How Progesterone Cream Can Ease the Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome
What is Progesterone and What Role Does it Play in Premenstrual Syndrome?
Progesterone is a steroid hormone that is produced in the ovaries and the adrenal glands (and the placenta during pregnancy) and one of its many functions is to help regulate the menstrual cycle and balance the effects of estrogen. During the luteal phase (the time following ovulation but prior to the start of your period), progesterone levels rise as the hormone is released from the ovaries at the time of ovulation. However, for some women, progesterone levels are unusually low at this time and lead to a period of oestrogen dominance that manifests itself as premenstrual syndrome. The symptoms associated with PMS are familiar to most women and include cramping, bloating, headaches, and fatigue. It can also cause mood swings and exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety.
Progesterone is not only related to female reproductive processes, but it is also a neurosteroid that can be synthesized in the brain and protects neurons, improves synaptic connections and the myelin coating of the nerves, and can even protect damaged neural tissue. It is also a key player in the synthesis of other hormones and is a precursor that is necessary for the body to eventually manufacture testosterone, cortisol, and even oestrogen. Therefore, having a progesterone deficit in the body every month can have significant effects on a woman’s emotional and physical well-being. While hormonal fluctuations are a normal part of a woman’s menstrual cycle and the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are mild to moderate for many women, others find that they are severe enough to affect their quality of life and causes them to seek relief in the form of bioidentical progesterone cream.
What is Progesterone Cream and How Does it Work?
Prescription-strength progesterone cream is a bioidentical hormone typically synthesized from wild Mexican yams and is recognized by the body as being the same as the hormones it produces itself. The cream contains fat-soluble molecules that are easily absorbed by the skin and it is applied directly to areas where the skin is thinnest such as the chest and neck. While the recommended application varies, it is often applied twice daily, starting around the time of ovulation and stopping when menstruation begins. The effects of the cream are sometimes more pronounced in women who are severely progesterone deficient as it is first absorbed by the fat layers under the skin and subsequently by the bloodstream, leading to more lasting effects. For this reason, women can experience relief from their symptoms quite quickly after beginning treatment and continue to see improvements over the long-term.
How Does Progesterone Cream Ease the Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome?
You already know that progesterone is a key hormone in regulating many functions during the menstrual cycle so it makes sense that deficient levels of it cause the symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. So what does introducing higher levels of progesterone during the luteal phase do to your body to help you feel better?
- The diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties of progesterone can help to relieve the swelling and bloating women experience due to water retention.
- Progesterone acts as a muscle relaxant that inhibits uterine muscle contractions and therefore helps to ease menstrual cramping.
- Since it is the same hormone that inhibits the production of milk in the breasts by the hormone prolactin during pregnancy, progesterone can also relieve the breast tenderness that someone women experience during their cycle.
- Progesterone is also a neurosteroid that is a precursor for the synthesis of other neurosteroids in the brain such as allopregnanolone which regulates moods and stress levels as well as cognition and memory. A lack of its availability can have an impact on brain function so by providing adequate levels of progesterone, the body can generate enough allopregnanolone and other mood regulating hormones to alleviate the mood swings that often accompany premenstrual syndrome.
What are the Special Considerations with Progesterone Cream?
Some products that claim to be progesterone cream are available without a doctor’s prescription, but these are typically ineffective. A bioidentical progesterone product should only be prescribed to you by your doctor after careful consideration of your needs.
As with any medication, there are possible minor side effects such as headache, fatigue, and nausea. The most common and preventable side effect is mild skin irritation from applying the cream to the same location repeatedly so it is advisable to rotate the places where you apply the cream on a regular basis.
If you are experiencing severe premenstrual syndrome, it’s a good idea to have your progesterone levels tested to determine whether a bioidentical progesterone cream may offer you relief. Dr. Allie specializes in empowering women with hormonal imbalances to regain their vitality through healthy lifestyle habits and her Hormone Success System. Contact her today for more information.