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Why is my progesterone low?

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Jill felt stuck. 

She’d been struggling with infertility for a while. No one had been able to explain the why behind her symptoms. Although Jill researched different clinics and tried various treatments, she kept hitting a dead end.  

Jill isn’t alone. Many women experience health problems that leave them scratching their heads. Real, lasting solutions to these issues can be frustratingly elusive. But the root of the problems is not, in fact, a mystery. 

The key to symptoms like acne, pain, anxiety, depression, cycle irregularity, migraines or PMS is hormones. Hormones impact every organ and system in a woman’s body. 

Take progesterone, for instance. You’re probably familiar with this particular hormone because it plays a crucial role in preparing for and maintaining pregnancy. Progesterone also affects many other aspects of a woman’s health, including: 

  • Bone maintenance
  • Blood clotting 
  • Blood sugar
  • Maintaining and healing brain cells
  • Reducing anxiety

So a hormonal imbalance like low progesterone can be a sign that something important is off.  Many women may know that their progesterone is low—but they lack the guidance they need to get to the root of the problem.

 

Getting to the root of the problem 

The first step to treating a hormone imbalance like low progesterone is to shift the focus from progesterone to ovulation. That’s because progesterone is released in adequate levels only if a woman is ovulating. Ovulation is a sign of health in a woman, an indicator that all her hormones are working together properly. When ovulation doesn’t happen, it means other health issues are at play. 

A woman can suffer from ovulatory dysfunction for many reasons. Some of the most common causes include obesity; insulin resistance/PCOS; hypothyroidism (when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone); and hyperprolactinemia (excessively high levels of the hormone prolactin in the blood). 

While taking prescribed progesterone or using hormonal contraception can alleviate symptoms and sometimes help with fertility goals, these methods don’t go far enough. They manage outcomes, but don’t address the underlying health issues.  

Sometimes, these treatments can even cause additional problems. Hormonal birth control, for example, can artificially prevent ovulation, throwing off a woman’s natural hormonal processes and even leading to conditions like insulin resistance. 

Not only that, but failure to find and address root causes leaves a woman at risk for serious health issues down the road. Ovulatory dysfunction is linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and depression, among other conditions. The bottom line: masking symptoms or settling for quick fixes isn’t enough. It’s like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. 

 

Beyond band-aid solutions 

The good news is, women don’t have to settle for band-aids anymore. Thanks to decades of research and amazing advances in science, there are evidence-based, effective, and safe protocols available to diagnose and treat hormonal health issues of all kinds. It is possible to address a woman’s immediate symptoms, and treat the root causes of those symptoms. 

This approach changes the lives of women like Jill. 

When Jill came to FEMM for help, she was able to access sound diagnostic testing and treatment for a wide range of hormonal disorders, not just low progesterone. 

Every FEMM provider conducts a thorough medical history to understand the individual patient and her family’s health background. Using charting, ultrasounds, and lab work, FEMM providers offer an in-depth examination of what lies behind a woman’s symptoms. Bloodwork checks on all the important hormones that have been shown to affect a woman’s health—including prolactin, cortisol, insulin, glucose, and adrenal hormones. 

Depending on diagnosis, stage of condition, and lifestyle, treatment can range from immunological to targeted pharmacological interventions, along with significant emphasis on diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. These treatments can spare women unnecessary invasive procedures and nip other health issues in the bud. For example, using the right medication to treat a woman for high prolactin can also prevent future autoimmune diseases.

FEMM providers were the first to get to the bottom of the issues that had been plaguing Jill, diagnosing her with PCOS. She praised FEMM’s “up-to-date, research-based approach” that informed her diagnosis and treatment. 

Jill was put on a treatment plan that addressed her fertility goals while also treating the deeper issues that affect her overall health. These two aims work hand in hand. The goal of this approach is to not only achieve reproductive goals, but also ensure that a woman enjoys a long and healthy life. 

Jill has embraced this approach. “I came to a point where I knew I had to work on these things just for myself,” she says of FEMM’s treatment plan. “I’m now willing to do these things so that I can be healthy for myself and my family long-term, even if it doesn’t result in fertility.”

Laura is another patient who found answers thanks to FEMM. Laura suffered from severe PMS. Regular HCG shots helped, but then Laura began noticing irregularities in her cycle. A FEMM provider had Laura tested and discovered that her androgen levels were too high. Laura was prescribed medication, and her health improved within a few months. 

“I went from having absolutely no energy to being able to function [again],” she says. “A lot of times people can tell you something’s wrong, but they can’t quite pinpoint what it is. Being able to track your hormones in the way that FEMM does is really helpful for health.”

Having a hormonal imbalance can be scary. But the good news is, you don’t have to simply live with your symptoms anymore. Using evidence-backed, comprehensive treatment, you can heal and achieve the health you’ve always dreamed of. 

 


¹ Vigil P, Lyon C, Flores B, Rioseco H, Serrano F. Ovulation, a sign of health. Linacre Q. 2017 Nov;84(4):343-355. doi: 10.1080/00243639.2017.1394053. Epub 2017 Nov 27. PMID: 29255329; PMCID: PMC5730019.
²
Patel S. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an inflammatory, systemic, lifestyle endocrinopathy. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2018 Sep; 182:27-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2018.04.008. Epub 2018 Apr 17. PMID: 29678491.
³
Devorah R. Wieder & Lynn Pattimakiel, Examining the efficacy, safety, and patient acceptability of the Combined contraceptive vaginal ring (NuvaRing®), 2 INTL J. WOMENS HEALTH 401, 403 (2010).
 Cortés ME, Alfaro AA. The effects of hormonal contraceptives on glycemic regulation. Linacre Q. 2014 Aug;81(3):209-18. doi: 10.1179/2050854914Y.0000000023. PMID: 25249703; PMCID: PMC4135453.
Vigil P, Lyon C, Flores B, Rioseco H, Serrano F. Ovulation, a sign of health. Linacre Q. 2017 Nov;84(4):343-355. doi: 10.1080/00243639.2017.1394053. Epub 2017 Nov 27. PMID: 29255329; PMCID: PMC5730019.

 

 

 


FEMM Staff Writer, November 2023

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