Natural progesterone, which is used during fertility treatment, poses no threat to a mother and child. It is important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not differentiate between natural progesterone and synthetic progesterone (progestins) in its warnings. Progestins are mostly used to suppress ovulation and are found in birth control pills. They are only used in preparation for fertility treatment. In older studies synthetic progestins have been linked to a slightly increased risk of certain birth defects if used during pregnancy. The FDA has conducted a thorough review of relevant published studies and has found there is no increase in birth defects resulting from exposure to any progesterone in early pregnancy.
It has been suggested that hormonal tests should be done via testing saliva, as opposed to blood which most doctors test. A saliva hormonal test can be done at home and then sent to a lab for analysis. After your saliva is analyzed, hormonal levels can be ascertained, helping to deduct whether you have an imbalance, be it too low or too high progesterone levels.
What we know is that it can take anywhere from 4-12 months to bring progesterone levels back up in women with very low progesterone levels. In general we suggest its use, while following a holistic natural fertility program, for a minimum of three months, up to 6 months while paying attention to how the body is responding/shifting before making a change to said program. It would also be a good idea to have progesterone levels monitored during this time to know how levels are shifting and if you might need to adjust the dose, or if you can wean off of progesterone cream. Each woman will be different, so the length of safe use for you will likely be different from the length of safe use for me or another.
I’m curious what you ladies would consider low progesterone? Do you go by symptoms or BBT levels, or numbers from the doctors? I know that a progesterone draw at 7 dpo should be at least 5 to show ovulation occured, and at least 10 to sustain pregnancy (some say 15). But what are your own thoughts? How would one decide they do have low progesterone? And what are they shooting for as “good” progesterone?
Miscarriage. Most research suggests that applying progesterone into the vagina does not reduce the risk of having a miscarriage during the first trimester in women at high risk for miscarriage. Also, injecting progesterone and another steroid hormone into the muscle after undergoing a test used to diagnose birth defects (called an amniocentesis) does not seem to reduce the risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery.
Why? It is actually an evolutionary adaptation. The female body needs to protect itself against becoming pregnant at a time of famine, war, or other kind of life-threatening strife. The way it does so is by shutting down hormone production whenever stress appears to be too strong or chronic. Stress indicates that it may not be a “safe” enough environment to be pregnant.
Nikki has a 4-year-old daughter and a 15-month-old son, and they are hoping for another in the future. In between the two she had been pregnant with a baby girl and went into preterm labor at 21 weeks. The little girl delivered very prematurely but soon thereafter developed a brain bleed. Nikki and her husband made the difficult decision to let her go peacefully.
The cream is often not enough to substantially increase progesterone levels and a bioidentical pill or suppository is usually looked at then. The creams usually have applications that give you 10-30 mgs of progesterone, though it’s hard to tell how much is being absorbed. The pills/suppositories can range up to a couple hundred mgs, though I’d make sure to work on finding out the cause of the low progesterone as being on them long-term isn’t ideal. And some women do have side effects with the supplementation so it’s important to work with your doctor and take just what you need.
Women who have low levels of progesterone will have abnormal menstrual cycles or may struggle to conceive because the progesterone does not trigger the proper environment for a conceived egg to grow. Women who have low progesterone levels and who do succeed in getting pregnant are at higher risk for miscarriage or pre-term delivery, because the hormone helps maintain the pregnancy.
The correct levels of progesterone must also be in the right balance with estrogen to regulate your menstrual cycle. Abnormally high levels of progesterone can be caused by abnormalities in your menstrual cycle, dysfunction with your adrenal glands, or being under too much stress. Some of the warning signs that your progesterone levels are constantly too high are fatigue, difficulty losing weight, and decreased sex drive.
Most substances in the body, including hormones, get broken down into other substances, known as metabolites, before eventually being removed by the kidneys or the liver. When progesterone is broken down, its metabolites become active in the brain. And, it appears, they—and one in particular, allopregnanolone—bind to a system called the GABA-A receptor.
