Progesterone is a hormone that is created by the ovaries. It is important to the female menstrual cycle and pregnancy. There is also a relationship between levels of progesterone and anxiety. When progesterone levels in the body become imbalanced, individuals can experience increased anxiety. This is because progesterone has a calming effect, similar to that of serotonin, in the brain. Women most often experience hormonal imbalances of progesterone during pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause, which can lead to increased anxiety.
The relationship between progesterone and anxiety is also influenced by estrogen, which is another hormone made by the ovaries that is important to the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Estrogen is different from progesterone, in that it has the opposite effect in the brain, and leads to increased anxiety. Like progesterone, estrogen levels also fluctuate, especially during menopause.
Women are two times more likely to experience anxiety than men. The degree of it caused by a lack of progesterone can manifest itself in many different ways. Fear, panic, depression, and lack of sleep generally come along with increasing anxiety levels, which affect many different areas of a woman’s life. Many women who experience these problems first try antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, only to find that they are not effective.
Although a lack of progesterone and anxiety is a problem mostly experienced by women, men do have a form of this hormone in their bodies. Progesterone in men is also important to sexual organs, but it is present in their bodies in smaller amounts. Overall, men do not experience lack of progesterone and anxiety issues as women do.
A blood test is required to establish that the reason for anxiety is due to a lack of progesterone. This test measures the level of hormones in the body. If results show a hormonal imbalance, doctors can choose the best path of treatment to suit each patient’s needs.
Relieving anxiety symptoms caused by an imbalance of progesterone is often achieved through hormone replacement therapy (HRT). There are different forms of HRT available. These include therapies that use either natural or synthetic hormones.
Women considering HRT should be aware of the both the risks and benefits associated with it. There is evidence to show that HRT is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. For this reason, HRT should be done for limited periods of time, and in the lowest doses possible.