Low progesterone levels can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as insomnia, dizziness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, extreme changes in mood, bloating, weight gain, muscle pain, joint pain, and urinary incontinence. Other possible symptoms of low progesterone may include frequent urinary tract infections, interstitial cystitis, changes in appetite, hot flashes, cold chills, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Symptoms in hormone fluctuations should be brought to a doctor's attention for treatment. Most doctors will not recommend self-treatment for women who are having discomfort because many things should be taken into consideration before using hormone replacement therapy. Other health conditions and even family history will play a part in how a doctor will go about prescribing treatment for fluctuating hormones.
While natural progesterone most likely does not have negative consequences, you should not use self-treat. Self treating yourself with progesterone could delay your period. If you are trying to conceive, that means it will delay ovulation. Next, progesterone can build up in your tissues so even once you stop taking it, it may takes several months for your body to get rid of the access progesterone. Read below for possible side effects. Read here for one woman’s story on what she experienced with taking too much natural progesterone.

Donielle, your thoughts on estrogen dominance playing a part in early ovulation post birth definitely line up for me as well. I’ve ebf on demand all my babies and after my first I told my MW at 3wks postpartum that I felt like i was ovulating, she said, “most likely not, it was just my hormones trying to balance out again.” Two weeks later I started my period and my cycles were regular @ 25 days until i conceived again!!! AH! Then I was tandem nursing and pumping for a preemie and my cycles still returned early, 10 wks pp.!! Until i conceived when my baby was 5mo. After our 3rd though my body has been really wacked out and my normal, every 25 day, ovulated on day 14 w period 11 days later is out the window! Anyways, I say all that to say…. ALL this makes SO much since now and I’m shocked my MW never even mentioned progesterone as a possible issue! I’ve also had some thyroid numbers that didn’t line up and so I just thought that was the issue and have been trying to naturally address those issues but its been challenging since ive gotten but hypo and hyper numbers/ results. Ah! I’m just looking for some straight answers and feel like i’ve finally found them! *sigh of relief* So now, along w our whole foods diet and what not, ive been on vitex (although i just read in a comment that is not good to take if you’re dealing w bad pms symptoms…. wanting to eat my family alive 2-3 days a month is prob a pretty serious pms symptom, lol…. I’ll have to check into that more and reaccess it), and have also done progesterone cream (ordered some good bio-idenical oil from womhoo.com that should be here tomorrow) for the past two months post ovulation. I’m praying the next baby sticks and should know something in about 4 days. :-O Although, i’m a bit nervous (ok, a lot nervous) after loosing two babies in 60 days and the last was just at the end of June. Just fyi, i was actually trying not to get preg this month bc i didn’t feel ready to deal w another loss but “lucky” me, I ovulated twice this month. Ack! I was very careful…Very, as in abstinent, until after the 1st ovulation. (noted by temp shift) Then a bit of fun and a second ovulation occurred that night. Eek!! Last time i conceived durning a double ovulation, i conceived twins (miscarried one though 🙁 ). Anyways, now that you have my life story… sorry, i got a bit carried away…. oops. Thanks for all the insight you post/ share w the rest of us! Blessings!!


I just received test results back that have my progesterone at 47 (vs. 75-270 healthy) and my PG(?) ratio (progesterone to estrogen) at 28 (vs. 100-500 healthy). Clearly, there’s a problem. I got tested b/c my hair has fallen out like you cannot imagine. Scary. Almost bald. I want to use a natural progesterone cream ASAP to try to get the hair growth back but I had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) in 2007. Does that mean I really shouldn’t try a cream? Thank you so much for your GREAT site!
High progesterone levels may be determined for several reasons. These tests may be ordered to assess infertility. The test can determine if the woman is ovulating normally. If the ovulation is not normal, the test can tell what type of drug therapy may be helpful. If a woman has symptoms such as abdominal pain or spotting, the doctor may suspect an ectopic pregnancy or a possible miscarriage. For some women, injections of the hormone may help maintain a threatened pregnancy, so the test will show how much hormone she may need. When a doctor monitors a high-risk pregnancy, he may order one of these tests. And if a woman is experience progesterone side effects such as abnormal uterine bleeding, the test will confirm the diagnosis.

