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When discussing hormonal imbalances in women, estrogen is often the first hormone that comes to mind. However, having optimal progesterone levels is also critical to women’s health. When balanced with estrogen, progesterone functions to regulate the menstrual cycles, prevent PMS, improve fertility, promote sleep, reduce anxiety, stimulate metabolism, act as a natural diuretic, and maintain bone density.

Progesterone naturally starts declining as women approach their mid-30’s. However, prolonged periods of high stress can also trigger its decline as the body steals progesterone to increase cortisol (our stress hormone) production.

Signs of low progesterone may include:

  • Menstrual irregularities: short menstrual cycles, spotting before your period, heavy bleeding, fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • PMS (especially when characterized by anxiety, mood swings and sleep disruptions)
  • Infertility (difficulty conceiving, early miscarriage)
  • Cold body temperature
  • Water retention, bloating
  • Slow metabolism, weight gain
  • Brain fog, poor concentration and low energy

If you suspect that low progesterone levels may be affecting your health, the first step is to test your hormones, ideally with a saliva panel. A saliva hormone panel is a good way to look at the balance progesterone in relation to estrogen and cortisol (the body’s stress hormone). A treatment plan focusing on nutrition, improving digestive health, herbal medicine or bioidentical hormones can then be created to optimize the levels of these hormones. Women often see profound improvements in their overall health and wellbeing when they take charge of balancing their hormones!