Low Progesterone

Progesterone Deficiency


Progesterone is the “checks and balances” to estrogen that is derived from a pre-hormone, “pregnenalone”. While estrogen is working to build up the lining of the uterus, progesterone steps in to make sure the lining doesn’t get too thick.  Progesterone, or “pro-gestation”, is the hormone that remains elevated all during pregnancy. It is part of the mineral-corticoid family, meaning it affects salt and water ratios in the body.  Progesterone balance with the other sex hormones, namely estrogen, is critical for menstrual regularity and reproduction.  It is a delicate dance that can be easily and negatively influenced by outside factors.  Progesterone is not only important as a gestational support, but it is required for keeping your body temperature up, helps your thyroid function optimally, and is a natural diuretic.  It also enhances your sense of well-being, has a “calming” effect on the body, and helps you get better sleep.

 

SYMPTOMS OF LOW PROGESTERONE:

  • Nervousness
  • Migraine headaches before cycle
  • Weight gain
  • Poor libido
  • Overly sensitive
  • Bloating
  • Endometriosis

Stress is the #1 Cause of Low Progesterone

While the majority of circulating progesterone is produced by the ovaries, a large portion is also made in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands walnut-sized glands that sit on our kidneys and are responsible for the secretion of stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine).  These stress hormones are very important as they give us the focus, energy, and “get-up-and-go” that we need to escape danger.  Cortisol production in the body is a necessity as it is a survival mechanism.  Cortisol and progesterone are alike in that they are both produced from the mother hormone pregnenalone. Pregnenalone is the mother of progesterone, and progesterone is a precursor hormone to cortisol.

Pregnenalone → Progesterone→ Cortisol (when stressed)

Under times of chronic stress, the body  demands more and more cortisol production.  Because progesterone is the pre-hormone to cortisol, the body utilizes that progesterone to continue making cortisol to meet the demand.  Pregnenalone, or the mother hormone to progesterone, is also stolen away and bypasses making progesterone and goes straight into cortisol production.  Not only does this deplete progesterone levels, when the body senses stress, it blocks progesterone receptors entirely. Progesterone and cortisol compete for the receptor sites, and cortisol usually wins.  This is a protective mechanism in our body so that we do not become pregnant during a time that would be potentially dangerous for a baby.

When your is in “fight or flight” versus “rest, digest, and reproduce”, you will feel anxiousness, mood swings, poor stress adaptation, reacting irrationally to certain situations, fluid retention (as progesterone is a natural diuretic), breast tenderness, and possibly infertility.

Nicole’s Holistic Nutrition Approaches Include:

  • Education on what is going on in your body and why you have low progesterone
  • Foods to avoid to best manage your condition
  • Therapeutic foods to boost your natural hormonal patterns
  • The role of stress on hormone levels.
  • Targeted and individualized supplementation protocols
  • Navigating fertility with low progesterone

Recommended Laboratory Tests:

Nicole is happy to review labs drawn by your physician (including hormonal panels, comprehensive metabolic panels, complete blood counts, thyroid panels, urinalysis, and others as warranted)

 

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