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Why is My Progesterone Low?

Have you ever wondered why your menstrual cycle feels off or why you’re struggling with mood swings and fatigue? You might be dealing with low progesterone levels, a common yet often overlooked hormonal imbalance. 

Surprisingly, it’s estimated that nearly 25% of women experience low progesterone at some point in their lives, impacting their reproductive health and overall well-being. 

Understanding the causes and seeking proper treatment is essential, as this hormone plays a critical role in maintaining and balancing vital bodily functions.

 A woman sitting in a chair staring out the window, seemingly sad from symptoms of low progesterone

Key Takeaways:

  • Low progesterone levels can cause irregular menstruation in many women.
  • It leads to symptoms like weight gain, depression, and low sex drive.
  • It increases the risk of pregnancy complications, affecting many expecting mothers.
  • Fixing low progesterone is key to keeping hormones balanced and reproductive health in good shape.

Understanding Progesterone

What is Progesterone?

Progesterone is key in the female reproductive system. It’s made mostly in the ovaries and also in the adrenal glands. 

Progesterone is a type of steroid hormone. It comes from cholesterol (cholesterol is a friend, not an enemy!). Its job is vital for the female body’s needs.

The Role of Progesterone in the Body

In the female body, progesterone supports the uterus lining. This helps a fertilized egg stick and grow. It also keeps the uterus strong during pregnancy.

Progesterone helps regulate the menstrual cycle. It’s crucial for periods and for getting the body ready for having a baby.

Normal levels of Progesterone

Normal progesterone levels vary throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle and during pregnancy. 

In non-pregnant women, levels range from 0.1 to 0.9 ng/mL in the follicular phase and 1.8 to 24 ng/mL in the luteal phase.

After menopause, progesterone levels drop below 0.5 ng/ml.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone

Low progesterone levels in women can lead to a variety of symptoms, which can impact both physical and emotional health. Here is a list of common symptoms associated with low progesterone:

  • Irregular Menstrual Cycles
    • Missed periods
    • Short cycles
    • Prolonged cycles
  • Menstrual Issues
    • Heavy bleeding
    • Spotting between periods
  • Infertility and Miscarriage
    • Difficulty conceiving
    • Recurrent miscarriages
  • Mood Changes
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Mood swings
    • Irritability
  • Sleep Problems
    • Insomnia
    • Poor sleep quality
  • Weight Gain
    • Particularly around the abdomen

Other Symptoms may include:

  • Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
  • Low Libido
  • Fatigue
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Dry Skin
  • Hair Loss or Thinning
  • Memory Problems and Difficulty Concentrating
  • Bloating and Digestion Issues
  • Bone Density Issues
  • Swelling or Puffiness in Hands and Feet

These symptoms can vary in intensity and may overlap with other hormonal imbalances or health issues, so it is important for women experiencing these symptoms to consult with a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Why is My Progesterone Low?

Progesterone deficiency can result from a variety of factors, impacting hormonal balance and overall health. Here are some common causes:


Anovulation, the absence of ovulation, is a primary cause of low progesterone. Without ovulation, the corpus luteum does not form, resulting in insufficient progesterone production.

Hidden infections or toxicities

If you have any form of gut infection or toxicity accumulated within your body, this will often lead to poor progesterone production. Checking for infections and toxicity with blood work, hair testing, and/or an Organic Acids Test (OAT) can be a great way to see what might be going on ‘under the hood.’

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can lead to irregular ovulation or anovulation, often resulting in a drop in progesterone levels.

Thyroid Dysfunction

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can affect progesterone levels. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle and ovulation.


Chronic stress can lead to hormonal imbalances, including reduced progesterone production, due to the increased production of cortisol, which can inhibit progesterone synthesis.

Age and Perimenopause

As women approach menopause, ovarian function declines, leading to reduced progesterone production. This transition phase, known as perimenopause, can significantly impact progesterone levels.

Excessive Exercise

Intense physical activity can disrupt hormonal balance and menstrual cycles, potentially leading to low progesterone levels.

Poor Diet and Nutrient Deficiencies

A diet lacking essential nutrients, particularly those important for hormone production, such as magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6, can contribute to low progesterone levels.


Excess body fat can lead to estrogen dominance, where high levels of estrogen suppress progesterone production, resulting in an imbalance.

Pituitary Gland Disorders

Conditions affecting the pituitary gland, which regulates ovarian function, can lead to insufficient progesterone production.


Certain medications, including hormonal contraceptives and treatments for other conditions, can interfere with normal progesterone production.

Diagnosing Low Progesterone

Measuring your progesterone levels is key to dealing with low progesterone. A basic blood or urine test can tell us a lot about our hormone balance and help spot any imbalances.

This test is best done at certain times during your cycle. Progesterone changes a lot every month. The highest levels are before ovulation and during the luteal phase.

Explaining your progesterone test results is complex. Working with a professional is vital as they will look at many things, like your age and health. 

Treatment Options for Low Progesterone

Addressing low progesterone levels involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medical treatments, and dietary adjustments. Here are some common treatment options:

Lifestyle Changes

  • Stress Management: Techniques such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can reduce stress and its impact on hormone levels.
  • Regular Exercise: Moderate, regular exercise can help balance hormones and support overall health.
  • Adequate Sleep: Ensuring sufficient and quality sleep helps maintain hormonal balance.

Dietary Adjustments

  • Balanced Diet: Consuming a diet rich in whole foods, lean proteins, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables supports hormone production.
  • Nutrient-rich foods: Include foods high in vitamins and minerals essential for hormone synthesis, such as vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc.
  • Healthy Fats: Incorporating healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish to support hormone production.

Herbal Supplements

Certain herbal supplements are believed to help balance hormones and support progesterone levels. Common options include:

  • Vitex (Chasteberry): May help regulate menstrual cycles and improve progesterone levels.
  • Maca Root: Often used to support hormonal balance and overall endocrine health.

And lastly, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone replacement therapy involves the administration of progesterone or progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) to balance hormone levels. This can be done through:

  • Oral Progesterone: Pills taken by mouth to increase progesterone levels.
  • Topical Progesterone: Creams or gels applied to the skin.
  • Vaginal Progesterone: Suppositories, gels, or rings inserted into the vagina for direct absorption.
  • Injectable Progesterone: Injections administered by a healthcare provider.

While this can be a viable option for some, at Wild Muse we often recommend digging in deeper to figure out the cause of low progesterone before beginning HRT.

Managing Low Progesterone for Better Health

Seeking help for progesterone health is crucial due to its impact on menstrual cycles, fertility, mood, and overall health.

Consulting professionals ensure accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. 

Working with a nutritional therapist can also provide dietary guidance to support hormone production and address nutrient deficiencies. This holistic approach helps restore hormonal balance and enhances overall well-being.


Understanding the causes and treatments for low progesterone is vital for maintaining your reproductive health and overall well-being.

 If you’ve been experiencing symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, or fatigue, it might be time to consider the role of progesterone in your health.

Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

At Wild Muse Wellness, we use nutritional therapy as a whole-body and bio-individual approach to provide personalized dietary and lifestyle recommendations to support hormone balance and improve your quality of life. 

Reach out today to start your journey toward better hormonal health and well-being.

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Disclaimer: Nutritional Therapy Practitioners evaluate nutritional needs and recommend dietary changes and supplements. It’s not intended to treat specific medical conditions or diagnose prescriptions. No comment from Wild Muse Wellness constitutes a medical diagnosis or prescription.

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