For women, we try to balance levels of Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Not all women need each of these hormones, which is why Dr. Purcell works from labs for each individual patient.

What is Progesterone?

  • Oldest known sex hormone
  • Present in every human regardless of age
  • Produced by the ovaries and adrenal gland
  • Secreted by corpus luteum
  • Has receptors in nearly every cell in the body
  • Acts on uterus, kidneys, brain, smooth muscle, breasts, bones, and cellular membranes
  • Metabolized to other active hormones

What are some of the functions and roles of progesterone in the body?

  • Counteracts estrogen’s tendency to induce excess growth in the endometrial lining of the uterus
  • Builds new bone tissue, leading to increased bone mass and density
  • Necessary for maintenance of pregnancy
  • Decreases uterine contractions
  • Prepares and maintains uterine lining for implantation of fertilized egg
  • Prepares breasts for lactation
  • Assists in raising HDL-cholesterol levels (if combined with estrogen therapy) and ultimately reduces risk of heart disease. Synthetic progesterone (progestin) has an overall negative effect on HDL-cholesterol levels because it vasocontricts

What is the difference between “progestin” and “progesterone?”

The main difference is in the derivative. Progestins are synthetic (i.e. man-made) molecules developed to act like natural progesterone. Natural progesterone is a molecule that is plant derived and is bio-identical to the hormone produced in our bodies. Progestin’s do not have as broad a spectrum of activity as natural progesterone, and have a wide range of side effects. Whereas progesterone may cause some mild to moderate drowsiness, progestins can cause:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Acne
  • Depression
  • Vision changes
  • Bloating
  • Migraine headaches
  • Thrombosis
  • Decreased glucose tolerance
  • Gastric regurgitation