A Progesterone deficiency can cause some unspecific clinical pictures and not least be responsible for an unfulfilled desire to have children. This article explains causes and ways of treatment and prevention.
In both men and women, a progesterone deficiency can manifest itself in sleep disorders, profuse sweating, cardiac arrhythmias or an emotional imbalance.
Progesterone is a female sex hormone. It is also known by the term "corpus luteum hormone" because it is produced by the corpus luteum in the ovary. The hormone is also found in the male body and is made there in the testicles. However, this only happens in very small quantities.
In the female body, progesterone regulates the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus and the maintenance of pregnancy. After ovulation, the shell of the egg follicle transforms into the corpus luteum. Progesterone is formed from this.
This process is controlled by the LH hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland. During pregnancy, the placenta is responsible for producing large amounts of progesterone so that the pregnancy continues. Progesterone is also the building material for the hormones estrogen and testosterone.
The cause of a progesterone deficiency is a luteal weakness. Follicles do not mature sufficiently, which means that the egg cells cannot develop. As a result, a complete corpus luteum cannot develop. The progesterone deficiency leads to an estrogen dominance, which is already regarded as a disease of civilization. This estrogen dominance can in turn have many causes, which often occur in combination with one another and are mutually reinforcing.
On the one hand, genetic factors play a role. There can also be cycles without ovulation by taking the pill. The onset of menopause is often marked by a progesterone deficiency. In addition, food can contain estrogens or other substances that affect the hormonal balance (e.g. aids for fattening, plastic bottles, canned food and bag soups, additives in spreads and in bread, etc.).
There can also be chemicals in the environment that are susceptible to disturbing the cycle. These are, for example, xenoestrogens that are found in paints, wall paints, pesticides, building materials and exhaust gases. Certain medications can also have negative effects, for example psychotropic drugs, medication for menopausal symptoms, thyroid disorders and antidiabetic drugs. Bad diet, stress, lack of light, lack of exercise and damage to the ovaries can all do the rest.
A deficiency in the hormone progesterone can occur in both men and women, with the latter being more often affected. In stressful situations in particular, hormonal disorders can occur, and the likelihood increases with age. However, symptoms also often occur during pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause.
In both men and women, a progesterone deficiency can manifest itself through sleep disorders, heavy sweating, cardiac arrhythmias or an emotional imbalance. Women are also affected by other complaints. These include ovarian cysts and fibroids, severe iron deficiency (especially during menstruation) and the occurrence of breast cancer. The absence of a pregnancy or a miscarriage can also be the result of the disease in severe cases.
Often a deficiency occurs in connection with other diseases, which is why the doctor will also ask for symptoms of a thyroid disease when taking the anamnesis. Cold hands and feet, swelling of the fingers, dry and irritated skin and low blood pressure can therefore also be signs of a progesterone deficiency. Depressive moods, panic or anxiety states and reduced performance also occur.
The complaints mentioned are just a few of the symptoms, which can also be different in severity. If they come to an appropriate life situation, however, they can be easily diagnosed by a doctor.
A progesterone deficiency can show up in various symptoms that provide a starting point for a further diagnosis. These include difficulty concentrating, listlessness, fatigue, anxiety, depressive moods, water retention, nausea, weight gain, tender, swelling breasts, cysts and fibroids and menstrual pain. Miscarriage can occur in pregnant women. Shortened cycles and spotting are also typical.
If a progesterone deficiency is suspected, the doctor will suggest a progesterone test. The progesterone and estrogen levels around the 19th, 20th or 21st day of the cycle are determined with the help of a saliva test. Such tests can also be carried out by yourself by taking samples and sending them to a laboratory for evaluation.
A basal temperature curve can be drawn up by the doctor to support the diagnosis. In order to reliably determine a progesterone deficiency, adrenal fatigue should be excluded.
Due to the progesterone deficiency, those affected suffer from various ailments, which can lead to different complications. In the worst case, however, the progesterone deficiency can lead to an unfulfilled desire to have children. It is not uncommon for psychological complaints or severe depression to occur. The quality of life is also considerably restricted and reduced.
Furthermore, the patients often suffer from disorders of concentration and coordination. Fatigue and listlessness can also occur and have a very negative effect on the everyday life of the person concerned. It is not uncommon for patients to suffer from anxiety and confusion due to the lack of progesterone. In women, there is also tension in the chest and often menstrual pain.
If the progesterone deficiency occurs in women who are already pregnant, it can, in the worst case, lead to a miscarriage. Treatment is usually done with the help of medication. There are no particular complications. Furthermore, various natural aids are available to those affected, which can significantly limit and reduce the symptoms of progesterone deficiency.
