Though it's sometimes known as the "pregnancy hormone," progesterone is something that you have to deal with at other times of your life as well, not just when you might be trying to conceive. It's super important during pregnancy, that's true, but it's also a big part of your menstrual cycle. Knowing some of the signs your progesterone levels are too low can explain some of what you might be experiencing. And this is true for all different hormones in your body. Having an idea of whether or not they might be too high or too low can help you get to the bottom of what's going on in your body and give you an idea of what might need to be done or what questions or topics you might want to raise with your doctor.
Each month (and at different points in your life), your levels of reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone can fluctuate, depending on the time of the month and what's going on in your body. Your hormone levels can also, like with cortisol, be influenced by other things that might be going on in your life and your environment. This can, in turn, have a big impact on your overall health and well being.
Some of the signs that your progesterone levels might be too low can be symptoms or experiences that can have a number of different causes, but recognizing that they might be something that you should bring up with your doctor, particularly if you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant, might help put these issues on their radar if they're things about which they maybe wouldn't otherwise ask.
1. You Wake Up Tired, Despite Getting Plenty Of Sleep
Sleep is super important, no matter your stage of life. If you're generally getting plenty of sleep, yet still waking up feeling groggy or dealing with brain fog, that might be a sign that your progesterone levels are too low, Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD, author of The Hormone Cure, told Fitness. If you're in your mid-thirties, that might be a potential topic that you want to talk about with your doctor, because progesterone levels can start to lower around then.
2. You Get Frequent Headaches Or Migraines
If you get regular headaches or migraines, there are a variety of potential causes, but one that you might not have considered is that it could be due to your progesterone levels. Verily cited headaches as one of the symptoms of low progesterone in those who aren't pregnant. If you are pregnant and experience low levels of progesterone, you'll likely experience some different symptoms.
3. You're Struggling With Infertility
Because progesterone is so important for getting pregnant, as well as throughout your pregnancy, low levels of progesterone can sometimes make it difficult for people to conceive, Healthline reported. There are lots of different factors that can affect fertility, but lower levels of progesterone could be one that you may not have realized before.
4. Your Menstrual Cycle Is Irregular
Irregular periods can mean a lot of different things, but if your bleeding is irregular or you lose your period some months, that can also be a sign that things aren't exactly OK, hormone-wise. Irregular periods can also be a sign that your progesterone levels are too low, the previously-mentioned article from Healthline noted.
5. You Have Shifting Moods, Anxiety, Or Depression
You might not think that your mood swings, anxiety, or depression are related to your hormone levels other than when you're PMS-ing, but they might be more tied together than you thought. In a blog post that she wrote for her own website, Dr. Julie Durnan, a naturopathic physician, noted that if these sorts of symptoms come on after you hit your thirties, it could be because your progesterone level has decreased. The aforementioned article from Verily also noted that mood changes can be a sign of low levels of progesterone in women who are not pregnant. It might be that your shifting mood, anxiety, or depression has nothing to do with changes in progesterone, but bringing up the topic with your doctor might not hurt.
6. You Get Hot Flashes & Night Sweats
If you're dealing with hot flashes and night sweats, a decrease in progesterone might be to blame. Medical Daily noted that when progesterone decreases, your body can experience estrogen dominance, which is what can lead to these sorts of symptoms.
7. You Often Have Low Blood Sugar
If you deal with fairly regular low blood sugar issues, that's another potential sign that you might have lower progesterone. The aforementioned article from Verily noted that this can be a symptom that people who are pregnant experience.
There are a number of different things that can potentially be done to address your lower level of progesterone in the body, from supplements and switching up your diet, to medications, but knowing what sorts of signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for so that you can raise the topic with your doctor can help you be proactive.