Progesterone and estrogen have opposing functions in your system. When it comes to weight gain estrogen causes your body to make and store fat while progesterone encourages your body to use fat for energy. While estrogen impairs blood sugar control and interferes with thyroid function, progesterone helps normalize blood sugar and facilitate thyroid activity. A nice balance between the two helps assure a healthy body and one of progesterone's main functions is to balance estrogen levels.
A number of things help get you out of balance. First, not only does estrogen encourage fat production, but your fat cells manufacture estrogen. This means the more fat you have the more estrogen your body produces, and the more estrogen your body produces the more you will be prone to weight gain...quite a vicious cycle.
And it gets worse. All of us are exposed to environmental toxins which mimic estrogen (called xenohormones) and fool our bodies into thinking we have even more of this hormone in our system than we do. Some sources of xenohormones include livestock fed estrogenic compounds to make them nice and fat before they end up at your grocery store. You may also get estrogenic drugs from your water supply due to all the women taking synthetic hormones in birth control pills and menopause drugs. BPAs found in plastic containers and food wrappings may also be implicated and are one more reason to stick with (unwrapped) fresh fruits and vegetables for weight loss. Regardless of the source your body responds to these xenohormones as it would to estrogen and the result can be excess fat on your hips and thighs.
Lack of progesterone can also be hard on thyroid health and we know there is a strong connection between having a healthy thyroid and weight loss. According to Dr. Lee, and supported by current information at the National Progesterone Advisory Network, women taking medication for low thyroid may find that they need less or no thyroid meds after using natural progesterone. This being the case if you take thyroid medication work closely with your doctor to adjust your medication as needed when you use natural progesterone.
Natural progesterone creams are available over the counter or by prescription from compounding pharmacies which can make up a cream designed just for you. You may need to find a physician familiar with natural remedies to assist you in this process. Conventional physicians may suggest a medication containing progestins or synthetic progesterone. However these are not the same as natural progesterone and have serious potential side effects. In 2002 a large scale study using a combination of synthetic estrogen and progestins was stopped because of increased health risks to participants including heart attack, stroke and blood clots in the legs and lungs.
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