Progesterone is an important steroid hormone that is naturally produced in the ovaries during the second two weeks of ovulation. Progesterone not only plays a large role in pregnancy and fertility but also in the maintenance of other bodily functions. It belongs to a class of hormones known as progestogens and is synthesized, like other hormones, from pregnenolone, a derivative of cholesterol.
In the following section, progesterone is discussed in detail: what it is, its use in hormone imbalance relief, and possible side effects will be addressed.
What Is Progesterone Replacement Therapy?
As women age, progesterone and its delicate relationship with estrogen can be thrown into imbalance, resulting in many unpleasant symptoms. In particular, women who are pregnant or experiencing perimenopause also experience fluctuating progesterone levels. Progesterone Replacement Therapy (PRT) is often necessary for women seeking relief from their bothersome symptoms.
Progesterone helps the body perform various functions:
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels
- Helps thyroid hormone action
- Stabilizes zinc and copper levels
- Acts as a natural antidepressant
- Maintains cell oxygen levels
Progesterone replacement therapy is just one way of regulating progesterone levels in the body. It boosts low progesterone levels by introducing external progesterone into the body by way of pill, patch, gel, cream, drops, oil, or capsule. The form of progesterone administered depends on its availability, cost and convenience of use. Progesterone is frequently combined with estrogen and, in some cases, testosterone.
There are two types of progesterone replacement therapy - natural and synthetic:
- Natural progesterone replacement therapy. There are many natural substances (for example, wild yams) that produce matter that is chemically almost identical to the progesterone produced in the ovaries. This matter behaves in the body much like a woman's own progesterone. When using it, women are advised to read label ingredients carefully and to check for an adequate concentration of progesterone. Patients should never exceed the recommended dosage.
- Synthetic progesterone replacement therapy. This method uses progestins, fabricated compounds that bind to a woman's own progesterone receptors and function in the same way as the body's own progesterone. Progestins, however, have been known to cause numerous side effects.
Side Effects of Progesterone Replacement Therapy
Like other forms of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Progesterone replacement therapy is accompanied by a range of side effects. Some of them milder side effects include:
- Fluid retention
- Weight gain
- Skin spotting
If progesterone replacement therapy side effects become burdensome, it's best to speak to a doctor and consider switching to a different form of HRT. Progestogen-only therapy is a rare approach to menopause treatment. Women who are interested in this approach should consult a doctor prior to treatment.
Now that progesterone replacement therapy has been explained, continue reading to learn about the side effects of progesterone replacement therapy.