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Do I Have Low Progesterone?

Hey ladies, let’s talk about progesterone. Have you ever heard of it? It’s is a hormone that plays a crucial role in many aspects of women’s health, yet many women may not be aware of their progesterone levels. Low progesterone levels can have a significant impact on physical and emotional health.

In this article, we’ll explore the signs and symptoms of low progesterone, what causes it, and how to treat it. We’ll also discuss how levels change during menopause and how low progesterone can contribute to urinary incontinence.

What Is Progesterone?

Progesterone is a hormone that plays an essential role in the female reproductive system. It’s produced by the ovaries to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. A woman’s levels naturally change throughout her menstrual cycle.1 Prior to ovulation, progesterone levels remain low. However, after ovulation, levels rise, thickening the uterine lining in preparation for pregnancy. When pregnancy does not occur, progesterone levels drop, and the uterine lining is shed during menstruation. 

Progesterone also plays a critical role in pregnancy. After fertilization, progesterone levels continue to rise to help maintain the pregnancy and support fetal development. Without enough of the hormone, a woman may be at risk of miscarriage.


Signs Of Low Progesterone

The signs and symptoms can vary depending on the individual. However, some common symptoms include2:

  • Menstrual irregularities. Irregular periods or missed periods is one of the most common signs of low progesterone. Women may also experience heavy bleeding during periods.
  • Infertility. Low levels can also cause difficulty in conceiving as it affects the ability of the uterine lining to support a fertilized egg. In some cases, low progesterone levels can cause miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy.
  • Mood changes. Mood swings, anxiety, and depression are all common signs.
  • Difficulty sleeping. Progesterone is known to affect sleep quality. Low levels can contribute to insomnia or trouble sleeping, one reason why some women may find it hard to get the shut-eye they desire during their perimenopause years.3
  • Headaches and migraines. Women with low progesterone levels may experience more frequent headaches or migraines.
  • Other symptoms. Fatigue, low libido, weight gain, and bloating are also common symptoms


Progesterone During Menopause

Perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause) is often the time when women may notice signs of progesterone levels dropping. The hormone declines as a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs. This decline can contribute to many of the symptoms listed above, such as hot flashes, mood changes, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, and vaginal dryness. 


Causes Of Low Progesterone

The decline of progesterone levels is a natural part of aging in women. Stress, a poor diet, medical conditions, medications, and environmental factors can also contribute to low levels. 

Several factors can contribute to low progesterone levels, including:

  • Age. As women age, their progesterone levels naturally decline.
  • Stress. High levels of stress can interfere with the body’s ability to produce progesterone.
  • Diet. A diet high in processed foods and low in nutrients can negatively impact hormone production.
  • Medical conditions. Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, and autoimmune diseases can interfere with hormone production.
  • Medications. Certain medications, such as hormonal birth control, can impact hormone levels.
  • Environmental factors. Exposure to chemicals and toxins can disrupt hormone production.

How to Test for Low Progesterone

Determining if you have low progesterone is easy, especially if you have routine checkups to establish a baseline. If you’re experiencing symptoms, your doctor can perform a blood or saliva test to measure your hormone levels. Blood tests are typically done on specific days of the menstrual cycle to get an accurate reading.


Treatment Options For Low Progesterone

Treatment options vary depending on the individual’s needs and circumstances. However, some common treatments include:

  • Lifestyle changes.woman meditating to reduce stress.Eating a nutrient-dense diet, managing stress, 
    getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight can help support hormone production.
  • Increase your intake of progesterone-producing foods. Some foods can help stimulate the production of progesterone, such as beans, broccoli, kale, nuts, pumpkin, and whole grains.4
  • Supplemental progesterone. Creams, gels, suppositories, and oral medications may all be used to supplement the hormone. 
  • Hormone therapy. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help replace low levels of progesterone and improve symptoms. However, it’s important to note that hormone therapy can increase the risks of certain conditions, and not everyone is a good candidate for this option. 
  • Alternative therapies. Herbal supplements, acupuncture, and other natural therapies may help support hormone production and relieve symptoms.

Don't Hesitate To Seek Help

Progesterone levels will fluctuate up and down throughout our lives, and even during each month! This is natural. But, if you’re experiencing symptoms that are disrupting your quality of life and you suspect they may be due to low progesterone levels, it’s important to talk to your doctor. There are many treatments he or she can recommend that can make a big difference. 

  1. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=167&ContentID=progesterone#:~:text=Progesterone
  2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/24613-low-progesterone
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17168724/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/natural-progesterone


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