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menopauseNatural Progesterone treatment can effectively treat many women’s health issues. Here are a list of symptoms that can be helped by using a natural progesterone cream like Profeme.
• Hot flushes and night sweats
• Irregular and heavy menstrual bleeding
• Breast disorders
• Depression and anxiety attacks
• Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Post-natal depression
• Infertility
• Hormone induced headache and migraine
• Vaginal dryness
• Breast cancer
• Endometriosis
• Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Hot Flushes and Night Sweats

Hot flushes and night sweats are probably the most common and distressing problem experienced by menopausal women. These symptoms can last from a few seconds to several minutes and can be accompanied by heavy unabated sweating. When they happen at night they can disturb sleep and cause serious fatigue and depression. During the 1950’s researchers discovered that hot flashes and night sweats were eased by oestrogen. This is when the menopause management industry began.

Oestrogen works well to abate these two major symptoms. Oestrogen supplementation quickly became the frontline treatment of menopausal symptoms courtesy of the pharmaceutical companies’ massive advertising campaigns and has remained so ever since. In the late 1960s, a massive surge in cases of uterine cancer was directly attributed to unopposed oestrogen use. In 2002, a study called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) highlighted a possible link between breast cancer and long-term oestrogen use. This tarnished the reputation of oestrogen replacement therapy.

Many women find their hot flushes reduce and their night sweats diminish with oestrogen supplementation. However, it is common for these symptoms to be replaced by those associated with oestrogen dominance: anxiety, depression, palpitations, loss of confidence, mood changes and even irritability. Supplementing oestrogen without balancing its effects with natural progesterone increases the underlying hormonal imbalance. During menopause ovulation ceases and no ovulation means that there is no progesterone production. During Menopause, many women find that supplementing progesterone rather than oestrogen improves the oestrogen dominant symptoms. Progesterone supplementation helps restore hormonal balance and at subsequently helps to relieve hot flushes and night sweats.
Irregular and Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Every year in Australia, around 30,000 women have a hysterectomy. In the United States, 250,000 hysterectomies are performed annually.

Frequently, hysterectomy is the option taken to control irregular or heavy bleeding in pre- and peri-menopausal women. Many women are content to see the end of their periods and hysterectomy appears to be an easy, quick and clean option. However, hysterectomy for irregular and/or heavy bleeding is a medical response to a symptom rather than the treatment of an underlying cause.

Progesterone’s role in a reproductive woman is to hold the uterine lining together during the luteal phase (the second half of the menstrual cycle). Often, the use of natural progesterone is an untried option prior to undergoing hysterectomy. Irregular and/or heavy bleeding in pre- and peri-menopause is more often than not due to insufficient progesterone production.

Using natural progesterone during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle will usually regulate and control bleeding within two or three months. It is important uncontrolled bleeding be fully investigated by a gynaecologist to exclude serious underlying uterine disease.

Hysterectomised women who undergo a surgical menopause (total removal of the ovaries) have historically been given oestrogen-only supplementation after surgery. Supplementation of the hormones progesterone and testosterone is largely ignored by mainstream medicine world-wide.

Balance with the natural hormones progesterone, testosterone and oestrogen is the only way to fully address surgically induced menopausal symptoms.
Breast Disorders

breast disordersBreast tenderness, fibrocystic breasts and swollen breasts are all classical symptoms of oestrogen dominance. Breast tissue is very responsive to hormone changes and in particular, to changes in oestrogen levels. When women start using the Pill or commence hormone replacement therapy (HRT) they will often complain of their breasts getting bigger and feeling more tender. Breast tissue proliferates and grows under the influence of oestrogen. It is oestrogen that stimulates the development of the breasts and reproductive organs during puberty.

In a normal, healthy adult female, the stimulatory effects of oestrogen are tempered and balanced by the hormone progesterone. Progesterone is produced around day 12 of the menstrual cycle, after ovulation has taken place. Oestrogen and progesterone levels peak around day 22 of the menstrual cycle. When sufficient progesterone is not produced, the effects of oestrogen on the breast are unopposed and the breast tissue is affected.

