What Are the Signs of Low Progesterone?

Woman suffering with headache to illustrate signs of low progesterone
Medically Reviewed
February 15, 2024

If you’ve been feeling off lately and can’t pinpoint why, it might be time to check your hormone health – specifically your progesterone levels – to check if you have some of the telltale signs of low progesterone. Progesterone is a key player in women’s bodies, and when it dips too low, it can lead to a cascade of symptoms.

But first, a quick reminder. In women, progesterone…

  • regulates your menstrual cycles,
  • causes breast development and facilitates lactation after pregnancy,
  • supports brain health,
  • regulates your mood,
  • assists with bone health, and
  • has thermogenic effects.

However, when progesterone levels fall, you can find a number of signs and symptoms you may not immediately link to low progesterone levels. Let’s look at them in turn.

Recognizing the Signs of Low Progesterone

The following list seems long, and you may not experience all of them! But once you can recognize the signs of low progesterone you can move on to regaining your health and vitality.

Low Progesterone and Irregular Menstrual Cycles

Irregular menstrual cycles are one of the most common signs of low progesterone. Progesterone is essential for the second half of the menstrual cycle, thickening your uterine lining in preparation for a potential pregnancy. When levels are low, it can lead to a range of menstrual irregularities that can affect your fertility.

Difficulty Conceiving with Low Progesterone Levels

As we said, low progesterone levels can significantly impact fertility, as this hormone is critical for creating a conducive environment for embryo implantation and supporting early pregnancy. Insufficient progesterone may lead to a uterine lining that’s not optimally prepared. This makes it more challenging for the embryo to implant or for the pregnancy to be maintained in its earliest stages.

Hair Loss as a Possible Symptom of Low Progesterone

Can low progesterone cause hair loss? Unfortunately, yes. Low progesterone disrupts the balance between estrogen and progesterone, which can shift the hair growth cycle into the resting phase more quickly. This leads to hair thinning and loss.

Low Progesterone and Your Skin

Progesterone plays a role in skin elasticity and sebum production. Is there a link between low progesterone and acne? Yes – when levels drop, it can make your skin oilier, more prone to breakouts, and slower to recover from inflammation. It can also diminish your skin’s ability to retain moisture and produce collagen – making it appear less firm and elastic.

Low Progesterone, Weight Gain, and Bloating

Low progesterone and weight gain are often linked, as progesterone influences metabolism and the body’s use of fat for energy. A decline in progesterone leads to metabolic slowdown, contributing to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area.

This hormonal change makes it more challenging for you to lose weight, even with healthy eating and exercise. Low progesterone can also increase your appetite and carbohydrate cravings, which contributes to weight gain.

Progesterone also regulates your body’s water balance. When progesterone levels are low, your body retains more water and salt, leading to bloating.

Headaches and Migraines: A Possible Sign of Low Progesterone

Headaches, particularly migraines, can often worsen in frequency and intensity when progesterone levels drop. Progesterone naturally has a calming effect on the brain and influences the release of neurotransmitters. When levels are low, it can lead to increased inflammation and vasodilation in the brain. This is what triggers headaches or makes them more severe.

Anxiety, Mood Swings, and Depression Caused By Low Progesterone

Progesterone is sometimes referred to as the “feel-good hormone” because of its ability to help stabilize mood. Without enough progesterone, the brain’s calming mechanisms are less active. Low progesterone and anxiety can create a vicious cycle, as anxiety can further lower progesterone levels and worsen the symptoms! This is a good reason to start addressing the issues now. Call to set up a consult if you feel this might be the cycle you’re stuck in.

Trouble Sleeping When Progesterone Levels Are Low

Progesterone has a sedative effect, promoting relaxation and sleep. A deficiency can lead to insomnia or broken sleep patterns, making falling or staying asleep throughout the night difficult. This can result in fatigue and decreased energy levels during the day.

Are Hot Flashes a Sign of Low Progesterone?

Although hot flashes are commonly associated with estrogen levels, progesterone plays a crucial role in regulating body temperature and can also contribute to hot flashes when your levels are low.

Addressing the Signs of Low Progesterone with Nutrition

Getting the right nutrients can support your hormonal health and boost progesterone levels. Incorporating nutrient-dense foods and supplements for low progesterone into your lifestyle is a straightforward strategy to optimize your hormonal balance naturally.

  1. Fiber reduces estrogen levels, allowing progesterone to work more efficiently. Vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are rich in fiber.
  2. Zinc is a mineral that acts directly on the endocrine system to stimulate progesterone production in the ovaries. Zinc-rich foods are meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, and nuts.
  3. Vitamin B6 is directly involved in synthesizing progesterone and estrogen metabolism and supports maintaining the balance between estrogen and progesterone. Foods high in vitamin B6 include poultry, fish, potatoes, chickpeas, bananas, and pistachios.
  4. Magnesium increases progesterone levels and helps in the reduction of estrogen dominance. You can find magnesium in leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dark chocolate.
  5. Vitamin C can boost progesterone levels and improve fertility in women. Get Vitamin C from citrus fruits, berries, bell peppers, and broccoli.
  6. L-arginine is an amino acid that improves circulation and ovarian and hormonal function. Foods rich in L-arginine are turkey, chicken, peanuts, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, and dairy products.

Addressing the Signs of Low Progesterone with Hormone Therapy

At Nava Health, we practice an integrative and functional approach to medicine. When dietary adjustments aren’t enough to balance your hormones, we consider low progesterone hormone therapy personalized for you.

But to understand the unique complexities of your hormonal health, we might first utilize the DUTCH test – a comprehensive hormone panel that helps us understand how your levels of progesterone and other hormonal imbalances are causing unwanted symptoms.

Incorporating bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) into your treatment plan alongside functional nutrition – when necessary – means we can help your body raise its levels of progesterone.

Treatment for Low Progesterone at Nava Health

Our goal at Nava Health is not just to treat the signs of low progesterone but to address the root causes of your symptoms. Through our integrative and functional approach using cutting-edge tools, we empower you to achieve optimal hormonal health. Schedule your consultation today and let’s talk!

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A Medical Director, and one of the first physicians to join the Nava Health & Vitality Center, Dr. Douglas Lord has made significant contributions to our Center and its founding principles. Dr. Lord has helped develop and implement the Nava Method™—Nava’s proprietary approach to total body wellness. He has also been instrumental in liaising with other expert practitioners to successfully implement Nava’s range of therapies, treatments, and products.

Article Name
What Are the Signs of Low Progesterone?
If you have signs of low progesterone, remember to treat the root causes as well as the symptoms – with integrative and functional medicine.