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What is Progesterone?
- Oldest known sex hormone.
- Present in every human regardless of age.
- Produced by the ovaries and adrenal gland.
- Secreted by corpus luteum.
- Has receptors in nearly every cell in the body.
- Acts on uterus, kidneys, brain, smooth muscle, breasts, bones, and cellular membranes.
- Metabolized to other active hormones.
- What are some of the functions and roles of progesterone in the body?
- Counteracts estrogen’s tendency to induce excess growth in the endometrial lining of the uterus.
- Builds new bone tissue, leading to increased bone mass and density.
- Necessary for maintenance of pregnancy.
- Decreases uterine contractions.
- Prepares and maintains uterine lining for implantation of fertilized egg
- Prepares breasts for lactation.
- Assists in raising HDL-cholesterol levels (if combined with estrogen therapy) and ultimately reduces risk of heart disease.
- Synthetic progesterone (progestin) has an overall negative effect on HDL-cholesterol levels because it vasocontricts.
What is the difference between “progestin” and “progesterone?”
The main difference is in the derivative. Progestin’s are synthetic (i.e. man-made) molecules developed to act like natural progesterone. Natural progesterone is a molecule that is plant derived and is bio-equivalent to the hormone produced in our bodies. Progestin’s do not have as broad a spectrum of activity as natural progesterone, and have a wide range of side effects. Whereas progesterone may cause some mild to moderate drowsiness, progestin’s can cause:
- breast tenderness
- vision changes
- migraine headaches
- decreased glucose tolerance
- gastric regurgitation