Progesterone is an essential hormone in men and women for brain function, healthy nervous systems, normal blood sugars and for boosting thyroid function which ultimately regulates your metabolism.  Progesterone helps us use fat for energy (rather than just storing it) and has beneficial anti-inflammatory effects for reducing swelling. Moreover, progesterone has a calming effect that helps with sleep  and avoiding migraines and headaches among other things.

In women, progesterone is the ‘conception’ hormone that is critical for conception and gestation: the name ‘progesterone’ means “promoting gestation” which conveys the importance in fertility and sustaining pregnancies. After menopause, the ovaries no longer produce the hormone but the body still needs it, and the adrenal glands are supposed to make what’s needed, if they are healthy and not too fatigued. (see adrenal fatigue blog).

Interestingly, progesterone is also produced in the nervous system cells, which is a key contributor to brain health in both women and men.

Like any hormone, progesterone levels can be too high, just right or too low.  In particular, the ratio of progesterone to testosterone is important, because estrogen-dominance (too much estorogen) not only causes weight gain and belly fat, it also promotes cancers and cancer growth.  This is part of why cancers are caused: we used to think it only came from carcinogens and chemicals, but so many chemicals we absorb actually mimic estrogen or our body confuses them as being estrogen (see blog, toxicity and estrogen endocrine disruptors).  So whether you have estrogen dominance and make too much estrogen, or you absorb chemicals which fake your body to thinking you have high estrogen, or you do a bit of both, progesterone is critical to balance the estrogen out and keep you healthy. Who knew, right?

How do you know if you are high or low or just right on progesterone?  You can sort of guess based on the following symptoms, but many symptoms are the same whether you have high or low progesterone, so it’s always best to do a DUTCH urine test and find out not only where you are at, but exactly what to do about it!

Low progesterone symptoms:

  • Migraines, headaches
  • Skin problems – acne, dried skin, brittle nails
  • Low libido
  • Slow metabolism, belly fat, sugar cravings
  • Bloating, joint pain, inflammation
  • Infertility
  • PMS
  • Depression, anxiety, mood swings
  • Allergy symptoms

High progesterone symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety, depression
  • Bloating
  • Low libido
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes
  • Urinary infections
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Incontinence

Honestly, one of the most common symptoms of a progesterone imbalance is fatigue and lethargy, but so many other things also cause these symptoms including other hormone imbalances that it always best to get tested using the dutch urine test.

What you can do to help maintain progesterone where it should be:

  • Follow the anti-inflammatory meal plans from FEWL
  • Decrease toxic chemical exposure (do our toxicity assessment to see where you rank and can improve)
  • Do the FEWL detox kit 2x a year
  • Get active – especially strength training to boost overall hormone production
  • Actively manage stress – we are all stressed, so actually do something to reduce your stress hormones such as go for a walk outside, or meditate / deeply breathe quietly even for just 5 minutes a day.
  • Use appropriate herbs that boost progesterone.
  • Call FEWL for a free strategy session if you think your progesterone is out of whack.
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