The female body manufactures approximately 27 estrogens but only one progesterone. Of it’s myriad of assignments, Progesterone is the primary source of libido or sex drive in women. Because of its crucial role in libido, conception and full-term pregnancy, it is, therefore, referred to as the “pro-gestational” hormone.
Figuring out the Factors
There are numerous influences that affect the libido. Hormonal imbalance, depression, loss of a loved one, illness, body image issues, a history of sexual abuse, poor diet & exercise are among some of the leading contributors to low libido.
In 2008, the Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study on more than 30,000 women, ages ranging from 18-100. The study showed that 39% of those women suffered from low sexual desire, 43% reported some level of sexual dysfunction, 26% had problems with arousal and 21% had difficulties achieving an orgasm. Women with depression were more than twice as likely to report distress over any type of sexual problem compared to those not suffering from depression.
Due to the various chemical and hormonal antagonist that many women face in industrialized countries, a key point in helping restore balance is to focus on diet and lifestyle choices.
How it Works
Hormones are powerful chemical messengers, that circulate though the body and coordinate complex processes such as growth, fertility, immunity and endocrine health (the word endocrine literally means, secreting internally).
Chemicals, including synthetic hormones (xeno-estrogens), create interference in the proper production and function of hormones, are thus known as endocrine disruptors. Your adrenal and thyroid glands work symphonically to promote sexual hormone balance.
Estrogen dominance (too much estrogen, relative to too little progesterone) has been proven to decrease libido in women and inhibit ovarian function. Reduced ovarian funtion can also lead to low progesterone and low testosterone levels in women. Testosterone is primarily a male hormone but is also present in the female body and, like progesterone, plays an important role in a healthy libido.
In clinical studies, women who have low thyroid function also have low levels of progesterone, while still having normal to high levels of estrogen. Because progesterone has been shown to be essential in helping our cells retain zinc and potassium, elements necessary for the thyroid to create T3, thyroid dysfunction is often caused by low progesterone.
Progesterone facilitates the thyroid hormone according to Dr. Ward Dean, M.D., thus, promoting normal thyroid function and normal metabolism. Conversely, xeno-estrogens are an antagonist to thyroid function, being a primary cause of low thyroid, weight gain and chronic fatigue. Understanding how the body functions is the first step to understanding how we can heal the underlying causes for health problems that rob us of optimal health and well-being.
Sources of Progesterone
At ovulation, one of the ovaries releases an egg and progesterone, which is responsible for the surge in female libido. This only stands to reason, as the released egg now requires a sperm for fertilization, thus the increase in libido. Progesterone also balances the side effects of unopposed estrogen. Women who fail to make a sufficient amount of progesterone during the progesterone phase of their menstrual month (days 14-28) have found that a natural, plant-based, bio-identical progesterone cream will restore optimal levels and address the underlying symptoms of PMS/PMT, infertility, osteoporosis and difficult menopause.
What Blocks Progesterone?
Under the influences of environmental estrogens, petrochemicals, stress, and menopause, progesterone production ceases or is suppressed and the effects of Estrogen Dominance, can be observed.
Most women experience loss of libido, mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, headaches and weight gain from the lack of progesterone that is also required for proper thyroid function. Bio Identical, transdermal progesterone cream, applied topically to the face, neck, arms, chest and fatty tissue areas of the body such as the breasts, the abdominal area, the buttocks, the inner thighs, etc., is stored in these fatty tissues for use as required by the body.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
Too much estrogen, relative to insufficient progesterone, will almost always plague you with the following (and more):
It is also important that we distinguish Natural Progesterone from its counterparts in the drug industry – Progestins. Although these drugs are commonly referred to as “progesterone”, this is a serious misnomer.
In some ways progestins mimic the effects of natural progesterone in the body, but in other important ways they gravely interfere with the production and healthy activity of natural progesterone and can create and exacerbate all hormone related health problems, and be a primary contributor to Estrogen Dominance.
Traditional Treatments for PMS
Traditional treatments have included tranquilizers, diuretics, dietary changes, thyroid supplements, herbs, vitamins, exercise, acupuncture and psychiatric counseling. While these may provide some easing of symptoms, the underlying causes remain.