When you lose hormones, you lose protection. When you lose progesterone, you lose protection from osteoporosis, heart disease, high cholesterol, and much more. We have the ability to replace it – so what exactly is hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, and is it safe? In this video, I will discuss the difference between progestERONE, the hormone that your body produces naturally, versus progestIN, which is completely different but commonly and mistakenly is referred to as progesterone.
Let’s talk first about progestERONE. When we replace this hormone naturally (which can be in the form of a pill, cream, or dissolvable tablet), it is known as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Progesterone is very safe! It is even approved for over-the-counter use; however I don’t recommend that because you don’t know exactly how much you are getting and it’s important for you to follow the guidance of your health care provider regarding dosing and route. The oral route for progesterone is much more effective for sleep and anxiety.
If you don’t have a uterus and have been told you don’t need progesterone, that is absolutely FALSE!
If you have a brain, a heart, bones, or breasts, you NEED progesterone! Progesterone is very calming, helps with sleep, keeps estrogens safe, and is a natural antidepressant. How does it keep estrogen safe? Think of estrogen like a toddler who is playing nicely. She starts to get loud and obnoxious and is throwing toys that could injure others. Progesterone comes along and helps calm her down. If you don’t have progesterone, those toys are like dangerous messages for your cells and increases your risk of breast and uterine cancers.
What about brain protection? Only the bioidentical form of natural progesterone supports brain health. It protects damaged brain tissue from swelling and even death after head injuries and is actually being allowed to be given as an IV without the patient’s consent. Progestins don’t do this!
Progesterone has no serious side effects and is quite frequently added to skin creams and cosmetics – you don’t know it because legally, it does not have to be on the label.
For women, progesterone starts to decline in their 30’s and often plummets down to zero after menopause. Replacement can bring relief from things like moodiness, irritability, bloating, cramps, headaches, anxiety and depression. Without any progesterone, you are at increased risk of
Synthetic progesTIN, such as Provera, does not protect your heart, and may be worse than taking nothing at all. ProgestIN is also what is in oral birth control pills and also in IUDs. There is no birth control pill or IUD that contains natural progesterone.
Although progestins like Provera can provide uterine protection, it also comes with increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and depression and can cause weight gain, water retention/bloating, and breast tenderness. The harmful effects of synthetic progestin has been documented with over 20 years of studies. When dosed properly, natural progesterone has only one side effect if taken orally – sleepiness, which is why it is taken at night and helps with sleep!
To sum up the benefits of progesterone – it helps protect against breast and uterine cancer, osteoporosis, improves heart health, sleep, anxiety, depression, and overall sense of well-being. For women who are still having periods, it helps with cramps, mood swings, heavy bleeding, bloating, and headaches.
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