While the hormone progesterone isn't normally in the limelight when it comes to the female reproductive system, it plays a starring role when it comes to your menstrual cycle. This fact is especially important for women entering the menopause life phase, as irregular periods are often one of the first signs of the change. Understanding the role of progesterone and the symptoms progesterone imbalance can trigger is essential to maintaining good health. Keep reading below to learn about the role of progesterone during menopause.
Going with The Flow: Progesterone and The Menstrual Cycle
Progesterone is a hormone produced in the ovaries and adrenal gland. It is known as a chemical messenger because it sends vital messages to the body regarding menstruation. Every month, progesterone signals the body to prepare for a fertilized egg. If fertilization does not occur, progesterone calls for the shedding of the uterine lining, resulting in menstruation.
Riding the Menstrual Tidal Wave: Irregular Periods and Progesterone
One of the first signs of menopause is irregular periods. Infrequent or missed periods in menopausal women occur as the result of declining production of progesterone in the female body. During menopause, the production of progesterone call fall as low as 0.1-8.0 ng/ml, down from the normal amount of 8-10 ng/ml produced in the premenopause phase. The drastic drop in progesterone production during menopause causes a range of symptoms, including irregular periods.
Diminished progesterone levels at this life stage prepare the body for the end of the fertility. However, a woman is not considered to be postmenopausal until she has not received her period for 12 calendar months. Thus there is still a slight chance that she may become pregnant even if she is experiencing irregular periods.
Other Menopausal Symptoms Caused By Progesterone Imbalance
In addition to regulating the menstrual cycle, progesterone plays an important role in female sexual health, bone health, moods, and emotions. Progesterone dominance — or a surplus of progesterone — can cause symptoms like drowsiness, acne, mood swings, weight gain, hot flashes, and low libido. Progesterone deficiency — or a shortage of progesterone — leads to symptoms like breast tenderness, gum disease, osteoporosis, and increased risk of endometrial cancer. Click here to read more about the symptoms of progesterone imbalance.
In order for a woman to maintain good health during menopause, levels of estrogen and progesterone should be balanced with one another. There are many treatments available for women experiencing the problem of imbalanced hormones. Click here to read more about treatments for progesterone imbalance.