During menopause, the body naturally begins to slow production of essential female hormones, like estrogen and progesterone. Though most women may not know much about progesterone, too much or too little of this hormone can trigger a range of unpleasant and potentially life-threatening side effects in women. Continue reading below to learn more about the role of progesterone and the side effects of progesterone imbalance.
The Role of Progesterone
Progesterone, the chemical messenger hormone, sends vital messages to the body regarding the processes of menstruation and fertility. Every month, progesterone signals the uterus to prepare the body for a fertilized egg. If fertilization does not occur, progesterone signals for the uterine lining to shed, resulting in menstruation.
In addition to regulating menstruation, progesterone is important to female sexual health, bone health, moods, and emotions. Click here to read more about the role of progesterone or continue reading below to learn about the symptoms of progesterone dominance.
Progesterone dominance is the term used to describe a surplus of progesterone in the female body. During menopause, sometimes a woman's production of progesterone may reach excessively high levels. Aside from menopause, other causes of progesterone imbalance include poor diet or lack of exercise. Common symptoms of progesterone dominance are:
- Mood swings and depression
- Vaginal and urinary infections
- Decreased libido
- Weight gain
- Hot flashes
Progesterone deficiency occurs when estrogen is produced in the body, but a woman does not experience ovulation. During progesterone deficiency, there will be an absence of lowered levels of progesterone in the body. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, poor diet, and lack of exercise. During menopause, the body's production of progesterone can fall as low as 0.1 -8.0 ng/ml, a drastic drop from the 8-10 ng/ml a woman normally produces during her monthly cycle. Symptoms of progesterone deficiency include:
- Increased risk of endometrial cancer
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Gum disease (e.g., gingivitis)
- Absence of menstruation
- Decreased libido
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
Progesterone imbalance may be treated using several different approaches. Most doctors recommend making simple diet and lifestyle changes before considering herbal remedies or pharmaceutical options to treat progesterone imbalance, as these treatments may trigger unwanted side effects or pose serious health risks. Click here for more information about treatments for progesterone imbalance.