I am 34. My DH and I have been trying to conceive for 7 years. I have done tons of researching!! We have been medically checked and told we have unexplained fertility. My hormone, and thyroid tests came back good. I have spent 2 years BBT. Temps ranging 96- 97.4 pre O and anywhere from 97.6- 98.2 post O. My temps fluctuate a lot. I became very frustrated with temping and finally gave it up. I have a short follicular phase. Will see O fluids as early as 7 days past period. My cycles range from 24 to 27 days with 2-4 days of brown spotting before period actually starts. I have tried so many different herbs. Did the whole vitex thing only to quit when I discovered the negative side of it. I’ve done progesterone cream, but always stopped before too long as I did not want my body to become dependent on it. I have symptoms of low progesterone and find in frustrating to know how to correct it. We eat a VERY clean organic paleo diet. Have been for 2 years.
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)
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?
The progesterone prescription products that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are LIKELY SAFE for most people when used by mouth, applied to the skin, applied into vagina, or injected into the muscle with the advice and care of a healthcare professional. However, progesterone can cause many side effects including stomach upset, changes in appetite, weight gain, fluid retention and swelling (edema), fatigue, acne, drowsiness or insomnia, allergic skin rashes, hives, fever, headache, depression, breast discomfort or enlargement, premenstrual syndrome (PMS)-like symptoms, altered menstrual cycles, irregular bleeding, and other side effects.
The anovulatory cycle is another sign of infertility.  This is when ovulation does not take place and is common in woman in their mid-thirties, although younger women are now also suffering from these cycles.  Excessive FSH and LH causes this.  Too much FSH and LH stimulates the ovaries which in turn make too much estrogen and testosterone.  If these four hormones are in excess, ovulation is prevented as well as the production of progesterone. Excessive use of contraceptives or stress is believed to be the cause.

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Transdermal application (through the skin) has been found to be one of the most effective ways to use natural progesterone. It is absorbed through the skin into the underlying fat which helps to allow progesterone dissolve slowly into the blood. This way of application helps the progesterone to be “time released” into the blood stream. To closely mimic the body’s progesterone cycle, it is best to use progesterone cream twice a day.

Vaginal suppositories – the version most easily absorbed, doctors can write a prescription for bio-identical suppositories which are like easily disolved pills you insert in your vagina every night. The downfall is that they can be messy, and sometimes you have to visit a specialized compounding pharmacy, but if other versions aren’t working for you it’s worth it to try them.
Hi, I am 29yrs old struggling to conceive for d past 3yrs. My doctor did some test and found my progesterone level is low which is why I have an irregular period. Though she(doctor) place me on progesterone injection and drugs but am still not satisfy because after the injections, I had my period once and it never came back in preceding months. Pls what did I do?
There are two ways to use progesterone cream for PCOS. The first is the Suppression Cycle. To suppress the cycle one would use progesterone cream on cycle days 7-26. If you do not have a menstrual cycle you would choose a date on your calendar and mark it as day 7. Suppressing the cycle allows the body to rest by stopping the cycle of eggs not being released and estrogen/androgen dominance. Dr. John Lee suggests using 60-100mg of progesterone cream a day during the suppression cycle and to repeat this for 3-4 months for best results.

