How to Increase Progesterone Naturally
So if you're trying to get pregnant, you want to know what progesterone actually does, how you can test for it and what you can do to improve it if you need to, keep reading all the way to the end where I give you all the important information to help you get pregnant!
OK, so now let's get into the details about progesterone. First and foremost, I want you all to know it's one of my favorite hormones because of how important it is and what it can do for you, for your overall health, for your mood and most importantly, for your fertility.
I will also tell you it's the hormone that I get the most questions about, which is also another reason why I think it's really important.
Progesterone is one of the primary hormones that your body produces. It's an essential reproductive hormone, essential for reproduction, for your menstrual cycle and for fertility. It also works in synchronization with estrogen. They work in tandem with one another so that they can support each other and balance each other out. Simply really progesterone for all of you who don't know is most dominant in the second half of the cycle in the luteal phase of the cycle, which is what the second half of the cycle is called after ovulation.
It's at its lowest in the first half in the follicular cycle and really peaks seven days post ovulation. That's when the progesterone spikes and is at its peak. It can rise a little bit more if you do get a positive pregnancy test.
But right now, for the sake of a regular menstrual cycle, progesterone peak seven days post ovulation.
So how does progesterone rise after ovulation?
This is a very common question that gets asked. So what we have to understand is we've got to go back to the first half of the cycle to understand how the second half of the cycle works and what progesterone does the follicle that matures in your ovaries.
So when someone is doing an ultrasound and they are looking at your ovaries, they're not looking at the eggs that are being produced. They're looking at the follicles. The eggs are inside the follicles and at ovulation, the follicle opens up, the egg comes out and we've got our egg that hopefully gets inseminated and fertilized and then implanted into the uterus. But this follicle turns into what is called the corpus lutetium. And in the second half of the menstrual cycle, the Corpus Lutetium produces progesterone. And that's what allows progesterone to stay high at that time of the cycle. One interesting, really cool fact, is that the corpus lutetium is an endocrine gland.
So your body produces a new endocrine gland every menstrual cycle. That is super cool, super neat. I think one of the more incredible things that a female body actually does.
So put that in the back of your head. Mental note to self. The corpus team is an endocrine gland, which is pretty cool. If you have implantation, then the Corpus Lutetium will help to maintain your progesterone levels during the first trimester of your pregnancy until your placenta's able to take over. So it serves a really, really important role. Not only is the Corpus able to produce a lot of progesterone, but it helps to hold that pregnancy once you do have implantation.
When we look at hormones like progesterone and estrogen, we also often associate them with temperatures. Estrogen is a very cool hormone. It helps to keep the temperatures a little bit cooler in the first half of the cycle. After ovulation, when progesterone increases, progesterone actually warms up the body and creates more heat in the body. This is actually what causes your basal body temperature to rise. Your BBT temps to rise is the increase of progesterone in the second half of the cycle. This rise actually shows that you've ovulated and it also is healthy because it tells you you've got a good amount of progesterone. And hopefully we see it not only rise there, but rise again. That shows a pregnancy.
Progesterone does a lot of wonderful things in the body. One of which is preparing the endometrium for implantation, which obviously is essential when we're talking about fertility and reproductive health, but it's not the only thing that it does. So what are the main things that progesterone does in the body?
- First and foremost, it helps to calm the nervous system. It relaxes it.
- Second, as I mentioned earlier, it does prepare the endometrium for pregnancy, which is one of the most important things that progesterone does for us.
- It also helps to maintain healthy breast health, heart health.
- It helps with regulating thyroid function, with regulating the nervous system and with brain function.
- And as a result of helping and supporting brain function, it helps with mood, helps reduce anxiety and helps with maintaining healthy sleep.
You can never talk about progesterone in isolation. You always have to talk about progesterone in relationship to estrogen. And there is this phenomenon called estrogen dominance or having too much estrogen in the body and you might want to read this article: https://www.healthline.com/health/high-estrogen
Progesterone and Estrogen balance each other out
These two hormones balance each other out and work with one another. So often we'll see that estrogen, we might say that estrogen is too high, but in reality it's not. Progesterone is too low and that's why they work together and why they're so important to one another and why we talk about them together
So what are some key signs of low progesterone in the body?