Low progesterone during pregnancy can be one cause of recurrent miscarriages. Progesterone is responsible for creating a healthy environment in the womb by maintaining the uterine lining. It also reduces the chances of blood clots and the immune system responding to the fetus as if it was a foreign substance. Progesterone is one of the main pregnancy hormones.
Hormone testing can be performed by a medical doctor, naturopathic doctor or by an at-home testing service. Testing options range from charting your menstrual cycle to determine the length of your luteal phase, to basal body temperature tracking during your luteal (consistently low BBT may indicate low progesterone production), to taking saliva or blood tests to find out your progesterone levels. The questionnaire above helps to point out signs of progesterone deficiency while these tests help to confirm it.
Hello, ive had pcos for 10+years now. Me and hubby were trying for 5 years to have a baby and after being told we had a very slim chance we no longer tried. I found out last friday i was pregnant so we were really happy. Tuesday i was rushed to hospital and was told thursday its likely i had a miscarriage. I was told today my progesterone level was 10 which is the likely cause of my miscarriage. Should my doctor have picked up on this?
I am currently in the similar if not same boat. My first son was conceived with one try 4-1/2 years ago. However it has taken 12 months for me to get pregnant this time because of low progesterone and lack of ovulation. Although my doctor suggested going on Clomid last Sept. my husband I decided to wait and keep trying on our own. I went this past Monday to confirm my pregnancy and they attempted a transvaginal ultrasound but couldn't see anything yet. They also drew blood and tested hcg and progesterone. The hcg came back 740 and progesterone (I didn't get a number) but was told it was low. SO, I am on Prometrium 200mg 2x a day. It is pill form but I have been instructed to take it vaginally, once in the morning and once at night and will stay on it for the first 12 weeks. I go back for another ultrasound in 2 weeks. My doctor said she was not suprised we didn't see anything the other day because the hcg was low - I am not far along. I know your worries - hang in there!
Hi Camille, PMS is very challenging no matter what age. PMS is estrogen dominance issues and boosting progesterone is very helpful for this. You might also consider Magdalena’s Herbs for Balance program that will go into this issue much more in depth. http://www.herbsforbalance.com/join. Think about liver health and metabolizing estrogen better. See this article about the topic. https://hormonesbalance.com/articles/what-is-estrogen-dominance-as-a-hormonal-imbalance-in-women/. Hope that helps.
Progesterone is essential to mature the uterine lining (endometrium) for implantation of the early embryo. Therefore, many specialists assumed low levels after ovulation (luteal phase deficiency) might cause failure of implantation and reduce your fertility at this stage. However, current evidence does not show low progesterone during the luteal phase interferes with implantation.
Hormonal balance is vital to a healthy, cancer-free mind and body, but can be disrupted in many ways. Hormone fluctuations occur naturally, such as in puberty, menopause and perimenopause. Hormone imbalance may also be caused by toxins or an unbalanced lifestyle. Understanding the causes of hormone imbalance empowers us to prevent them, and at the same time, feel better, think better, and better prevent breast cancer.
If you take Clomid, your doctor will typically continue to have you monitor your progesterone levels after ovulation to make sure they rise appropriately. Progesterone supplements provide an easy fix for low progesterone levels. However, increasing progesterone levels will not prevent loss of an embryo with abnormal chromosomes after implantation. Clomid can also cause more than one follicle to develop; if you get pregnant with more than one embryo, your progesterone levels may rise higher than normal in early pregnancy.
I’m just about to embark on my next Embryo Transfer. I haven’t ovulated yet but am thinking of taking the cream after ovulation. Although, I did progesterone testing on my last two cycles, the first with a level of 16ml and last month at 17ml. Is my body already producing enough to sustain a health pregnancy without the cream? Or will taking a little bit “extra” be beneficial in some way?
Dawn, what herbs did you use??? I have so many of the same symptoms you describe ever since DC’ing the BC pill. However, it is pretty clear to me I am NOT ovulating. I have already taken out gluten/dairy and try to incorporate all the veggies/fish/nuts and fruits that I can. Nothing processed, lots of water etc. My hair falls out like crazy. I’m thin and testosterone is high. Not sure about the estrogen, but definitely low progesterone. Any thing you can share would be awesome!!
