Leslie Carol Botha: Dr. Ochoa-Maya has written a beautiful article explaining the delicate balance of estrogen and progesterone. Hmm, too bad this information was not part of our education about our bodies. Our hormones are the foundation for our health and well being. They are the communicators- the messengers to every cell in the body.
What is Estrogen Dominance? The Role of Progesterone in Women
Freedom to Heal
by Margarita R. Ochoa-Maya, MD, CDE
August 25, 2102
Balance is needed everywhere… Humankind needs balance between our spiritual life, our way we relate to our outside world, our inner conversations and in our daily living. Balance is also necessary within our body, and when it comes to hormones, balance is key. In the human body, it is common to see that one hormone is balanced with the effect of another hormone. For example insulin is balanced by the hormone glucagon. When it comes to women’s hormones, estrogen is balanced by progesterone. The effects of one hormone offset the effects of the other and together they are maintained in optimal balance in our body at all times. Too much of one hormone or the other can lead to significant medical problems.
Estrogen in our body actually is not a single hormone but a trio of hormones working together. The three components of estrogen are: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). In addition, there are at least 24 other identified types of estrogen produced in the woman’s body, and more will be discovered. In healthy young women, the typical mix approximates 15/15/70% respectively. This is the combination worked out by Mother Nature as optimum for human females. Today, we use the word estrogen loosely to include also a family of hormones, including animal estrogens, synthetic estrogens, phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), and xenoestrogens (environmental estrogens, usually from toxins such as pesticides).
As I said earlier, estrogen is a hormone that is pro-growth. Since too much of anything is generally not good, the body has another hormone to offset and counterbalance the effects of estrogen. It is called progesterone.
Progesterone was discovered in 1933. That is just 79 years ago. It was not until the 1940’s that it was then produced in a laboratory from yams. But it was not until 1971, when Professor W.S Johnson was able to reproduce the exact formula for progesterone. This is only 41 years ago….
As its name implies, progesterone is a hormone that is pro-gestation. Without a proper amount of progesterone, there can be no successful pregnancy. One of the main roles of progesterone is to favor the growth and well-being of the fetus. When it comes to estrogen, progesterone protects against the “growth effect” of estrogen and balances this growth with maturation and nourishment. When progesterone is at its highest during the second half of the menstrual cycle, further ovulation is prevented from taking place and the cervix and vagina secrete a thick mucus that is hostile to sperm is produced that prevents its passage into the womb.