If you are suffering from fatigue or foggy thinking, weight gain, skin trouble insomnia, low libido, infertility or irregular periods, low progesterone may be to blame!
While these symptoms can be triggered by other causes, progesterone may be responsible.
There are many reasons why progesterone deficiency occurs. A diet higher in sugar, feeling stressed out, use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, pharmaceutical drugs, and heavy metal exposure can all limit the activity of progesterone.
So how do you know if your progesterone is low?
Here are the top 6 symptoms. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s a starting point.
1. Menstrual irregularity & infertility
PMS. Most PMS symptoms whether physical or emotional, are progesterone related. Anxiety, depression, irritability, bloating, cravings and breast sensitivity/swelling are all signs of progesterone deficiency. Cycles that are too far apart or infrequent, cycles that are too short, bleeding or spotting mid cycle or difficulty conceiving point to a progesterone problem.
2. Fatigue & foggy thinking
Many women, regardless of childbearing status will start to experience a shift in energy, mental capacity, and memory with a progesterone deficiency. Struggling with that afternoon energy dip? Feeling forgetful or spacey? Ask your doctor to check your progesterone levels at your next visit.
3. Anxiety & insomnia
Progesterone stimulates GABA receptors, an inhibitory or relaxing neurotransmitter in our brain and nervous system. If progesterone is low, you can feel anxious, irritated, have a lower tolerance for stress and sleep poorly at night.
4. Depression & low libido
Many women think a shift in estrogen is behind their lack of sex-drive or low mood when in fact after 30, progesterone levels decline more rapidly than estrogen. This drop in progesterone relative to estrogen can create mood imbalance and lower libido, so have your levels checked.
5. Sugar cravings & weight gain
Progesterone supports a healthy fat metabolism, and while diet, especially one higher in processed sugar, alcohol and refined foods is usually to blame, hormone imbalance can create metabolic dysfunction leading to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
6. Acne & dry skin/brittle nails
Having low progesterone in relation to estrogen can increase insulin. This leads to androgen excess, which amplifies testosterone production in the skin producing unwanted acne. Dry, dull skin, brittle, cracked or peeling nails and hair loss can also be signs of a shift in hormones.
Next Steps: have a discussion with your primary care provider (ND or MD) about the symptoms you’re experiencing. A proper evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plan can provide a world of relief!
Dr. Alaina Overton, ND
Dr. Alaina Overton has a special focus in women’s health and hormones. To book your initial consultation with Dr. Alaina, please visit our website www.theiv.ca to book online or call us at 604-974-8999.