Progesterone is a female steroid hormone (a hormone that affects the growth and development of the genitals) produced by the ovaries, adrenal glands, and the placenta during pregnancy. The function of progesterone is related to the female reproductive system and plays a huge role in pregnancy. Therefore, every woman must have all kinds of information regarding this hormone. Its deficiency in the body can also cause infertility.

Today in this article we are telling in detail how progesterone hormone is necessary for a woman -

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  1. Female fertility and progesterone
  2. Progesterone imbalance
  3. Role of progesterone hormone in females
  4. Progesterone level test
  5. Symptoms of low progesterone levels
  6. Causes of low progesterone levels
  7. Symptoms of high progesterone levels
  8. Causes of High Progesterone Levels
  9. Treatment for progesterone imbalance
  10. Takeaway

Progesterone is most important for carrying out reproductive functions. Its levels fluctuate during reproduction in women due to the following reasons -

  • The level of progesterone in the body of younger girls is somewhat lower because they have not started menstruation.
  • Progesterone levels are often higher in perimenopausal and pregnant women.
  • Women who have gone through menopause also have low progesterone levels because they no longer menstruate.

Progesterone is produced in women when an egg is released. It is produced in the uterus for fertilization of the egg. If the egg is not fertilized, the lining of the uterus is shed in the form of periods. Progesterone has many other functions besides pregnancy and the menstrual cycle. If there is a decrease in progesterone levels, infertility and menstrual problems may be encountered. Balanced progesterone and estrogen levels are essential for good health.

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Progesterone imbalance refers to fluctuations in the correct ratio of progesterone and estrogen hormones in the body. Female health depends on the balance of progesterone and estrogen. If there is a disturbance in their balance, they may have to face unbearable side effects.

When progesterone levels in the body are lower or higher than normal, the condition is called progesterone imbalance. Hormones are chemical messengers that circulate through fat cells in the body and provide instructions. Therefore, hormonal imbalance can cause a lot of discomfort, especially in women. However, progesterone levels can be affected quickly during menopause, pregnancy, and ovulation.

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Here we are telling in detail how progesterone hormone is necessary for women -

  • Progesterone plays an important role in many bodily functions, including blood clotting, gum health, and menstruation. However, the main responsibility of progesterone is to prepare the female body for pregnancy and ensure that the fetus is ready to receive the fertilized egg.
  • High levels of progesterone affect libido in the absence of periods after menopause.
  • Progesterone produces mucus in the vagina which protects against vaginal infections. Just before menstruation, high levels of progesterone prepare the inner lining of the uterus for a fertilized egg.
  • If fertilization of the egg does not take place in the uterus, the level of progesterone decreases and the lining of the uterus is shed from the body in the form of menstruation.
  • Progesterone lowers the immunity of the uterus allowing sperm to enter the body to fertilize the egg.
  • The low levels of progesterone act to make the uterus more flexible to push the embryo out of the uterus. In contrast, during labor, low levels of progesterone are necessary for the expulsion of the fetus.
  • High levels of progesterone prevent the mother from producing milk (lactation) during pregnancy, while low levels of progesterone help produce milk after pregnancy.
  • During menopause, decreased progesterone levels can cause low body temperature and problems like hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Low levels of progesterone also prevent periods from occurring. When progesterone fails to prepare the uterus for pregnancy, menstruation does not occur.
  • Progesterone stimulates new bone formation and increases bone density.
  • Progesterone reduces gallbladder activity, which helps prevent gallbladder disease and keeps the digestive system healthy.
  • Progesterone increases levels of anti-inflammatory agents that contribute to a healthy immune system.
  • Progesterone helps in blood clotting and cell oxidation.
  • Progesterone also helps convert stored fat into energy.

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Progesterone tests measure the amount of progesterone present in blood and saliva. It is important to check for both high and low levels when measuring progesterone levels as both levels have different side effects on the body.

Progesterone test also helps in detecting reduced fertility in women, risk of miscarriage, and when ovulation can properly occur.

Progesterone levels in pregnant women are 10 times higher than in normal women. Thus progesterone testing is very useful and important.

Progesterone levels can be checked in two ways. Which can be done very easily and their results are usually ready in less than 24 hours.

