Hormone imbalance affects many women nowadays. One major reason for this is our overexposure to substances termed as ‘xenobiotics’ or ‘xenoestrogens’. These are substance in our environment that have estrogen mimicking properties and thus have a profound impact on hormone balance. Nearly all xenobiotics are petrochemically based i.e. “derived from petroleum oil.” Many of the products we now use and consume have petrochemicals in them and while it has been beneficial for us from a material perspective, the health implications of this are vast and dangerous. Add onto that the widespread use of Oral contraceptives (OCPs) containing synthetic estrogens and progestin by women has let to a state appropriately termed as Estrogen dominance. Unfortunately, given all the xenoestrogens in the environment, many men also have excess estrogen exposure.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen Dominance refers to a state in women where there is an excess in estrogen compared to progesterone. Estrogen and Progesterone work synergistically in a Ying-Yang type of relationship and require the other to keep it’s excess effects in check. If estrogen becomes the dominant hormone and progesterone becomes deficient, the estrogen will become toxic to the body. The primary symptoms of Estrogen dominance include fatigue, weight gain, memory issues, brain fog, migraines, breast tenderness, uterine fibroids, increased risk of breast cancer, amongst others. Women after menopause also have an increased risk of developing Osteoporosis. Unfortunately, when these hormone related symptoms are seen, conventionally there is a tendency to consider it as an ‘estrogen deficiency’ leading to physicians prescribing Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) where even more estrogen is given.
What is the solution then?
A heavily underlooked aspect of hormone imbalance is the use of natural progesterone. What is exactly is natural progesterone? Progesterone is one of the primary hormones made in the ovaries from Pregnenolone which is necessary for the survival of the fertilized ovum. It’s levels rapidly rise after ovulation and will decrease if no fertilization takes place. If conception does occur, the ovaries continue to produce more progesterone until that role is taken over by the developing placenta. Among the many benefits of progesterone on the body are preventing cyclical migraines, normalize blood sugar level, facilitate thyroid hormone function, stimulate new bone formation and many others. Unfortunately, physicians and other providers give progesterone to women in the form of synthetic progestins which have a molecular structure different from natural progesterone. This is primarily done because synthetic progesterone is patentable and hence has many economic incentives for pharmaceutical manufacturers. Those are unfortunately the hidden (and not so hidden) misaligned economic incentives that underlie our health system today.
How can we use Natural Progesterone then?
Many providers unfortunately don’t even know the difference between natural progesterone and synthetic progestins, let alone how to use them effectively. Natural progesterone whether in topical, cream, sublingual or oral form has virtually no side effects and is extremely well tolerated in the body. It can be the answer for so many women suffering from hormone imbalance and help them get their life back. Synthetic progestins (and estrogens for that matter) are foreign substances to the body, highly potent with potential side effects and should be avoided in most cases. This is a brief introduction to hormone imbalance and natural progesterone.