Progesterone Deficiency

One of severe repercussions of progesterone deficiency is an unsuccessful pregnancy, also known as miscarriage. Know about it in greater detail.

February 2011

Before coming to the segment of progesterone deficiency, let me brief you on the basic aspects of progesterone. It is a steroid hormone, known for its major role in creating a fertile environment for conception, and the process that ensures the continuous development of the embryo. It is manufactured by the ovary during the process of ovulation. As this hormone increases in its production, it causes more vaginal mucus. This in turn decreases the mortality of the sperm, so that it can reach the egg for fertilization. This is to boost the possibility of becoming pregnant. Also, some of its production also takes place in the adrenal glands. Men also produce it, but in small amounts. It is more important for a woman’s health, as it is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle. Certain factors causes the levels of progesterone to go down. And if this decrease takes place significantly, then, as mentioned, miscarriage could be the most likely outcome. This article will help you understand the symptoms of progesterone deficiency, its possible causes, and treatment options available to deal with it.

Progesterone Deficiency Symptoms

The number, types and nature of progesterone deficiency symptoms may vary from one person to another. The most common ones, as observed by patients and doctors are as follows:

  • The most important symptom may be infertility, as it is obvious from the explanation above.
  • Depression may set in, and the person may gain weight.
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), water retention, and disease of the gallbladder are some other symptoms.
  • Lack of sleep, memory loss, irregular menstrual cycle, vaginal dryness, and breast tenderness are also common.
  • Some more symptoms may include panic attacks, blood clots during menstruation, deficiency of magnesium in the body, reduced sex drive and joint pain.

Progesterone Deficiency Causes

Factors which cause progesterone deficiency in women, could be many in number. Some of the most possibles ones include:

  • Stress happens to be among the most common factors which hampers the production of progesterone.
  • The second common cause is the production of high levels of estrogen. Women whose diet includes a lot of non-vegetarian food, commonly face this problem.
  • Side effects of certain medication are also some of the causes.
  • Other causes include lack of exercise, birth control pills, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, adrenal gland disorders, hormone replacement therapy, etc.

As far as the tests and diagnosis are concerned, doctors do it by determining the fertility cycle, and blood test that is taken post ovulation. Also, there is a period that is counted after the start of ovulation till the day before the next period. If this period happens to be of short duration, then even this indicates low progesterone levels.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.