Are you struggling with infertility, PMS, or menopause symptoms? Many women struggle with these issues at some point in their lives, but unfortunately doctors often address these concerns with pain relievers, birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy.
These solutions serve only to mask the symptoms and do nothing to address the underlying cause. Low progesterone can often be the underlying cause or an exacerbating factor in infertility, PMS, and perimenopause.
Normal Progesterone Levels
Progesterone should be tested on day 21 of your menstrual cycle. The normal range is 10-25 ng/mL.
Low progesterone levels can be often a sign that you are not ovulating. Alternatively, you may be diagnosed with luteal phase defect, which is low progesterone in the second half of your cycle – post ovulation. Low progesterone makes it difficult to maintain a pregnancy due to its involvement in the implantation of the embryo.
PMS can be caused by low progesterone levels. This isn’t always the case, but taking steps to increase progesterone levels can be beneficial for some women with PMS. Progesterone seems to be able to influence neurotransmitter signaling including GABA and serotonin (calming neurotransmitters), thus low progesterone can lead to the anxiety, sleep disturbances, and irritability characteristic of PMS.
Fluctuating estrogen levels combined with decreasing progesterone levels can lead to mood swings, migraines, and sleep problems.
Natural Solutions to Raise Progesterone
1. Vitamin C: Take 750-1000 mg supplemental vitamin C daily. In one study, this raised progesterone from an average of 8 (below normal) to 13 ng/mL (normal range) in women with luteal phase defect. This is definitely an important strategy for infertility, but may also be helpful for helping raise progesterone to address PMS and menopause symptoms. Be sure to also include vitamin C rich foods like oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and leafy greens.
2. Vitex (Chasteberry): Try 500-1,000 mg of vitex daily to raise progesterone levels. Vitex can be useful for infertility, perimenopause symptoms, and PMS.
3. Mange Stress. Cortisol, a key stress hormone, can bind to the progesterone receptor when you are chronically stressed. This prevents progesterone from binding to its receptor, leaving progesterone unable to exert its positive effects even if blood levels are in the normal range. Manage stress with meditation, yoga, conscious breathing, time with family, reading, or any method that works for you.
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1. Henmi H, Endo T, Kitajima Y, et al. Effects of ascorbic acid supplementation on serum progesterone levels in patients with a luteal phase defect. Fertil Steril. 2003 Aug;80(2):459-61.