A hormonal imbalance can be caused by a number of reasons. Read on to find out the main symptoms of a progesterone deficiency and what you can do to increase levels of progesterone.
Difficult to get pregnant
If you have low progesterone levels after ovulation, you will most likely find it difficult to get pregnant.
According to the University of Maryland, around about the middle of our cycle, progesterone and estrogen levels increase which prepare the uterus for a fertilized egg. If no implantation occurs, then progesterone levels drop and the endometrial lining is shed during menstruation. However, hormonal imbalances involving progesterone can interfere with ovulation.2
The journal Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management found that increasing progesterone levels also increases a woman’s chances of conceiving, even if she already has regular periods.3
If you have low levels of progesterone, your uterine lining may shed too quickly before implantation can occur.
If you have been trying to conceive for several months and have been unsuccessful, you should have your progesterone levels checked.
Difficult to stay pregnant
One of the symptoms of low levels of progesterone is difficulty in staying pregnant.
When fertilization occurs, progesterone levels should increase in the body for a healthy pregnancy. If this doesn’t happen, the uterine lining could break down resulting in a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. A study published in the journal Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that progesterone supplementation is often used to prevent recurring miscarriages.
However, because of the complexities of the interaction between hormones, it is difficult to recommend an optimal dose to increase progesterone levels.4
Another study on the use of progesterone in preventing miscarriages found that progesterone supplementation doesn’t prevent all miscarriages.
Dr. Arri Coomasasamy, the author of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, said that increasing progesterone levels can help to prevent miscarriage in women with early pregnancy bleeding. There are also no negative effects on babies in women who undergo progesterone supplementation to prevent miscarriage.5
Abdominal pain and bleeding during early pregnancy
If you experience abdominal pain or spotting during pregnancy, it could be a sign of low progesterone levels. Abdominal pain and vaginal spotting can be signs that there is not enough progesterone to keep the endometrial lining from shedding.
As the previous references have already mentioned, low progesterone levels can signal for the uterine wall to break down. This can cause abdominal cramping, pain, and vaginal bleeding.
According to the Nigerian Medical Journal, mild to moderate vaginal bleeding could be the first sign of a threatened miscarriage. Increasing levels of progesterone can help to reduce the symptoms and the risk of miscarriage.6
Short menstrual cycles
One sign that your progesterone levels are too low is having short menstrual cycles. Menstrual cycles that are short are classed as around 26 days or less – counting from the first day of your period to the start of your next one. Short menstrual cycles are common in women who are approaching the menopause because progesterone levels drop. However, younger women can also experience short menstrual cycles.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinol Metabolism found that lower concentrations of progesterone concentrations contributed to short menstrual cycles. During these short cycles, there is a risk of anovulation (this is when no ovulation occurs), however, you may still have menstrual bleeding.7