I frequently get the question: “Do men need progesterone, too?” The answer is absolutely and here’s why.
Progesterone, known as a major endocrine regulator in women, helps to counterbalance the effects of estrogen on the male body. Unfortunately most men are never told that progesterone is a precursor to the male sex hormone, testosterone. So, as men begin to age, testosterone begins to decline while estrogen levels begin to rise. This increase in estrogen levels is what causes progesterone levels to fall which in turn causes testosterone levels to fall.
Did you know?
Most people believe that progesterone is a feminizing hormone. However, the male body actually relies on progesterone to sustain masculinity.
If you are approaching middle age (35 and older), or are a man of any age, andropause (male menopause) symptoms may be affecting how you feel. Just as it is important for women to pay attention to their hormone levels, so it is for men. Also keep in mind that men with low levels of progesterone have a higher risk of developing health concerns, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, prostatism as well as prostate cancer. Certainly the effects of progesterone in men are remarkable, especially during the andropause years.
Related: Andropause: It’s Time to Talk
Why Men Need Progesterone, Too:
- Supports healthy energy levels
- Supports healthy blood pressure
- Fertility support
- Supports healthy DHEA levels
- Supports healthy muscle mass-with exercise
- Supports healthy mood
- Decreases risk of prostate cancer
- Supports healthy libido
- Supports healthy erectile function
- Supports healthy blood sugar regulation
- Decreases estrogen in men
- Helps mobilize fat for energy and regulates weight
- Significantly protects against varicose veins and heart disease
- Supports healthy nitric oxide production
- As a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, it helps to prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT, the “bad” testosterone
- Supports and improves healthy sleep
Using Bioidentical Progesterone for Healthy Hormone Balance in Men
It may take just a bit of taming for the male ego to actually use the same product their spouse uses for hormone balance. However, bioidentical progesterone use is safe and can help to accomplish healthy hormone balance in men which results in relief of many of the symptoms of andropause (male menopause).
The first thing to do, before using any type of natural hormone replacement therapy, is establish need by saliva testing your sex hormone levels . A saliva test will not only measure your hormone levels but will also provide a baseline from which you can compare your hormone levels yearly. Remember, it’s about achieving the correct balance of hormones, and not allowing the pendulum swing too far in any direction thus creating an imbalance of another type.
In addition to testing testosterone levels, all men should consider having other hormones saliva tested to get a clearer picture of what their hormone levels look like. This includes estrogen, progesterone, cortisol (stress hormone), DHEA and thyroid. Hormones are like a three-legged stool with sex hormones, stress hormone and thyroid hormone as each leg. If one leg is wobbly, the others will be affected.
The second thing to do, after need is established, is to choose a bioidentical progesterone cream that is made with pharmaceutical grade USP progesterone (not wild yam extract). Check to make sure the base cream does not contain toxic chemicals or herbs that are estrogenic in nature. Read the ingredient label carefully and do some research on ingredients that are unfamiliar to you.
Most practitioners suggest progesterone use of 10 to 12 mg every day. Men should use progesterone cream without taking any days off. The use should be split and used twice a day. Apply progesterone cream to areas of the body that have good circulation but are not high in fat. These areas include the wrist, back of the neck, top of feet, hands and basically any place where blood vessels can be seen. Do not use on fatty areas such as the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, etc. as this may cause progesterone to accumulate. I recommend rotating application sites with every use. If one is using Oasis Serene progesterone cream, which is the progesterone cream I recommend, the male use would be 1/32 of a teaspoon twice a day. (You can purchase measuring spoons on amazon.com) It is very important to be as precise as possible when administering the progesterone and to use the cream every day. NOTE: It is very difficult to measure this small amount of progesterone from a pump bottle which is how some progesterone creams for women are packaged. Even trying to get half a pump is difficult. Using a cream that is packaged in a jar enables one to measure the correct amount.
It’s also important to know that while the use of USP progesterone can alleviate many of the concerns we associate with andropause, it may not help with some of the sexual dysfunction issues especially if they are the result of other health concerns. Sometimes hormone replacement will resolve impotence, but not always. If you begin to see improvement in other symptoms but the impotence remains, it is always best to see a knowledgeable health care practitioner to determine if there is another health concern in which to address.
Testosterone and Estrogen in Men
Dr. John R. Lee, who was a world renowned authority on hormone balance and who laid the foundation for bioidentical progesterone use in women and men, had the following thoughts about testosterone and estrogen in men:
Even though the estradiol level in a mid-50 year old man is usually higher than his female counterpart, the man, because of his normally higher testosterone level, will not develop breasts. However, as men age, their estradiol levels slowly rise [this can happen for many reasons but mainly because of the bombardment of toxic xenoestrogens in our environment, water, food and personal care products) and progesterone and testosterone levels begin to slowly fall. The estradiol effects rise because the testosterone level is not great enough to balance them. Hormone balance is then greatly affected which results in less benefits from testosterone.
Estrogen dominance stimulates breast cell growth and endometrial cell proliferation in women. In men, estrogen dominance also stimulates breast cell growth and prostate hypertrophy.
Important to know. Estrogen dominance is responsible for the majority of breast cancers and is the only known cause of endometrial cancer in women. Since the male prostate is the embryonic equivalent of the female uterus, it should not be surprising that estrogen dominance is also a major cause of prostate cancer.
One More Thing…Hormone Transfer
Men, if your wife uses estrogen either transdermally or vaginally, be aware of estrogen transfer. Below are some recommendations for avoiding hormone transfer. Women should also be aware of hormone transfer if their male partners are using transdermal testosterone.
- Apply natural hormone creams on areas of the body that will not come into contact with people or pets.
- Always wash hands thoroughly after applying hormone cream. You can also use a latex glove to apply the cream (box of 100 costs about $3). Discard glove after every use.
- Hormone cream users should always use separate bath and hand towels.
- Hormone transfer can also occur through clothing and bedding.
- Women who are using a vaginal estrogen cream should avoid sex with a male partner for at least 2-3 hours.
In summary: In men, natural progesterone has many health benefits from supporting healthy energy levels to prostate cancer prevention. In my opinion, men over 35 years of age should perform a baseline saliva test. If testing supports a need, men should supplement on a daily basis with a good quality progesterone cream such as Oasis Serene. As always, it’s best to find a practitioner who is knowledgeable in the use of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy as well as the use of hormone saliva testing. Knowledgeable practitioners will be able to take an in-depth history and make specific recommendations that will benefit your particular hormone needs as well as monitor the progress you make toward hormone balance.
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