Master your progesterone
Discover the untapped potential of progesterone, going beyond reproduction to enhance your overall well-being.
Progesterone 101: Mastering this calming hormone
Constantly feel exhausted, anxious, or struggle with irregular periods? A hormonal imbalance is knocking at your door. And what could be to blame? Low levels of progesterone. Known as our most protective hormone, it plays a crucial role in our reproductive system. But beyond menstrual cycles and pregnancy, this versatile hormone influences our overall well-being.
With that in mind, we’re delving into all-things progesterone: why it matters, how to recognize signs of imbalance, and what steps you can take to regain healthy levels. Whether you're seeking to optimize your health (or achieve specific goals), understanding progesterone is a vital step towards a nourished life.
Why progesterone matters
As mentioned, progesterone’s importance extends far beyond our reproductive health. Yes, we need adequate progesterone to help alleviate PMS symptoms (and get pregnant), but beyond its reproductive functions, progesterone is quite calming. In fact, research shows it can actually stabilize our mood! Adequate progesterone levels are also crucial for maintaining bone density and cardiovascular health.
In terms of menstrual health, this hormone keeps each phase in check. In other words, we need progesterone for a regular infradian rhythm. For context—during the second half of your cycle (the luteal phase), progesterone thickens your uterine lining. If conception doesn’t happen, progesterone levels naturally decline. In turn, this tells your body to start a period. A boom, your cycle starts all over again. In many ways, progesterone is key for ensuring that each menstrual phase occurs in a coordinated and predictable manner.
Recognizing progesterone imbalance
Think your progesterone might be out of whack? Here are common signs that may indicate an imbalance:
- Irregular menstrual cycles: Given that progesterone helps regulate the menstrual cycle, irregular periods (unusually heavy or light bleeding), or missed periods can be indicative of an imbalance.
- PMS: Severe PMS symptoms like mood swings, irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness may suggest low progesterone levels.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding: Excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, known as menorrhagia, can be associated with progesterone deficiency.
- Spotting between periods: Mid-cycle spotting or breakthrough bleeding is often an indicator of hormonal imbalance, including low progesterone.
- Difficulty conceiving: Low progesterone levels can hinder successful implantation of a fertilized egg, making it challenging to conceive or maintain a pregnancy.
- Mood swings: Because progesterone has a calming effect on the central nervous system, frequent mood swings, anxiety, and irritability may point to low progesterone.
- Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? This can be linked to progesterone fluctuations.
- Changes in libido: Both high and low progesterone levels affect sexual desire.
- Breast changes: Swelling, tenderness, or changes in breast tissue can occur due to a shift in progesterone.
- Digestive issues: Progesterone can affect digestive function, leading to symptoms like bloating or constipation.
If you suspect a progesterone imbalance or experience persistent and disruptive symptoms, chat with your healthcare provider for hormone testing.
10-minute meditation for stress
One of the quickest ways to deplete your progesterone is unmanaged stress. We love simple ways to tackle stress every single day including meditation and breathwork. Try this 10-minute meditation for stress to help ease your nervous system and step into calm.
A few favorites from this week.
Have you tried our hormone-supporting Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie? Check it out here!
Seed cycling is one of the best ways to support your progesterone and estrogen. Check out our delicious Raspberry Coconut Bliss Seed Cycling Bites here.
7 Holistic ways to balance progesterone
Fortunately, there are a variety of natural ways to support balanced progesterone (whether your levels are too high or too low!). By paying attention to your body's signals and adopting holistic approaches, you can pave the way for improved hormonal health.1. Dietary Changes:
- Consume a diet rich in vitamins and minerals that support hormone production, such as vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C. Incorporate foods like leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits. And don’t forget protein!
- Additionally, include sources of healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, and fatty fish to support hormone synthesis.
- Practice stress reduction techniques (yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, etc.) to lower cortisol, which can interfere with progesterone production.
- Prioritize quality sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep per night.
- Make time for regular physical activity, as it can help regulate blood sugar levels (positively impacting hormones). Aim for a balanced exercise routine that includes cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility exercises.
- Certain herbs—like chasteberry—have been traditionally used to support progesterone balance. Consult a qualified herbalist or healthcare provider before using herbal remedies.
5. Minimize toxins:
- When possible, limit exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in some plastics, pesticides, and personal care products.
6. Acupuncture and TCM:
- Acupuncture (and other Traditional Chinese Medicine practices) may help regulate hormone balance and improve reproductive health.
- Your healthcare provider may recommend specific supplements, like vitamin B6, magnesium, or omega-3 fatty acids, to support hormonal balance.
While these methods may not replace medical treatment when necessary, they can complement traditional approaches! Consult your healthcare provider to create a personalized plan to balance your progesterone.
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