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The Role of Progesterone in the Female Body

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January 8, 2018
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Progesterone is one of our female sex hormones which is produced in ovaries and corpus luteum prior to menopause. As menopause approaches, progesterone is the first hormone to decline as ovulation begins to slow down (and eventually stops).

Progesterone has a variety of functions with the menstrual cycle, but also plays an important role when it comes to our mental health! 

Low Progesterone

Many menstruating women experience periods of low progesterone, and this has effects on the rest of our hormones and organs. To determine if progesterone is being produced, we need to figure out if we’re ovulating.  

If ovulation happens

Progesterone is mainly produced in the second half of the menstrual cycle by the corpus luteum. During the the luteal phase of the cycle, the body’s temperature slightly increases due to progesterone.

If ovulation doesn’t happen

If ovulation does not occur, the corpus luteum is not created and no progesterone is being produced. This may lead to PMS symptoms, mood changes, disruption in sleep and more! 

Progesterone production is also related to the stress and thyroid hormones. When we’re undergoing huge amounts of stress, the body will need to produce more cortisol to compensate. Cortisol production will actually be favoured over the production of progesterone.

Progesterone also stimulates thyroid production, therefore if the body is stressed out and not enough progesterone is being produced, thyroid hormone production will be affected as a result.

Supporting Progesterone in the Body 

There are many ways to support progesterone production:

Track Your Temperature

While this is not a quick fix, it will help give you an idea if your body is producing enough progesterone to elicit a change of temperature in your luteal phase. Check out this article to learn the best way to measure your temperature. 

Stay Nourished

Specific nutrients will keep the corpus luteum healthy, such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Nuts and seeds are a great source of these nutrients, so be sure to include pumpkin seeds and brazil nuts into your diet. 

Check Stress Stage

Addressing adrenal health is something that I always recommend because of it’s unrelenting affects on the cycle and overall health. Therefore, we need to discover why stress is happening and work to help heal your body, symptoms, and eliminate the cause (as best we can).

Many people are under the impression that if we have hormone problems, we can fix that one particular hormone and everything will be okay. Yet, everything is interconnected. Because stress is so pervasive and we are always under some form of stress, it needs to be addressed as well.

Lastly, there are different stages of stress – alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Therefore, I do recommend to my patients that they invest in adrenal testing to determine which stage they are in, so an appropriate treatment be completed – instead of guessing at every point and turn. 

Look At Your Hormones

Testing hormones is just not limited to your adrenals. Checking your other hormones (ie. thyroid) will give you additional insight as to what’s going on your body and how you can best tackle why certain symptoms are occurring. 

Final Notes

Hopefully you’ve come away with a progesterone plan of action! If you love learning about your hormones and your period, be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter called The Flow for great and informative content like this!

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