WHY IS IT LOW, WHEN TO TEST & WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?
Progesterone is our feel good chill hormone. No wonder when we are missing out we get cranky, have trouble sleeping and irritable.... Dare I say bitchy?
There are three kinds of low progesterone.
With an anovulatory cycle, you make no progesterone at all-at least for that cycle.
With a short luteal phase, you make a less than optimal amount of progesterone.
You are in Perimenopause or menopause and your ovaries are just not making it anymore.
How do you know if your progesterone is less than optimal?
Symptoms of low progesterone include no luteal phase or a short luteal phase, fertile mucus during the premenstrual phase, PMS, premenstrual bleeding or spotting, and prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding.
Testing for low progesterone
You can test it on blood and on urine. I like to to see both and compare. Urine gives you a bigger picture of metabolites and what could be going on on the pathway and other related hormones as well. I use the Dutch Test for that.
You can ask your doctor to measure progesterone with a blood test. The best day to test is in the middle of your luteal phase which is sometimes called a "day 21" progesterone test.
Of course, your mid-luteal day may not be day 21. It depends on the length of your cycle. For example, if you have a 21-day cycle, then your mid-luteal day is approximately day 14. If you have a 35-day cycle, then your mid-luteal day is approximately day 28.
By definition, your mid-luteal day is approximately seven days after ovulation and seven days before your next expected period.
If you are menopausal you can test it at any time.
Your doctor may not know when to test progesterone. And that is why you were not told to test on any particular day…
If you test progesterone at the right time (after ovulation), then it should be at least 3 ng/mL (9.5 mol/L). If it's below that, then you either did not ovulate, or you tested at the wrong time.
Avoid interpreting your progesterone result before your period comes.
Wait for your period, and then ask: 'Was the test done within the 14 days before my period?' If not, the test is meaningless.
A good progesterone reading is 10 ng/mL (30 mol/L), and it can be much higher. In fact, the higher, the better. But don't worry too much if it's a bit on the low side. Progesterone fluctuates
widely in bursts 90 minutes apart, so a low-normal reading may simply mean that your sample was taken at a low point between bursts. (PubMed PMID:18645607)
Take hormonal birth control? There's no point testing progesterone because you have none.
Charting your waking temperature is another, equally scientific way to measure your progesterone. If you see a consistent temperature rise and a luteal phase of at least eleven days, then you know you made enough progesterone.
Roadmap to Progesterone
You probably want more progesterone, and if so, you're not alone.
Low progesterone is associated with PCOS, heavy periods, fibroids, acne, hair loss, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and perimenopause.
If you are on pre menopause phase of your life, boosting progesterone is our mission! How does that happen? With healthy ovulation.
Healthy ovulation is how you have a regular cycle. It's also how you make progesterone.
Healthy ovarian follicles › healthy ovulation › healthy corpus luteum-› more progesterone.
And remember, your ovarian follicles need to be healthy for all of their 100-day journey to ovulation. If they're unhealthy for even part of their journey, the result will be low
progesterone months later.
If you feel that you need some individual attention, feel free to apply for a complimentary 30-minute Discovery Call to see how can I help you! Apply here.
Isabela Fortes is a
Board Certified Holistic Health Expert, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
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