Ovarian Cancer

Typically, lower fertilization rates are found in women who have polycystic ovaries rather than those with tubal disease or endometriosis. Increased levels of estrogen stimulate increased levels of testosterone and androgen (increased body hair). Increased androgen (hyper-androgenism) has been shown to be critical in the pathogenesis or development of polycystic ovaries and ovarian cancer.

Mechanisms by which androgens induce cyst formation, however, have not yet been elucidated. It has been hypothesized that ovarian androgen excess produces larger follicles and increased apoptosis, resulting in cyst formation and follicular atresia (death and regression of an ovarian follicle).

Hyper-androgenism, therefore, produces larger follicles and increased apoptosis. Apoptosis is the process by which a cell runs its life course and actively "commits suicide".

It is now well recognized that apoptosis is essential in many aspects of normal development and is required for maintaining tissue homeostasis. Failure to properly regulate apoptosis can have catastrophic consequences. Cancer and many diseases (AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart attack, stroke, etc.) are thought to arise from deregulation of apoptosis.

The basic roles, therefore, performed by estrogen and progesterone are

    Estrogens (estradiol, estrone, estriol) are predominately female hormones, and in adults, they are important for maintaining the health of the reproductive tissues, breasts, skin and brain. Excessive estrogens can cause fluid retention, weight gain, migraines and over stimulation of the breasts, ovaries and uterus, leading to cancer, endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, uterine fibroid tumors. Insufficient estrogen levels or fluctuations of estrogen can lead to hot flushes, vaginal dryness, rapid skin aging, urinary problems, excessive bone loss and possible acceleration of dementia. An excess of estrogen, relative to testosterone, is thought to play a role in the development of prostate problems in men. Most scientists now agree that by-products of estrogen metabolism are the cause of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.

    Progesterone is a hormonal balancer, particularly of estrogens. It enhances the beneficial effect of estrogens while mitigating the problems associated with estrogen excess. Natural Progesterone also helps regulate apoptosis. Progesterone also helps create a balance of all other steroid hormones. It also has intrinsic calming and diuretic properties. Progesterone is the "Pro-Gestational" hormone and plays a critical role in conception and full-term pregnancy. It is important in women, but it's importance in men for the maintenance of prostate health is only now being appreciated.

So, whether a woman conceives through traditional "natural pregnancy" or IVF Fertility Treatment, it is critically important that she maintain optimal levels of progesterone throughout pregnancy. A drop in progesterone levels or a blockade of progesterone receptors during the first 11 or 12 weeks of pregnancy may result in loss of the embryo.

Dr. Catherine Dalton has suggested that pregnant women use a properly formulated natural progesterone cream until the start of the third tri-mester when the placenta takes over progesterone production. She further states (anecdotally) that women who maintain high progesterone levels during pregnancy produce healthier and more intelligent children.

Polycystic Ovaries

    A 29 year old woman in the United States presented with excessive facial/body hair growth, acne, and weight gain about the waist. She had suffered with these problems since puberty and had been on several of the popular low fat/high carbohydrate diets, which helped with weight temporarily, but resulted in rebound weight gain. Menstrual periods were also irregular. Saliva testing during the second half of the menstrual cycle (luteal phase) indicated high-normal estradiol, low progesterone, and high androgens-both DHEAS and testosterone. Further examination by her doctor revealed cystic ovaries. Dietary modification (removal of simple, refined carbohydrates-pastas, chips, pastries, sodas etc.) and use of natural progesterone has helped restore normal menstrual cycles. Subsequently, the cystic ovaries and the risk for ovarian cancer ameliorated.

All of the reviewed research, and the many years of clinical experience of Dr. John Lee (California, USA) as related in his best selling books, cause many conclude that natural progesterone is a wise choice for the informed woman (when administered topically) and addresses the underlying causes of many hormone related health problems that plague women.