The Unknown Natural Tranquilizer and Sleep Enhancer
“So amazing”, said the 38 y/o woman, “that my depression and crying stopped after the progesterone prescription!” She also slept more soundly and so was less tired. Her menstrual cycles which had been somewhat erratic, a week late or early, and were now regular.
Shana, not her real name, said that she had felt very sad a few days prior to her cycle with even fleeting thoughts of “why am I living”, but she hastily added she would never take her own life. She noticed a few days or maybe a whole week of every month, she suffered unexplained depression before connecting that feeling to her monthly cycle.
Women without a uterus need progesterone, too. Progesterone’s chief effect is to down regulate estrogen receptors on the uterus and so control heavy and irregular periods. So some doctors think after a hysterectomy, there is no need for progesterone. But, Progesterone has profoundly beneficial effects on the body and brain. It has the ability to be a mood tranquilizer and antidepressant.
Progesterone has profoundly beneficial effects on the body and brain
Progesterone helps to build bone, promote sleep, prevent bloating, and more. Progesterone affects the vaginal secretions, making it more thick and mucoid. With estrogen replacement only, secretions are thin and scanty.
Perimenopause, when the hormone levels begin to decrease, may begin a downward spiral of fatigue, weight gain, and insomnia. Progesterone aids sleep, acts as a diuretic to decrease bloating, and also regulates mood. Progesterone must be prescribed as a capsule at bedtime since the hormone does not cross the skin barrier effectively as a cream. Some women take a small dose of 25 – 50mg in the AM as well, to help relieve anxiety.
Finally, don’t be fooled by the pharmaceutical industry—progestin is NOT progesterone. Progestin actually causes bloating, weight gain, and depression. Pregnant women in certain cases of threatened miscarriage might be prescribed progesterone but never, ever progestin! They are not even nearly the same.