Estrogen regulates essential bodily functions, including brain and cardiovascular health, bone density, and the menstrual cycle. Often overshadowed by estrogen, progesterone is another crucial hormone that is equally vital in brain health, reproduction, and the menstrual cycle.
The Role of Progesterone in a Woman’s Body?
Progesterone is produced by the ovaries during the second half of the menstrual cycle. It is best known for its role in preparing the body for pregnancy. It readies the uterine lining for the embryo to attach, supports early pregnancy, and prepares the breasts for milk production. In addition to its role in pregnancy, its functions also include:
- Regulating Menstruation: It works in harmony with estrogen to regulate the menstrual cycle, ensuring proper timing and shedding of the uterine lining during menstruation.
- Easing Menopause Symptoms: Progesterone can alleviate common menopausal symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes.
- Bone Health: Progesterone positively impacts bone density, which is especially important in maintaining good bone health as women go through menopause.
- Mood Stabilization: Progesterone has a calming effect on the brain and can help alleviate anxiety and mood swings. It’s often referred to as the “feel-good hormone.”
- Promoting Sleep: The calming effect of progesterone on the central nervous system can help alleviate anxiety and promote a sense of well-being, which can be beneficial for falling and staying asleep.
At the onset of perimenopause into menopause, the decline in progesterone can contribute to the symptoms women experience, including hot flashes, trouble sleeping, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.
What Happens During Menopause
As a woman transitions into menopause, typically in the late 40s or early 50s, ovaries gradually decrease their production of estrogen and progesterone. While estrogen declines dramatically, progesterone production decreases slightly, leading to an imbalance between the two hormones. This imbalance can contribute to several menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness, and brain fog. The lower levels can also affect bone density, contributing to an increased risk of osteoporosis.
What We Can Do About It
At any life stage, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management techniques like yoga can ease symptoms of perimenopause while supporting bone health and regulating emotional stability. There are also progesterone treatment options available, some more effective than others.
- Topical Creams: Progesterone creams are used to manage hormonal imbalances, such as hot flashes and mood swings. The efficacy of creams can vary based on the product’s concentration and absorption through the skin. Some people find them practical for symptom relief, while others may not experience the same benefits.
- Progesterone Gels: Progesterone gels are similar to creams and are applied topically. The effectiveness depends on the product, application method, and individual response.
- Bioidentical Hormones: Administered by injection at the doctor’s office, bioidentical hormones come from plant sources chemically similar to the hormones your body naturally produces. These injections are usually given every three months, with women reporting decreased effectiveness leading up to a new injection.
- Oral Progesterone: Oral progesterone treatments like PearlPAK™ can effectively regulate hormonal balance during perimenopause and menopause. The PearlPAK progesterone is taken in the evening to promote sleep. It is taken during a woman’s natural cycle to prevent high and low fluctuations.
Each woman’s menopausal experience is unique, and finding the right approach that best suits your needs and preferences is essential. Work with a healthcare provider and research management strategies, both medical and lifestyle choices, to find a solution that works best for you.
At CleopatraRX, we are on a mission to empower women to take control of their brain health during menopause. Contact us today with any questions.