Has Progesterone Got You Down?
Years ago, my cycle started getting a little crazy, I was noticing more anxiety, spotting, and PMS…nothing I have ever experienced before, this was NOT normal. It never is normal!
I had been under a lot more stress, starting a business, moving, had a new baby and probably wasn’t taking the best care of myself. So, what did I do? Anybody who knows me knows that I love experimenting with things, this way I can not only make recommendations but also have a first-hand experience of how it may or may not work…for me anyways! So, what did I do first? I evaluated my hormones via a lab test.
A little progesterone background first: Progesterone is important for pregnancy, it is also the hormone which balances estrogen. It is responsible for maturing the lining of the uterus to support pregnancy. However, when pregnancy is not the case it is then responsible for initiating menses, enhancing mood and getting proper sleep. Progesterone and particularly it’s metabolite a-pregnanediol is calming, seductive, easing and neutralizes stress…this is very important in our cycle to prevent anxiety! So, when this lovely metabolite is not high enough or if it drops too soon we notice cranky pants…withdrawal…the dreaded PMS!
3 things that impact Progesterone:
- Aging: from 35 years of age toward menopause progesterone begins to lower
- Stress: yes stress, stress impacts everything! Here cortisol which is produced while under stress actually blocks your progesterone from their cells, which causes lower progesterone and the result is anxiety, shorter luteal phase (the second part of your cycle) which could lead to infertility as well
- Not ovulating: If you do not ovulate, then your body is not signalling to produce progesterone, understanding why you are not ovulating is very important to fix the underlying cause
The good news is there are easy steps you can take today to begin addressing a progesterone deficiency! First and foremost, if you have not had your hormones checked, a properly done lab test and interpretation by a functional medicine doctor would be a good place to start!
A few other tips to begin healing:
- Vitamin C: Did you know that Vitamin C is the only vitamin actually proven to increase your Progesterone levels? As little as 750 mg/day can make a huge difference! This was a game changer for me!
- De-stress: Daily stress management practice
- Community: socializing with family and friends, connection with loved ones has shown to improve progesterone
- Calm Down: Avoiding stimulants
- Rest: Getting adequate and good quality sleep
If you’re reading this and shaking your head yes to all of this and maybe more, it is important to get your hormones checked to get at the underlying cause of what could be impacting them. This is just a part of the big picture!