If there is insufficient progesterone in a woman's system, heavy or irregular bleeding can result. If you are having menstrual periods but aren't ovulating this is called anovulation. When ovulation doesn't occur, progesterone is not produced. Progesterone and estrogen are both needed in sufficient amounts to maintain a woman's hormonal balance. Progesterone is sort of the keeper of the guard. It is needed to balance the effects of estrogen. It safeguards the endometrium, which is the uterine lining. Too much estrogen can be toxic on the body.
What It Does
Progesterone is the female hormone that stops cell growth and prompts ripening of a woman's egg. Estrogen, on the other hand, is the female hormone that stimulates cell proliferation. Estrogen does its job during the menstrual cycle and then is followed by progesterone input. When progesterone surges, this is nature's way of protecting a woman against endometrial (uterine lining) cancer.
According to the Natural-progesterone-advisory-network.com, progesterone production increases if a pregnancy occurs. The increase in progesterone prevents the uterine lining from shedding. Consequently, the developing embryo is maintained. If a woman has uterine irritability, which can cause pre-term labor, progesterone in high doses can help ward off uterine contractions.
Progesterone reverses the effects that estrogen has on the growth of uterine lining. Estrogen is a lubricant. Progesterone causes vaginal dryness. Progesterone counteracts the lubrication that estrogen prompts.
If there isn't enough progesterone being produced in a woman's body, this can result in endometrial hyperplasia. If mucosal cells overgrow, this results in the thickening of the uterine lining. Endometrial hyperplasia can develop. When a woman has this condition, she may experience prolonged and/or heavy menstrual periods and, if she is older, post-menopausal bleeding. If the condition is simple hyperplasia, this means the basic structure of the endometrium has changed very little, although the uterine lining is thick. If a woman has atypia hyperplasia, the cells have become abnormal. Women need to bleed at least four times a year, or every three months, because it is necessary to shed the lining of their uterus. This helps prevent uterine cancer from developing.
Progesterone, when naturally present in the body, prevents irregular bleeding. According to Dr. Frederick R. Jelovsek, if a woman is given a one-time bolus of progesterone--a bolus is the administration of medicine given to raise its blood concentration to the needed level--when the levels of this progesterone bolus begin to decline, this should cause the uterine lining to slough, which results in a period.
The BC Pill, HRT and Dosage
If progesterone is taken all of the time (via birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy) it prevents menstrual sloughing of the uterine lining as long as estrogen, in small amounts, is present. However, if the dose of progesterone is too small, and there is no estrogen included in the dosage, breakthrough bleeding may occur. This is called atrophic bleeding.
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