remedies have special application instructions that mimic the way progesterone rises and falls during the average menstrual cycle.

The best way to know if topical progesterone will ease your specific menopause symptoms is to try it for several months to measure its effectiveness. Click here and try it today and sleep better tonight!

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Please Note: Please consult with your physician or health care provider when starting ANY new supplements–especially if you are on medication or being treated for any medical condition. If you experience any adverse effects, please discontinue all supplements and consult with your doctor.

Information, supplement recommendations, and protocols provided are merely suggestions and not meant to replace medical treatment for any health problem or condition and are at the member’s discretion as to how they are used.

 

About Catherine Ebeling: I am Catherine (Cat) Ebeling. I am an RN with a Masters of Science in Nursing and Public Health. I have been studying diet, fitness and health for the past 30+ years–in addition to my clinical nursing experience, which includes anti-aging, preventative, regenerative medicine and bioidentical hormone therapy. I have had a life-long fascination with diet, fitness and nutrition, and have learned how to biohack my genetic capacity. I realized that we, as humans, have the ultimate power over our bodies and our health. Wanting to learn even more about human biology, nutrition, health and disease, I went back to school to study for a BSN in nursing. I just recently completed my MSN (at age 60). I’ve written six books on diet and health that have sold thousands–and even hundreds of thousands of copies all over the world through “The Nutrition Watchdog” publishing. I am an expert on diet and health and want to share that knowledge with you. I can be reached at caebeling@gmail.com or 314-369-6400 or on FB Instant Messenger.

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