A lack of progesterone can cause some unspecific clinical pictures and last but not least also be responsible for an unfulfilled desire to have children. This article explains causes and ways of treatment and prevention.
What is progesterone deficiency?
Progesterone is a female sex hormone. It is also known as the “corpus luteum hormone” because it is produced by the corpus luteum in the ovary. The hormone also occurs in the male body and is formed there in the testicles. However, this only happens in very small amounts. See healthknowing for What is the Definition of Intercostal Neuralgia.
In the female body, progesterone regulates the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus and the maintenance of the pregnancy. After ovulation, the shell of the egg follicle transforms into the corpus luteum. From this, progesterone is formed.
This process is controlled by the LH hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland. During pregnancy, the placenta produces large amounts of progesterone to keep the pregnancy going. Also, the progesterone is also tree material for the hormones estrogen and testosterone.
The cause of a progesterone deficiency is a weakness of the corpus luteum. Follicles do not mature sufficiently, which means that the egg cells cannot form either. As a result, a complete corpus luteum cannot develop. The lack of progesterone leads to estrogen dominance, which is already regarded as a civilization disease. This estrogen dominance can in turn have many causes, which often occur in combination with each other and reinforce each other.
First, genetic factors play a role. There can also be cycles without ovulation from taking the pill. The onset of menopause is often marked by a lack of progesterone. The food can also contain estrogens or other substances that affect the hormonal balance (e.g. fattening aids, plastic bottles, canned goods and instant soup, additives in spreadable fats and bread, etc.).
There can also be chemicals in the environment that are sensitive to disturbing the cycle. These are, for example, xenoestrogens that are found in paints, wall paints, pesticides, building materials and exhaust fumes. Certain medications can also have a negative effect, for example psychotropic drugs, remedies for menopausal symptoms, thyroid disorders and antidiabetics. Wrong diet, stress, lack of light, lack of exercise and ovarian damage can do the rest.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
A lack of the hormone progesterone can occur in both men and women, with the latter being more frequently affected. Hormone imbalances can occur particularly in stressful situations, and the probability increases with age. Symptoms also occur frequently during pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause.
In both men and women, a lack of progesterone can manifest itself through sleep disorders, heavy sweating, cardiac arrhythmia or an emotional imbalance. Women are also affected by other ailments. These include ovarian cysts and fibroids, severe iron deficiency (especially during menstruation) and the occurrence of breast cancer. The absence of pregnancy or a miscarriage can also be the result of the disease in severe cases.
A deficiency often occurs in connection with other diseases, which is why the doctor will also ask about symptoms of a thyroid disease in the anamnesis. Cold hands and feet, swollen fingers, dry and irritated skin and low blood pressure can therefore also be signs of a progesterone deficiency. Depressive moods, panic or anxiety and reduced performance also occur.
The complaints mentioned are just a few of the symptoms, which can also vary in severity. If they appear in a corresponding life situation, they can be easily diagnosed by a doctor.
Diagnosis & History
A lack of progesterone can show up in various symptoms that provide a starting point for further diagnosis. These include poor concentration, listlessness, fatigue, anxiety, depressive moods, water retention, nausea, weight gain, sensitive, swelling breasts, cysts and fibroids, and menstrual pain. Miscarriage can occur in pregnant women. Shortened cycles and spotting are also typical.
If a lack of progesterone is suspected, the doctor will suggest a progesterone test. Here, the progesterone and estrogen levels are determined around the 19th, 20th or 21st day of the cycle using a saliva test. Such tests can also be carried out yourself by taking samples and sending them to a laboratory for evaluation.
A basal body temperature curve can be drawn up by the doctor before the diagnosis is made. Adrenal insufficiency should be ruled out in order to diagnose a progesterone deficiency with certainty.
Due to the lack of progesterone, those affected suffer from various complaints that can lead to various complications. In the worst case, however, the lack of progesterone can lead to an unfulfilled desire to have children. It is not uncommon for this to lead to psychological problems or severe depression. The quality of life is also significantly restricted and reduced.
Furthermore, patients often suffer from concentration and coordination disorders. Exhaustion and listlessness can also occur and have a very negative effect on the everyday life of the person concerned. Not infrequently, patients also suffer from anxiety and confusion due to the lack of progesterone. In women, this also leads to tightness in the breasts and often to menstrual pain.
If the progesterone deficiency occurs in women who are already pregnant, it can lead to a miscarriage in the worst case. Treatment is usually with the help of medication. There are no particular complications. Furthermore, various natural remedies are available to those affected, which can significantly limit and reduce the symptoms of progesterone deficiency.
When should you go to the doctor?