This is typified by painful and swollen breasts in the week pre- menstruation. It is a sure sign there is a progesterone deficiency. The addition of progesterone, from days 12 -26 of the cycle will balance the oestrogen dominance. Resolution of these symptoms is usually maximised in the third month of treatment.

 

Depression and Anxiety Attacks

Mood swings, depression and even strong anxiety attacks are common during the peri- and early menopausal years. Menopause hormonal changes can also cause other side effects such as insomnia, low libido, changes to the body shape and emotional outbursts. A feeling of being “old” can bring on many mixed emotions during this fragile time in a woman’s life. Having mixed emotions during this time is normal. Passing from one stage of your life into the next is frightening at the best of times but doing it when your hormones are running wild can be even more worrying. The mood swings, emotional outbursts, forgetfulness and physical changes are a reflection of the hormonal changes happening within.

Antidepressants are often used to address these “mood disorders”. These will ost likely help but they do not address the underlying hormonal problem. It is possible to use hormone replacement therapy combined with low level anti-depressants.

For women most hormonal changes happen during puberty, child-birth and menopause. These are pivotal phases in  life and emotions can be complex. The way we think, act and respond is governed by our hormonal balance. During these times, the balance between oestrogen and progesterone is especially important. Addressing any hormonal imbalance will help resolve many of the emotional symptoms associated with puberty, child-birth and menopause.

 

Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS)

When a group of symptoms are so variable in their intensity and so widely experienced they cannot be adequately categorized or defined by evidence based medical standards, it is generally labelled as a “syndrome”. To add confusion to the defining of the condition, PMS is not restricted to specific age groups and it does not affect all women. How do you know if it is really PMS? The key is understanding the timing of your symptoms in relation to the time of menstruation.

In healthy reproductive women with regular menstrual cycles, PMS is typified during the eight to ten days prior to menstruation. Symptoms can include breast tenderness, emotional and mood changes together with fluid retention, headaches and migraines. Many people misunderstand and even ignore PMS as a valid condition. There are different levels of PMS, sometimes it can be a irritating and other times  it can greatly affect a person’s quality of life for over a week every month. Symptoms generally disappear at the onset of menstruation and then return the following month during the same time frame. People who have never experienced PMS symptoms often have little empathy or understanding for those actively suffering from the condition. Families and partners of PMS sufferers often have little or no idea how to respond to the mood swings and symptoms of those affected. Mainstream medicine often ignores the use of natural progesterone as an effective treatment.

In healthy women, the progesterone hoormone calms and balances the stimulatory effects of oestrogen. Progesterone is produced after ovulation has taken place, at around day 12 of the menstrual cycle. Oestrogen and progesterone levels peak at around day 22 of the menstrual cycle and remain high until just before menstruation. The lining in the uterus sheds and the period begins after both hormone levels fall dramatically.

Women who experience PMS usually are under – producers of progesterone or fail to regularly ovulate (anovulation). When a woman does not produce sufficient progesterone the effects of oestrogen dominate and pre-menstrual symptoms flourish. Generally, the more sustained the length of time the woman under-produces progesterone, the more severe the PMS becomes. people consider PMS to be a condition that younger women face. However this is not true and many women say that their PMS started after having their second or third child. Pregnancy put a huge hormonal and physical strain on the body, especially in women who become pregnant for the first time in their mid or late-thirties.

Women who opt for childbirth in their later reproductive years generally do not spring back into shape hormonally (and physically) post-pregnancy. Post-pregnancy, once the menstrual cycle returns, ovulation usually recommences.

It is not unusual for women in their mid to late-thirties with young children, to produce less progesterone post-ovulation than women in their twenties. In contrast, the ovaries are normally very efficient at producing oestrogen. A prime situation for developing oestrogen dominance.

As you can see, PMS, oestrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency closely linked. Using a natural progesterone cream from days 12 -26 of the cycle will help balance the oestrogen dominance. Resolution of the symptoms of PMS is usually maximised in the third or fourth month of treatment, often sooner. In the 1960s, the English physician Dr Katerina Dalton devoted her life to researching the use of natural progesterone research as a treatment for managing PMS. No one took it seriously at the time, but today it is considered cornerstone work in a once neglected area of medicine.

