Women have two sex hormones that play important roles in their appearance and their health, estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is responsible for changing a woman’s appearance after puberty and it helps to protect her against medical problems like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and it also helps to fight fatigue and weight gain. While most women are aware of the problems caused by an estrogen imbalance, many of them are not aware of what happens if they have too much progesterone.
How Does Progesterone Work?
In women, progesterone is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle. Progesterone is also often used in the production of women’s birth control because it is effective in helping to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Progesterone has several important purposes in a woman’s body, including countering the effects of estrogen in many areas. While it is well-known that progesterone can counter the cancer-causing effects of estrogen in the endometrium, it is also included in the hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, in women who haven’t had a hysterectomy.
In addition, this hormone is important to the overall health of women. Progesterone also helps to regulate the thyroid gland; it helps to reduce swelling and inflammation and is important to the proper functioning of the immune system. Progesterone promotes strong bones, helps to produce collagen in skin, which is the reason it is known for its anti-aging effects, and it also helps to ensure normal nerve function and proper blood clotting. In fact, researchers are testing progesterone shots on people with multiple sclerosis to see if it can reduce the deterioration of nerves and muscles.
Why Would You Have Too Much Progesterone?
There are several reasons why the body may produce excessive progesterone. The hormone rises in women who are pregnant and high levels are detected when a woman gives birth to multiples, such as twins or triplets. Normally, progesterone decreases when the pregnancy ends and menstruation begins. However, high levels of progesterone can also be caused by molar pregnancies, luteal ovarian cysts and in certain ovarian cancers.
Progesterone is also used in pills, oils, topical gels or as vaginal inserts as birth control and for other purposes. It is rare that a progesterone overdose occurs, but prolonged used of this hormone can have severe side effects. For example, it will be harmful to nervous system and muscular system.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of High Progesterone?
1. Indicative Signs
There are often many indications of having high levels of progesterone. One of the first signs is muscle weakness and women may also feel tired for seemingly no reason. Other indications of too much progesterone are: a higher than normal body temperature and vaginal dryness.
2. Common Symptoms
There are many common symptoms associated with high levels of progesterone in the body which can help doctors diagnose the hormone imbalance. These symptoms are the subjective effects that high progesterone levels can have on the body, which include:
- Tenderness in the breasts
- Rapidly changing moods
- Feeling depressed
- Being bloated
- Lack of sex drive
These are some of the most common symptoms of high progesterone levels, but there are also symptoms that appear more infrequently.
3. Rare Symptoms
These symptoms of high progesterone levels appear less frequently in women, but it is important to take note of them because they can also be symptoms of other medical issues. These symptoms include:
- Skin that feels greasy and acne breakouts
- Gaining weight
- Suddenly feeling hot
- Urinary tract infections
- Inability to hold urine
- The onset of headaches
All of the symptoms of having too much progesterone in your body can cause discomfort, so it is important to find ways to relieve the symptoms after they have been associated with an imbalance in progesterone levels. There are several ways for women to find relief from these symptoms.
How to Control Your Progesterone Levels and Prevent Imbalance
1. Change Your Lifestyle
Making simple changes in your life can help to successfully reduce the symptoms of having too much progesterone in your body, as well as improve your overall health. Changing your diet, developing an exercise regimen and reducing stress can help improve the symptoms of a hormone imbalance. Some of the methods you may want to consider for reducing stress include practicing yoga or mediating.
Including foods that stabilize estrogen levels like whole grains, salmon, avacado and nuts in your diet are also helpful in dealing with a progesterone imbalance because when estrogen levels rise, progesterone decreases.
While lifestyle changes help address the symptoms of an imbalance, they don’t address the problem at its source. For that, further treatments, including taking alternative medicines, may be indicated.
2. Take Alternative Medicine
Using alternative medicine, such as herbal remedies, can be a safe and effective way to address a progesterone imbalance. Herbal remedies are the most popular choice and there are two classes of herbs used for addressing imbalances:
- Phytoestrogenic herbs
- Non-Estrogenic herbs
Phytoestrogenic herbs are plants containing estrogen and their estrogen is used to treat hormonal imbalances. While using plant-based estrogen can be an effective treatment, it has to be used cautiously because it can affect the body’s ability to produce its own natural hormones.
As the name suggests, non-estrogenic herbs do not contain any estrogen, but they stimulate the production of hormones by feeding the endocrine glands. This helps increase the amount of natural hormones in the body, effectively correcting the progesterone imbalance.
3. Accept Hormone Replacement Therapy
After trying changes in lifestyle and alternative medicines to address having too much progesterone, many women may need to undergo HRT to correct their imbalance. HRT involves taking drugs that help balance the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. These drugs should only be taken under the guidance of a doctor as they can have several harmful side effects, including increasing the risk of ovarian and breast cancers.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, these three treatment alternatives can be used separately at different times to combat a progesterone imbalance or they can also be effectively used in various combinations.