Hormones. Gotta love’em
Alloy’s handy guide to why we love estrogen and progesterone
Why should you love estrogen?
Estrogen is one of the three sex hormones that play an essential role in sexual development and reproduction in all of us (men, women, and everyone in between). But guess what? We need it waaay beyond our reproductive years. Turns out we have over 400 estrogen receptors in our bodies - in our ovaries, vagina, breasts, brains, bones, muscles, heart, eyes, lungs, gut, hair, skin, and blood vessels… you name it.
Why we need it
That means estrogen is important for the normal function of pretty much everything, including our brains, our bones, and our hearts. As we hit 50 (or thereabouts) and go through menopause, our estrogen levels dramatically decrease, affecting all of the above. Pretty major stuff. So it makes sense that replenishing your body’s natural estrogen in small doses would help the function of, well, everything.
Why should you love Progesterone?
Progesterone also plays a key role in our sexual development. It’s produced by the ovaries, the adrenal glands, and the placenta.
Why we need it
Progesterone regulates our menstrual cycle and helps keep the uterus strong. For people with intact uteruses taking supplemental estrogen in menopause, progesterone is prescribed to protect the uterine lining. Think of your uterine lining like a lawn. Estrogen is the fertilizer that keeps it healthy and progesterone is the lawnmower that keeps it in check.
But, really, is Menopausal Hormone Treatment safe for me?
The North American Menopause Society, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Endocrine Society and at least 10 other medical associations in the US and abroad all agree that for the vast majority of healthy women, supplementing our body’s natural hormones as we age is the best way to treat menopausal symptoms, improve our quality of life, and protect against some of the more serious health conditions none of us wants to deal with as we get older.
What is estradiol and why is it prescribed?
Estradiol is the primary estrogen produced by the body and considered to be the most neutral. It is the most commonly prescribed estrogen for menopause.
Estradiol is FDA-approved for the relief of vasomotor symptons such as hot flashes and night sweats, genitourinary symptoms such as vaginal dryness, and for the prevention of osteoporosis, which affects women in far greater numbers than men.
The estradiol in the products Alloy prescribes is molecularly identical to the estradiol your body produces naturally. In other words it is supplemental to the estrogen already circulating in your bloodstream.
The estradiol in the generic products Alloy’s doctors prescribe is formulated from yams— yes, sweet potatoes! And no animal products are used in any of the products Alloy sells.
Did you know Birth Control pills have about 4x as much Estradiol as MHT?
The estrogen in birth control pills is ethinyl estradiol. It is 100 times more potent than estradiol which is the active ingredient in MHT. A 20 mcg oral contraceptive is the equivalent of 2mg of estradiol. The standard starting dose of MHT is 0.5mg. Therefore, MHT is typically 1/4 the dose of a low dose birth control pill. Even at 1mg of estradiol it is still 1/2 the dose of a low dose pill.