Do you have mood swings, bloating, intense night sweats, brain fog, insomnia, and sagging skin?!
What about irregular cycles, heavy periods, and trouble getting pregnant? Hormonal imbalance is the reason but LOW ESTROGEN is probably not the cause.
Estrogen is often assumed to be the hormone responsible for all issues related to female hormone problems. But, when it comes to hormone imbalance, progesterone deficiency, not estrogen deficiency may be the problem. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, read on to see what you can do “naturally” to restore your progesterone levels and feel better!
What’s the cause of dwindling levels of progesterone? Usually the answer lies in one of three categories: high levels of estrogen, lack of egg production, or chronic stress (more than one of these can be at play in the same individual).
➤ High estrogen levels or Estrogen dominance:
High levels of estrogen are commonly found in conditions such as endometriosis, PMS, painful, heavy periods, fibroids, and cystic breasts.
Estrogen levels can become too high when there is a disruption to estrogen breakdown in the liver. This then leads to a backup of estrogen and its byproducts that overload the liver. When this happens, there is not enough progesterone to “counter balance” the effects of estrogen.This overload leads to hormonal imbalance responsible for the above conditions. Think of estrogen and progesterone as having a Yin/Yang relationship.
➔ What can we do when this happens?
Support liver function so that it can breakdown and clear the extra estrogen. Natural sources of liver detoxifiers include:
- Dandelion Root (500-1575mg daily)
- Milk Thistle (125-250mg, 1-4 times daily between meals)
- Burdock (1900mg daily with meals)
- Diindolymethane — This nutrient supports the enzyme activity needed to breakdown estrogen and promotes hormone balance. Dim Detox by Pure encapsulations is a favorite, typically taken two caps a day. It wraps in DIM and other liver support supplements in one convenient package.
➤ No Egg Production
This causes decreased progesterone during women’s reproductive years leading to problems conceiving. Most can understand, no eggs » no baby, but the issue lies deeper than that. Egg release is what is responsible for higher progesterone levels in the second half of the menstrual cycle. So, no ovulation also means little or no progesterone.
Lack of progesterone (not estrogen) leads to irregular periods and problems getting pregnant. Progesterone (pro-gestation) also provides a favorable environment for implantation if an egg is fertilized. So, if you are lucky enough to get an egg fertilized when progesterone is low, chances are that there is not enough progesterone around to help the egg implant properly.
➔ What can we do when this happens?
Focusing on possible nutritional deficiencies can correct progesterone levels, normalize cycles, and restore fertility. Many micronutrients are integral to hormone balance. These include:
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- The amino acid L-arginine
Blood levels of these micronutrients are often not enough to support healthy ovulation Restorating them to ideal levels may require supplementation. Mitocore is a great all around nutrient support option for anyone who wants to improve hormones AND get an energy boost for the day. Four capsules a day is recommended.
Chasteberry is an herbal supplement that can normalize the second half of the menstrual cycle when progesterone is low. It can be used as a natural remedy for menstrual irregularities. It also helps with PMS and cyclical breast pain. It can be taken as a 500mg daily dose.
➤ Chronic Stress
When chronic stress occurs, your body responds as though your life is in danger. Who’s in chronic stress? COVID, holidays, pandemic, virtual learning, financial pressures??? Do you know anyone experiencing this? What about the “typical” day to day struggles of pre-COVID: relationship problems, child rearing, work/life balance,, over scheduling, etc? Have these stressors suddenly disappeared? It’s a stress “pandemic” and women typically bear the burden of stress for their family.
Functioning in a constant state of “fight-or-flight” has hormonal consequences. Adrenaline and cortisol are the hormones produced in response to stress. During chronic stress situations, they are released constantly at the expense of other hormones, such as progesterone.
➔ What can you do about it?
When adrenal imbalance is the cause of low progesterone, restoring proper adrenal function needs to be the focus. Many herbs known for their ability to support the adrenal glands and they include:
- Ashwaganda (up to 5,000mg daily)
- Ginseng (200-400mg daily)
- Astragalus (dosing varies)
- Licorice Root (no more than 100mg daily)
Teas and supplements containing these ingredients can help restore balance and help bring progesterone to normal levels. These herbs can promote a sense of relaxation.
Other lifestyle changes that help control stress include:
- Gentle Exercise
- Walking in nature
So, if you are experiencing any of the unpleasant symptoms of hormone imbalance, DON’T look towards estrogen. Assuming that lack of estrogen due to advancing age is responsible is a mistake. Remember progesterone and its important roles. By correcting low levels of progesterone, many of these conditions can be reversed. Natural remedies and supplements can be helpful.
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Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendations, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!