Couples or women who have an unfulfilled desire to have children should obtain comprehensive information about the optimal conditions for procreating offspring. If all the requirements are met and you still do not get pregnant for several months, you should see a doctor for a check-up. In this, a renewed explanation of the optimal conditions for fertility takes place. In addition, a comprehensive investigation should be initiated that provides information on the fertility status of the persons concerned.
Persistent sleep disorders, irregularities in the heart rhythm and abnormalities in the endocrine system should also be discussed with a doctor. If there are mood swings, depressive phases or peculiarities in the behavior of the person concerned, an examination is necessary. Severe sweating, swelling of the fingers or a diffuse feeling of anxiety should be presented to a doctor. The symptoms indicate a health impairment that needs to be diagnosed and treated. Lumps in the breast, irregularities in the female menstrual cycle and a decrease in well-being are other signs of a disease. If the person concerned suffers from changes in libido, severe tearfulness and changes in the complexion, a doctor should be consulted. Inner unrest, Fluctuations in weight and apathy are indications of a health disorder and must be clarified by a doctor. A doctor should be consulted in the case of cold limbs, hypersensitivity to temperature influences and rapid exhaustion.
Treatment & Therapy
There are different approaches to treating luteal insufficiency. If a lack of progesterone has been determined, the body is usually supplied with progesterone medication. Drugs such as clomiphene, dydrogesterone and Utrogest® can be used here. Ideally, therapy should be carried out as soon as the follicle matures, because that is where the cause of the weakness of the corpus luteum lies. In some cases, estrogen is also administered. Furthermore, the pregnancy hormone is used when yellow body weakness is to be treated.
Estrogen dominance can be treated in a number of ways. Which treatment is preferred depends on the severity of the progesterone deficiency (and thus estrogen dominance) and on the patient’s preferences. In addition to treatment with chemical progesterone, treatment with plants that have progesterone-like active substances (phytohormones) and with which natural progesterone production can be stimulated can also be considered.
The treatment of progesterone deficiency can also be supported with sport, healthy nutrition, water, light therapy and natural healing methods. Acupressure, homeopathy, Schuessler salts and esoteric healing methods can be tried with the appropriate mental disposition.
In order to prevent a progesterone deficiency, it is helpful to eat healthily and live with as little stress as possible. Walks, especially in daylight, moderate exercise (e.g. jogging or swimming), reducing excess weight, avoiding alcohol, sugar, nicotine and animal fats are helpful.
A diet that contains sufficient protein and is also rich in fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals (especially magnesium), vitamins (especially vitamins B6, B12, C and E) and trace elements (especially selenium and zinc) is ideal.
The lack of progesterone is basically not to be regarded as an independent clinical picture, but occurs as a consequence or symptom of a hormonal disorder. This can happen at different stages of life, but it can also be related to the endocrine system as a whole. There is therefore no clearly defined follow-up care for progesterone deficiency. Follow-up care can vary from lifelong hormone replacement to no follow-up care or therapy.
If lifelong maintenance of hormone replacement therapy is found necessary, it is necessary for the patient to see a specialist, preferably an endocrinologist, regularly. He examines the hormone status at regular intervals and can adapt the treatment individually depending on the situation. With treatment in certain phases of life or after certain events, such as pregnancy and childbirth, taking hormones is no longer necessary after a certain period of time.
Here, the corresponding medication can usually be discontinued completely or gradually reduced. However, after each hormone replacement therapy, it must be checked whether the body is again able to guarantee the necessary hormone levels on a permanent basis. The follow-up care therefore relates primarily to regular check-ups to guarantee that the patient does not experience hormone deficiency states that require treatment again.
You can do that yourself
A lack of the hormone progesterone is clearly noticeable in everyday life. Symptoms range from insomnia to exhaustion and emotional imbalance. The doctor will suggest hormone therapy, which many sufferers view with a critical eye, because with this therapy, an artificially produced hormone is administered to the body, which can have serious side effects.
For this reason, the question of an alternative is great. Since hormones are always influenced by certain behavior, it is possible to support the formation of the body’s own progesterone by taking a closer look at your own lifestyle. Even a change in movement behavior can be beneficial here. Those affected should ensure that they exercise regularly, be it through strenuous exercise or long walks in the fresh air. This should be supplemented by a healthy and balanced dietBe careful, rich in vitamins and fiber. Too much sugar, caffeine or bad fats have a negative effect on the hormonal balance. Sunlight can also counteract the lack of progesterone, whereby 15 minutes of daily sunbathing is usually sufficient.
If the deficiency does not go away with these measures, homeopathy, Schuessler salts or other natural healing methods can be used as an alternative to hormone therapy.