Saturday, November 14, 2009

Roles of Estrogen and Progesterone in the Body

Estrogen and progesterone are two very important sexual hormones in females and play a major role in the body. For the female body to function well both mentally and physically, the levels of estrogen and progesterone must be in proper balance. Both estrogen and progesterone have unique functions in the body. In the body, the levels of both estrogen and progesterone are well regulated by the hypothalamus. The ovary is very sensitive to information from the brain and only manufacturers these hormones when needed. For all functions in the body, it is the levels of free hormones that are most important.

The levels of estrogen and progesterone vary in the body during each menstrual cycle. However, there are certain times during the menstrual cycle when the levels of estrogen are high and progesterone levels are low. In such a case, the female will experience the following symptoms:

- increased anxiety
- feeling of sadness
- mood swings from depression to anger
- apprehension , forgetfulness
- lack of concentration
- altered sleep patterns

Progesterone helps to balance out these mood altering symptoms.

Estrogen can also cause sodium retention; this result in water retention and swelling of the body. Most females notice the water retention which is obvious in the hands and feet and around the stomach. Progesterone can help counter these effects by blocking the retention of sodium.

High levels of estrogen can also affect metabolism. This many manifest as:

- episodes of low sugar levels
- increased appetite
- headaches
- food cravings
- fatigue
- sleepiness

Again progesterone maintains the balance and prevents the increased food cravings and lowers appetite.

When estrogens are administrated to women without the balancing of progesterone, the following can occur:

- higher incidence of fibroids
- increased incidence of fibrocystic disease
- possible breast cancer
- endometrial cancer

Thus, any female who desires to take supplements of estrogen, must make sure that progesterone is added to the formulation to counter the effects of estrogen.

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