If we have low progesterone levels, we should consult with our gynecologist to find out which is the most appropriate treatment for us, taking into account our particular characteristics.
The progesterone is a hormone of female sexuality is produced in the ovaries after ovulation. It is a crucial part of the menstrual cycle and the development of pregnancy.
Although it is essential in your cycle each month, its main function is to thicken the lining of your uterus and prepare it for a fertilized egg. If there is no fertilized egg, the levels of this hormone drop and menstruation begins.
Progesterone is essential for breast development and lactation. It is complementary to some effects of estrogen. In relation to testosterone, it is responsible for being the precursor hormone of adrenal hormones.
Although it is a female hormone, the male body uses it in small amounts for the development of sperm. As you can see, it is an important hormone.
If you are a woman with low progesterone, it is better that you know the complications that this entails.
What Should I Be Concerned About Low Progesterone?
It is especially important in your reproductive years. If you don’t have enough progesterone, you may not be able to get or maintain a pregnancy. When the lining of your uterus is not thick enough it cannot maintain a fertilized egg, as stated in this study carried out by the Las Condes Clinic (Chile). Symptoms of low progesterone in women who are not pregnant include:
- Headache or migraine.
- Mood swings, including anxiety or depression
- Low sexual desires.
- Hot flushes.
- Irregularity in menstrual cycle.
During pregnancy, low progesterone can cause the pregnancy to not reach term because your uterus will not be strong enough. This is suggested by this research carried out by the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition.
Symptoms of this hormone deficiency during pregnancy are:
- Localized abdominal pain.
- Constant tenderness in the breasts.
- Relentless fatigue.
- Low blood sugar frequency.
- Vaginal dryness.
Low levels of progesterone could indicate the existence of toxemia or an ectopic pregnancy, which causes the death of the fetus or miscarriage. Sometimes, according to this study carried out by the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, it also endangers the life of the mother.
On the other hand, when progesterone drops, estrogen can wreak havoc on your health and cause you to suffer from various symptoms. These include:
- Increased weight.
- Decreased sex drive.
- Irregular cycles and heavy bleeding.
- Endometriosis This is stated in this study carried out by the portal of the Medical Community on the Internet.
- Gallbladder problems, although studies (such as this one carried out by the Pinar del Río University of Medical Sciences, in Cuba) are not completely conclusive.
- Thyroid dysfunction.
What are the proper levels of progesterone?
A progesterone test can help your gynecologist determine if your progesterone level is low. All you need is a blood test that doesn’t require any special preparation.
This test can give you clues as to what is happening to your body and perhaps why you cannot get pregnant.
It is also often used to monitor hormone replacement therapy and determine how healthy your pregnancy is if it is high risk.
Progesterone levels vary throughout the menstrual cycle, reaching high peaks within a week of menstruation and can vary over the course of a day.
Progesterone increases normally during pregnancy. The more babies you are carrying, the higher the levels will be.
Generally, men , children, and postmenopausal women are the ones who have low progesterone compared to women of average age.
For all the above, the progesterone levels that can be considered “normal” will depend on your age, gender and special conditions such as pregnancy or menstruation.
Can I do something about low progesterone?
Having low progesterone may not be a problem for you, so treatment may not be necessary.
However, if you want to have a baby, hormone therapy to increase progesterone can help thicken the lining of the uterus. This will improve your chances of having a healthy, full-term pregnancy. However, it is important that you know that, according to this study carried out by the Cartuja Health Center (Granada), the use of these techniques would increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
On the other hand, menstrual irregularities can also be fixed with hormonal therapies. For severe symptoms of menopause, hormone therapy is a combination of estrogen and progesterone.
The most common treatment options are:
- Creams and gels, which can be used topically or vaginally.
- Suppositories, which are used as treatments for fertility problems.
- Vaginal rings, as a slower treatment than oral medications.
- Oral medications.
Hormone therapies can help you lead a full and uncomplicated life. These therapies eliminate symptoms such as hot flashes , night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
Some women even notice improvements in their mood. It also reduces the risk of suffering from osteoporosis, as stated in this research carried out by the University Hospital of Pisa (Italy). The oral option can provide a calming effect so it will also be easier for you to sleep.
Ask your doctor for the best low progesterone therapy for you.
Remember that any treatment must be carried out under the supervision of your doctor. In very extreme cases, hormone treatment can increase the risk of strokes, blood clots, and gallbladder problems.
If you have breast cancer or endometrial cancer, hormone therapy is probably not the best option. The only one who can help you discover what is best for your health is your doctor.