Progesterone is a crucial hormone that plays a vital role in the female reproductive system and conception. Progesterone is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle, supporting pregnancy, and maintaining overall hormonal balance. However, many women experience low progesterone levels, which can lead to various health issues. In this blog post, we will delve into the five common causes of low progesterone and explore how they can disrupt hormonal balance. Understanding these causes can ensure you are able to take proactive steps towards optimising your hormonal health for conception.
Below I also touch on how optimal progesterone levels are crucial for not only falling pregnant but maintaining a pregnancy and preventing recurrent miscarriage.
Blood Sugar Issues: One of the primary causes of low progesterone is blood sugar imbalances. Insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, also impacts the production and function of sex hormones. When insulin is not functioning correctly, it can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance in the body, affecting progesterone production. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels through a balanced diet and lifestyle choices is crucial for supporting optimal hormonal health.
Poor Mitochondrial Function: Mitochondria, often referred to as the powerhouse of cells, play a vital role in energy production. Interestingly, the human egg contains a significantly higher number of mitochondria compared to other cells in the body. This abundance of mitochondria is necessary to provide the energy required for reproductive processes. Poor mitochondrial function can compromise energy production, leading to decreased progesterone levels. Supporting mitochondrial health through a nutrient-rich diet and regular exercise can help restore hormonal balance.
Nutrient Deficiencies: Inadequate nutrient intake can have far-reaching consequences on overall health, including hormonal balance. Nutrients serve as the building blocks for hormone synthesis and regulation. Without an adequate supply of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the body may struggle to produce sufficient progesterone. A deficiency in key nutrients can disrupt the delicate interplay of hormones, resulting in low progesterone levels. A well-balanced diet, along with targeted supplementation when necessary, can address nutrient deficiencies and support optimal hormonal health.
Chronic Inflammation: Chronic inflammation, stemming from factors such as dietary choices, exposure to toxins, gut issues, and lifestyle habits, can contribute to hormonal imbalances. Inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of various body systems, including the reproductive system. When the body is under constant inflammation, it diverts its resources towards resolving the inflammatory response, impacting hormone production. Chronic inflammation can reduce progesterone levels, leading to irregular menstrual cycles. Addressing the underlying causes of inflammation through dietary modifications, toxin avoidance, and stress management techniques can help restore hormonal balance.
Chronic Stress: The effects of chronic stress on hormonal health cannot be overstated. When the body perceives chronic stress, the brain signals the adrenal glands to release cortisol, a stress hormone. This prolonged elevation of cortisol levels can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance, including the production of progesterone. The body prioritizes cortisol production over other hormones, such as progesterone, leading to decreased progesterone levels. Managing stress through techniques like mindfulness, exercise, and self-care practices is essential for maintaining optimal hormonal health.
Progesterone plays a vital role in supporting conception and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Insufficient levels of progesterone can lead to delayed conception and an increased risk of recurrent miscarriage.
After ovulation, progesterone prepares the uterine lining for implantation and supports the early stages of pregnancy. Insufficient progesterone can lead to a thin uterine lining, making it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant successfully. Additionally, low progesterone may affect the quality and development of the uterine environment, compromising the chances of conception and contributing to recurrent miscarriage.
Low progesterone levels are often indicative of underlying hormonal imbalances, which can further contribute to delayed conception and recurrent miscarriage. Hormonal disruptions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis dysfunction, can interfere with the regular production and release of progesterone.
So what are optimal progesterone levels on pathology testing? You want to make sure they are over 35.
Do you suspect you have low progesterone or have you had your levels tested and they have come back low? Then make sure you reach out and book in a discovery call so we can chat about ways to help increase your levels for successful conception.