What our hormones tell us as women: Progesterone

In Part 2 of our May series on women and their hormones, we are going to talk progesterone.

Credit: istockphoto

Progesterone has the root “-gest-” right in the middle to tell you that its most well-known functions are all about gestation or pregnancy. A woman makes this important hormone in a temporary endocrine gland called the corpus luteum, which is formed in the space that is left behind after an egg is released from her ovary. Pretty cool, right?

If the woman does not get pregnant, then the corpus luteum is reabsorbed, her progesterone levels drop, and she has her period. If a woman does get pregnant, then the corpus luteum will continue to make progesterone (the placenta will make it later, too) to help nourish the endometrium through pregnancy, suppress further ovulation, promote milk production, and more.

So without healthy progesterone levels, women can have many challenges with conception and maintenance of a healthy pregnancy.

Because ovulation must take place for progesterone to be made, levels are commonly low in women who have difficulties with normal ovulation. Common causes of ovulation challenges are:

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Elevated levels of the hormone prolactin (hyperprolactinemia)
  • Being significantly over or under weight
  • Excessive exercise (Female Athlete Triad)
  • Extreme stress
  • Menopause/Perimenopause

A high progesterone level is not common but it can happen in conditions like Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH). A spike in levels before a woman has her period is associated with the common symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), such as breast tenderness, bloating, fatigue, and mood fluctuations.

Progesterone, like most of a woman’s hormones, also has other roles in maintaining her health; most notably, it is supportive for bone, breast, metabolic, and brain health.

To gain an in-depth understanding of your most important hormone biomarkers and other key biomarkers for women’s health, order the WellnessFX Women’s Health Panel (https://www.wellnessfx.com/womens-health), and schedule a consultation with one of our skilled practitioners to gain valuable insights into your health.

 

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.