Estrogen vs Progesterone: What’s the Difference?

Some women breeze through menopause with little discomfort. Others experience a considerable number of unpleasant symptoms as their estrogen and progesterone levels decline. Of the many treatments available to help manage the hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness associated with the onset of menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be the most impactful.

When you visit Dr. Catherine Vanderloos at Shreveport’s leading Med Spa and Gynecology clinic, you’ll be working with an MD committed to helping you make informed decisions about your reproductive health and symptom management. Until then, you may find it helpful to consider the differences between these essential hormones, compare their individual contributions to your overall well-being, and explore some of the many potential benefits of restoring balance.

What Is Progesterone? 

Progesterone is also crucial to reproductive function. It’s responsible for thickening the uterine lining to support implantation.

If pregnancy occurs, progesterone levels continue to rise through each trimester. The hormone helps support immune system function, lactation, thyroid function, and more. When implantation does not occur, progesterone levels fall, and menstruation begins. Like estrogen, progesterone plays a role in emotional regulation, brain function, and bone health while indirectly improving insulin sensitivity.

What Is Estrogen? 

Estrogen is a hormone produced in your ovaries, adrenal glands, fatty tissues, and brain. It’s essential for follicle maturation, maintaining the thickness of your vaginal wall, and supporting the mucus membranes lining your uterus. There are multiple factors influencing how much estrogen is produced in your body, including your stress levels, body composition, and age.

For most women, estrogen production gradually increases during the first half of their menstrual cycle. During the weeks leading up to ovulation, the hormone helps prepare the body for pregnancy. But that’s not its only contribution. Estrogen also plays a vital role in cognitive function, emotional regulation, cardiovascular health, and bone density.

Estrogen and Progesterone During Menopause 

As ovulation frequency decreases with age, so does the amount of estrogen and progesterone circulating in your body. Although you don’t officially enter menopause until you’ve gone a full 12 months without a menstrual cycle, you can develop hot flashes, vaginal discomfort, or any number of the following symptoms several months to several years before your periods stop completely.

  • Frequent headaches or migraine
  • Discomfort during intimacy
  • Anxiety, depression, or irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing excess weight
  • Thinning hair
  • Diminished libido
  • Foggy thinking

When routine blood tests confirm a menopause-related drop in reproductive hormone levels, a small dose of estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone could be all you need to start feeling like yourself again. Treatment could also help protect your bones and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. But it’s not a solution that’s right for everyone. If you’re over the age of 60, have a family history of certain medical conditions, or have been in menopause for more than ten years, your healthcare provider may recommend an alternative.

Finding Menopause and Hormone Therapy in Shreveport, LA 

Diminished hormone production can cause an extensive list of unpleasant symptoms before, during, and after menopause. While completely normal and often expected, every experience is unique. For compassionate, superior women’s healthcare in the Shreveport area, contact Catherine Vanderloos of Envy Med Spa.

Dr. Vanderloos is a North American Menopause Society (NAMS) certified practitioner dedicated to improving the health and overall quality of life of women of all ages as their hormone levels fluctuate and eventually decrease. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

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