Prolactin is the hormone that triggers lactation, but can rise in non-lactating women as well. This is a problem because high levels prolactin can interfere with progesterone production and inhibit ovulation. High prolactin can be the result of a poor diet, stressful lifestyle or something more serious so you definitely want to get this checked out. 

I’ve just ordered some of the Beeyoutiful cream – thanks for the info. My naturopath has me on a tonic containing vitex to increase my progesterone levels (I have endometriosis and having been trying to conceive for the past 2.5 years). Is it ok for me to take both at once? She’s not a huge fan of progesterone creams – thinks the vitex is better. But I have been taking it for the past 8 months or so and I think my symptoms are getting worse (shorter cycles, pre-menstrual spotting, pms etc). I appreciate any input!!

HI Doniella, I’m in Europe and am 38 – I’m currently 20 weeks pregnant with my second child. my first is 4 since may and was concv very quickly but when we strated trying for no 2 in nov 2010 we had no luck. eventually in Nov 2011 I found a dr who specialises in infertility issues and worked with her and eventually became pregnant this March. (delited) i get my bloods checked every two weeks for oestogen and progesterone levels and my progesterone is low. I’m now on 2 x 400mg of cyclogest daily as my dr thinks my level is low. My last reading was 148 which makes me think that its probably 14 as you are using 2 digit numbers above. Above you refer to the use of progestone creams in the first trimester but i#m now midway in the second trimester and my dose was doubled due to last reading being so low. should i be concerned about taking pessaries at this stage of pregnacy? I’m somewhat concerned. thanks annie
Hormones play a complex role in how the brain interprets sensations of pain from its neurotransmitters. For example, the journal Reviews in Pain reports that during pregnancy when progesterone levels are at their highest, some women experience a reduction in some painful conditions. However, other types of pain are more pronounced in pregnancy, namely lower back pain and temporomandibular joint disorders.23
The widespread and common use of natural progesterone (hereafter referred to as progesterone) for hormone balance and menopausal symptoms, especially estrogen dominance, has potentially important negative clinical implications when used by those with a weak body ? such as those with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). Excessive progesterone can cause imbalances with many other hormones in the body, making progesterone side effects and toxicity both serious and hard to identify. Extreme caution should be used when considering progesterone, and this article details why.
A: In most cases, heavy vaginal bleeding is related to abnormal hormone levels that upset the menstrual cycle. This condition is called anovulatory dysfunctional bleeding and is caused by a low level of progesterone. Progesterone is necessary for the ovary to release the egg as well as regulating menstrual bleeding. Low progesterone causes irregular and heavy menstrual bleeding and is common during perimenopause. Progesterone has been shown to help prevent overgrowth of the endometrium (irregular breakdown of the endometrium is often the cause of heavy bleeding) and prevents dysfunctional uterine bleeding. The use of progesterone in women who are not ovulating regularly, helps to maintain a more predictable menstrual cycle. Lori Poulin, PharmD
I started to get pain in my ovaries last September, and started trying to conceive in Feb. In April I had a miscarriage and the scans showed I had a cyst on each ovary. I keep going back to get help from doctors as I am constantly in pain from persistent cysts but they say it’s natural and send me on my way still in pain. It’s nearly been a year worth of pain and I just want rid of these recurring cysts.
Thank you for this! I just started using my progesterone cream on week two of the Whole 30 and have noticed that everything has come to a stand still and gotten worse (acne, tighter pant & a desire to nap) since I introduced the cream into my nightly ritual. I am going to shelf the cream, continue with clean eating and exercise and work on lower stress 🙂
I would read the book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause by Dr. John Lee for info on bio-identical progesterone! And you might also want to look into supporting your liver as the liver helps to break down and eliminate old hormones. If it’s overworked it can cause a backload of excess hormones in the body. Working on your digestion is also important as it’s the body’s biggest way of removing toxins! Adding things like bone broth, lemon water, and probiotic foods will be really helpful in both of those aspects.

I quit lactating and taking domperidone in July very abruptly and had insomnia, hot flashes and hyperventilating… The hyperventilating and hit flashes went away but the insomnia stayed… After 6 months I tried to relactating out if desperation took double domperidone but only made 10 Oz vs my old 30 Oz… Didn’t help me sleep so I quit.. A bit slower over a week.. Its been 6.5 weeks and no period yet… I’m dying to get biodentical testing done as my blood work appears normal. I’m crying and don’t feel like life is worth living… I’m just so exhausted.. Any advice?!!

