In 1966, Forever Feminine by gynecologist Robert Wilson, was a best seller. It touted the use of Premarin® for women to maintain their youth. For some, the “side effect” of this therapy was endometrial cancer. The solution was to add a progestin or progesterone the last two weeks of each month. The progesterone protected the uterus from cell overgrowth caused by the estrogen to minimize the cancer risk. This simplified approach is an effort to mimicking the natural monthly hormonal changes a woman experiences.
Most estrogen is prescribed to manage hormone symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. I often hear health professionals say that if you do not have a uterus then you do not need progesterone. After all, the drug is no longer needed to protect the uterus. This is a drug management approach not a whole body approach.
A woman’s hormonal changes that happen in the ovaries and uterus IS a whole body experience. Progesterone has action all over the body. Perhaps it is time to shift our thoughts to whole body hormone management instead of symptom management. This is a quality of life issue. Why would we just look at estrogen when other hormones play other roles? Could adding just one hormone cause a shift of balance in the body? It did in the above example. Does estrogen cause cell growth in breast tissue? Every woman knows there are changes in her breast related to her cycle. Can progesterone mediate cell growth in areas other than the uterus?
Whole body hormone balancing is possible. The use of saliva testing for hormone levels can be revealing. And then if you use estrogen in any form, you should always take progesterone.