Recognizing low progesterone symptoms is an important step in solving various health-related issues. Progesterone, a sex hormone, is involved in the menstrual process and in maintaining pregnancy. It stimulates various functions in the body, but when progesterone is low, symptoms can appear in many forms. Learn to recognize low progesterone symptoms and how to reverse them for a better quality of life.
How to Tell if You Have Low Progesterone
Sometimes symptoms of low progesterone can be similar to symptoms of other health problems. However, the two most common and noticeable manifestations of low progesterone levels are irregular periods and short menstrual cycles that are fewer than 24 days long. Other common symptoms of low progesterone include:
- Low libido
- Hot flashes
- Migraines or headaches
- Depression, anxiety or other mood changes
- Menstrual cycle absence
- Breasts that are often sore
- Spotting between periods
- Low blood sugar
- Vaginal dryness
Causes of Low Progesterone
Low progesterone can be caused by a myriad of factors . Obesity, chronic stress and a poor diet can contribute to low progesterone, but there are also other causes, including:
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Hyperprolactinemia (elevated prolactin)
- Low cholesterol
- Ovulation issues such as anovulatory cycles or polycystic ovarian syndrome [KS1] (PCOS)
- Increased cortisol levels
Normal Progesterone Levels
Understanding that progesterone levels naturally change throughout the menstrual cycle is essential. Prior to ovulation—during the follicular phase—progesterone remains low. Blood progesterone levels rise midway through the menstrual cycle and become the dominant sex hormone after ovulation. Progesterone levels peak in the middle of the luteal phase. If conception has not occurred during the cycle, progesterone levels fall again, and a new menstrual cycle begins. If conception has occurred, progesterone levels continue to rise to maintain the pregnancy. Keep in mind that progesterone levels naturally decrease with age.
How to Test for Low Progesterone
If you are concerned you may have low progesterone levels, rest assured that this finding is all too common among women and is highly treatable through lifestyle changes and supplementation. Many physicians test for progesterone levels through a blood test, but at Coyle Institute, we do this through saliva testing. This is because almost all hormones circulating in the bloodstream are bound to carrier proteins. Unlike blood-based tests, saliva diagnostics can measure the amount of free, unbound hormones available to act in the body. Salivary concentrations represent the hormone levels most likely to impact the body.
How to Increase Progesterone Levels
For nearly 20 years, Coyle Institute has offered high-quality bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to address the specific hormone needs of individual patients. If your saliva test reveals low progesterone, our first step in increasing your progesterone levels will be to prescribe a compounded BHRT cream containing the exact level of progesterone you need. BHRT creams are simple to apply and easily absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. In addition to prescribing BHRT, your provider at Coyle Institute will counsel you on supporting your body’s natural progesterone production through changes to your lifestyle and nutrition.
When to Test Progesterone Levels
If you suspect you may have a hormone imbalance, you should have your hormones tested as soon as possible to avoid further health complications. Considering how simple and painless saliva hormone testing is—and how easy it is to apply BHRT cream—testing your hormone levels and getting individualized treatment could provide the answers you have been looking for when it comes to your symptoms. To schedule an appointment to have your hormones tested and discuss treatments, call us today at 850-637-8258.