Estrogen vs. Progesterone: Functions in the Human Body
Did you know that your body has many chemical messengers that help regulate your organs and body systems? There are at least 50 chemicals in the human body. Their levels can affect your growth, reproductive system, metabolism, and more.
Hormonal imbalances (when hormone levels are higher or lower than typical for your sex and age) can have serious effects on how your body develops and functions.
Sex differences as well as hormones are variable across our lifetimes. Most bodies have some levels of hormones.
These hormones are important for female sexual development. All bodies, including males and people who are intersex, produce hormones.
We might maintain our best hormonal balance if we learn more about the roles of estrogen and progesterone.
“We use the terms male and female to refer to someone’s sex as determined by their chromosomes, and men and women to refer to them as genders, unless we quote from nonspecific language.”
Sex is determined by the number of chromosomes. The gender can be different between cultures. Both historically and by modern scientific consensus, these aspects are acknowledged.
Estrogen and progesterone based hormone treatments are used by trans and cis women alike.
Human bodies are made of hormones.
It’s beneficial for all human bodies to produce estrogen in some form, but the exact types will depend on your sex:
- Female bodies typically produce estrone, estradiol, and estriol.
- Male bodies typically produce estrone and estradiol.
- Intersex bodies may produce any combination of estrone, estradiol, and estriol.
In female bodies, the ovaries mainly produce estrogen. Fat tissue, adrenal glands, and the brain can make it too. In males, fatty tissues typically produce estrogen. Enzymes can also convert it from excess testosterone.
Estrogen has several functions but is best known for its essential role in female growth and reproductive development. It helps maintain the menstrual cycle and facilitate the preparation of the uterus for anticipated and actual pregnancy.
Estrogen is also necessary for all human bodies to ensure proper bone growth and health, optimize brain function, and regulate mood.
All people also have varying levels of progesterone in their bodies. Like estrogen, progesterone is often linked to its presence and effects on female bodies, but it’s also found in male and intersex bodies.
Progesterone is a steroid hormone that plays a key role in preparing all human bodies for reproduction. In females and some intersex people, most progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum. It’s a temporary gland that emerges in the second half of the menstrual cycle after ovulation.
Sometimes, doctors prescribe synthetic progesterone (progestin) for:
- There are symptoms of menopause.
- It is a condition where there is pain.
- There are periods that are irregular.
- birth control
The female body is able to accept a fertilized egg if it has higher levels of the reproductive hormones progesterone and estradiol. The body continues to produce progesterone throughout the pregnancy if an egg is fertilized.
The breasts need to be prepared for milk production.
There are effects on levels of progesterone.
- It is the libido.
- The weight.
- Overall health.
The effects of progesterone on male, female, and intersex bodies are far-ranging. An increase in the amount of progesterone in males leads to an increase in the amount of estrogen in the body.
Besides playing a role in sexual development,
- Maintaining fat tissue.
- stimulating The weight. gain and appetite
- The central nervous system and the kidneys are the best.
- regulating behavior
- The immune, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems are regulated.
- Maintaining bone health.
The chart below shows the differences and similarities of hormones.
|cancer (breast and uterine)||High levels of estrogen are associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.||Synthetic progesterone (progestin) has been linked to increased Breast cancer is a disease. risk.|
|mental health||Estrogen treatments have been known to lower the risk of Depression. in postmenopausal women.||Progesterone is thought to play a role in regulating behavior.|
|menstrual cycles||Low and high levels of estrogen are linked to menstrual problems.||Low levels of progesterone have been linked to menstrual problems.|
|menopause and premature menopause||Low levels of estrogen are linked to menopause and premature menopause.||Low levels of progesterone are linked to menopause and premature menopause.|
|pregnancy||Estrogen is necessary for preparing the body for pregnancy.||Progesterone is necessary for maintaining a pregnancy.|
|conception||Estrogen is necessary for conception in a female or intersex body.||Progesterone is necessary for conception in a female or intersex body. In males, progesterone is necessary for the production of semen (sperm).|
|The weight. gain||High levels of estrogen are linked to The weight. gain.||High levels of progesterone are linked to The weight. gain.|
|bone health||Low levels of estrogen are linked to poor bone health.||Low levels of progesterone are linked to poor bone health.|
|brain function||Low levels of estrogen are linked to diminished brain function.||Low levels of progesterone may impair central nervous system function.|
|puberty and secondary sexual characteristics||Low levels of estrogen are linked to a lack of development of female secondary sex characteristics. High levels are linked to the development of female secondary sex characteristics.||In females and some intersex people, progesterone plays a key part in the menstrual cycle. In males and other intersex people, its presence triggers the production of estrogen.|
There are many birth control options on the market.