I haven’t really seen any studies that say there is a problem using it in the short term, only in women that use it for years and years with every cycle. Plenty of women have been able to keep from miscarrying by using progesterone, even as just a preventative. Just make sure you look for a cream made with ingredients you can pronounce. 🙂 And should you get a positive pregnancy test, make sure to have your OB get your progesterone tested immediately! If you’re low they can put you on a larger dose of progesterone than the cream can offer in order to help out that much more.
The genitourinary system includes the breasts and vagina. The gastrointestinal system includes the stomach and intestines. Twenty-seven percent of patients experience breast tenderness, 11 percent experience urinary problems and 10 percent experience vaginal discharge. Patients may also experience vaginal dryness, breast pain and breast enlargement. Progesterone use may also trigger breast cancer. Twenty percent of women will experience abdominal pain and 8 percent will experience bloating, diarrhea and nausea.
I have a healthy 2 year old (although delivered 5 weeks early). I then had two miscarriages in a row this year . I have been given no answers as to why. I have a lot of these symptoms for low progesterone (specifically acne, headaches, long cycles, hot flashes at night) but def not weight gain. I’m wondering if people with low progesterone had healthy pregnancies prior to miscarriages and if progesterone could lower with age perhaps ? Wondering why first pregnsncy was fine and can’t keep the others …
@Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama, I’ve got a few thoughts on this- but basically I think that “traditionally” (before estrogen dominance became so prevalent) ovulation didn’t occur until the baby was weaned/almost weaned. Because most of the time babies were spaced out a few years apart. I’ve done some research into biblical times breastfeeding and it seems that the norm was about 3 years until weaning and babies were about 3-4 years apart.
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. 
You’ll also need to rest (you read that right).  Remember earlier how we said that running around without time to rest and reflect can lead to poor food choices?  Beyond poor food choices, it can lead to poor life choices!  So take some time each day to let your mind unwind.  You can read a book, journal, meditate, nap…whatever you like.  It’s great to occasionally take a retreat in a natural setting too. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep each night, as critical healing and rebuilding happens nightly.
I have been trying to get pregnant for over two years now. I do not have periods at all. If I use this cream is it going to further prohibit me from having periods? I’ve been on progesterone pills before and I had to take them for ten days then go off then in order to have a period. So do I not use the cream in order to stimulate a period? What if I get pregnant? Is stopping going to end the pregnancy?
At this point, patients are told they have a hormonal imbalance and will need natural hormone replacement that can include estrogen, progesterone, and sometimes also testosterone. Typically, patients are also given thyroid support, vitamin C, vitamin B, glandulars, herbs, DHEA and pregnenolone at the same time. Such a multi-hormone approach is designed to replace diminishing hormones the body may be experiencing. The key to success or failure of such an approach lies largely in the dosage and delivery system of the hormone replacement. Some doctors tend to be quite aggressive, while others are more conservative.
Should I talk to my (new) doctor and have some serious tests done? Ive always expressed my concerns with past doctors and all they seem to want to do is say im too young for anything serious and put me on birth control. But I really want to find out the root of whats going on. I just want an “oh this is why all of this is happening”. I am 25 years old.
Dawn, that is very interesting information! For the last 6 months my cycle has only been 21 days (it used to be 28 days), I have no idea if I am ovulating, and I spot for days before my period (brown), and sometimes randomly thru the month. I tried Progessence Plus this month, and my cycle was 29 days this time around, but I spotted more than usual, and got horrible cystic acne on my face (not sure if this is related to the Progessence Plus or not?)….and I still don’t know for sure if I ovulated. I think I will begin taking my temperature next month to see if I am ovulating. I have no idea what is going on with me, but clearly something is wrong. I am also hypothyroid, but I thought it was under control since I’m taking Armor Thyroid. (My doctor reduced my dose of Armor Thyroid this month, so not sure if that could play a roll in my cycle?) I am SO confused!!! I would love to hear any ideas anyone may have.
Estrogen and progesterone play a seesaw game over the course of a month, and over the course of your life as a woman.  Estrogen is needed to stimulate your ovaries and grow your uterine lining in the first part of your cycle.  This strong first half leads to strong progesterone in the second half, unless something goes wrong. The following points can all be causes of low progesterone.

lastly, I started working out again finally (had been way too tired / no energy to do so before) about 2 months ago.   In an effort to gain weight, eat healthy again and feel better.   I have started gaining weight and my food appetite is back and no more sugar cravings.  However….the fatigue, foggy headedness, can’t concentrate, and a few days even blah or down…….I want that to go away!!!  Thanks!!!  

