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ArticlesDr Peter FotinosHormone Replacement Therapy Women

Meet Progesterone: Your Natural Anti-Depressant

By December 1, 2015 No Comments

Progesterone plays a pivotal role in controlling your mood and your overall sense of well-being. When progesterone falls below its optimal levels, women may experience anxiety, changes in appetite, weight gain, aches and pains, sleeplessness, irritability and difficulty concentrating.

When women go to their doctors with these symptoms, they’re likely to receive a prescription for pharmaceutical anti-depressants. These drugs may help the symptoms go away for a time, but only mask the actual cause: low progesterone. Bio-identical progesterone replacement eliminates these symptoms by actually fixing the problem, not masking it. Restoring progesterone to its optimal level through Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy can reduce anxiety, boost mood, normalize appetite and help you sleep.

Pharmaceutical Anti-Depressants & Your Brain

Symptoms of depression occur when the neurotransmitters, or the signalling molecules in your brain, are out of balance. When the neurotransmitter called serotonin is not plentiful enough, it can lead to depression. The conventional treatment for this condition is anti-depressant medication, such as an SSRI.

SSRI stands for selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor. To understand how it works, picture two cells very close together. The space between them is called the synapse. One of the cells, called the presynaptic cell, releases a message via a neurotransmitter such as serotonin, into the synapse. These signaling molecules bind to the other cell, which has special receptors to receive them. SSRIs prevent that presynaptic cell, the cell that released the serotonin, from reabsorbing it. This increases the amount of serotonin available to bind to the cell that is supposed to receive the message. The result is relief from depression.

There are, however, many problems with pharmaceutical anti-depressants. They all have long lists of adverse side effects and cause serious withdrawal symptoms when you want to go off of them. Many women who are put on anti-depressants for “just a few months” never come off of them. In addition, they tend to lose their effectiveness over long periods of time, requiring either an anti-depressant swap or addition.

Bio-identical Progesterone & Your Brain

Progesterone, as we said, is your natural anti-depressant. Progesterone increases the level of serotonin in your brain, thus preserving its feel-good function. In addition, progesterone protects and promotes the survival of the nerve cells that release and respond to serotonin. In these two ways, progesterone naturally takes care of the neurotransmitter imbalance that causes depression.

When perimenopausal women begin to experience symptoms of depression, they may be experiencing low progesterone. Bio-identical progesterone acts in the body exactly like the natural hormone. It boosts serotonin levels, addressing the root cause of the imbalance. Unlike pharmaceutical medications, bio-identical progesterone does not come with a list of adverse side effects. Your body knows exactly what to do with it.

Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can restore progesterone levels above the threshold that allows them to preserve serotonin function and eliminate symptoms of depression.