Odd Bedfellows: Men And Progesterone

Progesterone.  A chick thing, right? Along with estrogen, most think of it as a hormone that exists only in women. Truth be told, both men and women’s bodies contain levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. 

After a detailed blood analysis, it’s easy for me to see just how much progesterone your body is working with and compare it to recommended levels, but few people know I prescribe it to men as well as women. A lack of progesterone in men has has a number of implications which can affect how they feel, sleep, and maintain overall hormonal balance.

Progesterone is a building block for many hormones including testosterone, vital in defining male characteristics. It builds bone mass, takes part in regulating blood sugar, brain activity, and functions throughout the body to ensure a healthy balance. The process through which our bodies turn fat into energy is also affected by progesterone, as well as thyroid hormone production. 

Since progesterone is a precursor to testosterone, low levels can often result in lack of sex drive, as conversely, it is an antagonist to estrogen. When the balance of progesterone in men is inadequate, it can result in what is known as “estrogen dominance,” a condition frequently associated with women, resulting in nervousness, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, prostate enlargement, higher risk of prostate cancer, and low libido. 

A few signs that can become apparent when beginning to experience estrogen dominance are baldness, body odor changes, breast growth, and reduced muscle development. This should be met with a cautionary note because progesterone in men can be a result of these outcomes but are not necessarily the cause of them.

If you feel as though you are experiencing  these things, contact me for a blood analysis.

As you may already know, the liver acts as a filter to clean and remove excess toxins from the body. One of these toxins can be estrogen. But if your liver is already in a state of poor health due to excess food consumption, high sugar levels, too much alcohol, and high toxicity, then it will have a difficult time removing excess estrogen on its own. Those of you who eat foods that are high in sulfur, such as onions and garlic, are helping your body to maintain healthy liver function as well as detoxification. give you a great excuse to stop worrying about your breath and eat more Italian food, right?

Alcohol also causes blood estrogen levels to rise. Even moderate drinking has been linked to lower levels of progesterone in men, including a link between alcohol consumption and lower levels of zinc absorption, which has a negative effect on progesterone production. See how this is all related?

The system through which our bodies cope with and handle stress is relatively complex. This is known as the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response. The NEM is essentially a complex web which consists of systems and organs which link together to form a functional network.

One of the many complaints that those who are under high levels of stress often reference is exhaustion and poor physical condition. As it turns out, there might be contributing factors that are controllable, helping to reduce your symptoms. People who are anxious experience high toxicity, depression, and lethargy and the typical response is to run to something that can make them feel better quickly. Often these choices are not good ones can can damage them even more.

It is also very common for someone who is experiencing low progesterone to gain weight, which is another common symptom of AFS. In s vicious cycle, when you’re overweight, your body has a tough time producing enough progesterone to counteract the levels of estrogen. Add a malfunctioning thyroid to that equation and it can not only rob you of sleep — it can also make inflammation virtually unmanageable. High levels of inflammation cause huge problems in the body. It can cause lasting damage to the heart, brain, and liver when left untreated.

Fortunately, low progesterone levels in men can be easy to treat.  Vitamin D has a big effect on sufficient progesterone production. So I will always check your levels of vitamin D as well as your progesterone levels if you are experiencing any of the symptoms I mentioned here.

After prescribing progesterone pills for one of my many female patients, she raved over how, after 20 years of night sweats and low quality sleep, she was sleeping like an infant and dreaming in technicolor. So she called me and asked if her husband, another patient of mine, might benefit by it as well. When I prescribe bio-identical progesterone capsules for men, their first reaction is to freak a little. They imagine themselves growing “moobs” and hearing their voices squeak. Well, at least this was HIS reaction. I told him he was confusing progesterone with estrogen. Then I set up a low dose progesterone regimen. He, like his wife, now sleeps like a baby.

I am always happy to explore what hormones are lacking in your body to unlock the key to better health, more energy, and especially better sleep, which seems to be at a premium as we age. It’s a journey I can help with. In fact, it’s one I am passionate about.

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