Maybe you can help me shed some light on this. Unlike everyone else here, I am actually looking to decrease progesterone. My progesterone levels according to a recent salivary hormone test are 5 times higher than the highest normal. And I have not been supplementing. I am, however, under near constant stress. And my cortisol levels are high, too, though not as high as the progesterone. All other hormone levels show up as normal. I also have a history of candida and have been suffering from biliary dyskinesia. Any help would be appreciated.
I’m 49 and my period is 5 weeks late. I had blood work done and I have NO progesterone or pregnenolone and low T3. Suggestions??? Stress? Yep! Lots and lots. Divorce, cheating husband, 14 year old son turning on me…influenced by father and bad friend. Not the best of times but lots of good stuff going on also. Worry of kids kind of trumps all though.
I am 34. My DH and I have been trying to conceive for 7 years. I have done tons of researching!! We have been medically checked and told we have unexplained fertility. My hormone, and thyroid tests came back good. I have spent 2 years BBT. Temps ranging 96- 97.4 pre O and anywhere from 97.6- 98.2 post O. My temps fluctuate a lot. I became very frustrated with temping and finally gave it up. I have a short follicular phase. Will see O fluids as early as 7 days past period. My cycles range from 24 to 27 days with 2-4 days of brown spotting before period actually starts. I have tried so many different herbs. Did the whole vitex thing only to quit when I discovered the negative side of it. I’ve done progesterone cream, but always stopped before too long as I did not want my body to become dependent on it. I have symptoms of low progesterone and find in frustrating to know how to correct it. We eat a VERY clean organic paleo diet. Have been for 2 years.
Vaginal suppositories – the version most easily absorbed, doctors can write a prescription for bio-identical suppositories which are like easily disolved pills you insert in your vagina every night. The downfall is that they can be messy, and sometimes you have to visit a specialized compounding pharmacy, but if other versions aren’t working for you it’s worth it to try them.
If you are looking at natural alternatives, I would highly recommend consulting an acupuncturist trained in Chinese medicine. They can tell you what foods and herbs can help and also if they are good, will ask you how you deal with stress and how balanced your life is in general. I used to think that alternative medicine was only for weirdos but I tried it and it actually fixed my hormonal imbalances that had led to infertility.
Unfortunately, for most this honeymoon does not last indefinitely. While some people continue to do well on such a program, many report this multiple hormone replacement approach gradually loses effectiveness over time. Those who are already in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue prior to beginning such program are particularly vulnerable. Over months or years, there is a slow but gradual loss of the positive clinical outcome as compared to the initial benefit. As time progresses, many return to their doctor for more help.

I got pregnant with my son in 2008 on accident. Then when he was 7 months old I became pregnant with my daughter. With both I got my period back at 4 months PP even though I was EBF. We have been ttc for 10 months now. My cycles are usually 28 days, but I have had a 26 day cycle, and also a 27 day cycle within these last 10 months. I charted temp for 2 months, and the charts imply that I am ovulating. I went to a midwife because of the lack of pregnancy and also because I was having very heavy, crampy periods for the first 2 days of it. At the end of my periods (Day 6, 7, and sometimes I spot brown once or twice on day 8) I have brown thick discharge. She thought that I may have endometriosis although no tests have been run. That was just her theory I guess. I have low body temp that is usually around 96 something upon waking, but has been 95 before. I get cold very easily and have a hard time warming up. My hands and feet are also very cold. I’m extremely emotional. Around the 14th day of my cycle I was starting to get extremely nauseous to the point where I thought I was going to throw up for 24 hours straight and just would dry heave. I get very bloated and gassy randomely in my cycle. I usually have a high libido, and don’t have any problems with dryness. I THINK I have been ovulating around day 14 (if I am in fact ovulating). This month I started using Pro G Yam 500, and I also am charting this month using the billings method. I started the cream on day 9 and have been using 1/4 tsp twice daily which I think is a total of around 42mg. The billings method chart is saying that I probably ovulated on Day 12. My sex drive was high for only a few days (around when I was ovulating), and now I don’t want anything to do with my husband really. 🙂 I am now on CD20 (7DPO). I haven’t had any nausea really to speak of but I am incredibly hungry (especially for bread and sugar). I was eating a mostly paleo diet until the last few days where I just feel out of control. I usually eat organic/non dairy/grass fed meats. I also have been in kind of a hibernation mode for about a week and a half. The only place I seem to really make it to is the gym because I crave exercise. On Feb. 8th I have an appointment with an OB because I want some testing done to see what my levels are for everything. I just want somebody else’s opinion here. My reasoning for starting the cream was that I thought I was overproducing estrogen considering the symptoms I was having with the periods and the nausea etc. The end of my cycles were so much like pregnancy (because of the nausea, cravings, gassiness which I know can be PMS but I never got PMS at all before I had my two children) I kept thinking I was pregnant. I started eating a more paleo diet, even though I was already eating well, because I wanted to eliminate dairy and wheat in case it was contributing to my issues, and I wanted to take it easy on my liver. In addition to the change of diet I chose the pro g yam to help increase progesterone in order to balance estrogen and to GET PREGNANT, which is very much my main goal. Does it sound like I am on the right track? Could this natural progesterone cream be causing the intense sugar cravings and hibernation? It also could be because of the winter (freezing temps) and maybe the stress of TTC month after month. What are your thoughts? (SORRY FOR THE BOOK!)

