What are the symptoms and effects of having low progesterone?
How can you know if you have low progesterone, and should you be worried if your progesterone is low?
What exactly is progesterone?
Progesterone is a sex hormone produced in the ovaries following a woman's ovulation. It's very important when it comes to your menstrual cycle as well as maintaining your pregnancy.
Progesterone not only helps regulate your menstrual cycle, but it also prepares your uterus for pregnancy. It also plays a role in breast development, breastfeeding, and complements the role of estrogen.
What effects does having low progesterone have?
Progesterone is very important for women who are pregnant or those who are planning to get pregnant. So for women who have low progesterone, it might be difficult for them to get pregnant as well as stay pregnant.
In women who aren't pregnant, here are some of the symptoms of low progesterone:
- Headaches or migraines
- Sudden changes in mood, anxiety, depression
- Low sex drive
- Hot flashes
- Irregular menstrual cycle
For women who are pregnant, here are the symptoms:
- Breast tenderness
- Low blood sugar
- Vaginal dryness
Sometimes, low progesterone in women can also mean toxemia, or even an ectopic pregnancy.
What should you do about low progesterone levels?
Thankfully, there are some options that women have when it comes to increasing their progesterone levels.
There are available creams and gels which can be used topically or vaginally to help boost a woman's progesterone levels. Suppositories are also used to help deal with low progesterone, especially for women who are having trouble conceiving. There are also vaginal rings that slowly release progesterone over time, and oral medications such as Provera.
Hormone therapy can help ease some of the symptoms of low progesterone, and can even improve mood as well as a woman's state of mind. However, it's important to know that hormone therapy can increase the risk of stroke, blood clots, and gall bladder troubles so it would be best to talk to your doctor about what options you have.
There are also natural solutions for low progesterone levels, and you can eat food such as shellfish which is rich in zinc. Vitamin B and C supplements are also reported to help with low progesterone, and reducing your stress levels also has an impact.