Progesterone is a hormone that plays a key role in female fertility. Progesterone helps thicken the lining of the uterus to prepare for pregnancy. It is important to have normal levels of progesterone to help regulate your menstrual cycle, as well as keeping your estrogen levels in range as well. When progesterone is missing estrogen may become the dominant hormone which could cause trouble too.
Normal ranges of progesterone depend on age, sex, and health history. You can check your progesterone levels with a simple blood test that needs no prepping for.
What causes low progesterone?
Low progesterone levels can be caused by a few different things. Menopause can cause low progesterone levels.
Trouble with your ovaries, such as PCOS can cause you to have low progesterone levels as well. An anovulatory cycle, which is a cycle where ovulation doesn’t occur, common in people with PCOS, have lower levels of progesterone.
Having a miscarriage can also cause your progesterone levels to lower.
Hypothyroidism, increased cortisol levels, hyperprolactinemia, and low cholesterol levels can all cause low progesterone levels.
Symptoms Of Low Progesterone
One of the main symptoms of low progesterone is having trouble getting pregnant or having multiple miscarriages.
Other symptoms are headaches, migraines, mood changes including anxiety and depression and abdominal pain.
Low progesterone can cause irregular menstrual cycles. This can be spotting in between periods. It can also cause missed or late periods.
Low progesterone can cause breast tenderness, low blood sugar, and low libido.
Without progesterone estrogen may become the dominant hormone. Estrogen dominance can cause weight gain, fibroids, or gallbladder problems.
Treatment Options for Low Progesterone
There are many different ways you can treat low progesterone. You can use creams, and gels that are topical. Oral medications can also help.
Hormone therapy can also be an option whether it is just estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Hormone therapy may help with hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Hormone therapy is not advised for people who have suffered from breast cancer, endometrial cancer, liver disease, blood clots or a stroke. This is because hormone therapy can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, gallbladder troubles, and certain types of breast cancers.
There are some natural treatments you can try as well. Increase your vitamin B and vitamin C. You can find vitamin B in chickpeas, tuna, spinach, bananas, potatoes, and lean red meat.
Eat more foods with zinc. Zinc can be found in shellfish, cashews, almonds, and kidney beans.
Other foods can help boost progesterone levels such as beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, nuts, pumpkin, spinach, and whole grains.
When estrogen is high and the dominant hormone you may need to lower your estrogen levels to help balance out your progesterone levels. Lowering estrogen foods are bananas, cabbage, shellfish, and walnuts.
Controlling your stress levels can help balance out your hormones. This can be done by meditation, yoga, journaling, reading, listening to music, or anything that helps you relieve stress.
Refrain from over exercising. Exercising is important in your overall health. Over exercising can cause your body to produce stress hormones over progesterone.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help balance hormones.
Certain herbs and supplements can help balance hormones as well. Herbs such as chasteberry or evening primrose oil.
Making sure you get enough regular sleep can also do wonders to your hormone production, and balancing.
Raising progesterone is not always the focus when low progesterone is caused during menopause or hormonal imbalance. This is because both of these are usually caused by estrogen. Balancing your estrogen in these instances will help balance out progesterone in the end.
Benefits Of Balanced Progesterone Levels
Balancing out your progesterone levels can help protect yourself against endometrial cancer. It can also help decrease perimenopausal symptoms. As well as alleviate any other symptoms you may be experiencing from your low progesterone levels.
Low progesterone affects more than just fertility! Learn the symptoms and treatment options! #HealthSurgeon
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