Progesterone levels are essential for fertility and low levels may result in an incapacity to become pregnant. In addition to estrogen, progesterone is a sexual hormone that will be secreted during the cycle. Understanding your levels of progesterone is important to detect any possible abnormalities. Progesterone supplementation is often recommended and can correct a deficit of hormones.
Progesterone Levels and Your Cycle
Progesterone levels will fluctuate during your cycle. A cycle has two main stages:
- The follicular phase, when the estrogen hormone levels are higher and the progesterone levels are low
- The luteal phase, when the levels of progesterone will increase significantly and will be important for the implantation of the possible egg
The levels of progesterone may be measured during your cycle and your fertility doctor may establish if they are normal, higher or lower.
Effects of Low Progesterone Levels
The levels of progesterone are low during the follicular phase of the cycle, when progesterone doesn’t play an important role. However, when the progesterone is deficient, the implantation may not happen and the luteal phase is typically shorter. If you lack the sufficient amounts of progesterone during pregnancy, you may experience miscarriage.
Low progesterone levels may be caused by various factors such as stress, aging or an illness, but the polycystic ovary syndrome may also be the cause. With aging, the levels of progesterone will decrease. When the levels of progesterone are lower than normal, the hormones should be supplemented with artificial hormones (progestins).
Effects of High Progesterone Levels
Excessive progesterone levels are very rare. If the progesterone levels are higher than normal at any point during your cycle, this may cause weight loss and may also result in infertility.
Estrogen and Progesterone Imbalance
The levels of progesterone and estrogen should be balanced. Overall, estrogen and progesterone will have opposite functions; for instance, progesterone is a diuretic, while estrogen causes fluid retention. A hormonal imbalance can be caused by various factors including stress, diseases, or vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
When there is an imbalance, there will be a few symptoms such as:
- Lack of sexual drive
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Polycystic ovaries
- Increased facial and body hair
- Fluid retention
- Fibroids in the uterus
- Weight gain
- Irregular cycles
- Chronic headaches
- Hair thinning
- Hot flashes
- Frequent mood swings
How to Reduce Estrogen and Increase Progesterone Levels
The progesterone estrogen imbalance may be corrected by making a few changes in your lifestyle:
- Avoid foods that contain artificial hormones or are high in carbohydrates
- Avoid artificial colors and preservatives
- Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake
- Improve your diet with fiber supplements, antioxidants or omega 3 fatty acids
- Opt for a liver detox diet
- Get some tests and if you lack any essential mineral or vitamins, you should supplement these
- Eliminate stress
- Lose weight
If none of the above help, you may need to get some progesterone supplements combined with vitamin B6.