Estrogen has many functions, including regulating menstrual cycles, contributing to female development, and is what makes a lady feel particularly attractive on her most confident days.
Progesterone is mostly associated with pregnancy and the body’s preparation for nurturing an unborn baby, but is also what stabilizes mood swings and works as a natural antidepressant.
These two hormones balance each other throughout the month, and it’s a very delicate system on its own. For example, stress has such a huge influence on the female reproductive system, it can delay a period, skip it entirely, or make it difficult to conceive.
And those are just natural complications. Adding drugs into the mix only complicates things more.
Studies have shown that if a woman’s estrogen levels are higher, she’ll have stronger reward effects from using substances. Progesterone combats estrogen’s pleasure-seeking behavior and actually decreases these effects (4).
The ebb and flow of these two hormones create higher highs from substance use and lower lows during withdrawal, which is part of what makes it harder for women to quit.