Low Progesterone

The body is so complex that no one really knows all the secrets about how it works. Reproduction is one of those things that remains mostly a mystery to even the most seasoned experts. For some women, fertility is easy and they can get pregnant immediately. But for other women, infertility is a harsh reality that seems to make no sense.

One of the factors in infertility is hormones. Progesterone is one of those hormones that is responsible for creating the reactions that are supposed to happen in the body of a healthy woman. If progesterone is not present, or not there in the proper amounts, the result can be infertility or miscarriage.

Progesterone and Pregnancy

Most women have a menstrual cycle that lasts for 28 days, on average. During that cycle, hormones are secreted by the pituitary gland, and those hormones tell the body what is happening at each stage of the cycle. Progesterone is the hormone that builds up the lining of the uterus during the middle of the cycle, preparing it to accept an embryo that embeds into the uterine lining. If a woman does not get pregnant, the lining is shed. This is called her period, or menstrual flow.

When a woman does get pregnant, progesterone helps keep the pregnancy viable. When a woman ovulates, the ovary secrets something called a corpus luteum, which is maintained by another hormone – hCG – until the placenta takes over the production of progesterone. If the woman does not get pregnant, the corpus luteum dies, and the progesterone levels plummet. If a woman doesn’t have enough progesterone in her body, it can be impossible for her to get pregnant or to keep a pregnancy that was initially viable or healthy.

Causes of Low Progesterone Levels

Unfortunately, many women deal with low progesterone levels.

  • Women who have very high levels of estrogen might see their bodies produce little progesterone, as one hormone tends to suppress the other.
  • Women who have a lack of exercise, poor nutrition, or insulin resistance might also find that they have very low progesterone levels.
  • Chronic stress and medications are a common culprit that can usually be remedied.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition that is both a cause and effect of low progesterone. Each of these probablyrequires medical intervention in order to change progesterone levels.
  • If you suffer from low progesterone in late pregnancy, then it’s probably caused by toxemia.

When a woman is pregnant and has low progesterone levels, it is often a sign that the baby is not viable. If this is the case, the body might be preparing to miscarry the fetus, and so will trigger the cessation of progesterone production. If you are pregnant and you have low progesterone levels, speak to your doctor about what might be going on.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone Levels

Unfortunately, the symptoms of low progesterone are very similar to those that you see with other problems and disorders, so it can be tough to diagnose low progesterone without a blood test. Infertility and pregnancy loss are two of the top symptoms of the problem. Other symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Weight changes
  • Lack of concentration
  • Irritability
  • Insomia
  • Changes in appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in menstruation
  • Fatigue
  • Sexual problems
  • Migraines
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

The following video explains more on the importance of progesterone and pregnancy:

How to Raise Progesterone Levels

When you know that your progesterone levels are low, there are a few things you can do that might bring them up. These natural remedies have been shown to help many women in the same situation. However, keep in mind that if these don’t remedy the problem, it’s time to talk to your doctor about medications that can help.

1. Avoid Certain Herbs and Foods

Some foods increase estrogen levels, and those estrogen levels can decrease progesterone production. Read up on the foods that can increase estrogen and make a point of avoiding them. Herbs that might amp up estrogen and thus lower progesteroneinclude hops, lavender, dong quai, black cohosh, saw palmetto berry, tea tree oil, red clover blossom, licorice and motherwort leaf. Avoid foods that could increase your estrogen levels such as beans and legumes.

2. Load Up on Vitamins C and B6

These vitamins have been shown to help increase progesterone production and inhibit excess estrogen, which are both necessary for keeping your levels at the proper amount. B6 can be found in lean red meat, poultry, seafood, bananas, spinach, beans, whole grains, walnuts, potatoes, and cereals. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits and the like.

3. Get Plenty of Zinc

Foods rich in zinc can stimulate the pituitary gland to release the hormones necessary to build up progesterone. These include watermelon, squash, pumpkin, chickpeas, wheat germ, shellfish, dark chocolate and more.

4. Add Magnesium to Your Diet

Magnesium helps maintain a healthy balance of hormones in the body. You can get plenty of this by eating spinach, halibut, raw plantain, pumpkin and squash seeds, okra, nuts and whole grain cereals.

5. Lower Your Stress Levels

The higher your stress levels, the more cortisol your body produces. Cortisol is the “fight or flight” hormone that your body releases when stress levels get too high. The problem is that your adrenal glands can’t produce it fast enough when you are under chronic stress, so your body uses progesterone to create cortisol. That leads to less progesterone in your body.

6. Try Natural Progesterone Cream

Still need more help? Look to natural creams that are supposed to cure low progesterone levels. One of the most popular is Mexican Yam Cream, which contains diosgenin, a substance that can be converted into progesterone. Pay close attention to all directions on the label and make sure to consult your doctor before use.

The following video shows more on getting pregnant and staying pregnant by combating low progesterone: