I believe that progesterone is the most vital hormone when it comes to fertility and conception. Your ability to successfully conceive relies on a whole cacophony of factors. One of these is the delicate balance of your hormones and in particular the female sex hormone – progesterone.
In my online Fertility Support Group, progesterone is THE most talked about hormone. It causes great worry, frustration and confusion. In this blog I hope to explain a little about this hormone, why it is of so much importance and what you can do if it is a little out of balance.
What is Progesterone?
Progesterone is produced following ovulation. It is secreted by the corpus luteum, which is the structure that previously housed the ruptured follicle. One of the main actions of progesterone is to support the developing embryo. If pregnancy is successful, progesterone continues to be released for a number of weeks until the placenta takes over. If pregnancy is not successful, the level of progesterone falls and the next menstrual period will occur 10-16 days following ovulation.
Why is progesterone so important for conception?
• It maintains the lining of the womb making it ready to support an implanting pregnancy.
• It acts on the cervical secretions to help the passage of sperm to the egg.
The symptoms of progesterone deficiency
There are a number of tell tale signs that you may have low levels. However these symptoms may well be due to other issues too.
• Recurrent early miscarriage
• Lack or irregular periods
• Ovulation disturbances
• Short luteal phase (time from ovulation to next menstrual period)
• Breast tenderness
• Loss of libido
• Headaches that are associated with your menstrual cycle
• Weight gain
• Disturbances in the luteal phase of a BBT chart
However it is important to get confirmation that low progesterone is causing these symptoms and this is usual done by a blood test. The blood test to check for progesterone levels is termed a Day 21 Progesterone. This means that it should be taken on day 21 of a 28 day cycle or if you have a shorter or longer cycle then 7 days post ovulation. If done out of these times the result will not be an accurate reflection of your levels.
How to naturally rebalance
• Start taking vitamin B6 and vitamin E supplements
• Consider taking magnesium and evening primrose supplements
• Consult a herbalist to consider taking Agnus Castus to regulate progesterone levels
• Reduce stress
• Increase a low body weight
• Reduce excessive weight
• Cut down on excessive exercise
You can also discuss the use of progesterone therapy with your doctor but avoid the temptation to self administer progesterone cream as self administering this medication can result in an imbalance in other hormones.
Balanced hormones and adequate progesterone levels are crucial for conception. If you think that you may have low progesterone levels, get this properly diagnosed by your doctor. Consider how you may be able to rebalance your levels through natural remedies or if necessary discuss treatment with your doctor.