 

Post-natal Depression

pregnancyProgesterone is the most pivotal hormone of pregnancy. Progesterone promotes the pregnancy – pro gestation – hence the name.

During pregnancy, progesterone levels rise from a non-pregnant daily production rate of about 20mg per day to up to 400mg per day. Oestrogens also rise during pregnancy, but as much as progesterone does. The placenta is the reason why progesterone production increases drastically. At around week 10 of the pregnancy it even takes over the progesterone production and during the third trimester, progesterone levels are at their highest. It is during this time when many women “nest” and “bloom”. After giving birth and passing the placenta, blood levels of progesterone fall dramatically. Breastfeeding has the natural action of inhibiting ovulation. Progesterone levels remain low until ovulation recommences. The “second day blues” is a common and transient phenomenon to the new mother, but a more longer lasting depression can be triggered post-pregnancy. This is caused by the huge hormonal change and progesterone decline that occurs after childbirth.

For this reason it is logical to assume that the addition of natural progesterone therapy post-partum to women who experience post-natal depression will assist in relieving symptoms. Natural progesterone does not interfere with breast milk production and offers a far more reassuring treatment than antidepressants. Using a high dose natural progesterone, as directed by your doctor, can be combined with professional counselling to get through this difficult phase.  Usually progesterone treatment is only needed for a few months before the natural progesterone production returns to normal. The results can be greatly rewarding to both mother and child, without the use of antidepressant prescription medication. .

Infertility

The only area of mainstream medicine where natural progesterone is routinely used is the area of assisted fertility. Natural progesterone injections, high dose natural progesterone pessaries, progesterone gel and micronised progesterone ovules are used to prime the uterus for implantation of a fertilised egg. This use is limited and highly specialised, but does not cover all facets of infertility. Many women manage to fall pregnant without trouble, The failure to carry the pregnancy beyond week six to ten is an all too common experience for many couples.

Once implantation of a fertilised egg takes place in the uterine wall it starts a cascade of hormonal triggers. One of the most important of these is to increase progesterone production from the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum (a yellow mass on the surface of the ovary) formed when the follicle that released the egg metamorphosed. Its role is to secrete progesterone. Progesterone is the vital hormone for propogating pregnancy. The corpus luteum is required to produce sufficient progesterone to maintain the integrity of the uterine lining until the placenta takes over the progesterone production at around week 10. The placenta takes over to meet the increased progesterone demands of the pregnancy.

Week six to ten is the most vulnerable time for miscarriage in women who experience low progesterone levels.  If the production of progesterone is not sufficient then the uterine lining breaks down. It then goes on to shed and results in a miscarriage. Using a progesterone cream to help increase progesterone production  can help women with a history of week six to ten miscarriage avoid another miscarriage.

Often women will use the natural progesterone cream until full term. Treatment is usually dependent upon how advanced the pregnancy is. For example, if spotting occurs at week six or seven, a high dose of 100-200mg of progesterone cream twice or three times daily is applied. Ideally, a woman would start taking low doses of natural progesterone supplementation in the months and weeks preceding conception (days 12-26 of the cycle) until the pregnancy is confirmed. After this, maintenance of a low dose, daily natural progesterone supplement is recommended to support corpus luteal production.

Similarly, often for reasons unknown, the mature placenta can under- produce progesterone. The addition of natural progesterone will maintain the integrity of the uterine lining and assist the mother in carrying to full term. It is a treatment option that can do no harm and usually brings much joy.

 

Hormone-induced Headaches and Migraines

It is common for many women to experience headaches or migraines (in the more severe cases) in the days leading up to their periods. Oestrogen dominance and insufficient progesterone production greatly affect the duration and strength of the headache. Similarly, many women cannot tolerate the Pill or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for the same reason. Adding oestrogens into a progesterone-deficient woman increases the degree of oestrogen dominance and often results in side effects such as hormone-induced headaches and migraines. Additionally, body aches and pains are usually exacerbated.

The use of pain killers, muscle relaxants and antidepressants do not address the underlying cause of hormone-induced headache and migraine.