When it comes to birth control pills, there are two main options. One contains both estrogen and progesterone, and the other contains only progesterone.
The pill stops your body from ovulating. The pill works by making mucus at the entrance of the uterus denser to prevent sperm from entering and fertilize an egg.
If you’re taking birth control pills, you can expect
“The side effects you may experience are dependent on the type of pills you have been prescribed and your body’s natural levels of hormones.”
The most common side effects of combined estrogen-progesterone pills include:
- The breakthrough bleeding between periods.
- There are headaches.
- abdominal pain.
- Breast pain.
- Increased vaginal discharge.
- decreased It is the libido.
- The density of bone mineral decreased.
- Increased risk of cardiovascular issues.
The most common side effects of pills are related to hormones.
- There is a possibility of irregular or unscheduled menstrual bleeding.
- Flareups of the skin.
- Increased risk of ovarian cysts.
If you smoke cigarettes or have experienced birth control problems, you should not take combination birth control pills.
- There are blood clot.
- Breast cancer is a disease.
- cardiovascular problems.
- high blood pressure.
- migraine episodes with auras
- severe diabetes or liver disease
If you have had a chance, avoid taking the pill.
- Breast cancer is a disease.
- It is a disease called lupus.
The body naturally reduces the amount of estrogen and progesterone over time.
Women going through menopause may experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes.
However, estrogen-only or estrogen-progesterone therapy can help alleviate some There are symptoms of menopause. and also reduce the risks of osteoporosis for people with bone loss.
The risks of taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are similar to those associated with taking birth control pills.
During menopause, taking estrogen without progesterone can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. When your body no longer sheds its endometrial lining (having your period), cells can build inside your uterus. Progesterone helps by thinning the lining of the uterus, reducing the risks of cell overgrowth and cancer.
However, if you’ve had a hysterectomy, it’s safest to take estrogen alone. It has fewer long-term risks than the combination therapy.
Transgender women and gender nonconforming or intersex people
Both estrogen and progesterone can lead to the development of female secondary sex characteristics, including in transgender women. It can also help to improve their bone health.
When administered as a part of gender affirming hormone therapy, your doctor may also prescribe a medication that blocks the function of testosterone (the key hormone in male sexual development) to increase the feminizing effects on the body.
While gender affirming hormone therapy can help alleviate gender dysphoria and improve one’s quality of life, it carries the usual risks of taking estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen cream vs. progesterone creams
Hormone therapies, for trans and cis women alike, may be recommended in the form of creams applied to the genitals or the skin. These creams are most frequently used to treat vaginal dryness during menopause.
The National Women’s Health Network states that estrogen and progesterone creams are safe to use for menopause treatments. They’ve been shown to be one of the safest ways to treat some There are symptoms of menopause..
This style of treatment is fairly low in dosage and less research exists on their higher use in trans women.
Because there’s a known increased risk of Breast cancer is a disease. with these medications, make sure to discuss any needed changes in your screening routine with your doctor.
The hormones estrogen and progesterone are seen as talking to each other in the body. The function of progesterone influences the levels of estrogen.
Estrogen dominance is a state of increased levels of estrogen relative to progesterone. It occurs when the body makes too much estrogen or metabolizes it differently. Serious conditions are associated with estrogen dominance, such as:
- Breast cancer is a disease.s
- The cancers of the uterus.
- There are women with fibroids.
- It is a condition where there is pain.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a genetic condition.
Estrogen dominance is linked to progesterone deficiency in female bodies. Female bodies with estrogen dominance most commonly experience changes in menstruation as a side effect.
There is a chance that dominance of progesterone can lead to:
- The development of features that are feminine.
- Increased risk of cardiovascular problems..
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that are important in female sexual reproduction. They are more than that. They regulate the development of the body systems.
These hormones can be used in a variety of ways.
The best advice for safely taking hormones of any kind is to closely follow your doctor’s recommendations and keep an open line of communication about any changes to your body.