Progesterone

 

What is Progesterone?

  • Oldest known sex hormone.
  • Present in every human regardless of age.
  • Produced by the ovaries and adrenal gland.
  • Secreted by corpus luteum.
  • Has receptors in nearly every cell in the body.
  • Acts on uterus, kidneys, brain, smooth muscle, breasts, bones, and cellular membranes.
  • Metabolized to other active hormones.

What are some of the functions and roles of progesterone in the body?

  • Counteracts estrogen's tendency to induce excess growth in the endometrial lining of the uterus.
  • Builds new bone tissue, leading to increased bone mass and density.
  • Necessary for maintenance of pregnancy.
  • Decreases uterine contractions.
  • Prepares and maintains uterine lining for implantation of fertilized egg
  • Prepares breasts for lactation.
  • Assists in raising HDL-cholesterol levels (if combined with estrogen therapy) and ultimately reduces risk of heart disease. Synthetic progesterone (progestin) has an overall negative effect on HDL-cholesterol levels because it vasocontricts.

What is the difference between "progestin" and "progesterone?"

The main difference is in the derivative. Progestin’s are synthetic (i.e. man-made) molecules developed to act like natural progesterone. Natural progesterone is a molecule that is plant derived and is bio-identical to the hormone produced in our bodies. Progestin’s do not have as broad a spectrum of activity as natural progesterone, and have a wide range of side effects. Whereas progesterone may cause some mild to moderate drowsiness, progestin’s can cause:

  • breast tenderness
  • acne
  • depression
  • vision changes
  • bloating
  • migraine headaches
  • thrombosis
  • decreased glucose tolerance
  • gastric regurgitation

 

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