Low Progesterone? Why it happens and what you should do.Aug 16, 2023
Do you ever find yourself battling mood swings, fatigue, and annoying PMS symptoms?
Maybe you feel like you lack motivation, it's hard to deal with stress and you've lost that drive and ambition you've always had?
If so, this could mean you have low progesterone.
Progesterone is a hormone crucial to your well-being, it's essential for a healthy menstrual cycle and overall stable moods.
Let's delve into the world of low progesterone and discover strategies to reclaim control over your body.
But firstly, I want to say you aren't alone and if you want to work individually with someone who can give you personalised support for reaching your goals, book a free consultation call with me here and we will go over your specific goals and how to approach them.
Progesterone, often referred to as the "peacekeeper hormone," because it has a remarkable influence over various facets of your health. Beyond its pivotal role in menstrual cycles, progesterone plays a multifaceted part in your well-being:
Nervous System Support: Progesterone's soothing effects on the nervous system can alleviate anxiety, improve mood, and enhance emotional resilience.
Bone Health: This hormone is crucial for maintaining strong bones and preventing bone density loss, ensuring a sturdy foundation for overall health.
Skin Health: Progesterone contributes to skin's radiance and elasticity, helping counteract common issues like dryness and acne.
Cognitive Function: It supports cognitive clarity and concentration, playing a role in maintaining mental acuity.
Sleep Quality: Progesterone promotes relaxation and helps regulate sleep patterns, ensuring restorative and rejuvenating rest.
Prevention of Miscarriages: During pregnancy, adequate progesterone levels are a MUST for maintaining a healthy uterine environment and preventing miscarriages.
One of the main ways your body produces progesterone is through ovulation.
So if you have low progesterone, the question you should ask yourself is "do I ovulate?" and "do I ovulate regularly?"
The signs of successful ovulation include consistent menstrual cycles of 25-35 days, coupled with the observation of basal body temperature changes and shifts in cervical fluid consistency. These are valuable indicators of a healthy reproductive system and balanced hormonal production.
I made a post about how to track basal body temperature here.
There are number of elements that can tip the balance of ovulation and progesterone production, leading to imbalances.
Excess Stress: Chronic stress can disrupt the delicate hormonal equilibrium, affecting ovulation and progesterone levels.
Inflammation: Inflammatory responses in the body can interfere with the ovulation process and progesterone synthesis.
Thyroid Issues: Thyroid dysfunction can disrupt the delicate interplay of hormones, impacting ovulation and progesterone production.
PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can hinder regular ovulation and lead to low progesterone levels.
Gut Health Problems: The gut-hormone connection is undeniable; gut health issues can cascade into hormonal imbalances.
Over-Exercising: Rigorous exercise without proper recovery can interfere with ovulation and progesterone synthesis.
Weight Imbalances: Both being overweight or underweight can throw ovulation off-kilter, affecting progesterone levels.
Perimenopause: The transitional phase leading to menopause can cause fluctuations in hormone production, impacting progesterone.
Infections: Certain infections can disrupt hormone-producing organs, affecting progesterone synthesis.
Birth Control: Hormonal contraceptives can influence the body's natural hormone production and ovulation patterns.
When addressing low progesterone, it's VERY IMPORTANT to focus on the root causes to restore balance naturally and these are some sure ways for having stable progesterone levels:
Nutrient-Dense Diet: Prioritize whole foods rich in vitamins (especially B vitamins), minerals (like zinc and magnesium), and healthy fats to support hormone production.
Blood Sugar Regulation: Stable blood sugar levels help prevent insulin spikes that can impact hormone balance.
Liver Health: A well-functioning liver efficiently metabolizes hormones, contributing to overall balance.
Gut Health: Cultivate a diverse gut microbiome through probiotics and fiber-rich foods to support hormone regulation.
Stress Management: Incorporate stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness to keep cortisol (the stress hormone) in check.
Regular Exercise: Engage in balanced exercise routines that support hormonal balance without overtaxing your body.
Sleep Hygiene: Prioritize quality sleep for optimal hormonal functioning.
Herbal Support: Consider herbal remedies like chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus) to support progesterone production.
