Progesterone is a very pivotal hormone with many functions. It helps to balance estrogen and testosterone and it is also the precursor hormone to cortisol (the stress hormone). As a result, if there is a great deal of stress in your life, it is very possible that you will use much of your progesterone to make cortisol and will not have enough to balance estrogen. Progesterone levels can be measured in serum and saliva.
Serum Progesterone Levels
Serum progesterone levels are helpful to determine the initial need for treatment. Progesterone levels are best monitored with serum testing when you are being treated with oral progesterone pills and progesterone gels. Natural bioidentical progesterone creams do not show up well in serum testing, so serum is not the best testing method in this case.
Saliva Progesterone Levels
Saliva progesterone levels are very helpful to determine the amount of free (bio-available) progesterone in your body both before treatment starts and during treatment. There are lab ranges available for the various types of treatments including oral, creams and gels. Thus, it is fairly easy to monitor treatment with saliva progesterone levels. There are also reference ranges for appropriate ratios of estrogen and progesterone so it is possible to determine proper estrogen/progesterone balance.
Again, the only limitation pertains to progesterone cream (as opposed to oral or gel). Like estrogen or testosterone creams, if the progesterone level has risen too high, it is difficult to interpret the labs once the hormone dose is lowered because it sometimes takes 6-12 months for the hormones to clear and not show up in the saliva. This is important to remember if you have taken any of the over-the-counter progesterone creams even a year before your appointment because it could distort your saliva test and give a false positive.
Why Balance Progesterone Levels?
Progesterone levels and estrogen levels are among the two of the most vital hormones in the human body. Each has a profound effect on the other and additionally, progesterone is connected to stress levels. For these reasons, it is important to measure progesterone levels and to balance them with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy if the levels are out of range. Balanced progesterone levels help maintain balance of other vital hormones in your body. When all of your hormones are balanced you can expect to experience fewer symptoms and to feel a great deal better; testing is the first step.
Contact a highly trained bioidentical hormone doctor near you to schedule an appointment and learn more about serum progesterone levels and saliva progesterone levels and how bioidentical hormone therapy can keep them in balance.