Progesterone is a female sex hormone that belongs to a group of hormones called progestins. Often referred to as the ‘pregnancy hormone’, progesterone is essentially the ‘chemical messenger’ that travels through the blood and helps prepare the uterus for a potential pregnancy after ovulation, among other functions.

If you find yourself experiencing low progesterone levels, you may be experiencing a whole host of physical and emotional side effects; some of the most common being:

  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Hot flashes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased sex drive/libido
  • Increased intensity of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms
  • Irregular periods

See also: What Causes Low Progesterone In Women?



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What does progesterone do to a woman’s body?


Estrogen is arguably the most well-known female hormone but it’s lesser-known sister - progesterone, plays just as much of a crucial role in every woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility and emotional wellbeing.

Some of progesterone’s most vital roles include [1]:

  • Regulating the menstrual cycle
  • Thickening the lining of the uterus to prepare for a fertilized egg
  • Maintaining uterine lining throughout pregnancy
  • Breast development and breastfeeding
  • Regulating mood, weight, sex drive, and water-salt balance

What does low progesterone mean?


The symptoms associated with low progesterone are magnified by high levels of estrogen; this often occurs in the absence of sufficient progesterone levels.

Women with low progesterone may often experience irregular cycles and may struggle to get pregnant.

See also: Can I Get Pregnant With Low Progesterone Levels?


How to improve progesterone levels


From our menstrual cycle to underlying medical conditions, our hormones are known to naturally change every now and then but, high levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone over a prolonged period of time may lead to a negative set of symptoms. So, is there a way to promote healthy progesterone levels, without pills or supplements?

Lifestyle changes to incorporate for healthy progesterone levels include:

  • Eat healthy
  • Avoid excess drinking
  • Reduce stress
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Nutrients that promote healthy hormone levels include [2]:

  • Vitamin C
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Zinc

Steps to take to promote healthy progesterone levels


As well as making some positive lifestyle changes, you can improve your hormone health by adopting a healthy diet [3].

Through eating a diet rich in certain minerals and nutrients, you can promote positive progesterone levels.


Vitamin C


Research shows that vitamin C can help promote healthy progesterone levels and correct luteal phase issues [4].

Sources of Vitamin C include:

  • Oranges
  • Red and green peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Blackcurrants

Magnesium


Magnesium is a nutrient which works to make sure the parathyroid glands, which produce hormones important for bone health, can function normally [5].

Sources of magnesium include:

  • Green leafy vegetables – such as spinach
  • Nuts
  • Brown rice
  • Bread (especially wholegrain)

Vitamin B6


Vitamin B6 plays a role in keeping your body’s hormones regulated [6].

Sources of vitamin B6 include:

  • Fish
  • Bread
  • Wholegrain cereals, such as oatmeal, wheatgerm and brown rice
  • Eggs

Zinc


Zinc helps in the process of making new cells and enzymes and is yet another mineral essential in helping your pituitary gland regulate hormone levels [7].

Sources of zinc include:

  • Meat
  • Shellfish
  • Dairy foods – such as cheese
  • Bread

You can test your progesterone levels with your local doctor or from home with a simple at-home lab test.

The LetsGetChecked Progesterone Test monitors progesterone levels on Day 21 of your menstrual cycle. By examining progesterone in the blood, the test can indicate whether you’re ovulating normally. Online results will be available within 5 days and our dedicated medical team will be available every step of the way.

You should consider testing your progesterone levels at home if:

  • You are trying to get pregnant
  • You have irregular or painful periods
  • You have been diagnosed with endometriosis
  • You have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • You are going through menopause

See also: How Do You Check Progesterone Levels From Home?



Buy an At-Home Progesterone Test

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References

  1. You and Your Hormones. ‘Progesterone’. Online: Yourhormones.info, 2018
  2. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  3. Mayo Clinic. Perimenopause. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019
  4. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Effects of ascorbic acid supplementation on serum progesterone levels in patients with a luteal phase defect. Online: Fertstert.org, 2003
  5. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  6. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  7. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017