What is progesterone?

Progesterone is a hormone produced in the ovaries that regulates a woman’s monthly cycle. It helps get the uterus ready for pregnancy by thickening the lining of the uterus.  When pregnancy does not occur, progesterone levels drop, but if pregnancy occurs, progesterone levels remain stable throughout pregnancy, causing symptoms such as nausea and breast tenderness.   Low progesterone can affect fertility and present itself with various other symptoms as well.  Normal progesterone levels are important for both women trying to get pregnant and for women in general for balanced hormones.  Estrogen, the other major female hormone, is broken down by the liver.  When estrogen builds up, it throws off the balance of systems and this sets the stage for tumors to grow easily due to the excess of estrogen. Additionally, high estrogen levels are linked to low progesterone levels and cause ovulation and fertilization problems.  Below we will talk about the symptoms of low progesterone and natural ways to support progesterone levels.

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SYMPTOMS OF LOW PROGESTERONE

  • heavy menstrual flow
  • poor sleep
  • anxiety
  • mood swings
  • spotting before period
  • short cycles
  • short luteal phase
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • generally irregular periods

HOW TO TEST PROGESTERONE LEVELS

Blood tests can check progesterone levels.  This varied women’s health panel from Everly Well also looks good if you want to test it without a doctor.  I have not tried this yet, but want to.

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HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR BODY IF PROGESTERONE IS LOW

If your progesterone turns out to be low, you can work on a few things including diet, sleep, meditation, exercise, and detox.

Focusing on clean eating is a great way to help balance hormones.  Eating healthy fats, vegetables and fruits, as well as more foods that support the gut such as prebiotics and fermented foods is helpful. Additionally, you can consider taking a probiotic.

Getting 7-8 hours of sleep daily is so important!  While we sleep, our bodies clean out toxins, clean up cells and grow new ones. Sleep can easily mess with hormones.

Meditating and exercising are both great ways to destress.  Meditation before bed is a common and helpful practice, and exercising helps boost endorphins and good feelings, while also helping to detox the body.

Detoxing the body regularly is helpful to get rid of build up of toxins that could be wreaking havoc in the body.

You can also try wild yam cream, chasteberry, or a progesterone cream to balance hormone levels.

Have you had your progesterone levels checked? 

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