A few days ago I took a poll in my stories asking y’all about your thoughts on progesterone. I didn’t realize how many of us are unaware of what this hormone is, what it does, and how the heck our menstrual cycle works! So here is the 411 on what is going on during those 28 days as it relates to our 2 main sex hormones, progesterone and estrogen.
Don’t worry, I am not going to get too sciency, let’s just understand the basics!
Estrogen is produced mainly in the ovaries but also in the adrenal glands and fat cells. Its main purpose is to the control the growth of the uterine lining in prep for ovulation. It should only be elevated temporarily to signal the brain that it’s time to ovulate.
Progesterone is needed for pregnancy and fertility and is the dominant sex hormone from ovulation up to menstruation. Progesterone triggers the lining of the endometrium to thicken to accept a fertilized egg. It is necessary to maintain pregnancy in its early stages.
Phase 1: The Menstrual Phase:
During this phase estrogen and progesterone are low and the lining of the endometrium sheds, causing bleeding. This is the phase most of us dread which is understandable, we may be feeling all the feels and be a bit emotional. This is our restoring phase, we are releasing what we no longer need.
Phase 2: Follicular Phase:
Well now that we have relaxed, maybe cried a little and felt a bit uncomfortable for a week we can now take a deep breath and a sigh of relief that we are now heading into the follicular phase! During this phase estrogen and progesterone are on the rise! This is great news as we start to get our energy back both mentally and physically and our mood stabilizes. This is a fresh start!
Phase 3: Ovulatory Phase:
During this phase a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the fallopian tube, and is made available to be fertilized. Estrogen peaks and begins to decline while progesterone rises. Energy levels and body temperature increases, your skin is glowing and you probably feel fantastic!
This is the week right before you get your period. During this phase, estrogen and progesterone levels are high and then decrease. PMS symptoms may develop and you may notice an increase in appetite and cravings for comfort food while also having sore breasts and feeling a bit bloated. These pre-menstrual symptoms are some signs of hormonal imbalances that can be managed through diet and lifestyle.Happy menstruating!