Perimenopause, Menopause and Progesterone
Why Supplement with Natural Progesterone?
There are many reasons to supplement with natural progesterone at different stages of your life. You may having symptoms of peri-menopause or premenopause. The years before periods stop forever are called perimenopause. Many women are surprised to learn that the perimenopausal phase can last as long as ten years. During this time, some periods may be heavier or lighter than others. Cycles begin to be irregular or to be skipped completely in some months. This can start in your 30’s. This is the time that you may want to start supplementing with natural progesterone. This can balance your hormone levels and provide some relief to your symptoms.
Some of the symptoms of Perimenopause are: hot flashes or night sweats, anxiety, anger, mood swings, forgetfulness, depression, joint and muscle pain, shorter or longer menstrual cycles and change in menstrual flow.
Menopause is actually the end of the menstrual cycle. Skipping 12 periods officially confirms menopause. In addition, there is a significant decline in ovarian functioning. Ovarian function continues to subside as certain landmark events take place. Ovulation ceases and with it the production and secretion of progesterone.
As Dr. Lee states in his book “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause”: “The prevailing myth in mainstream medicine is that menopause is an estrogen deficiency disease, but estrogen levels drop only 40 to 60 percent at menopause, while progesterone levels can drop to nearly zero.” According to Dr. Lee, what is commonly perceived as an absolute estrogen level deficiency during the menopausal years is in effect estrogen dominance caused by extremely low progesterone levels. Since the progesterone’s role is to balance estrogen, the extremely low level of progesterone experienced after menopause leads to a relative dominance of estrogen.
Estrogen “deficiency” is quite often used as an explanation of menopausal symptoms or health problems. However, it is not supported by sound research. When a woman’s menstrual cycle is functioning normally, estrogen is the dominant hormone for the first two weeks and is balanced by progesterone, which is the dominant hormone for the latter two weeks. After menopause, estrogen is still present and continues to be manufactured in fat cells. Most menopausal women have too little estrogen to support pregnancy, but sufficient amounts for other normal body functions.
Few women are truly deficient in estrogen; most become progesterone deficient. If estrogen becomes the dominant hormone and progesterone is deficient, excess estrogen becomes toxic to the body. Dr. Lee treats menopause as an estrogen dominance syndrome. His treatment is simple – reduce estrogen to progesterone ratio by increasing progesterone. When the opposing force of progesterone is increased, the toxic effect of estrogen is decreased. Fortunately for many women who follow Dr. Lee’s advice, their menopausal symptoms remarkably reduced.
As you go through perimenopause and menopause your hormonal balance is upset and your body doesn’t function the way used to. There are different things that you can try to counteract hormone imbalance. They include eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise. Using a natural progesterone cream to help balance your estrogen may also be part of the solution. You may want to have your hormones tested using a saliva hormone test to see what your hormone levels are and what specifically would help you before started any regimen. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor also.