Fortunately, this is usually short lived for most, lasting a few days to a few weeks. For some, however, this is just the beginning of their nightmare. The more advanced the adrenal fatigue, the higher the risk of this phenomena. Clinically, this is more prevalent in those with sensitive or thin bodies as well. It points to underlying receptor site dysfunction or liver congestion.
The contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapies (HRT) both contain estrogen and synthetic progesterone, the most common being 'progestin'. Progestins have a molecule similar to real progesterone and cause natural progesterone levels to drop, leading to many of the above symptoms. If you are on the contraceptive pill or HRT and you wish to come off, it's far gentler on the body to do this gradually whilst at the same time using a natural progesterone cream.
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Maintenance dose. After your symptoms of estrogen overload have passed the amount of progesterone cream you use should be reduced very slowly over at least a few weeks. After a few months you will find the optimum dose that prevents your adverse symptoms returning and on which you feel good. Your maintenance will depend on your particular situation, symptoms, and level of xenoestrogen build-up.
Stress effects your ability to ovulate or produce an egg each month. If a woman does not ovulate, progesterone is not produced , therefore it is not available to counteract the effects of the estrogen made during the menstrual cycle. Adolescent girls and peri-menopausal women with irregular menses, mood swings and emotional outbursts may benefit greatly from progesterone therapy and are most likely to be estrogen dominant.
But what about natural testosterone, made by our own bodies? Well, we know that one hormone doesn’t exist in isolation in the body. For example, in a study of breast cancer risk and natural hormone levels in postmenopausal women (J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95(16):1218-26) risk increased as body mass index increased. However, even though testosterone levels were higher in the obese women, their estrogen levels were higher still. Fatty tissue converts testosterone into estrogens, using an enzyme called aromatase, so obese postmenopausal women tend to have higher estrogen levels than lean women. The study found that it was the higher estrogen levels that accounted for the increased breast cancer risk while the higher testosterone levels had a negligible impact on risk. Another study of natural hormone levels and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women (Br J Cancer 1997; 76(3):401-5) also found that estradiol levels were more strongly associated with breast cancer risk than testosterone. The same investigators had similar results when they studied premenopausal women, in whom high estradiol (the most potent of the estrogens) and low progesterone levels were more often seen than high testosterone levels in women who developed breast cancer. In addition, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), who tend to have higher than normal testosterone levels, do not have a higher rate of breast cancer than women without PCOS. So the testosterone circulating naturally in our bodies certainly does not seem to be the prime culprit in breast cancer risk.
I’m 32, seemingly healthy with Low Progesterone. My husband and I have been trying for 3months (since July) to get pregnant. These past few months though I have been cramping real bad. I finally went to the Doctor this week to rule out anything serious. Everything is fine with me except my Progesterone levels. The Doctor wanted to put me on Clomid. I want to do everything naturally though. (No medicines) so I went to our local health food store and picked up some progesterone cream as well as some female reproductive tablets.
Bioidentical. When we say bioidentical what we mean is that it is identical to the molecule that your ovaries made. It’s the same identical molecule, so your body thinks it’s the same. It’s really an antiaging hormone, if you think about it, because we age. You lose your hormones. If you want to have a better life as you mature and you age so you feel young, you want to make sure you replenish your hormones. This goes not only for females, but males as well.
Yes – low progesterone is highly correlated with miscarriage. However, the reason why is unclear. Does low progesterone itself cause the miscarriage? Or is it just a sign of another factor causing the miscarriage? Doctors are unsure. Nonetheless, it is worth talking over these issues with your doctor and doing everything you can to boost progesterone and reproductive health to safeguard your pregnancy as much as possible. All my best to you and your husband, Jorgan.