Couples or women who have an unfulfilled desire to have children should find out all about the optimal conditions for conceiving children. If all requirements are met and there is still no pregnancy for several months, a control visit to a doctor should take place. In this there is a renewed clarification of the optimal conditions for fertility. In addition, a comprehensive investigation should be initiated to provide information about the fertility status of the affected persons.
Persistent sleep disorders, irregular heartbeats and abnormalities in the endocrine system should also be discussed with a doctor. If there are mood swings, phases of depression or peculiarities in the behavior of the person concerned, an examination is necessary. Profuse sweating, swelling of the fingers or a vague anxiety experience should be presented to a doctor. The symptoms indicate a health problem that needs to be diagnosed and treated. Lumps in the breast, irregularities in the woman's menstrual cycle and a decrease in well-being are other signs of the disease.If the person concerned suffers from changes in libido, severe tearfulness and changes in skin texture, a doctor should be consulted. Inner restlessness, fluctuations in weight and apathy are indications of a health disorder and must be clarified by a doctor. A doctor should be consulted in the case of cold limbs, hypersensitivity to temperature influences and rapid exhaustion.
There are different approaches to treat luteal weakness. If a deficiency in progesterone has been found, the body is usually given progesterone medication. Means such as Clomiphene, Dydrogesterone and Utrogest®. Ideally, therapy is carried out when the follicle is maturing, because this is where the cause of the corpus luteum weakness lies. In some cases, estrogen is also given. The pregnancy hormone is also used when a luteal weakness is to be treated.
Estrogen dominance can be treated in a number of ways. Which treatment is preferred depends on the severity of the progesterone deficiency (and thus estrogen dominance) and the preferences of the patient concerned. In addition to treatment with chemical progesterone, treatment with plants that have progesterone-like active ingredients (phytohormones) and which can stimulate natural progesterone production can also be considered.
The treatment of progesterone deficiency can also be supported with exercise, a healthy diet, water, light therapy and natural healing methods. Acupressure, homeopathy, Schüssler salts and esoteric healing methods can be tried with the appropriate mental disposition.
In order to prevent a progesterone deficiency, it is helpful to eat healthily and live with as little stress as possible. Walks, especially in daylight, moderate exercise (e.g. jogging or swimming), losing weight, avoiding alcohol, sugar, nicotine and animal fats are helpful.
A diet that contains sufficient protein and is also rich in fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals (especially magnesium), vitamins (especially vitamins B6, B12, C and E) and trace elements (especially selenium and zinc) is ideal.
The progesterone deficiency is basically not to be viewed as an independent clinical picture, but occurs as a consequence or symptom of a hormone disorder. This can happen in different phases of life, but it can also be related to the hormonal system as a whole. There is therefore no clearly defined aftercare for the progesterone deficiency. Follow-up care can vary from lifelong compensation with hormones to no necessary follow-up care or therapy.
If lifelong care through hormone replacement therapy is found to be necessary, the patient must regularly see a specialist, preferably an endocrinologist. This examines the hormone status at regular intervals and can adjust the treatment individually depending on the situation. In the case of treatment in certain phases of life or after certain events, such as pregnancy and childbirth, the use of hormones is no longer necessary after a certain period of time.
Here, the corresponding medication can usually be completely discontinued or gradually reduced. However, after every hormone replacement therapy, it must be checked whether the body is able to independently guarantee the necessary hormone levels over the long term. Follow-up care therefore primarily relates to regular check-ups in order to guarantee that the patient will not again experience hormone deficiencies that require treatment.
A deficiency of the hormone progesterone is clearly noticeable in everyday life. Symptoms range from insomnia to exhaustion and emotional imbalance. The doctor will suggest hormone therapy, which many sufferers view with a critical eye, because this therapy is an artificially produced hormone administered to the body, which can have serious side effects.
For this reason, the question of an alternative is great. Since hormones are always influenced by certain behavior, it is possible to support the formation of the body's own progesterone by taking a closer look at your own lifestyle. A change in movement behavior can already be beneficial here. Those affected should make sure that they exercise regularly, be it during sweaty sports or long walks in the fresh air. In addition, attention should be paid to a healthy and balanced diet, rich in vitamins and fiber. Too much sugar, caffeine or bad fats have a negative effect on the hormonal balance. Sunlight can also counteract the lack of progesterone, although 15 minutes of sunbathing a day is usually sufficient.
If the deficiency does not go away with these measures, homeopathy, Schuessler salts or other natural healing methods can be used as an alternative to hormone therapy.