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Low Testosterone in Women:

Progesterone and Progesterone Cream

An abundance of research has conclusively shown that testosterone effectively boosts sex drive, and resolves many of the peripheral sexual problems for certain women with sexual dysfunction. However, because estrogen is a woman's primary sex hormone, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is usually prescribed only for women who already have average estrogen levels.

Most physicians don't consider TRT appropriate for women who:

  •  Have experienced menopause.
  •  Cannot or choose not to try an estrogen replacement.
  •  Have a history of uterine or breast cancer.

Studies have shown that TRT for women might be appropriate if they meet all the criterion below:

  • Have depression or fatigue after surgically-induced menopause.
  • Eestrogen therapy has proved ineffective.
  • Are post-menopausal.
  • Are receiving estrogen therapy.
  • Have a decreased sex drive with no other identifiable causes.

Although testosterone deficiency contributes to sexual dysfunction in women, other factors seem to be more influential including:

  • Conflict
  • Mood concerns
  • Lack of emotional intimacy
  • Ddecreased estrogen levels
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Medication side effects

When it is recommended for female use, TRT is most often prescribed in the form of a gel, patch or cream. Oral tablets are rarely prescribed for female use. Also, it should be noted that not a single testosterone preparation has been approved by the FDA for female usage.

What is Progesterone?

Natural progesterone is a vital female hormone. While it is produced in small quantities in men, it does not serve an essential function. Progesterone is produced mainly by the ovaries and by the adrenal glands. It is instrumental in many core biologic functions, and serves as a precursor to DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen (estrone, estriol and estradiol), as well as to the stress hormone cortisol.

The three major functions of progesterone are:

  • to provide a broad range of core biologic effects.
  • To act as a precursor (building block) of other steroid hormones.
  • To promote the survival and development of the embryo and fetus.

Progesterone is a precursor of other hormones such as testosterone, and all the important adrenal cortical hormones.

What does Progesterone do?

Progesterone and estrogen are the main reproductive hormones responsible for the menstrual cycle. Estrogen is dominant in the first two weeks then declines, at which point progesterone production increases in production just before ovulation for the remaining two weeks in the cycle. Thus, progesterone works to facilitate pregnancy by creating conditions that are optimal for the development of an embryo and fetus. Progesterone also plays an important role in facilitating thyroid hormone action, the metabolism of fat, and helping to sustain sex drive. Additionally, it aids in normalizing blood clotting, works as a natural antidepressant, helps to initiate sleep, and is a natural diuretic along with many other vital functions.

Low Progesterone

In menopause, several hormones are thrown off balance, and when there is too little progesterone available it can result in symptoms of sleeplessness, weight gain, anxiety, breast tenderness, and headaches.

Progesterone imbalance is can be due to estrogen dominance via outside factors such as the hormones in foods. Other causes of reduced progesterone include insufficient exercise, poor nutrition, insulin resistance, and chronic stress. When your body is stressed, it produces higher levels of cortisol. Since progesterone is the precursor to cortisol, when cortisol levels increase, progesterone levels decrease. Thus too much stress can potentially cause progesterone deficiency, which leads to estrogen dominance.

High Progesterone

The inverse can also be problematic. When estrogen levels are too low, such as during menopause, it can lead to progesterone dominance which causes negative symptoms such as fatigue, low sex drive, vaginal dryness, breast tenderness, and depression.

Progesterone Cream

Two of the best ways to sustain healthy progesterone levels include good stress management practices, and eating a proper diet. However, when progesterone levels fall outside the realm of natural repair, therapeutic supplementation is often required. A progesterone cream may be prescribed if your hormone levels are too low.

When hormone preparations, along with their prescribed dosages and frequency of administration are customized into a specific regimen for individual treatment, it is collectively known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Physicians use HRT to restore hormonal balance, and progesterone cream is the most popular form of progesterone replacement therapy. There are few reported allergic reactions, and since it's transdermal (absorbed though the skin) application is quick and easy. The normal level of progesterone (10 to 40 mg/day) can be obtained by applying 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon once or twice a day (enough to spread over one area of your body such as stomach, thigh, chest, face, arm, etc.), and application sites should rotated to avoid saturation. These are only guidelines, be sure to follow your physician' specific instructions with regard your progesterone therapy.

As with all medication use there is the potential for side effects, and progesterone therapy is no different. Artificial or bioidentical hormones have been proven to contain certain toxic elements, and some of the common progesterone cream side effects include:

  • Vaginal Problems - abnormalities like itching, discharge and dryness
  • Disruption of Adrenal Hormones - progesterone accumulation within fat tissues can disrupt the functioning and production of adrenal hormones
  • Sleepiness - certain sedative like qualities present, and can have a sleep-inducing effect
  • Changes in Appearance - weight gain, facial hair growth, loss of hair
  • Pain - Headaches, and pain in the muscles and/or breast
  • Stomach Abnormalities - nausea, bloating and cramps
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