I had low progesterone levels when I was (5 weeks) pregnant. I was put on a progesterone supplement that I would inset into my vagina every night. A few months before this my doctor had told me I had a t-shaped uterus and it may be hard for me to get pregnant. I was put on birth control to regulate my periods – since I had my first period I have always been irregular. I remember in middle school only getting my period twice in a year (and as of now its been 3 months!). I got off birth control and my last period was in late may. My husband and I conceived our first child two weeks later – we found out 3 weeks after that. Thats when we got the news my progesterone levels were low. 
Glucophage and clomid. About a year and a half later I had my daughter and 4 years later without using any birth control in those years we now have a son! I have ALL the above symptoms! I’ve seen my dermatologist about my face breaking out with no luck. Somedays I wonder how my husband stands me, every time I talk to my OB she wants to put me on birth control pills and I refuse and she gives no other options. I’m in desperate need of advice! 
A study of 20 women published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 1991 measured the urinary levels of metabolites of estrogen and progesterone during the peak of the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. The authors reported the levels of hormones were similar whether a woman had an early pregnancy loss or a successful pregnancy. They concluded that the early losses were not related to a deficiency in progesterone or other ovarian hormones in the luteal phase.
A: A study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1999 found that natural progesterone cream significantly reduced hot flashes compared to the placebo group. In The Wisdom of Menopause, Dr. Christiane Northrup says that a 2 percent progesterone skin cream works in about 85 percent of perimenopausal women. A little as 1/4 tsp once per day can ease hot flashes. Make sure that you read the labels of natural progesterone cream products careful as there is great variability of progesterone content. Some creams contain less than 5 mg progesterone per ounce, whereas others contain more than 400 mg progesterone per ounce. This can be obtained over the counter or by prescription. I have not found any studies that indicate it should be discontinued over a certain time frame.

Hi Donielle, great article, really informative! My husband and I have been ttc#1 for almost a year. My periods are somewhat regular 26/28 days w/O(use opk). I also started charting 5 months ago. My O temp is 97.5 and my temps after O vary from 97.9 to 98.2, 98.4 on rare occasions. Do you think that means low progesterone levels? Plus for as long as I can remember I’ve had brown spotting before AF, sometimes a couple of days before it, and the last 2 months at 5/6DPO. My LP is 11/13 days long. I’m just looking for an opinion, I know I should get tested to know for sure. Thank you!
My husband and i live in australia, i am 31 & he is 33 and we are both a healthy BMI and we have a 3 year old daughter that was conceived naturally and had a natural birth. We have since been TTC for 2 years with only a “successful pregnancy” ending in early miscarriage at around 6-7 weeks. my cycle has slowly increased from around 23/24 days to now a 26/27 day cycle. i have completed a day 21 progesterone test twice, the results were 17 & 24 which i wonder if that is high enough to sustain a pregnancy, my day 2 FSH was 7.2 & my E2 was 138. this month my HyCoSy came back showing a healthy uterus, clear tubes & good ovaries with 6 eggs maturing in one ovary & 8 eggs maturing in the other at cycle day 8 and my AMH was 9, my husband semen analysis was good, so to date it seems to be unexplained fertility but from my zig zag looking bbt charting it looks like something is out! for quite some time i have been feeling extremely light headed like i could pass out, and foggy in the back of my head and finding it hard to concentrate, fatigued, low libido, recently started having allergies to flowers when i never have in my life, also having night sweats and being far more emotional than i usually am yet every time i see a doctor about this they do blood tests and give no answers and say if nothing comes up they can only assume its panic attacks.. but i had been wondering if its by hormones causing me all this grief and after reading your article it seems to have possibly shed some light! 

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Postmenopausal women and children tend to have the lowest progesterone level and often have a progesterone deficiency. Adult males have a similar progesterone level to that in women during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle. When a woman ovulates, the level of progesterone in her blood more than doubles. During pregnancy, her progesterone level goes up by one to two hundred times.