The use of a natural progesterone cream like ProFeme from day 12- 26 of the cycle provides the counterbalance to oestrogen dominance. It reduces the frequency and severity of cyclical headaches and migraines.

 

Vaginal Dryness

progesterone deficiency Vaginal dryness is can be physically ddistressingand leave a woman feeling highly uncomfortable. It’s not an easy problem to talk about, however, it is easily helped with the use of natural progesterone. A deficiency of oestrogen will cause the lining of the vaginal walls to thin, become drier and less elastic (atrophic).

Sexual intercourse is often painful which means most women are less than enthusiastic about sex at this time. Locally acting oestrogen creams and vaginal tablets are available. They are not absorbed into the system. Using a progesterone cream makes the oestrogen receptors in the wall of the vagina more responsive to naturally produced oestrogen.

 

Breast Cancer

The risk of breast cancer is one of the greatest concerns facing women when they reach menopause and are offered hormone replacement therapy. The issue of breast cancer and oestrogens has been highly publicised in the media in recent years. Balancing the risks versus the benefits of using oestrogen to manage menopausal symptoms can be difficult to understand given the emotive and often uninformed comment in the media and on the internet. There is probably no single cause of breast cancer. It is most likely a number of triggers – genetic, familial, environmental and even psychological that when combined stimulate the cancers to become active.

Dr John Lee, the pioneer of natural progesterone cream for managing menopausal symptoms, wrote a book called, “What Your Doctor May Not Have Told You About Breast Cancer”. It’s a recommended read and showcases the vital role progesterone has in the breast and in prevention of breast cancer.

One of the most controversial breast cancer and natural hormone medical studies ever conducted provides an insight into the positive effect natural progesterone has on cancerous breast tissue. In 1995, a joint French-Taiwanese medical team (Chang et al.) took 40 women with breast cancer who were scheduled for mastectomy and divided them into four groups. Each group was assigned to a treatment of either oestrogen only (E), oestrogen and natural progesterone (E+P), natural progesterone (P) only or placebo (PL). The hormones were administered daily for ten days before surgery via a gel applied to the breasts. After surgery, the cancerous breast tissue was examined for the rate of Mitosis cell division. In most cancers, the rate of mitosis of the cancerous cells is more rapid than for non-cancerous cells, hence the reason why cancers take over healthy cells. However, the results from this test were astonishing. As was expected, the oestrogen only group’s mitotic cell division rate doubled compared to the placebo (untreated) group. The stimulatory effect of oestrogen on cancerous breast tissue is well known.

The researchers’ excitement stemmed from the results of the oestrogen plus natural progesterone and the natural progesterone only groups. The E+P group’s mitotic rate was the same as the placebo group. This indicated natural progesterone had an inhibitory effect upon the oestrogen’s stimulation of the cancerous cells. When the progesterone only (P) group was examined, the rate of cell division was 85% less than the placebo group – natural progesterone was inhibiting the spread of the cancer. Natural progesterone was potentially a potent treatment for breast cancer. This study had its critics. They said the numbers studied were too small to be significant and the progesterone blood levels of the P and E+P groups did not rise. Therefore, it was considered the progesterone hadn’t been absorbed. When the actual tissue concentrations of the cancerous cells were examined, the progesterone was found in very high concentrations in both progesterone groups and absent in the E and PL groups. The progesterone had been absorbed directly into the cells and not circulated in the blood. It was acting directly inside the cancerous cells and the mitotic rates proved it.

Larger scale clinical studies have never been conducted to confirm these findings from 29 years ago. With the modern day rigors and political correctness of Ethics and Scientific Committees, the massive funds required to undertake clinical trials and the complex insurance obligations to undertake such trials, it is unlikely it will be repeated on a larger scale. The pharmaceutical industry’s charter is to discover the next blockbuster patentable drug. Natural progesterone does not meet this criteria. The Chang results are compelling and natural progesterone cream is available. With time, progesterone may prove to be the missing link in the quest to prevent and treat breast cancer. The challenge is there for mainstream medical researchers and governments to take up.

