Low Progesterone Treatment Options
Our bodies rely on hormones to serve as chemical messengers, carrying information to the various systems, such as digestion, and to other bodily functions as well, including our circadian rhythm for sleeping and waking.
Progesterone itself is one of these chemical messengers, known as a female sex hormone along with estrogen, although it can also be found in men but to a lesser degree. Its major function is to prepare the uterus for pregnancy by thickening the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg. It continues to maintain the lining during the entire pregnancy.
Progesterone also plays an important role in menstruation, menopause, and women's health overall. Low levels of progesterone can lead to several health issues and need to be replenished in order to alleviate these.
Low Progesterone Symptoms
Low progesterone often is accompanied by various symptoms. These symptoms may also be a result of dominant levels of estrogen in the body, which occurs when progesterone levels are low.
These symptoms include:
- difficulty in becoming pregnant
- irregular menstrual cycle
- uterine bleeding
- decreased sex drive
- changes in mood, such as anxiety or depression
- migraine headaches, or other types of headaches
- weight gain
- tenderness in breasts and also fibrocystic beasts
- issues with the gallbladder
Testing for Progesterone Levels
A simple visit to your doctor for a blood test can determine if your progesterone levels are low. This test is also beneficial in the monitoring of high-risk pregnancies and also hormone replacement therapy. It is key to note that it is normal for the amount of progesterone to fluctuate in the body during the menstrual cycle. Your doctor will be aware of this and determine the best times to test you.
Way to Increase Progesterone Naturally
Although there are synthetic forms of progesterone available, be aware that they have been linked to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Instead, consider the following more natural ways to increase your levels of progesterone.
The most common supplement method for natural progesterone is topical, mostly in the form of progesterone cream. These creams absorb into the body easily and enter the bloodstream quickly.
There are several progesterone creams currently available for use. Each one comes with their own directions, and the majority direct a small amount be added to certain parts of your body, such as thighs, stomach, or inside of the wrists two times per day.
Directions may vary for premenopausal women and menopausal women, such as in how many days to apply the cream and when to apply it.
As with any topical treatment, it is recommended that you test the cream on your skin first. Apply a small amount to the inside of the wrist. Wait a day to see if you experience any allergic reactions, including swelling, itching, or redness.
Oral Progesterone, or pills, are another option to increase levels of progesterone naturally. In addition, this method may create a calming effect, leading to better sleep.
With oral progesterone, however, you will need to take more than if you choose the topical creams. This is because oral progesterone is rapidly broken down by the liver, causing less to be released into the bloodstream.
Vaginal suppositories are another way to supplement the body with progesterone. These are more commonly used when infertility issues are involved.
Natural Foods to Aid Progesterone Levels
A variety of foods can aid progesterone levels but in different ways. These ways include stimulating progesterone production, boosting progesterone levels, or by maintaining these levels.
Certain foods contain what is considered to be bioidentical, or chemically similar to natural progesterone. These include yam and soybean products. However, these must come specifically from the Diascorea uilosa variety and are not usually sold at local supermarkets.
Adding specific foods to your diet can help to stimulate the body's own progesterone production. For this, try any or all of the following:
- whole grains
- Brussels sprouts
A few foods may also help boost levels of natural progesterone in the body by lowering the levels of estrogen. These are:
Further, in order to maintain levels of progesterone, increase your consumption of foods high in both vitamins C and B.
When you're experiencing stress, the body reacts by exchanging the release of progesterone with the release of cortisol. By controlling your stress, through yoga, meditation, or some other beneficial way, you will be helping your body remain calm. This, in turn, will help keep your progesterone levels higher overall.
Avoiding Excess Weight Gain
When a woman gains excess weight, the body begins to produce more estrogen, leading to an imbalance in the level of progesterone. By maintaining a healthier weight, these hormones can be more balanced and lead to less symptoms of menstrual cycle irregularities, breast tenderness, mood changes, and decreased sex drive.
Refraining from Excessive Physical Activity
While exercise is beneficial in many ways, when done in excess, it can cause the body to release additional stress hormones, such as cortisol. This, in turn, limits the release of progesterone. Find ways to modify your exercise routine, so it is less-intensive, and with a lower duration.
Overall Health Benefits
The benefits to your overall health by adding natural progesterone can be numerous. A few of these include:
- uterine cancer prevention
- uterine lining protection
- menopause symptom relief
- HDL cholesterol level maintenance
Rarely are there any side effects to adding more natural progesterone. You may experience temporary symptoms, however, such as headaches, depression, and breast tenderness.
While progesterone is associated most often with pregnancy and menstruation, it also plays an important role in menopause and in your total health overall. A simple blood test by your doctor can determine your levels, and if low, you can attempt to increase them by implementing any of these natural methods.
Whether you choose creams, pills, suppositories, or prefer to add more natural progesterone-beneficial foods to your diet, you can help your body function in a healthier way. Lowering your stress level, maintaining a healthy weight, and refraining from excessive exercise can contribute to healthy levels of progesterone as well. In the end, you'll not only be healthier but will feel better as a result.