  • Blood test - Women who want to have a blood test should not take contraceptive medications 24 hours before the test.
  • Saliva test - Alternatively, progesterone levels can also be measured from saliva. About 3-5% of progesterone is found in saliva. The saliva test is useful for calculating the amount of progesterone produced by the ovaries and for comparing the results of two or more women.

Women who have recently had a thyroid or bone scan should not undergo a progesterone test as doing so may affect the results. Progesterone test results can vary depending on the period of menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause. It can also be affected by the following reasons -

  • Ampicillin and clomiphene can affect the progesterone levels in women.
  • Progesterone levels fluctuate throughout the day.
  • Excessive exercise (usually in professional athletes) causes progesterone levels to drop.
  • Serious problems related to fertility and menstrual cycles can be assessed by blood or saliva tests.

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Symptoms of low progesterone levels are different for every woman. These symptoms are mild in some women and more in others. The following are the symptoms of low progesterone levels -

Decreased progesterone levels can result from several different causes, especially variations in levels of health and current menopause. In women who have experienced menopause, the ovaries slow down, producing only a small fraction of the normal amount of progesterone and estrogen.

Decreased progesterone levels can also be caused by stress, anxiety, or poor diet. The causes of decreased progesterone levels can be classified into two groups -

  • Natural causes - As the name suggests, these are naturally occurring changes within the body that cannot be avoided as you have no control over them. For example, there is a sudden drop in high levels of progesterone immediately after pregnancy.
  • Induced causes - You have control over these factors such as poor diet etc.

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When women do not produce eggs or are not pregnant, progesterone levels increase in them. Due to this, they have to face many unpleasant symptoms. However, the severity of symptoms varies from woman to woman. Some of the physical and psychological symptoms associated with high progesterone levels are -

  • Drowsiness
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal infection
  • Decreased libido
  • Incontinence

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The two biggest reasons progesterone levels increase are ovulation and pregnancy. During this, the level of progesterone increases. Progesterone dominance may occur during menopause when both estrogen and progesterone production decrease. Progesterone levels can also increase due to poor health. Without regular exercise and a balanced diet, it is a little difficult for the body to keep hormones balanced.

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There are three ways to treat progesterone imbalance, which are explained in detail below -

Lifestyle changes

Yoga and meditation for stress reduction, regular exercise, and a balanced diet bring positive changes in every woman. Diet is especially important and certain foods are particularly important for increasing progesterone levels.

When estrogen levels are high, progesterone levels decrease. According to studies, foods that balance estrogen levels such as soy, applesalfalfacherriespotatoes, rice, wheat yams, etc. also help in controlling or preventing the symptoms of progesterone imbalance.

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Alternative medicine

Alternative medicine can be an extremely effective way to treat progesterone imbalance. These methods include many different treatments, with herbal remedies being the most popular option. Dong quai [a Chinese herb used to treat women's health problems (Dong Quai)], fenugreek, unicorn root, and wild yam are all used to balance progesterone.

Two types of herbs can be used to treat progesterone imbalance: phytoestrogens and hormone-regulating supplements. Hormonal imbalances are treated with phytoestrogens such as black cohosh. However, by increasing hormone levels through external means, the body's ability to produce hormones naturally is harmed which can further lead to hormone deficiency.

In contrast, hormone-controller supplements do not contain any estrogen. These herbs stimulate hormone production while nourishing the endocrine glands. Which helps them to produce natural hormones. Hormone regulator supplements such as Macafem are considered the safest way to naturally reduce the symptoms of progesterone imbalance.

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Hormone replacement therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a quick and surefire way to deal with hormonal imbalances, but it can have serious and potentially fatal side effects. It also increases the risk of many types of cancer. Apart from these three treatment methods, the doctor may also use other methods to balance the progesterone levels. Doing this depends on the severity of your problem.

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Progesterone plays an important role in women's health. While it is essential for pregnancy, regular menstruation is also associated with this hormone. If this hormone is deficient in a woman's body, then she may have to face problems related to infertility and menstruation. Therefore, a woman should pay special attention to her health and be aware of the imbalance of hormones.

(Read More - What does your period say about your health)

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