Symptoms of low progesterone levels and information to help regulate them
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Functions of Progesterone
Progesterone is one of the most important hormones produced by the female body. It plays a critical role in stimulating and regulating various functions within the body. Progesterone is a fundamental hormone that is also responsible for the production of additional hormones such as estrogen and cortisone.
Not only does progesterone prepare your body for conception and pregnancy but it also regulates the monthly menstrual cycle. During the reproductive years, progesterone is released from the ovaries every month. It sends out a signal to the body to thicken the lining of the uterus, which enables the fertilized egg to attach and develop.
Progesterone also helps to induce bleeding in women with infrequent and irregular menstrual periods, most common in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It is important to note that while synthetic progestins may increase progesterone levels, there are numerous side effects.
Progesterone and estrogen levels decline as a woman ages, particularly when menopause occurs. Low progesterone levels affect the menstrual cycle and also contribute to aging. The skin loses its elasticity while the bones may become brittle and weak increasing the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis.
Progesterone has several other important functions within the body including:
- Regulates the thyroid gland and moderates the negative effects of estrogen dominance on the functioning of the thyroid, thereby preventing symptoms of hypothyroidism
- Helps with immunity
- Reduces swelling and inflammation
- Keeps blood clotting levels stable
- Stimulates collagen production which increases skin elasticity
- Keeps bones and skeletal muscles strong
- Helps to maintain nerve functioning and protect against deterioration
Causes of Low Progesterone
Menopause: During Menopause the body undergoes numerous changes including a decrease in hormone levels including progesterone. Lower levels of both progesterone and estrogen are responsible for many of the symptoms of menopause such as what appears to be weight gain caused to water retention.
Signs and Symptoms of Low Progesterone
- Hair Loss
- Dry Eyes
- Panic Attacks
- Angry or Emotional Outbursts & Mood swings
- Muscle Pain
- Breast or Nipple Soreness
- Muscle Spasms
- Abdominal Gas & Bloating
- Low Energy (Fatigue)
- Sleep Problems Such as Insomnia
- Skin Problems
- Water Retention
- High Cholesterol
Side Effects of Artificial Progesterone
- High Blood Pressure (i.e. "Artificial progesterone can lead to high blood pressure, blood clots, and even heart attacks.")
- Facial Rashes
Help for Low Progesterone
Progesterone balance is essential for good health and immunity. Depending on the type of imbalance, a proper diagnosis should be established to determine the best treatment options to correct it. However, a holistic and healthy lifestyle, which includes diet, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction can benefit most everyone.
A healthy and balanced diet is crucial for hormonal health and overall systemic balance. Make sure to reduce overly processed foods, especially refined sugars. Eating wholesome organic foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables will help your overall health, including the regulation of hormone production. Turmeric, found in curry, is known to help increase the body's progesterone levels. Herbal supplements such as Dong Quai may provide help create a balance within female hormone levels.