Angela Nicholas RN Member of a group of practitioners

What is Progesterone?

Progesterone is a hormone that is naturally produced, and it works by binding to receptors throughout the body. These receptors are found in the brain, uterus, ovaries, and breasts.

When progesterone binds to these receptors, it helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the body for pregnancy. Progesterone also plays a role in maintaining pregnancy. During pregnancy, progesterone levels increase in order to help sustain the pregnancy.

Progesterone levels fluctuate throughout a woman’s life but decline during menopause. This can lead to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.

Progesterone is the drug of choice to treat PMS and postpartum depression as it enhances all of estradiol’s positive effects and minimizes estradiol’s negative effects such as: breast tenderness, irritability, cramping, heavy menstrual periods, and migraine headaches.

What does a lack of Progesterone do to a woman?

A lack of progesterone can cause irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, miscarriages, and other health problems. Progesterone helps to thicken the lining of the uterus, which is necessary for implantation and pregnancy. Without enough progesterone, the lining of the uterus remains thin, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.

During perimenopause, women experience a loss of progesterone. This can cause irregular periods, heavy cycles, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and other symptoms. A sudden drop in progesterone levels can also occur if a woman has her ovaries removed or goes through chemotherapy.

Most estradiol is produced in the ovaries while women are still in the reproductive phase of life. Estrone is produced in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands and fatty tissue. Estriol is produced during pregnancy and is a metabolite of estradiol. In general, estradiol is more protective than other forms of estrogen such as estrone , estriol, or other chemically altered forms of estrogens manufactured by pharmaceutical companies such as Premarin to be more potent than estrogen.

Estradiol has greater protective effects on bone health and cardiovascular health than any other form of estrogen

What happens if you have low Estradiol levels?

Let’s take a look at some of the most common age-related issues that can arise when estradiol levels are too low.

Estradiol and Menopause

One of the most well-known effects of low estradiol levels is menopause. Menopause is characterized by the cessation of menstruation for 1 year and can occur anywhere between ages 45-55 with 51 being the average age in the US.. However, some women may experience menopause earlier or later than that, due to genetics, medical interventions such as hysterectomy, chemotherapy or radiation.

During menopause, estradiol levels decline sharply, which can cause a number of symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. Low estradiol levels can also lead to osteoporosis, as estradiol helps to maintain bone density.

Estradiol and Your Cardiovascular System

In addition to menopause, low estradiol levels have also been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Many studies have shown that when estradiol is maintained, postmenopausal women are less likely to develop coronary artery disease than those with lower levels. Low estradiol levels can also lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke.

Estradiol and Your Cardiovascular System

In addition to menopause, low estradiol levels have also been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Many studies have shown that when estradiol is maintained, postmenopausal women are less likely to develop coronary artery disease than those with lower levels. Low estradiol levels can also lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke.

Estradiol and Your Mental Health

Low estradiol levels can also affect your mental health. One study found that postmenopausal women with low estradiol levels were more likely to experience depression than those with higher levels. Additionally, low estradiol levels have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Can low Estradiol cause weight gain?

There are a few different ways that estradiol can cause weight gain in women. One way is by increasing appetite. When estrogen levels are low, the brain doesn’t receive the signal that the body has had enough to eat, leading to increased hunger and cravings.

Estrogen also plays a role in regulating how the body stores fat. When estrogen levels decline, the body is more likely to store fat around the abdomen instead of the hips and thighs. This “abdominal obesity” is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Another way that estradiol can cause weight gain is by affecting how well the body metabolizes sugar. When estrogen levels are low, the body becomes less efficient at using insulin to metabolize blood sugar. This can lead to increased blood sugar levels, which can then lead to weight gain if left unchecked.

How to Increase Estradiol Levels Naturally

There are a lot of recommendations on how to increase estradiol levels naturally. But no matter what you do, it’s rarely enough to raise your levels to a therapeutic range where you’ll receive the maximum benefits.

When is Estradiol replacement prescribed?

Estradiol should be prescribed to women as soon as they experience menopause to prevent physical and mental decline, preserve health, and delay degenerative disease. When a woman goes through menopause, she loses the ability to produce estradiol, which can cause a variety of symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. Estradiol replacement can help to alleviate these symptoms by replacing the estradiol that the body is no longer producing.

In addition to being used for menopausal symptoms, estradiol can also be used to treat other conditions that are caused by a lack of estrogen. For example, estradiol can be used to treat gum loss, tooth loss, Alzheimer’s Disease, vaginal dryness, increases in visceral body fat, which often occurs during menopause. Estradiol can also be used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

How to take Estradiol treatment

There are several ways that women can take estradiol, including pills, patches, gels, and injections. The method of delivery will be determined by your doctor based on your individual needs. The most cardioprotective method and our preferred method of delivery is the oral form but due to an individual patient’s need may be prescribed in an alternate form.

Estradiol Patch

Estradiol patches are applied to the skin once a day. They deliver a steady dose of estrogen through the skin and into the bloodstream. Patches are usually applied to the lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body—areas where there is little or no hair so that the adhesive will stick well. This is a transdermal delivery system and so it does not provide the same cardioprotective effects. Also, a lot of women complain that the patches fall off, and it tends to be a hassle.

Estradiol Cream

Estradiol cream/gel is applied to the skin once a day. It comes in a pump dispenser that delivers a metered dose of gel containing estradiol through the skin and into the bloodstream. The gel is usually applied to the upper arm or thigh—areas where there is little or no hair so that the gel will spread evenly over the skin. We utilize this occasionally with women for whom oral estradiol is contraindicated.

Estradiol Injection

Estradiol injection is given as an intramuscular shot once every four weeks. It delivers a high dose of estrogen directly into the muscle tissue where it is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Injections are usually given in the buttocks—an area with plenty of muscle tissue for absorption. We do not recommend estradiol injections. We do not utilize them at all with women because it does not deliver consistent levels of estradiol.

Estradiol Pellets

Estradiol pellets are inserted under the skin through a small incision. They do not provide the same cardioprotective effects as the oral route and do not provide a consistent level. The levels are high initially like with injections and decline over a 4-5 month period. We have observed wide fluctuations and variability in patients with pellets in place.

What are the side effects associated with Estradiol replacement?

Common side effects associated with estradiol are similar to PMS type symptoms and are addressed with increasing progesterone or adjusting estradiol. They include:

  1. Breast tenderness
  2. Breast enlargement
  3. Pelvic cramps
  4. Bloating
  5. Irritability

These side effects are typically mild and go away on their own once the body becomes acclimated to having estradiol back at healthy levels.

Warnings and precautions before taking Estradiol replacement

Estradiol should not be used if you have any of the following conditions:

  1. If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
  2. If you are breastfeeding
  3. Have menstrual cycles

We require that all women have a mammogram prior to starting estradiol replacement therapy.

What other drugs interact with Estradiol?

Some drugs like Aspirin and Tramadol interact with synthetic Estradiol. These interactions do not happen with bioidentical Estradiol, which is the only kind we use at Tier1 Health & Wellness.

Misconceptions about Estradiol Replacement

Millions of women have been harmed by the refusal of medical professionals to provide women with Estradiol replacement and hormone therapy in general.

It is not easy to find doctors who are knowledgeable and experienced in Estradiol replacement. Physicians do not receive education on Hormone Replacement in medical school. For doctors to become knowledgeable in this area, they have to learn it themselves. And that costs a lot of money and time.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about Estradiol Replacement we at Tier1 Health & Wellness have been trying to correct over the years.

Does Estradiol replacement cause cancer?
Does Estradiol replacement cause heart disease?
Should you avoid Estradiol replacement if you enter menopause early?
Is Estradiol replacement helpful after menopause?
Are the symptoms of menopause a “rite of passage” every woman ought to go through?

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Your Life Without Optimized Hormones

  • Weight gain, especially in midsection
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  • Thinning of the skin.
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  • Cognitive decline/forgetfulness
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  • Muscle aches and pains
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  • Thinning hair
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  • Heart palpitations
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