Although a number of studies over the years have pointed to elevated breast cancer risks among users of synthetic hormone replacement, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was the first major clinical trial of its kind to study their impact on bodily health. Results revealed greater risk than benefit among HRT users in terms of heart disease, stroke, and blood clots and a 26% increase in breast cancer risk; the trial was abruptly halted. Naysayers were quick to point out that since only one type of hormone replacement was used in the study—PremPro, a synthetic estrogen and progestin combination that was the number one prescribed HRT for women—the results could not be applied to all forms of HRT use. And that further, the average age of women subjects in the WHI was over 60 so the results could not be representative of most women on HRT. These conclusions were swiftly challenged by the Million Women Study published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, [HRT use and Breast Cancer, Cancer 2003;97:1387–92.] which found that, “use of HRT, by women in the UK over the past decade has resulted in an estimated 20,000 extra breast cancers.” Note to WHI naysayers: The women in this study were between 50 and 64 years of age and a full 15,000 of these cancers were associated with any combination of estrogen-progestin.
Hello. I just found your site and feel hopeful in regards to what I am reading so far. I i’m 57 years old and had a total hysterectomy when I was only 34 and have been on Estrace pill all this time. I’m putting the pieces of the puzzle together regarding some health issues and I am wondering that not taking progesterone all this time is at the root of those problems. Would adding a progesterone cream to what I am presently taking (2mg milligrams of Estrace) be all I needed to balance things out?
During the menstrual cycle, when an egg is released from the ovary at ovulation (approximately day 14), the remnants of the ovarian follicle that enclosed the developing egg form a structure called the corpus luteum. This releases progesterone and, to a lesser extent, oestradiol. The progesterone prepares the body for pregnancy in the event that the released egg is fertilised. If the egg is not fertilised, the corpus luteum breaks down, the production of progesterone falls and a new menstrual cycle begins.
Hi, love this article. Very informative. I am on Armour thyroid and feeling soo much better than 6 months ago but still have dry gritty eyes, joint pain, dry splitting nails, cracked heels, cracked lips, fatigue…brain fog. Scalloped tongue. The hot burning miserable eyes are the worst. Eye doc DXd rosea, DES and Blepharitis. 4 weeks on Doxycycline and zero improvement. I’m almost 39 and this is just ruining my life! I received new labs yesterday and on paper, I’m the epitome of health except for my estrogen and progesterone ratio. We tested in my luteal phase and my estradiol was 165.8 (43.8-211.0) progesterone was 6.25. (1.7- 37)
Breast cancer is a major concern for women of all ages. As we have discussed, excess estrogens may act as initiators of cancer or as promoters of cancer cell growth. There are concerns too about a surplus of estrogen metabolites such as estrone sulphate, the stored form of estrogen in the body, contributing to the overall estrogen burden and the growth of breast tumors. However, not all hormones are equivalent when it comes to breast cancer risk. Estriol, the weakest estrogen may have a protective effect against breast cancer. If we follow natural physiology, and the growing number of studies attesting to its protective benefits, bioidentical vs. synthetic progestin may also help to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer via its balancing effects on estrogen.
Menopause in women often starts at the age of 40, if it comes earlier; it becomes a sure sign of infertility. Ovulating process goes well into the forties. Premature Ovarian Failure accounts for about only 1% of female infertility. Apart from slowing down and cessation of ovulation process, menopause brings about a variety of bodily changes in women. Often, menopause is signaled by extreme mood swings, sleepiness, irregular menstruation and hot flashes.
Progesterone is produced in a woman's body in quantities a thousand-fold greater than estrogens. Progesterone is a pivotal building block for the production of other hormones, including estrogens, glucocorticoids and corticosteroids. Without progesterone there would be no menstrual cycle or reproduction. Progesterone plays an essential role including keeping the stimulatory effects of estrogen under control.
