Progesterone & Other Hormones

These are some notes on progesterone and some other hormones I wanted to make available. At some point I will rewrite this and organize it better. But for now, here are some of the details of the inner workings of our fertility cycle on a hormonal level. I think these notes will be helpful in understanding the more subtle nature of our cycle, the stuff we don't see. Understanding the nature of our bodies is just as important as understanding the nature of the herbs, may help us to determine how best they may work together to achieve our goals.

When ovulation occurs, the egg bursts forth from a follicle on the ovary, leaving a gaping hole. This hole "scars over" becoming the corpus luteum. The function of the corpus luteum is to produce progesterone which will prepare the uterus for the possibility of pregnancy. It does this by causing cells in the uterine lining to rapidly divide, making a thick juicy bed for the egg should it mingle with sperm.

The corpus luteum also produces some estrogen for a second short surge.

Progesterone inhibits oxytocin, causing the uterine muscles to relax and contract less. Oxytocin stimulates contractions associated with labor, which would be desireable if attempting to stimulate menstruation or end pregnancy.

If fertilization does not occur the corpus luteum degenerates slowing and ending the supply of progesterone. This causes the deterioration of the uterine lining resulting in menstruation.

Oxytocin can be stimulated during labor by sucking on the nipples, to hasten child birth.

oxy = quick
tocin = childbirth

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