While these holistic approaches can be transformative, every woman's journey is unique because all of our lifestyles and environments are unique.
If you decide that you want to test your progesterone levels and there are few things that you must know:
There is no such thing as a perfect menstrual cycle, meaning not every cycle is at 28 days. Cycles can vary, meaning that the day you ovulate would vary too.
The important thing for testing progesterone is to know when your ovulation is and depending on your cycle - that would change.
You may have heard that you should test your progesterone on day 21 of you cycle and that's based on a 28 day cycle with ovulation happening on day 14. If your cycle is 35 days, it's possible, that you won't ovulate until day 21-23 and you must measure progesterone 7 days after, so for you that might be day 28-30 of your cycle when your progesterone levels will show up as the most accurate.
If you don't know when you have ovulated, you can look at your menstrual cycle, then go back 7 days from your last period and that's the day you should measure your progesterone.
Yet the most accurate ways to see when you've ovulated is to actually track your three major fertility signs. And don't worry if you haven't done so up until now. It's truly never to late to start tracking your cycle and empower yourself when it comes to your body.
Tracking your fertility signs isn't just an amazing tool if you're planning a family but it's also an incredible tool if you are wanting to prevent pregnancy, know your body better and advocate for yourself in the doctor's office.
Let's dive into three fertility signs you should be tracking:
- Basal Body Temperature (BBT):
What is BBT?: Your basal body temperature is your body's lowest resting temperature, and it naturally fluctuates throughout your menstrual cycle due to hormonal changes.
How to Check BBT:
- Choose a digital basal thermometer to ensure accurate readings.
- Take your temperature at the same time every morning, immediately upon waking, before getting out of bed or engaging in any activity.
- Record your temperature on a BBT chart or a fertility tracking app.
- A temperature rise of around 0.5 to 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit after ovulation indicates that ovulation has occurred.
- This temperature shift signals the transition from the follicular phase (pre-ovulation) to the luteal phase (post-ovulation).
- Cervical Mucus (CM):
What is CM?: Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by your cervix in response to hormonal changes throughout your menstrual cycle.
How to Check CM:
- Regularly observe the texture, color, and quantity of your cervical mucus.
- Gently collect a sample by wiping the vaginal opening with clean toilet paper or using your fingers.
- Note the characteristics of the mucus and record them on your tracking chart or app.
- During the follicular phase, you may notice dryness or sticky, cloudy mucus.
- As ovulation approaches, your mucus becomes increasingly clear, stretchy, and slippery—resembling raw egg whites.
- The presence of fertile cervical mucus indicates that ovulation is near, and it is an optimal time for conception.
- Cervical Position:
What is Cervical Position?: Your cervix changes position and texture throughout your menstrual cycle in response to hormonal fluctuations.
How to Check Cervical Position:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before examining your cervix.
- Insert one or two clean fingers into your vagina to feel the cervix's position, height, and texture.
- Note the changes and record them on your tracking chart or app.
- In the early follicular phase and after ovulation, the cervix is typically firm, closed, and positioned lower in the vagina.
- Around ovulation, the cervix becomes softer, higher, and opens slightly to facilitate sperm passage into the uterus.
By understanding and tracking these three key fertility signs—Basal Body Temperature, Cervical Mucus, and Cervical Position—you can gain remarkable insights into your menstrual cycle and ovulation (very important for progesterone). This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about the optimal timing for conception or preventing pregnancy.
Remember, every woman's body is unique, so it's essential to observe your own patterns over several cycles to accurately predict ovulation.
Low progesterone might have disrupted your sense of control over your body, but you're not alone in this journey. Having the knowledge about the significance of progesterone, the signs of imbalance, and actionable strategies to restore harmony, you have the power to reclaim your well-being.
If you want to learn how to balance your hormones naturally in 5 simple steps, watch my FREE Masterclass - 5 steps to balanced hormones and happy moods here
I am committed to supporting you on your quest for hormonal balance. Connect with me through a complimentary consultation call by clicking here where we can delve into your specific challenges, aspirations, and create a personalised roadmap for your hormonal balance here.