Are you experiencing low progesterone and menopause? Fun Fact: Scientists first isolated the hormone progesterone about nine decades ago in 1929. It’s normal for women to experience lower levels of female hormones during menopause. That’s the condition of not having a menstrual cycle for over 12 months. A doctor can help to detect whether you have low progesterone levels through a test known as PGSN. If you’re 45+ years old and the test shows low hormone levels then there’s a chance you might be experiencing menopause. However, it’s important to have this test conducted so you’ll know whether or not there’s a good chance that’s the case.
Lower levels of female hormones due to menopause can cause various symptoms. They include ones like night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. There are different ways to deal with the low levels including hormone therapy. However, taking oral progesterone pills often causes unwanted side-effects so there’s a good chance your doctor will advise against it. There are other treatment options including natural holistic (whole-body) ones that are less likely to cause such side-effects. The key is to pick an option that will help to balance hormone levels most safely and effectively.
What Exactly Is Progesterone?
This is one of the female hormones that along with estrogen is closely linked to menopause. It’s important to know the basics about the hormone since the body’s levels drop during menopause. This happens when a woman hasn’t had a menstrual cycle for at least 12 months.
The main function of progesterone is to help the regular menstrual cycle. While it’s known as a female hormone small amounts are found in men. However, it’s less important to men’s sexual health compared to testosterone.
Women can also take chemical versions of progesterone as birth control. The unique features explain why it’s often used for this function.
A woman’s body produces progesterone right before ovulation. This is done to improve the chance of getting pregnant. Higher hormone levels before ovulation boost her body temperature a little. This causes various changes that make it easier for sperm to fertilize one egg.
In the situation that a woman becomes pregnant the main function of progesterone changes to forming the organ in the uterus known as the placenta. This happens about the 8th week of pregnancy.
When a woman starts to age the levels of her body’s estrogen and progesterone start to drop. This lowly results in the state of menopause.” This causes various results besides the menstrual cycle. It can also affect aging. Lower hormone levels can cause aging due to lower levels of collagen protein.
Women also have a higher risk of osteoporosis during menopause. This is due to it being more difficult for the body to make bone cells.
“Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was often used in the past to boost a woman’s estrogen levels. However, studies have shown a link to a higher risk of breast cancer, so HRT is used less often to deal with menopause.
Researchers are studying the possible use of progesterone to treat various conditions. This includes boosting levels of the hormone during menopause.
Low Progesterone and Menopause
The hormone is important during a woman’s childbearing years. If levels are low during that time then it might cause problems becoming pregnant. It’s normal for progesterone levels to increase if one of the ovaries gives one egg. It helps the uterus to become thicker to prepare for receiving one fertilized egg.
When progesterone levels drop during non-pregnant women there are various possible symptoms including headaches/migraines, mood changes (anxiety/depression), and irregular menstrual cycles.
There’s a test known as PGSN to detect if you have low progesterone levels. This can help to determine whether or not you’re starting menopause or peri-menopause beforehand. It’s normal for progesterone levels to drop during menopause due to the low functionality of ovaries. This also helps to explain why estrogen levels also drop.
Lower hormone levels during the pre-menopause stage known as peri-menopause can cause various symptoms including:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood changes
- Vaginal dryness
- Slower metabolism
- Sleeping problems
- Irregular periods
If you start experiencing major symptoms during menopause then hormone therapy is one option. However, due to the higher risk of cancer, your doctor will probably recommend not starting HRT.
There are various other treatment options to deal with low progesterone levels. They include suppositories, oral medications, and creams/gels.
As noted various possible side-effects can be triggered by HRT. For this reason alone it’s highly recommended not using hormone replacement therapy to deal with lower progesterone during menopause.
There are also several natural remedies to help increase low levels of progesterone. They include:
- High-zinc foods (shellfish)
- Vitamins B/C
- Lowering stress levels
It’s important to talk to your doctor about which options are best for you to deal with low levels of progesterone during menopause. One issue to consider is that it’s actually low estrogen levels that trigger most menopausal symptoms. So it should be the main factor when dealing with hormone levels.
How to Boost Progesterone Levels Naturally
These products are believed to boost healthy tissue within the uterus. They’re also used to boost the success of pregnancy.
This is important because stress can produce stress hormones. That, in turn, can cause the body to change progesterone and other hormones into the stress hormone known as cortisol.
There are various ways to lower your stress levels. They include music, reading, journaling, sports, hobbies, meditation, yoga, and so on. The most important goal is to take time to relax to lower stress levels and have a better hormone balance.
There are natural progesterone pills available. One caveat is a woman would have to take higher amounts of oral progesterone compared to creams. The reason is the liver quickly breaks down the hormone. This means that the bloodstream receives lower amounts of the hormone.
More specifically, it’s important to maintain healthy body weight. Being overweight/obese can produce estrogen levels. This can cause an imbalance of female hormones. Having a healthy weight isn’t linked to higher progesterone levels. However, it can help to produce a better hormone balance.
Some foods might boost the body’s progesterone production including:
- Whole grains
This is one of the most common sources of female hormones. One of the main benefits is that the human body can absorb creams easily. This allows it to enter the bloodstream quickly. There are several progesterone creams available on the market.
There are different directions for various products. However, usually, they must be applied 2x daily in areas like arms, thighs, and stomach.
It’s also sometimes recommended that pre-menopausal customers use the cream for 2 weeks before the start of their menstrual cycle. Meanwhile, menopausal women should use the creams for 3 weeks, stop using them for one week, then repeat for low progesterone and menopause.