Hoping someone may be able to give me some much needed advice! I came of of Yasmin in January after being on it for 5 years. I have had a hx of endo and hormonal related acne which the Yasmin helped ‘fix’ completely. Since coming off Yasmin I had what seemed like normal cycles (albeit every 35 days) until May. Now I am experiencing Amenorrhea and have had an acne break out on my face and part of my back. My Dr tested my hormone levels and said my progesterone is basically nil. I have also been feeling a bit of anxiety/depression at times. I don’t really want to go back on the ocp, as when hubby and I decide for kids i’ll have to come off of it and will no doubt experience all these things again but am worried about taking a progesterone pill. I have been taking vitex for the past 3 weeks and haven’t noticed any changes…and advice would be appreciated!!
I don’t see why taking both at once would cause an issue. Vitex doesn’t directly add hormones to your body, only supports the production of them. And some women don’t do well on vitex. I don’t mean to go against your NP, but you may want to look into vitex a bit more if you are having symptoms get worse. It’s often touted as THE herb to regulate cycles, but like with any type of plant based medicine, it doesn’t work the same way for everyone as our body chemistry is different. It’s all about fining the herbs suited to your needs.
Hi Kathryn, can I get your contact info. I am having symptoms of low progesterone and it causes me insomia. I never seek medical help cause im working in middle east now and most of the doctors here arw not even verse with hormonal problems. I suspect im having low progesterone. I really need help, there are months that I will have 10days without proper sleep
Dr. Kimberly Langdon Cull is a University-trained Obstetrician/Gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She delivered over 2000 babies and specializes in gynecologic diseases such as menstrual disorders, infertility diagnosis and treatment especially pertaining to tubal blockage and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Dr. Langdon is the inventor of 6 patent pending medical devices, and attended Ohio State University from 1987-1995 receiving her Medical Doctorate Degree (M.D.) with Honors in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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.
If you think that you’ve got the signs of low progesterone, besides a progesterone test you may need to get a blood test to confirm whether your conjecture was right or not. For accurate progesterone test results, the blood test ought to be done approximately 7 days before your cycle. The minimum progesterone level should be higher than 1 ng/mL during your ovulation period. If the progesterone levels appear to be low, the first thing you need to do is see your doctor because self-diagnosing will not give you the true picture.

In some severe cases, the PMS or premenstrual syndromes can even cause advanced stages of disorders. The low levels of Progesterone have an effect on the neurotransmitters in your brain and thus can result in mood swings and depression. Though mood swings are general symptoms during menstruation, a high intensity of these occurrences can indicate low Progesterone levels.

Fertility or menstrual problems: Estrogen grows the lining of your uterus to prepare it for conception (remember that grass analogy above?). But progesterone also has an important role – to ensure that the lining remains there for roughly 14 days after ovulation (the luteal phase) in case you become pregnant. If you conceive, progesterone rises. If not, progesterone levels drop again causing the shedding of the uterine lining which we know as menstruation.
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