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Progesterone and Hormone Supplementation

Progesterone is a female sex hormone produced in the ovaries, and in smaller quantities, in the adrenal glands. During the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle, progesterone becomes the dominate female hormone as it prepares the body for pregnancy.

Progesterone is the counterbalance of estrogen and regulates the effects of estrogen in a woman’s body. Progesterone and estrogen are designed by nature to work together. This is why many physicians treating hormonal problems include it in their regiment guidelines. We do not prescribe estrogen without progesterone.

When it was found that Estrogen replacement alone, without concomitant progesterone supplementation, could increase a women’s chance of contracting uterine cancer, researchers and physicians thought to counteract this risk by prescribing progesterone in the form of a synthetic version called “progestin.”

Why? The issue of patentable versus non-patentable. Progestins can make a lot of money for the manufacturer, progesterone can not. It didn’t take long for the side-effects of progestins to become known: Weight gain and bloating, anxiety and high-blood pressure, PMS-like symptoms and more.

Is Progesterone safer?
Not all doctors and researchers agree that progesterone is any better or any safer than progestins.

Progesterone and hormone supplementation.
Progesterone is almost mandatory in many women, progestins are not.

In July 2002 when the Woman’s Health Initiative released their findings that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was dangerous, somehow, progesterone was singled out as being the cause of excessive breast cancer risks by the general media. This was not the case at all. A portion of the study cited above, was discontinued because of breast cancer risk in those women using a combination of synthetic hormones; that derived from horse urine mixed with progestins, not progesterone.

How different are progestins from progesterone?
In pregnancy, progesterone protects the human fetus and maintains a healthy pregnancy. Progestins cannot be taken during pregnancy because they can cause birth defects. Progestins are used in birth control pills to prevent pregnancy.

Do progestins and progesterone sound like the same hormone to you?
Further, the side effects of progestins can include breast tenderness, depression, edema and bloating. Progesterone does not seem to cause any of those side effects. In fact, it usually reduces such symptoms.

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Written by Dr. Marc Darrow, M.D.

Dr. Darrow is a world recognized specialist in many chronic disorders. He has been featured in national publications, and television and radio shows, for his innovative approach to medicine. As the medical director of the Darrow Wellness Institute in West Los Angeles, Dr. Darrow has helped create an age management program for those individuals interested in maintaining a youthful, healthy vigor for adults through “middle age” and well into the senior years.

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