Hormones 101: Progesterone
In the last post, I talked about estrogen, one of our two major female sex hormones.
Today, I’d like to have a closer look at progesterone, estrogen’s counterpart.
How much do you know about this essential female sex hormone?
There’s often lots of discussion about estrogen, but not enough similar discussion about its partner hormone, progesterone.
Although progesterone is most closely associated with pregnancy and preparation for pregnancy, it is also important for a healthy menstrual cycle.
So what’s the deal with progesterone?
The majority of progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum, a little structure that comes from the follicle of the egg that was released. This helps prepare the body for pregnancy if the eggs gets fertilised.
We also produce progesterone in very small amounts in the ovaries & the adrenal glands. In pregnancy, the placenta also produces progesterone.
If you think back to the four phases of the menstrual cycle, your progesterone levels don’t stay the same throughout.
They’re generally at their highest point a few days after ovulation, the halfway point of our menstrual cycle. Your progesterone levels drop if you don’t fertilise an egg and are at the lowest point on the first day of our periods.
If the woman doesn’t get pregnant that cycle, the corpus luteum disintegrates, progesterone drops, and this is the signal for a woman’s period to start.
If a women does get pregnant, then progesterone will help the blood vessels on the lining of the womb grow and stimulate glands that will nourish the embryo with nutrients.
It also prepares the womb for the fertilised egg to implant and helps maintain the pregnancy, rising all the way until birth.
So what else does progesterone do for us?
Its other major function is to help regulate the menstrual cycle, so you want it to be balanced with estrogen.
When you have too little or much, you can experience PMS symptoms such as mood swings, insomnia, bloating, blood sugar imbalance, anxiety, acne and cramps. Check out my post on the 5 Types of PMS to learn more.
Do you notice the ups and downs of progesterone across your cycle?
Have you noticed it dropping as you approach perimenopause and menopause?
If you have questions about progesterone and feel like you don’t know what’s going on with your progesterone levels, get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.
Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.
Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating.
They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.
Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle!