Progesterone is the most important agent of the progestogens and belongs in the group of sex hormones. In women, it is mainly formed by the corpus luteum in the ovaries and in much greater quantities during pregnancy from the uterus. The main proportion of this hormone in men is produced in the testes. Low progesterone levels are synthesised by men and women also by the adrenal cortex. Progesterone is formed in human bodies predominantly from cholesterol. Progesterone stimulates the growth of the uterine lining and prepares them for the embedding of a fertilized egg.
At the beginning of the menopause the progesterone level drops since progesterone production is linked with ovulation. If there is a sustained lack of progesterone in the body there will be an oestrogen dominance and consequently an increased risk of breast cancer and other serious conditions.
Essential functions of progesterone are:
- Protects the uterine lining from excessive growth impulses caused by oestrogen
- Protection against benign nodular changes in the breast (fibrocystic breast disease)
- Conversion of fat into energy
- Promotes diuresis
- Protects against uterine cancer
- Stimulation of bone formation
- Natural protective mechanism against depression
Oestrogens, also known as folliculin, are the most important female sex hormones in the class of steroid hormones. They are mainly formed in the ovaries in follicles and in the corpus luteum and to a smaller extent in the adrenal cortex. During pregnancy oestrogens are additionally produced in the uterus. Men also produce oestrogens in the testes in small quantities, and in addition a certain proportion of testosterone in the fatty tissue is converted to oestrogen by an enzyme.
In terms of the effects that they have, oestrogens behave in the mirror image of progesterone.
Essential functions of oestrogens are:
- Build the uterine lining
- Stimulate cell growth in the breasts
- Increase the production of fat tissue
- Promote the storage of fluids in tissues
- Reduce feelings of pleasure
- Increase the risk of breast and uterine cancer (except oestriol)
- Reduce the breakdown of bone mass
The three most important oestrogens:
- Is the most effective variant and is primarily responsible for the effects of the oestrogens
- Oestradiol comprises 10-20% of the total oestrogen levels in the body
- Also comprises 10-20% of the total oestrogens in the body
- Is however less effective than oestradiol
- It has the largest share of the oestrogens at 60-80%.
- It is the weakest type of oestrogen.
- Has the lowest risks and above all it does not influence cancer risk, potentially even providing a certain protective effect against some forms of cancer
An oestrogen substitution should therefore include Oestriol alongside Oestradiol.
- Is a precursor of the male and female sex hormones
- It promotes muscle growth
- Strengthens the libido
- Enhances mood