A much needed hormone, especially for the baby-seekers out there, is progesterone. Progesterone is a steroid hormone, secreted from the ovaries similarly to estrogen, and is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle in non-pregnant women. In a pregnant woman, it thickens and maintains the uterine lining so that the fetus can implant securely. This also helps it remain implanted in the uterine wall. Progesterone is also important in the following bodily functions:
- Making cervical mucous accessible by sperm
- Preparing the breasts for lactation
- Normalizing blood clotting
- Encouraging the use of fat for energy during pregnancy
- Activating osteoblasts to encourage new bone formation
- Preventing immune rejection of the developing fetus
- Allowing the embryo to survive and develop properly
So, if you have been struggling to conceive or carry a baby full term, this poses a question: “How do I know if my progesterone levels are regular or not?" Some common symptoms that may indicate low levels are: no menstruation, no ovulation, PMS, water retention, breast swelling, hypothyroidism, night sweats, vaginal dryness and fogged thinking.
Another question you may ask is, "What are the causes of low progesterone?" Often times if your progesterone levels are low, it may mean that you simply have too much estrogen within your body; as these two hormones go hand-in-hand. Hormone imbalance and estrogen dominance is not a rare occurrence – so don’t fret, as there is a simple fix. As far as hormonal estrogen dominance goes, it can occur by consuming too much of commercially raised meat (as they are high in estrogen), stress, pollution, and by consuming too much processed soy products. So as you can tell, just a mere change in diet may go a long way in restoring your estrogen (and additionally, your progesterone) to normal levels. Other causes that may be lowering your progesterone are insulin resistance, malnutrition, stress (which leads to an excess production of cortisol, the stress hormone) and lack of physical activity.
I know this all sounds alarming, but even though low progesterone levels can be concerning, with prompt intervention, the negative effects of low progesterone levels in early pregnancy can be turned around! Consider taking a blood test so you know where you stand. If you find you are low, I would then suggest you do everything you can to reduce your exposure to xenohormones, compounds showing hormone-like properties. (These include adhesives, non-organic commercially raised meat, car exhaust, plastics, emulsifiers --often found in cosmetics, and pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.) You can also look into hormone regulating herbs such as Vitex, Dill, and Kenya Oak.
Another treatment deficient women often turn to is natural progesterone cream. This natural cream is derived and created from the natural plant fats and oils of either the Mexican Wild Yam or the Soybean. The cream is used topically (face, neck, upper chest, breast, inner arms, and hands and feet), as has shown to be the very effective at restoring progesterone levels within the body. However, in terms of dosage, it is very important to be cautious, as it is just as easy to have too much progesterone as it is to have too little. Practically speaking, the best gauge for the ideal dose should not be determined by any laboratory test alone. It is important to rely on relief of symptoms when figuring out the ideal dose. The right dose is the dose that works!
There is still room in the mommy-world for you -- don't give up!! Knowing your progesterone levels and fixing them if needed, is simply one more step in the right direction!
Never take progesterone cream before checking with your doctor to evaluate the source of your health concerns and your current hormone levels.
Sarah Clark empowers couples to discover how lifestyle and diet can dramatically impact their chances of conceiving. She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at 28 and had both her kids with donor eggs. Not until years later did she discover that the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance. Ready to gaze into your baby's eyes....but struggling. Download 10 step Checklist here