7 Signs of Low Progesterone

Hormonal balance can be such a struggle for females.  Each month we have highs and lows of our hormones and that can have different symptoms throughout the month: acne, anxiety, irritability or migraines.  Then we hit menopause and it can sometimes feel like our hormones are against us!  Stop the madness – what is normal? WHY are we feeling these things? WHY are do some women stay even while other women’s symptoms are so extreme?

It is all about hormonal balance.  Your hormones are like a symphony and must work together to help support you throughout the month.  The two major female hormones that fluctuate throughout your cycle are progesterone and estrogen.  In a normal menstrual cycle, progesterone levels rise after ovulation in order to sustain the lining of the uterus which thickens each month for a potential pregnancy.  If there is no pregnancy, progesterone levels then drop which stimulates your cycle. One common imbalance women can experience is a low progesterone level.  How can you tell if you have low progesterone?  There are some classic signs of low progesterone:

1. Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Progesterone is the main hormone responsible for regulating your cycle.  Typical menstrual cycles are about 28 days long.  If your cycle is much longer, much shorter, or just unpredictable then this could be due to low progesterone.

2. Infertility
If you have trouble getting or staying pregnant it might be due to low progesterone. Although infertility and miscarriages can have many root causes, if you are struggling to get pregnant you should have your progesterone levels checked.  Progesterone is responsible for thickening the endometrial lining and getting it ready for pregnancy – if this does not occur or levels do not rise after egg implantation the pregnancy cannot be sustained.

3. Headaches or Migraines
Although not the only cause of migraines, progesterone may play a role for some of us. Women with low progesterone tend to get migraines, particularly before and during their cycle. This might be related to the increase in estrogen with low progesterone. Higher estrogen can cause vasodilation and water retention which can trigger headaches.

4. Mood changes, including anxiety or depression.
Progesterone is intricately related with your neurotransmitters, particularly GABA.  When progesterone is low you may have symptoms of depression, anxiety, irritability and insomnia which can get even worse before your cycle.

5. Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are typically due to a change in your hormones.  When progesterone is low it can cause your estrogen to raise and this imbalance can create hot flashes,  particularly at night.

6. Weight Gain
That’s right, your weight gain could be due to a low progesterone level. Ensuring hormonal BALANCE is the key to weight loss for women.  Even if you are eating well and exercising, but have hormonal imbalance – including low progesterone – it can create an environment for weight gain.

7. Fibroids, Endometriosis
Again, with low progesterone comes higher estrogen.  Higher estrogen, when not balanced with progesterone, or estrogen dominance can lead to fibroids, endometriosis, heavier cycles, cysts and cystic breasts.  The good news is if you can balance your estrogen and progesterone levels these things can be avoided!

If you have any or all of these symptoms it is time to ask your health care provider about your progesterone levels and why they might be low!

At CentreSpringMD we help provide a holistic plan to increase your levels including dietary, lifestyle and herbal support, as well as the addition of bioidentical hormones when necessary.  If you are struggling with the symptoms above you are not alone.  With the help of your healthcare provider you can have more balanced hormones.

Christina Connors Grace is a certified family nurse practitioner and registered nurse. She brings a passionate, caring approach to patient care with a wealth of experience in women’s and family medicine.

Email appointments@centrespringmd.com to schedule a visit with Christina Connors Grace.

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Categories: Hormones, Women's Health