| Natural Progesterone
WHAT WOMEN HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF USING NATURAL PROGESTERONE CREAM
"It's as if my body breathed a big sigh of relief ."
"My life is back on track and my symptoms are gone."
"I thought my ability to think clearly was gone for good, but it's back and better than ever."
"I had a second ultrasound and the fibroid is half the size it was six months ago. My doctor says I don't need to have a hysterectomy after all."
"My PMS and tender breasts are a thing of the past. And I'm in control of my emotions the week before my period."
"After three months on progesterone, folic acid and vitamin B6 I am no longer testing positive for cervical dysplasia."
"Since I began using progesterone cream I haven't had one migraine headache."
"I've lost 11 pounds and I think most of it was water weight. I no longer feel like a balloon."
"I can sleep again and I'm much less moody and anxious."
"We just wanted to let you know that we had a healthy baby boy."
These are the kinds of letters, faxes and phone calls that doctors using natural hormones receive every day from women whose premenopausal symptoms clear up after they begin using a natural progesterone cream. It may sound too good to be true, but it's merely a case of supplying the body with what it needs to maintain balance. You've read about how out of balance our estrogenic environment has become; it's no wonder women are feeling much better when they use some progesterone.
MORE ABOUT NATURAL PROGESTERONE
Unlike estrogen, progesterone is not a generic name but is the name of the hormone produced by the corpus luteum after ovulation, and in smaller quantities by the adrenal gland. It is synthesized in humans in a biochemical pathway leading from cholesterol to pregnenolone to progesterone. In turn, progesterone is the precursor of corticosteroids and testosterone. Progesterone is also synthesized, in copious amounts, by the placenta during pregnancy.
Progesterone is a specific molecule made by mammals and has multiple roles in your body. It effects every tissue in your body including the uterus, cervix, and vagina, the endocrine (hormonal) system, brain cells, fat metabolism, thyroid hormone function, water balance, peripheral nerve myelin sheath synthesis, bone cells, energy production and thermogenesis, the immune system, survival and development of the embryo, and growth and development of the fetus. Though referred to as a sex hormone, progesterone conveys no specific secondary sex characteristics and as such cannot be called a male or female hormone.
WHY PROGESTERONE CREAM WORKS SO EFFICIENTLY
Progesterone is highly fat-soluble compound exceedingly well absorbed when applied transdermally or onto the skin. According to hormone researcher David Zava, Ph.D., progesterone is by far the most lipophilic, or fat-loving, of the steroid hormones. It circulates in the blood, carried by fat-soluble substances such as red blood cell membranes. Some 70 to 80 percent of ovary-made progesterone is carried on red blood cells and thus is not measured by serum or plasma blood tests. This progesterone is available to the body for use, and readily filters through the saliva glands into saliva where it can be measured accurately. The remaining 20 to 30 percent of progesterone in the body is protein-bound and is found in the watery blood plasma where it can be measured by serum or plasma blood tests. However, only 1 to 9 percent of this progesterone is available to the body for use. That is why saliva testing is a far more accurate and relevant test than blood tests in measuring bio-available progesterone.
WHY SO MANY WOMEN NEED PROGESTERONE AFTER MENOPAUSE
The fall of progesterone levels at menopause is proportionately much greater than the fall of estrogen levels. While estrogen falls only 40 to 60 percent from baseline on average, progesterone can decline to nearly zero. Furthermore, anovulatory cycles in premenopausal women will cause low progesterone levels on and off throughout the premenopausal years.
Effects of Progesterone & Estrogen
WHAT YOUR DOCTOR MAY NOT TELL YOU ABOUT BREAST CANCER:
PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF ESTROGEN AND PROGESTERONE
* Indicates that these effects are caused by estrogen dominance, or an imbalance of estrogen caused by too little progesterone.
** Indicates that these effects are caused by an excess of progesterone.
*** Indicates that these effects are caused by a deficiency of estrogen.
FAQ's About Progesterone Cream
Q: What is progesterone?
A: Progesterone is a steroid hormone made by the corpus luteum of the ovary at ovulation, and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. Progesterone is manufactured in the body from the steroid hormone pregnenolone, and is a precursor to most of the other steroid hormones, including cortisol, androstenedione, the estrogens and testosterone. In a normally cycling female, the corpus luteum produces 20 to 30 mg of progesterone daily during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
Q: Why do women need progesterone?
A: Progesterone is needed in hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women for many reasons, but one of its most important roles is to balance or oppose the effects of estrogen. Unopposed estrogen creates a strong risk for breast cancer and reproductive cancers.
