Progesterone is a steroidal hormone that plays a large role in menstruation and pregnancy. It is a chemical messenger that informs different cells in the body how and when to perform certain functions.
Consequently, it is essential that women have normal progesterone levels so that their bodies are able to run correctly. Progesterone levels change throughout the day and vary depending on pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause. Thus, it is surprisingly easy for women to become deficient in progesterone.
What Is Progesterone Deficiency?
Progesterone deficiency occurs when estrogen is produced but there is no ovulation. As a result, there is too much estrogen and not enough progesterone.
Progesterone deficiency can be caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, high stress, and anxiety. In other words, an unhealthy body is less able to run efficiently.
Progesterone Deficiency Tests
Testing for progesterone deficiency is simple and fast, with results typically available within 24 hours.
For most women, one blood test is sufficient to measure progesterone deficiency. However, if a woman wishes to have a more comprehensive test, several tests can be performed over a period of a few days. This provides a clearer picture of progesterone fluctuations over time.
A saliva test is also often used to measure progesterone levels. A test that measures progesterone levels in saliva calculates the amount of progesterone that is not being used. It is helpful for evaluating how much progesterone is being secreted by the ovaries, or for comparing the individual progesterone levels of two women.
Progesterone Deficiency Symptoms
There are various symptoms of progesterone deficiency, also called estrogen dominance:
- Absence of menstruation
- Loss of libido
- Mood swings
- Increased risk of endometrial cancer
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Breast tenderness
- Gum disease (i.e., gingivitis)
- Infertility or not ovulating
- Early miscarriage
- Carbohydrate cravings
- Irregular periods
- Ovarian cysts
- Menstrual cramps
- Puffiness or bloating
- Water retention
- Lower body temperature
Fortunately, there are many ways to treat progesterone deficiency and relieve the symptoms that come along with it. Click on the link below to learn more about treatments for progesterone imbalance.