I have been on a quest to figure out if what I have been going through is normal or if there is something I can do about it and then I came upon your posting. Thank you for writing this, I could really use your advice. At about 15 I was started on the combined birth control pill to help manage my horribly painful and long periods. For many years however, I ran into all kinds of ups and downs with the pill (twice I had my period for a month long!). Finally, at around 20 yo my doctor thought to try me on the progesterone only pill. It was wonderful. I then stopped getting my period (which apparently is very normal on the pops) for about three years. I take it extremely regularly but then out of the blue, recently I started experiencing brown spotting. It would come and go. Sometimes heavier but always brown. Along with this I was also fatigued, have been having constant issues with acne popping up, had dry skin, brittle and flaking nails (the entire nail bed), breaking hair, hot flashes on my face, night sweats, and foggy and forgetful (the hot nights and forgetfulness is not so unusual for me though…). My primary care doctor thought my body just needed to have a full period to get it out of my system so I tried stopping the pill for a couple weeks and during that time the spotting tapered away and stopped. I started the pill again and everything was okay until I had a full period with excruciating cramps and all. When it ended I thought I was in the clear until sure enough the brown spotting came back again. So for the last two weeks I have been off the pill again but while not even taking the pill the spotting has persisted. I know that some people experience spotting while taking pops but I do not know if it is normal to have constant brown spotting (occasionally there are clumps of dark brown and sometimes just a little light brown) and if it is normal for it to persist after stopping the pill. Before reading this post I have tried some vitamin supplements to figure out what could be causing those other symptoms but I had never thought to put the two together. Do you think this could be a sign of low progesterone? Or if it caused by the pop then do you know what I could do to make the brown spotting stop and if it could be related to the flaking nails, acne, fatigue, and lack there of body temperature regulation? I am a healthy 23 year old girl so it seems odd that I should be dealing with such severe hot flashes and night sweats for no reason…
If you use progesterone creams avoid applying over areas with an abundance of fatty tissue. This is because the cream can absorb and accumulate in the tissue rather than head straight into the blood stream.?Instead, apply your cream on areas with thin skin and veins. This way the hormones won’t build up and will instead all head into the bloodstream to be utilized quickly and efficiently.?The best areas are the neck/throat, arms, wrists, hands and on the top of your feet.
When we got “the talk” about periods, sex, and baby making, most of us learned what happens without much understanding of how it happens. Yet more women than ever are looking for answers about irregular or painful periods, trouble conceiving, or carrying a baby to term. In all of these issues, one common denominator keeps coming to the fore: progesterone.
There is no difference in pregnancy rates based on the level of progesterone at the midluteal phase. According to a 2015 American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Practice Committee Opinion on luteal phase deficiency, in the absence of other abnormalities of the menstrual cycle, low progesterone in the luteal phase does not appear to affect fertility or reduce normal pregnancy rates. Instead, most failures of implantation, chemical pregnancies, nonviable fetuses, and other early losses are because of chromosomal abnormalities, ASRM concludes.
The most touted symptoms of low thyroid are foggy thinking, cold limbs, fatigue, hair loss, constipation and weight gain. But I fight with hypothyroidism and I am skinny and tend more towards loose stool, and luckily still have all my hair! There are many manifestations of hypothyroidism, so it’s worth taking a deeper look if you suspect you may have hypothyroidism. A great place to start looking is the website of Dr. Izabella Wentz, aka the Thyroid Pharmacist.
A menstrual cycle is determined by the number of days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. So day one of the menstrual cycle is the first of full bleeding day of the period. A typical cycle is approximately 24 to 35 days (average 28 days for most women). It is not abnormal for a woman¹s cycle to occasionally be shorter or longer.
Bioidentical progesterone: This is usually prescribed as a cream, although in cases of fertility vaginal suppositories are also an option. The benefit of bioidentical progesterone is that it is structurally identical to the progesterone your own body produces, and we can dose it precisely to optimal physiological levels. In cases of hormone imbalance such as endometriosis and perimenopause, this is often the most effective treatment.
Cruciferous vegetables are a great way to reduce Estrogen Dominance. They are rich in glucosinolates, which activate phase 2 detoxification in the liver, helping to filter estrogen metabolites from your body. This is good news for your hormone balance because it prevents estrogen byproducts circulating for too long, which can raise estrogen levels and cause hormonal havoc.