It’s time to bring progesterone into the conversation about women’s health. That’s according to Canadian endocrinology professor Jerilynn Prior in her paper “Women’s Reproductive System as Balanced Estradiol and Progesterone Actions—a revolutionary, paradigm-shifting concept in women’s health.” In the paper, Professor Prior makes the case that historically there has been a “cultural over-emphasis on estrogen” while “progesterone tends to be ignored or associated with negative effects.”
A menstrual cycle is, by definition, an ovulatory cycle in which ovulation is the main event and progesterone is made.
Any other kind of bleed is either an anovulatory bleed or a pill-bleed — neither of which are real menstrual cycles. Ovulatory cycles are the only way to make progesterone which is important for general health, not just for making a baby.
Ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone are beneficial for health. That means natural ovulatory menstrual cycles are beneficial for health because ovulation is how women make hormones.
Does that surprise you? Men make testosterone every day, so you might think women do something similar, but we don’t. Instead, women make hormones as a surge of estradiol leading up to ovulation and an even bigger surge of progesterone after ovulation.
This is my open letter to every clinician, personal trainer, and blogger who offers health advice without thinking about the importance of ovulation and natural ovulatory menstrual cycles.
Your restrictive dietary advice may cause young women to stop ovulating which is a problem because ovulation is how women make hormones.
That makes ovulation an essential part of human physiology and not just for making babies. Ovulation is not optional. Thank you.