I’ve never been tested during my cycle, but was put on Progone B that I was supposed to take from the date of ovulation until the first day of my period, to try and boost things. I never had any kind of … success with that. The next time we decide to try, which won’t be for a couple of years, I want to make sure that I have implemented more natural ways of balancing my progesterone…
Progesterone Cream & Weight Gain Mood Side Effects of Progesterone Side Effects of Seroquel Progesterone Supplements Side Effects The Effects of Progesterone on the Breasts The Side Effects of Progesterone Suppositories Side Effects of Flonase Side Effects of Nortrel Birth Control Femara Side Effects for Fertility What Are the Side Effects of Progesterone With IVF? Weight Gain After Removing an IUD Side Effects of Loratadine Ketoconazole for Hair Loss Progesterone and Acid Reflux How to Treat Acne With Hydrocortisone Can Female Testosterone Supplements Cause Weight Gain? List of Corticosteroid Medications Are Diarrhea & Heartburn Side Effects of Progesterone Supplements? Mirena Side Effects & Sciatica How to Control Testosterone Naturally

Prolactin is the hormone that triggers lactation, but can rise in non-lactating women as well. This is a problem because high levels prolactin can interfere with progesterone production and inhibit ovulation. High prolactin can be the result of a poor diet, stressful lifestyle or something more serious so you definitely want to get this checked out. 
Clinical research on the effects of weight gain and levels of progesterone have found that high levels increase weight. A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found subjects that were treated with progesterone alone to treat symptoms of menopause increased weight. Using a combination of both estrogen and progesterone didn’t result in any weight gain.15
I have been battling with severe mood swings and depression for 7-8 yrs now. I have been on several antidepressants, seen counselors and nothing ever changes. I have gained so much weight and even with diet and exercise I can’t seem to lose it. All the weight is in my abdomen. I have been under chronic stress for all this time as well. I asked my GYN a few years ago about hormone testing and she told me it is a joke. She had put me back on a low estrogen pill and I take it continuously and only let myself get a period every 3 months. It is very light when it comes. Last year at my annual had I gained 20 more pounds and her response was “You look beautiful dear and I hate to tell you that as long as you have stress you will never lose weight.” I feel like I am going crazy, I have become suicidal and can’t seem to figure out what is wrong with me. I am switching to another GYN doctor who does do testing. I hope I can find some answers because I really feel like I can’t go on living like this.

O'Brien, J. M., Adair, C. D., Lewis, D. F., Hall, D. R., Defranco, E. A., Fusey, S., Soma-Pillay, P., Porter, K., How, H., Schackis, R., Eller, D., Trivedi, Y., Vanburen, G., Khandelwal, M., Trofatter, K., Vidyadhari, D., Vijayaraghavan, J., Weeks, J., Dattel, B., Newton, E., Chazotte, C., Valenzuela, G., Calda, P., Bsharat, M., and Creasy, G. W. Progesterone vaginal gel for the reduction of recurrent preterm birth: primary results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Ultrasound Obstet.Gynecol. 2007;30(5):687-696. View abstract.
Stress is a major cause of progesterone deficiency for many of us. Chemically speaking, when cortisol, our stress hormone, spikes, it blocks progesterone receptors and limits the activity of progesterone. So we feel stressed out, tired, and our progesterone levels suffer. This is one of the many reasons why it is so crucial for a women to reduce stress when planning for a pregnancy.

Dr. Hotze: They can’t patent it. Can’t make any money on it. The other thing that can cause migraines, by the way, is food allergies. Common foods: wheat, corn, egg, milk, yeast, and soybean are the big six, but any food can cause food allergies. One of the food allergies, very commonly, is migraine headaches. So, if progesterone doesn’t solve the problem or magnesium, it may be a food allergy on that.
I have had insomnia for more than 3 months. I wake up in the middle of night I cannot go to sleep. All my hormones/thyroid tests were ok. However, the doctor never asked for progesterone. Do you think this might be the cause? I have also being unable to get pregnant for a year now. I work out between 40-1 hr every day. What can I do to improve my insomnia if progesterone is a cause please.

