Hormonal changes are a common, but inconvenient symptom of menopause. The good news is that there is plenty of information available for dealing with the inevitable side effects of menopause (at least 80% of women will experience them) and education is one of the key platforms for managing it symptoms. Read on for more information about the causes, symptoms and treatments of low progesterone.
What Is Progesterone?
Progesterone is an important female steroidal hormone and its primary importance is derived from providing a fertile environment for conception and the development of the embryo.
It is produced by the ovary during fertilization and also by the adrenal gland in smaller amounts. Being a steroid hormone it also helps in the production of cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone. Generally, in the female body, its primary role is in countering the effects of the hormone estrogen and in providing an environment for a healthy pregnancy. It does this by stimulating changes in the uterus and by increasing blood vessel and tissue development in the layer where the embryo attaches itself.
What Are the Causes of Low Progesterone?
Symptoms of Low Progesterone:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Weight gain
- Gallbladder disease
- Low Blood Sugar
- Panic attacks
- Water retention
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Blood clots during menstruation
- Magnesium deficiency
- Vaginal dryness
- Breast tenderness
While there are a range of factors that could cause progesterone levels to fall, the most general explanation is that it is a result of menopause where hormonal levels decrease naturally. During perimenopause a woman may start experiencing symptoms of low progesterone and as a result low estrogen. Symptoms such as hot flashes are usually indicative of decreased hormones and can become very bothersome.
While menopause is usually and obviously the primary cause of menopausal symptoms, it is important to note that there are other health conditions that can cause the same type of symptoms. Thyroid problems can often mimic the symptoms usually associated with the symptoms associated with low progesterone. That is because an underactive thyroid can decrease hormone levels and viceversa. Low progesterone can also be the result of chronic stress, resistance to insulin in the body, insufficient exercise, a nutrient deficient diet and certain medications.
Quick Fact:The luteal phase is when the period starts at ovulation and ends on the day before the next period - any less than ten days indicates low levels of progesterone.
Tests for Low Progesterone
There are three basic tests to detect whether your body is suffering from low progesterone levels. These include charting the fertility cycle, having a blood test after ovulation has taken place, and the length of your luteal phase.
For sufferers of low progesterone, there are various supplements like progesterone capsules, injections, and vaginal suppositories that can help ease some of the symptoms. In addition, there are a number of over the counter progesterone creams and natural products are available. Despite this, the most effective way of dealing with the symptoms low progesterone is in maintaining a healthy exercise regimen and diet. This is vital in giving the body the best possible chance in managing hormone fluctuations on its own.