Hormone Therapy

PROGESTERONE, ESTROGEN AND TESTOSTERONE

What are they?
What do they do?
What can they do for me?

Progesterone, a naturally-occurring hormone in both men and women, participates in practically every physiological  process in the human body.  Its tremendous increase during pregnancy acts to stabilize both mother and child.  At levels reached just before delivery, progesterone produces anesthesia and contributes to tissue elasticity.

Progesterone’s stabilizing influence is evident in muscle tissue, such as the uterus, blood vessel walls, the heart  intestines, and bladder.

Progesterone can positively impact susceptibility to many conditions including herpes infections, dizziness, varicose veins, mastitis, fibroma and endometriosis.

Progesterone also helps control the entire range of PMS symptoms including migraine, acne, hot flashes, edema, and lethargy.  Links between progesterone insufficiency and certain cancers have also been made.  For instance, prolonged progesterone deficiency causes subtle changes in a normal uterus so that endometrial  hyperplasia (an abnormal thickening of the uterus lining) may develop.  This, in turn, may eventually lead to uterine cancer if left untreated.

Finaly, many studies have concluded that progesterone has a positive impact on osteo-Porosis in postmenopausal women.

Estrogen is actually a group of three steroid hormones – Estradiol, Estrone, and Estriol – with very similar properties.  Estrogen is responsible for the changes that occur when a girl becomes a woman and also shares responsibility for PMS (as mentioned above.)

When low estrogen levels occur, several results are possible.  An increased risk of Heart Disease and Osteoporosis: increased memory loss, classic menopausal symptoms, e.g., hot flashes, increased vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence and bladder infections, and reduced libido to name but a few.

These conditions are treatable, but there’s a problem.  An indisputable body of evidence exists directly linking estrogen replacement therapy to various cancers (especially uterine cancer.)  Numerous studies have shown the women taking estrogen are 4 to 13 times more likely to develop uterine cancer than those not taking this hormone.

It should be noted that the vast majority of women studied were either using estrogen without balancing it with progesterone, or they were using the wrong kind of estrogen. It’s important to note that some forms of estrogen are safer than others.

Testosterone is believed by most to be a “male hormone” that changes a boy into a man. While this is true, it’s important to understand that women need testosterone also.

With testosterone, male sexual characteristics develop during puberty.  These include growth of the male reproductive organs, thickening of the vocal chords (which deepens the voice), growth of body hair, an increase in muscle mass and strength, a decrease in body fat, and an increase in libido.  In women, testosterone is needed for many of the same reasons as in men, but in significantly smaller amounts (about 8% of that required by males.)

In women, testosterone also contributes to energy levels, an overall sense of well being and libido.  Research during the past few years has shown the effects of testosterone go further than just masculinization.

Several studies have shown a relationship between low testosterone levels and elevated triglycerides (“fat”) and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol that is a major factor in atherosclerosis).  Conversely, studies have also shown a positive relationship between high testosterone levels and HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol).

In short, researchers have concluded that there is a direct correlation between low testosterone levels and  the degree of coronary artery disease.

  1. Other risk factors associated with heart attacks; and
  2.  The possibility for coronary atherosclerosis itself.