This symptom patching ?shotgun? approach often produces positive results in the beginning. For most sufferers, the fatigue of unknown origin improves. Anxiety tends to improve as well, due largely to progesterone effects. There is a general increase in energy, with fewer energy slumps. Sleep tends to improve from natural progesterone?s sedative effect. A sense of calm returns. Symptoms consistent with estrogen dominance, include: PMS, water retention, brain fog, anxiety, and heavy menses. Because progesterone opposes estrogen, these symptoms may subside if a person is indeed in estrogen dominance. For some, the benefit is significant and remarkable. They are given what appears to be a new lease on life. For the first time in years, many report feeling vibrant and energetic with a positive outlook on life.


Vitamin C- The ‘simple’ vitamin C is greatly needed by your adrenal glands.  So boosting your supply of this vitamin helps your adrenal glands make more hormones.  Food sources include fresh broccoli (not so much week old broccoli), peppers and lemons.  As a supplement, look for alma powder or a vitamin C with bioflavonoids.  It’s also in the Might Maca powder mentioned above.  You can take quite a bit; I’d suggest 1,000 - 3,000 mg/day.  Check with your doctor if you have any special medical conditions.

Estrogen -­ One of the female sex hormones and often referred to as the ³growing hormone² because of its role in the body. Estrogen is responsible for growing and maturing the uterine lining (lining that is shed during menstruation) and also matures the egg prior to ovulation. Estrogen is produced mostly by the ovaries but also in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands and in fat tissue. It is most abundant in the first half of the menstrual cycle (follicular phase).
Rouse, D. J., Caritis, S. N., Peaceman, A. M., Sciscione, A., Thom, E. A., Spong, C. Y., Varner, M., Malone, F., Iams, J. D., Mercer, B. M., Thorp, J., Sorokin, Y., Carpenter, M., Lo, J., Ramin, S., Harper, M., and Anderson, G. A trial of 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate to prevent prematurity in twins. N.Engl.J.Med. 8-2-2007;357(5):454-461. View abstract.

@Barbara, You’re right, taking a bio-identical hormone may negatively affect fertility when they are not needed. Progesterone can increase the chance of keeping a pregnancy in a woman who is chronically low. (to low progesterone and miscarriage is likely) And using some short term supplementation with progesterone can help a woman who is estrogen dominant.

I quit lactating and taking domperidone in July very abruptly and had insomnia, hot flashes and hyperventilating… The hyperventilating and hit flashes went away but the insomnia stayed… After 6 months I tried to relactating out if desperation took double domperidone but only made 10 Oz vs my old 30 Oz… Didn’t help me sleep so I quit.. A bit slower over a week.. Its been 6.5 weeks and no period yet… I’m dying to get biodentical testing done as my blood work appears normal. I’m crying and don’t feel like life is worth living… I’m just so exhausted.. Any advice?!!


hi, doc Julie D. Early last year i had my tubes blown open with dye from a Infer, Doc. I’m still having problems conceiving. As i read this passage here, I’m thinking that this may be my problem. I have regular periods. I’ve been receiving my period since it started. I’m now 30. I will ask my new doc to check on my hormone levels. I haven’t been to the doc this year because it gets depressing and heart-achey ya know.  It make me sad so in order to not feel this way I just don’t think about it.
Hai , Iam 29yrs old , got married 3yrs ago , since last year I am suffering with spotting for five days before my actual menstrual flow , my cycle is regular , is that due to progesterone deficiency, I am already on inferlity treatment since 4months , not yet conceived.. My gyno checked my prolactin levels bt not progesterone levels.. Please doctor suggest me something that I need to do… Will be waiting for ur answer…
As for taking progesterone during the first trimester – sometimes I think it’s better safe than sorry. (though your levels sound really good!) If you do choose to go on progesterone, you may want to ask for a bio-identical progesterone and stay away from the the other stuff. From what I’ve heard from other women, most of the time the cream is sufficient, but when women really do need the boost because of low progesterone, most docs tend to go with suppositories. They can also do another lab to make sure it’s rising sufficiently.
I have read that it can take from 3-6 months to clear from your body. There is some conflicting information about the best place to apply the cream. Sometimes it can build up in the fat in your skin. I haven’t tried it yet, still doing research, but putting it on the mucosal tissues outside of your vagina is supposed to be a better place to let it enter your bloodstream in a natural way. Thanks for your comment about the anxiety, this is the kind of stuff I’m reading about to see if it is a good choice for me.
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