Estrogen levels drop only 40-60% at menopause, which is just enough to stop the menstrual cycle. But progesterone levels may drop to near zero in some women. Because progesterone is the precursor to so many other steroid hormones, its use can greatly enhance overall hormone balance after menopause. Progesterone also stimulates bone-building and thus helps protect against osteoporosis.
Q: Why not just use the progestin Provera as prescribed by most doctors?
A: Progesterone is preferable to the synthetic progestins such as Provera, because it is natural to the body and has no undesirable side effects when used as directed.
If you have any doubts about how different progesterone is from the progestins, remember that the placenta produces 300-400 mg of progesterone daily during the last few months of pregnancy, so we know that such levels are safe for the developing baby. But progestins, even at fractions of this dose, can cause birth defects. The progestins also cause many other side effects, including partial loss of vision, breast cancer in test dogs, an increased risk of strokes, fluid retention, migraine headaches, asthma, cardiac irregularities and depression.
Q: What is estrogen dominance?
A: Dr. Lee has coined the term "estrogen dominance," to describe what happens when the normal ratio or balance of estrogen to progesterone is changed by excess estrogen or inadequate progesterone. Estrogen is a potent and potentially dangerous hormone when not balanced by adequate progesterone.
Both women who have suffered from PMS and women who have suffered from menopausal symptoms, will recognize the hallmark symptoms of estrogen dominance: weight gain, bloating, mood swings, irritability, tender breasts, headaches, fatigue, depression, hypoglycemia, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and fibrocystic breasts. Estrogen dominance is known to cause and/or contribute to cancer of the breast, ovary, endometrium (uterus), and prostate.
Q: Why would a premenopausal woman need progesterone cream?
A: In the ten to fifteen years before menopause, many women regularly have anovulatory cycles in which they make enough estrogen to create menstruation, but they don't make any progesterone, thus setting the stage for estrogen dominance. Using progesterone cream during anovulatory months can help prevent the symptoms of PMS.
We now know that PMS can occur despite normal progesterone levels when stress is present. Stress increases cortisol production; cortisol blockades (or competes for) progesterone receptors. Additional progesterone is required to overcome this blockade, and stress management is important.
Q: What is progesterone made from?
A: The USP progesterone used for hormone replacement comes from plant fats and oils, usually a substance called diosgenin which is extracted from a very specific type of wild yam that grows in Mexico, or from soybeans. In the laboratory diosgenin is chemically synthesized into real human progesterone. The other human steroid hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and the cortisones are also nearly always synthesized from diosgenin.
Some companies are trying to sell diosgenin, which they label "wild yam extract" as a medicine or supplement, claiming that the body will then convert it into hormones as needed. While we know this can be done in the laboratory, there is no evidence that this conversion takes place in the human body.
Q: Where should I put the progesterone cream?
A: Because progesterone is very fat-soluble, it is easily absorbed through the skin. From subcutaneous fat, progesterone is absorbed into capillary blood. Thus absorption is best at all the skin sites where people blush: face, neck, chest, breasts, inner arms and palms of the hands.
Q: What is the recommended dosage of progesterone?
A: For premenopausal women the usual dose is 15-24 mg/day for 14 days before expected menses, stopping the day or so before menses.
For postmenopausal women, the dose that often works well is 15 mg/day for 25 days of the calendar month.
Q: What amount of progesterone do you recommend in a cream?
A: Dr. Lee recommends the creams that contain 450-500 mg of progesterone per ounce, which is 1.6% by weight or 3% by volume. This means that about ?teaspoon daily would provide about 20 mg/day.
Q: How safe is progesterone cream?
A: During the third trimester of pregnancy, the placenta produces about 300 mg of progesterone daily, so we know that a one-time overdose of the cream is virtually impossible. If you used a whole jar at once it might make you sleepy. However, Dr. Lee recommends that women avoid using higher than the recommended dosage to avoid hormone imbalances. More is not better when it comes to hormone balance.
Q: Wouldn't it be easier to just take a progesterone pill?
A: Dr. Lee recommends the transdermal cream rather than oral progesterone, because some 80% to 90% of the oral dose is lost through the liver. Thus, at least 200 to 400 mg daily is needed orally to achieve a physiologic dose of 15 to 24 mg daily. Such high doses create undesirable metabolites and unnecessarily overload the liver.
Q: Where can I get more information on progesterone and natural hormone balance?
A: For a detailed explanation of women's hormone balance issues, a hormone balance program, as well as detailed descriptions of how to use natural progesterone, the following books by John R. Lee, M.D. are recommended: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause and What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer and Hormone Heresy by Sherrill Sellman.
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause and What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer and Hormone Heresy by Sherrill Sellman.
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