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Posts Tagged ‘Progesterone’

The link between progesterone and the menopause is highlighted by the fact that women in industrialised countries have a hard time with menopausal symptoms compared to women in rural societies. Dr. P. Ellison of Harvard University studied oestrogen levels in various ecological and cultural populations and found that oestrogen levels in western women are abnormally high. This can be due to a number of factors:

  • the food consumed (particularly animals fed oestrogen to fatten them)
  • the crops sprayed with pesticides (most of which are oestrogenic)
  • the Pill and HRT
  • drinking recycled water which has not had the oestrogen removed
  • using cosmetics which are made with liquid paraffin and oestrogenic antioxidants.

An understanding of the effects of a lack of progesterone is vital to understanding that progesterone can play an enormously beneficial role in helping to go through menopause without too many adverse affects. By naturally opposing the action of oestrogen, the symptoms of oestrogen dominance are lessened and in some cases eliminated. The easiest method to apply progesterone is in a cream form.

New research conducted by Wallace and Kelsey published in “Human Reproduction”, indicates that it might be possible to show the approach of menopause by a scan of the ovaries. Currently blood hormone levels are used to try to determine this, but these are notoriously inaccurate as it is common practice to only check oestrogen levels, not progesterone. The patient generally needs to specifically request this despite the fact that progesterone and menopause are inextricably connected. As the symptoms of menopause are caused by a lack of progesterone and too much oestrogen, the standard ‘oestrogen only’ test is of little help.

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I get extremely cross when people think that progesterone is simply a female sex hormone – it’s not just that! So, you can imagine what I told my male friend when he came to me for advice about his anxiety and migraines, then turned to me and said “ I don’t want to turn into a woman”! Progesterone is commonly thought of as a ‘female’ sex hormone. This is misleading as it is vital for sustaining not just health but life itself in all mammals of both sexes.

As a man gets older testosterone is converted into di-hydrotestosterone (DHT), which some believe is the cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and cancer.

Oestrogen levels also increase as a man gets older. Oestrogen is known to stimulate cell growth. Reading between the lines, because as yet, there is no definitive study done on this, it appears to be the increased oestrogen level which is the problem and not the two testosterones. As progesterone is a powerful counter-balance for estrogen, progesterone for men is essential.

If in fact testosterone were the culprit, then men aged ±22 would have the highest incidence of BPH and cancer, as testosterone levels are at their highest point in the early 20’s, but of course they don’t. From the early twenty’s to the late twenty’s testosterone makes it’s greatest drop, thereafter it continues to decline, but at a slower rate.

Progesterone also down regulates the action of oestrogen if used in a sufficiently high dose. The endogenous oestrogen made by humans is now being supplemented by synthetic oestrogens found in the environment. They are now found in food, air, water, plastics, skin care products, no one can avoid them. Some authorities speculate this is the cause of the increase in problems such as hyperplasia or cancers of any hormonally sensitive tissues, such as the prostate, endometrium, cervix and breasts. So, despite often being, erroneously, thought of as a ‘female’ hormone progesterone for men is essential to preserve masculinity!

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