Progesterone is one of the most important hormone found in females. This naturally produced hormone is essential for regulation of the menstrual cycle in females. Progesterone plays a crucial role in pregnancy and hence, it is known as the pregnancy hormone. Apart from its role in preparing the body for gestation, progesterone also carries out several other functions. Here is a detailed list of its functions.
Why is Progesterone Important
Progesterone is produced in the ovaries or the corpus luteum of the ovaries in the female body. It is also produced in the male body, but in small amounts. Estrogen and progesterone are the two major female sex hormones or sex steroids. Progesterone is required by the female body to carry out several functions.
- Progesterone is produced in the ovaries of women who ovulate and have a regular menstrual cycle. It plays an important role in preparing the endometrium for implantation. However, when implantation does not occur, the corpus luteum contracts, causing the level of progesterone to fall. This leads to shedding of the uterus lining and egg, causing menstruation.
- Secondly, progesterone is termed as a pregnancy hormone because it prepares the uterus for implantation. It is also essential for the embryo and fetus to survive throughout pregnancy.
- Progesterone also prevents the uterus from contracting during pregnancy. It maintains elasticity of the uterus, and prevents the fetus from exiting from the uterus prematurely.
- When talking about the role of progesterone in pregnancy, we can say that a woman cannot conceive or continue pregnancy without this hormone.
- The hormone progesterone is essential for maintaining proper functioning of the endometrium.
- Progesterone is beneficial for restoration of libido in females. High progesterone levels in the body increases libido. While on the other hand there is a decrease in libido after menopause because of the low progesterone levels.
- Progesterone helps the thymus and the thyroid gland, and also aids in functioning of the thyroid hormone.
- It is essential for protection against fibrocystic breast disease, for maintaining healthy cell oxygen levels and also in normalizing the blood sugar levels.
- Another important function of progesterone is that it helps in improving the efficiency of the heart, promotes proper function of the brain and also protects brain cells.
- It helps in reducing anxiety and also improves memory.
- This hormone also plays an important role in bone growth and also enhances bone density.
- Progesterone helps in maintaining proper cardiovascular and vascular health by regulating blood clotting.
- It helps the production of serotonin which is a mood-regulator neurotransmitter. In absence of progesterone, the production of serotonin is interrupted, resulting in mood swings.
- Lastly, lesser known functions of progesterone include its use in treatment of arthritis, in treatment of emphysema; and its role in reversing or slowing down the process of aging.
Progesterone is also essential for treating the symptoms of pre-menopause and menopause. Progesterone levels tend to decrease as the menopausal age nears, which increases the level of estrogen in the body. This leads to the signs and symptoms of menopause. However, they can be reversed by using progesterone therapy or products. However, one needs to consult a doctor before using any products containing this hormone.
It is also important to remember that excess of this hormone in the body can also lead to symptoms like nausea, body ache. It is recommended to consult a doctor if any abnormalities in the menstruation, pregnancy or menopause are observed, as they can be corrected by using proper hormonal therapy.