Progesterone serves as a precursor not only to testosterone and estrogen, but also to cortisol, the stress hormone.
It is also the precursor of the hormones estrogen and testosterone in sex and is secreted mainly by the ovaries in women and in the testes in men. There are smaller amounts that are produced by the adrenal glands in the brain cells of women and men, this makes it fundamental in many biological functions.
Progesterone in pregnancy
The hormone progesterone is one of the many hormones produced that regulates and stimulates various functions in our body. Progesterone is produced by the ovaries and the placenta when a woman is pregnant and also by the adrenal glands. Its main function is to prepare the uterus for the implantation of the fertilized ovum and to maintain the pregnancy.
Progesterone levels vary during a woman’s menstrual cycle . It occurs just before ovulation and continues to increase in the last two weeks of a menstrual cycle. Its decrease at the end of the cycle promotes the detachment of the uterine lining and the start of a menstruation.
Progesterone counteracts the effects of estrogen in the body, influences the nervous system by increasing drowsiness and decreasing anxiety, helps mature breast tissue and prepare for milk production, promotes healthy appetite and storage of fat, especially with pregnant women.
When the person has too much progesterone in relation to estrogen, they may experience a decrease in insulin sensitivity, weight gain, depression and decreased libido. In the opposite case, when you have too little progesterone in relation to estrogen you can experience irregular menstrual cycles , breast pain, irritability and mood swings. When progesterone levels are too low, you can not really generate enough cortisol from the adrenal glands. This is a very important issue to consider in the treatment of a person with poor function of the adrenal gland.