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Progesterone is a female sex hormone which is produced by the adrenal glands and the ovaries during ovulation; that period of time in a woman’s cycle when the egg is released from the ovary.  The role of progesterone is to prepare the lining of the uterus in case the egg becomes fertilized and pregnancy ensues.  During pregnancy, the placenta also produces progesterone in order to stimulate the growth of milk glands in the breasts. If the egg is not fertilized estrogen and progesterone levels drop, the endometrium breaks down and menses occurs.

Progesterone plays a critical reproductive role during child-bearing years, but by the time ovulation ceases progesterone is almost nonexistent.  Some people believe that once child-bearing is over, there is no reason to restore progesterone levels. However, many physicians who specialize in natural bioidentical hormone replacement strongly disagree with this assessment, and may instead recommend that those with a deficiency undergo Connecticut progesterone hormone therapy.

Role of Progesterone

One of the primary roles of progesterone in hormone therapy is to act as a balancing agent for estrogen.  During a woman’s cycle, estrogen stimulates the growth of the endometrium, or lining of the uterus.  If that growth is unchecked it can lead to pre-cancer or cancerous cells.  Coupling replacement estrogen with progesterone restores the natural balance and provides protection to the uterus; an important reason for including this valuable substance in natural hormone replacement therapy.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone

While estrogen production also decreases with age, it does not decline as quickly or completely as progesterone, which can lead to a significant hormone imbalance long before the onset of menopause. Here are some symptoms which may warrant progesterone hormone treatment in Connecticut.

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability or depression
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular or heavy menstruation
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Migraines

Treatment Options

Bioidentical progesterone can be taken orally, as a sublingual (under the tongue) tablet, or in a transdermal cream.  Studies indicate that taking the hormone orally provides the greatest amount of protection, though it should be taken at night since it can cause drowsiness. Dissolving a tablet under the tongue can provide similar benefits without making a person sleepy.  While transdermal creams cannot offer the same amount of protection against breast and uterine cancer, they are a good option for women who have a health history which makes it inadvisable for them to use oral natural hormone replacement.

Reducing Pre-Term Birth

A recent study concluded by the National Institutes of Health shows a significant benefit to the use of progesterone in reducing the risk of preterm birth, among pregnant women with a particular risk factor. Women with a short cervix are at high risk of delivering early—in some cases so early that the infant may not survive. Every day in the womb increases the chance of a healthy infant, so these findings are significant.

The study also concluded that even if the mother delivers before full term, progesterone treatment canReduce the likelihood of:
• Infant death
• Respiratory distress syndrome in the baby
• Birth weight under 3.5 pounds
• Need for NICU care

Determining Whether You Need Help

If you are experiencing any of the side effects listed above, you may be lacking in progesterone, but these are not conclusive and can be caused by other medical conditions.  The only way to know for certain is to meet with a gynecologist who specializes in natural hormone replacement.  The doctor will take blood and / or saliva samples to determine your actual hormone levels.  The results will be compared to hormone levels typically found in women in their twenties and the doctor will work with a compounding pharmacy to create a customized supplement of bioidentical progesterone.  You will need to go back for follow-up tests to make certain your hormones have reached optimum levels following progesterone therapy in Connecticut.