The balance between estrogen and progesterone in the female body is a delicate teeter-totter: if hormones are not at the appropriate level, you may feel as if your body is hitting rock bottom, rather than soaring high. For optimal functioning, the two hormones should work in tandem with one another to regulate everything from mood and metabolism to the menstrual cycle, fertility, and sexual function. Keep reading for some warning signs of progesterone imbalance.
What Is Progesterone?
Progesterone is a steroid hormone derived from cholesterol. It is produced in and secreted by the adrenal gland. Its most important role in the female body is to prepare the uterus for a fertilized egg each month. If fertilization does not occur, progesterone levels drop and the uterine lining sheds, resulting in menstruation.
In addition to its role in the menstrual cycle, progesterone also influences mood, sexual function, the immune system, bone health, and weight. Here are five ways you can tell if you're suffering from progesterone imbalance:
Middle-aged women may be surprised to find themselves with acne breakouts for the first time since their teenage years. However, acne breakouts and oily skin are a common indicator of progesterone dominance — or a surplus of progesterone — in women.
When estrogen levels decrease, the vagina becomes vulnerable to the overgrowth of bacteria or yeast. Thus, urinary infections may be an indicator of progesterone dominance.
Progesterone helps convert stored fat into energy, so weight gain may indicate that a woman is suffering from progesterone deficiency, or a shortage of progesterone.
Loss of Libido
When progesterone levels soar during the latter part of the menstrual cycle, so does libido. Progesterone deficiency may be to blame when you're suffering from low sex drive.
Anxiety, Nervousness, and Irritability
These mood-related symptoms could be signs of progesterone imbalance, as the hormone is thought to influence mood through its interaction with the neurotransmitter, serotonin. When estrogen levels drop, so do serotonin levels, leaving women with feelings of depression, anxiety, nervousness, or irritability.
Progesterone is one of the three key female hormones that regulate various functions and processes within the body. It influences nearly every cell, organ, and function in the female body. Understanding how progesterone fluctuates throughout a woman's lifetime is important to maintaining good health. Click here to read more about progesterone levels.