 

Endometriosis

endometriosisEndometriosis is a condition whereby tissue normally located on the surface of the uterine wall (endometrium) migrates into areas such as the muscle tissue of the uterus, the surface of the ovaries and even into the pelvic cavity and the Fallopian tubes. Oestrogen encountered during the menstrual cycle affect the tissue and it will swell during the month and bleed at the same time as menses. Endometrial tissue (the tissue lining of the uterus) sheds into the uterine cavity, however, the endometriosis bleeds into the intercellular spaces. it has nowhere to go and builds up causing a painful and debilitating condition. It can also hinder fertility.

Treatment varies from analgesics (pain killers) to high-dose synthetic progestins, to surgical procedures including hysterectomy.

Often, the best recommended treatment is pregnancy! Progesterone levels are high and oestrogen levels relatively low during pregnancy and the endometriosis can even disappear. The very high level of progesterone produced by the placenta during pregnancy suppresses and overcomes the endometrial tissue. After the pregnancy the endometriosis may return, but not in all cases.

Endometriosis has various degrees of severity. The normal course of treatment is simply to manage symptoms rather than to try and clear up the condition. Using natural progesterone can be used as an option that not only helps manage the symptoms but can also help clear the disease. Endometriosis is a condition at the extreme end of the scale of oestrogen dominance. The underlying cause is progesterone deficiency so it’s logical to increase progesterone in the body in order to help improve the symptoms associated with the condition. In milder cases, often full recovery is achieved. The treatment may take three to six months to achieve full benefit. Many women who still want to have a family see this as a better option than endometrial ablation, hysterectomy or long-term hormonal suppression. Solutions that wipe out their chances of falling pregnant.

 

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Ovulation involves the brain sending chemical messengers and the ovaries responding to them. Hormone production uses a mechanism called the feedback mechanism. This is when the brain controls the chemical signals it sends to the ovaries based on the chemical signals it receives back in response. When a baby girl is born she has around 400,000 immature eggs in follicles contained within the ovaries. At puberty the reproductive organs, under the influence of oestrogens, mature. A key part in the process of ovulation is when the brain releases the hormones follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH).

FSH stimulates a number of immature eggs to mature and rise to the surface of the ovary. Usually, one follicle releases a mature egg into the Fallopian tubes – this release is called ovulation. The unused semi – mature follicles are broken down and reabsorbed by the body. The follicle that released the egg then undergoes a spectacular metamorphosis. Its entire structure changes and it forms what is called the corpus luteum. Visually, the corpus luteum appears as a yellow mass on the surface of the ovary. It plays the vital role of being the production site for progesterone. The brain detects when the progesterone concentration in the blood increases. In turn, the brain shuts off the production of FSH. This is because it now knows ovulation has successfully taken place. When no progesterone is produced, the brain thinks ovulation has failed to take place and it keeps producing FSH and LH to stimulate ovulation.

Women with PCOS fail to ovulate and have very few periods in a year. The follicles mature and rise to the surface of the ovary but they fail to release and the corpus luteum doesn’t form. The result is that no progesterone is produced the brain therefore releases more FSH to stimulate more follicles. The surface of the ovary has a bumpy appearance semi-matured follicles form below just below the surface after failing to ovulate. This disruption to the normal hormonal cycle causes PCOS sufferers to develop higher levels of testosterone. Side effects of PCOS include weight gain, acne and oily skin, and increased facial and body hair. The body can also become resistant to the effects of insulin and resulting in the disruption of sugar metabolism absorption. PCOS sufferers normally have significant weight problems as the sugar is converted to fat. PCOS can go undetected for years. It normally affects younger women and symptoms are often dismissed as being associated with the physical maturation of the body.

There are numerous synthetic hormonal and non-hormonal options to treat PCOS. Most of these involve the management of symptoms rather than addressing a significant underlying cause – progesterone deficiency.

 

More information on Natural progesterone

What is Natural Progesterone?

Progesterone Deficiency & Oestrogen Dominance

Natural Progesterone v’s Synthetic Progestins

Progesterone treatment options & side effects

The Progesterone Deficiency Assessment Questionnaire

The information in this article has been taken with permission from the official Lawley booklet on Understanding Progesterone

 

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