Progesterone — for both men and women
by Dr. Fred G. Arnold —
Progesterone is one of the sex hormones produced by and found in both men and women, only in different concentrations. Progesterone has been shown to have many health benefits, even reducing the incidence of cancer. It is important that a proper balance exists between progesterone and estrogen, another hormone found in both genders.
Progesterone helps balance estrogen, helps you sleep, is a natural diuretic, has a natural calming effect, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, increases hair growth and decreases the rate of cancer, to name just a few.
Estrogen dominance is a term coined by Dr. John Lee and refers to an excess of estrogen relative to the amount of progesterone in our bodies. Specifically, it is the ratio of the amount of progesterone divided by the amount of estradiol (E2), one of three estrogens found in the human body.
In women, estrogen dominance has been linked to a wide range of conditions, including an increase in PMS symptoms, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, fatigue, headaches and irritability. In addition, numerous studies have demonstrated that excess estrogen can cause breast, uterine and ovarian cancers (all of which are considered estrogen-dependent cancers). In women, estradiol levels decline by approximately 40 percent during menopause and, at the same time, progesterone levels fall by as much as 90 percent.
In men, Lee has linked estrogen dominance to a possible cause of prostate cancer. The prostate gland has the same embryologic origin as uterine tissue and therefore is just as sensitive to excess estradiol, relative to progesterone. Estrogen dominance has also been associated with prostate gland enlargement, which causes reduced urine flow, urgency and frequency.
A treatment for estrogen dominance in men and women is hormone replacement therapy of bio-identical progesterone to improve the progesterone/estradiol ratio and reduce the risk factors associated with estrogen dominance.
Progesterone and hysterectomy
Progesterone has many positive effects for women other than just the uterus. This is especially true after a hysterectomy. Unfortunately, many doctors do not routinely prescribe progesterone after a hysterectomy.
Levels of progesterone should always be measured before starting any program of hormone replacement and then measured on a regular basis to confirm the optimal dose.
With a prescription, progesterone can be provided by a compounding pharmacy in different forms. As a cream or gel, progesterone is applied to the skin before bed, or it may be provided in pill form to help with sleep. Both forms have a calming effect on the body, and they even may be prescribed together.
Other methods to improve estrogen dominance include adequate dietary fiber intake, reduction in consumption of excess refined carbohydrates, aerobic exercise, weight optimization and taking specific supplements.
Progesterone vs. progestin (synthetic progesterone)
Be aware that progesterone is not the same as progestin, a synthetic type of progesterone. Progestin has many side effects that do not occur with natural progesterone: weight gain, fluid retention, irritability, depression, headache, bloating and insomnia. Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a well-known cardiologist, states in his book, Heart Sense for Women, “I have found that synthetic progestins can lead to serious cardiac side effects in my patients, including shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and high blood pressure.”
Progesterone has many benefits for both men and women. A progesterone deficiency can cause an imbalance with estradiol (E2), called estrogen dominance, and is related to a variety of negative health effects, including cancer.
Progesterone levels can be measured for a deficiency and to determine the correct dosage for supplementation. It is important that bio-identical progesterone be administered instead of a synthetic type of progesterone, such as progestin, which has negative side effects.
Lee, J.R., M.D. Hormone Balance for Men: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Prostate Health and Natural Hormone Supplementation. Temecula, Calif. One to One Inc.; 2007.
Sinatra, Stephen, M.D., Heart Sense for Women, Your Plan for Natural Prevention and Treatment, Plume, New York, New York, 2001, pg 219.
Smith, Pamela Wartian, M.D., MPH, HRT. The Answers, A Concise Guide for Solving the Hormone Replacement Therapy Puzzle. Healthy Living Books, Inc., Traverse City, Mich. 2008.
Fred G. Arnold, D.C., N.M.D., has more than 20 years of clinical experience and specializes in pain rehabilitation services. He is certified in prolotherapy, is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Health Care Providers, Fellow of American Academy of Ozonotherapy, member of American Academy of Pain Management and one of the few physicians in the nation with both a naturopathic medical degree and chiropractic degree. 602-292-2978 or prolotherapyphoenix.com.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 5, October/November 2014.