Low progesterone: causes and remedies
Women who have low levels of progesterone in their body may experience certain symptoms, such as an irregular menstrual cycle and difficulty getting pregnant.
Low progesterone: causes and remedies
Progesterone is a female hormone mainly responsible for fertility and menstruation, but which has many regulatory functions in the body. Progesterone is secreted by women in the corpus luteum, a cell structure specific to the ovaries.
Other important functions of progesterone in a woman’s body include preparing the endometrium for pregnancy, by thickening it so that it can support the fertilization process. If pregnancy occurs, the body and placenta will continue to release progesterone to support the development of the fetus. Progesterone levels will continue to rise during pregnancy.
Although doctors have come to fully understand the importance of progesterone in women, unfortunately very little is known about the role of this hormone in men. If you have a low progesterone level, it is important to find out the causes and methods by which you can remedy this deficiency.
Symptoms of low progesterone
Women who have low levels of progesterone in their body may experience certain symptoms, such as an irregular menstrual cycle and difficulty getting pregnant. Without progesterone, the body cannot prepare an environment conducive to the egg and, further, to the development of the fetus. If a woman becomes pregnant but has low progesterone levels, there is a fairly high risk of losing the pregnancy.
The clearest symptoms of low progesterone levels include:
Abnormal uterine bleeding (outside the menstrual cycle)
Absent or irregular menstrual cycle
Severe abdominal pain and / or bleeding during pregnancy
Repeated pregnancy losses
Since estrogen and progesterone work as a unit to regulate fertility and the menstrual cycle of the female body, a low level of progesterone can cause an increase in estrogen levels through compensation.
Therefore, people with high estrogen levels may experience the following symptoms:
Weight gain, in the absence of lifestyle changes
Bladder problems or conditions
Conditions associated with low progesterone levels
There are a number of conditions associated with low progesterone levels in the body, including the following.
Anovulation refers to the absence of ovulation, ie the production of fertilizable eggs. If the menstrual cycle exceeds 35 days, there is a risk that the person will not ovulate. A menstrual cycle of 32 days or longer may also indicate a process of chronic anovulation. In this case, it is necessary to consult a specialist to diagnose anovulation and propose a treatment regimen.
Even with a regular menstrual cycle, there is a risk of anovulation, therefore a medical consultation is needed to check if the progesterone level is low. Specialists recommend that women who are planning a pregnancy first consult a specialist to identify any possible ovulation dysfunction. In some situations, hormonal supplementation may be needed to complete the pregnancy.
Researchers suggest that premature births can occur when progesterone levels are low. This is because progesterone can support the uterus in the final stage of pregnancy, by blocking the factors that trigger premature birth.
Some women use hormone therapies to reduce the unpleasant symptoms of menopause, but it is important to remember that when supplemented with estrogen (in women who have not had a hysterectomy), it is also necessary to supplement with progesterone to prevent cancer. cancer.
Diagnosis and treatment
Progesterone levels can be easily diagnosed by a simple blood test. It should also be noted that during the various stages of the menstrual cycle, progesterone levels will fluctuate. Therefore, in the first part of the menstrual cycle, a stage called the follicular phase, the progesterone level should be less than 1.5 nanograms per milliliter (ng / ml). Then, immediately before ovulation, the hormone will begin to increase, after which it will have a new surge of growth a week after the end of ovulation.
During pregnancy, the obstetrician will measure the level of progesterone to monitor the functionality of the placenta and corpus luteum. During the first semester, maternal progesterone will gradually increase to about 40 ng / ml. Between the 6th and 8th week of pregnancy, specialists consider a low progesterone level of less than 10 ng / ml, which is a sign of abnormal or ectopic pregnancy. In the last trimester of pregnancy, progesterone levels will continue to rise to 150 ng / ml. After menopause, progesterone levels drop below 0.5 ng / ml.
Although progesterone may be the measuret through a blood test, there are other factors to consider, so your doctor will recommend a wider range of tests to identify the exact reason for low progesterone levels.
In terms of treatment, women with low progesterone levels usually need to supplement their hormonal intake with treatments or dietary supplements. Depending on the cause of the dysfunction and the patient’s medical history, the doctor may prescribe different treatments.
For example, some people cannot tolerate the side effects of oral progesterone and may instead receive treatment with a topical progesterone-based cream or gel.
To prevent premature birth, doctors may recommend intramuscular injections or progesterone suppositories.
In some cases, dietary supplements based on progesterone, folic acid and selenium are prescribed in fertility treatments. This combination of active substances is particularly effective for menopausal women. In fact, people on hormonal treatments to alleviate menopausal symptoms may also need progesterone supplements.
If you notice any symptoms that could indicate a progesterone deficiency, such as an irregular cycle, it is important to see a doctor, especially if you are planning a pregnancy in the future. In this case, you can call either a gynecologist or an endocrinologist, preferably before initiating any attempt to get pregnant.