First and foremost is spotting or irregular bleeding. This happens that you could have some bleeding in the luteal phase or some spotting a little phase or you might start spotting or bleeding too early before menstruation starts.
So instead of a day 28 or 29, it might happen to date 25 or 26, which is a sign that progesterone is dropping and not high enough, not sufficient enough. You might also see this in your BBT charts that you're BBT. Temperatures there go high, they maintain for a little bit and then they drop just a smidge or they come down too early and too quickly. This could also be a sign of low progesterone in the body.
Another indicator for low progesterone might be that you have long menstrual cycles. That might be another indicator for for low progesterone, having headaches or migraines. Mood changes such as anxiety or depression could be a sign of progesterone.
We talked about before how it helps to regulate brain function and anxiety and mood. So this goes hand in hand with that.
You also might see low libido might not have that sex drive that you used to have. That could be a sign of low progesterone, hot flashes. We already talked about a regular menstrual cycles. Some weight gain could be a sign of that.
And then some other issues, reproductive issues could be fibroids and endometriosis could be a sign of low progesterone. They could also be a sign of estrogen dominance. This is where some testing comes in.
But last but not least, before we go on to how can you know more about your levels is thyroid function. So thyroid function or thyroid disease can be an indicator of low progesterone as well. Three things that really contribute to healthy progesterone levels:
- We already mentioned one of them just now, thyroid health. There's a strong connection and correlation between healthy thyroid function and healthy progesterone levels, but also stress.
- Stress can play a huge role in all of your reproductive hormones and healthy levels of all of your reproductive hormones. Progesterone is absolutely no different.
- And then also blood sugar. Maintaining healthy blood sugar and insulin levels will also help to support and maintain healthy progesterone levels and vice versa. If you don't have healthy blood sugar levels, then that can lead to low progesterone as well.
So how can we know what our progesterone levels actually are?
Well, I'm a firm believer of testing, not guessing. So absolutely, I want all of you to test if you want more information on what your progesterone levels are doing and what the levels are, then the first thing you need to know is when you test your progesterone, first and foremost, you test it seven days post ovulation.
I actually also test progesterone at the beginning of the cycle because I just want to make sure it's low, but it should be low there. That's not the ideal time to test progesterone. The ideal time to test progesterone is seven days post ovulation.
So you've got to know when you're ovulating, counts seven days and then have your progesterone tested at that time. That should be when your progesterone is at its. Which is what we want to know.
Ideally for me, I'd like to see that level be at least at 15, preferably 20 or above. That tells me that there's a strong, nice, healthy progesterone level that you're producing. If you have not had your progesterone levels tested, then absolutely I want you to get them tested.
What can you do to support your progesterone levels?
So let's just say you do get your hormones tested. You find out that they're too low. What can you do about it? Well, two main things:
First, magnesium is a great support for progesterone. It might help to increase progesterone levels. It also helps with so many other things, like keeping you calm, helping you sleep, relaxing the body. So in so many ways it's beneficial, but one of which is to help progesterone levels.
Second, if you're progesterone levels are really low, you might actually need to get on progesterone hormone. That is something that you should be discussing with your health care provider, your medical team, have your levels tested, discuss with them. Maybe you do need it. A caveat here is that it's not something you take all month long, OK? We don't want it to be birth control. We want it to support you. So the best time to take progesterone is in the luteal phase of your cycle after ovulation and then you continue taking it until you know you're not pregnant or you start your period. If you take a natural progesterone cream, which I still don't recommend taking unless you discuss this with your medical team or your health care provider, it may not stop you from starting your period, which is not a bad thing.
I'm just letting you know the higher the dosage the progesterone gets and the stronger the prescription, the more likely it is that you're not going to menstruate until you come off of it. So if you do that, I want you to know that you're going to have to take a pregnancy test every cycle that you're on it, if it's stopping you from starting your period so that you can know if you're pregnant or not.
So hopefully you all found this article helpful and informative. If you want more information how to get pregnant fast and naturally, feel free to download our guide to get pregnant fast.