Progesterone is defined as a sex hormone within females. It is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands and the corpus luteum. It’s an integral part of the menstrual cycle, but its primary function is to help prepare the uterus lining and maintain a pregnancy. Apart from that, it is also responsible for enlightening the mood and supporting the thyroid.
The hormone is known to thicken and prepare the uterine lining for a possible pregnancy. Consequently, it also sheds or decreases when a woman does not get pregnant and menstruation begins. Levels of the hormone also continue to rise throughout the pregnancy to support the growing fetus.
However, this article will cover the symptoms, causes and treatment options if you have low progesterone since it keeps a woman’s general health in check.
Symptoms of Low Progesterone
In women, alerting low progesterone levels can cause severe changes in period cycles and make it hard to get pregnant. Even if a woman can get pregnant with low progesterone levels, she will most likely not complete her term. Some of the most common symptoms included are stated below.
1. Irregular Periods
The first manifestation of low levels of progesterone is irregular menstruation. You can either have long or short periods or no periods at all. Women with low progesterone levels can also undergo a short luteal phase (the ovulation period is less than 10 days). Sore breasts and abdominal pain can also accompany your period.
Progesterone is responsible for regulating the cycle; hence, if the menstrual cycle is longer or shorter than 28 days and entirely unpredictable, this could be a significant symptom of low levels of this critical hormone.
2. Irritating Headaches and Migraines
If you have experienced migraines before and during your periods, it may be a sign of low progesterone. Such headaches might be related to the rise of estrogen (another vital hormone of the menstrual cycle) and low progesterone levels.
The female body must have the right amount of progesterone levels to sustain and support a healthy pregnancy. Thus, if you struggle to get pregnant or have suffered a miscarriage before, it would be wise to get your progesterone levels checked.
Even though miscarriages and infertility have many deep-rooted reasons, not having the correct progesterone levels can also contribute to this problem. If the status of this hormone doesn’t rise after the egg implantation, you can’t uphold a pregnancy.
4. Drastic Mood Changes
Although many women believe that estrogen is responsible for strong and sharp mood swings, this is false.
After women turn 30, there is a drop in progesterone levels which is partly liable for balancing their attitudes. If you find your mood worsening near your period date, a decrease in your progesterone levels is the one to blame. After all, that is what keeps you calm and happy overall.
Alongside the mood swings, depression and anxiety also seem to creep in. Stress and insomnia are also known to take control, and you might find yourself struggling to keep a good aura overall, which becomes more challenging as you grow older.
5. Decrease in Libido and Energy
Women, who have already given birth, complain of feeling tired, exhausted and less sex-driven. But despite having been pregnant or not, this issue is prevalent in the 30s to 40s. Therefore, if you feel dull and don’t have the urge to have sex, it is because of the low progesterone levels in the body. Visiting your doctor for a checkup is recommended.
Fibroids are a condition where there is an abnormal growth that develops in the uterus. If these become large, they may cause heavy periods and abdominal pain as well.
Hormonal imbalance, i.e. low progesterone and high estrogen produced by the ovaries, triggers the growth of fibroids because of the constant lining of the uterine to reproduce for every menstrual cycle. Fibroids are caused due to low levels of progesterone and may transition into a problem if not appropriately tended.
More symptoms include sugar craving, hot flashes, weight gain, lack of metabolism, cracked nails and dry skin.
Causes of Low Progesterone
There are few proven reasons as to why the female body faces the deficiency of progesterone levels.
If thyroid problems can cause low progesterone, then low progesterone levels can also pose problems for the thyroid. The thyroid glands in our body produce hormones that aid in regulating the endocrine system.
Thus, hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid isn’t active. If this happens, then it may be difficult for your body to produce low levels of progesterone.
Women, who perform vigorous exercises, diet and have dropped their overall body fat, have eating disorders, may face issues with their menstruation and ovulation process.
Overweight or obese women go through abnormal period cycles because they are at a more considerable risk of experiencing suppressed progesterone levels. That is why it is crucial to maintain a good intake of food and mode of exercise that suits your body type.
People who go through stress tend to lose their physical health, too, along with their mental one. Therefore, it is essential to deal with things with a positive approach. A contributing factor to this issue could be an intense workout session that has stressed the body enough to skip the period cycle altogether.
More causes are PCOS, increased cortisol levels, low cholesterol levels, etc.
If you suspect that you have low progesterone, then some of these treatment plans would help you.
Apart from creams, you might also be recommended some gels. You will have to consult a health care professional before the application of these. You’ll either be directed to use these vaginally or topically.
You’ll get oral pills as a treatment option if you have severe uterine lining or irregular period cycles. The dose and quantity will be decided by the professional.
Hormonal Therapy is a good mix of estrogen and progesterone, or just estrogen can help soothe symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and night sweats.
If you believe you have low progesterone levels, arrange a meeting with your doctor and get a progesterone test (PGSN) done. It’s always a wise move to discuss and go through everything with your doctor. Since some of these treatment plans have side effects, applying these without professional insight can prove life-threatening.