The hormonal weight gain of PCOS, menopause, and some types of birth control is caused by insulin resistance and androgen excess.
Here’s what you need to know.
Progesterone is usually calming but can produce a paradoxical anxiety response in some women. It’s called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) or neurosteroid change sensitivity and affects about one in twenty women.
It happens because progesterone interacts with GABA receptors in the brain and normally has a calming effect. The same natural level of progesterone can have a stimulating effect in women with PMDD due to a problem with the GABA receptors.
The progestins in hormonal birth control are not progesterone.
Yet, so many journalists and even doctors use the word progesterone when they really mean a progestin drug such as drospirenone, levonorgestrel, or medroxyprogesterone. They are not the same thing.
Progesterone is beneficial because it lightens periods. It also reduces inflammation, regulates immune function, and supports healthy thyroid, brain, bones, and breasts.
Do you make enough progesterone? Are you sure? The only way to make progesterone is with ovulation and a healthy luteal phase.
Soy contains phytoestrogens or “plant-estrogens,” which sounds bad but by out-competing estradiol, phytoestrogens can have a beneficial anti-estrogen effect in women of reproductive age.
In your forties, you may find you don’t cope as well with stress. It happens because losing progesterone during perimenopause can destabilize the HPA (adrenal) axis or stress response system.
This recalibration of the nervous system is why perimenopause is associated with an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.