Different hormones have various functions in our body, such as fighting stress and regulating blood sugar levels. Progesterone is also one of the crucial hormones in a woman’s body that ensures a regular menstruation cycle and safe pregnancy.
Low levels of progesterone in women lead to irregular or missed periods, miscarriages, and irregular uterine bleeding. In addition to implementing other strategies, you can incorporate some foods that increase progesterone naturally to maintain optimal levels of progesterone in your body.
In this article, we’ll discuss the role of progesterone in a woman’s body, the effects of high and low progesterone, and tips to increase progesterone levels naturally.
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The Role of Progesterone in a Woman’s Body
This hormone increases in the second half of the menstrual cycle (known as the luteal phase) that begins with ovulation. During this phase, a temporary organ (corpus luteum) appears that produces progesterone once an egg’s released from the ovary and is vital for fertility.
Let’s look at what progesterone does during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
During the menstrual cycle
Once your body releases an egg from one of the two ovaries, progesterone levels escalate and start your body to prepare for egg implantation for pregnancy by thickening the lining of the uterus.
If the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining of the uterus breaks down along with the corpus luteum, and the progesterone levels also drop. This is when your period starts.
Progesterone makes sure that the environment is optimal for egg implantation. If the released egg is fertilized, the corpus luteum remains there, and the body keeps producing progesterone.
These hormones stay elevated throughout pregnancy. It makes sure to provide the developing embryo with essential nutrients, and then it’s the placenta’s job to keep producing progesterone for a healthy pregnancy.
Increased levels of progesterone during pregnancy also prevent additional eggs from producing. This is why oral contraceptives contain progesterone to prevent ovulation.
In addition, this hormone ensures there are no uterine contractions during implantation, as it can have an adverse effect on the implantation process.
It also plays a key role in helping mothers produce milk.
High and Low Progesterone Levels – What to Know
Progesterone levels are measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) and fluctuate during the menstrual cycle, so they can significantly vary throughout the month. For example, the normal level during the pre-ovulation period is less than 0.89 ng/ml, and the norm can rise up to 58-214 ng/ml by the third trimester. It is natural for progesterone to be higher during pregnancy, so don’t panic.
And if you’re worried about having any side effects related to high progesterone levels, the good news is there are none. In fact, this hormone does a great job of helping you prevent ovarian cancer.
On the other hand, low levels of progesterone can have side effects, including irregular periods, poor ovarian function, difficulty conceiving, and even miscarriage.
Also, remember that higher estrogen levels, which can cause weight gain, depression, increased PMS symptoms, irregular periods, and headaches, can be caused by low progesterone. So make sure you take your tests regularly.
Some Easy-To-Follow Tips to Increase Your Progesterone
As we discussed above, low levels of progesterone can affect your reproductive system and overall health. So in this part, we’ll talk about some tips you can use to increase levels of this hormone.
- Use natural creams or pills made from soybeans or yams to increase this hormone. But make sure you consult with your healthcare provider first.
- Eat nature’s superfoods like cauliflower, beans, broccoli, nuts, pumpkin, whole grains, spinach, cabbage, and kale. All these are ideal for stimulating progesterone production in your body.
- Maintain a healthy body weight to keep estrogen and progesterone well-balanced.
- Exercise, meditate, or journal. Do everything you can to reduce stress and minimize the production of stress hormone (cortisol) that can disrupt your progesterone levels. Get involved in fun activities and enjoy life.
Progesterone is crucial for a healthy menstrual cycle and pregnancy for women. It is a potent hormone, yet it works not alone but together with estrogen and testosterone to create a unique pattern of changing levels during the menstrual cycle. So to live a healthy life, ensure you have all three hormones balanced, get regular health check-ups, stress less, and eat nutrient-rich food.