Progesterone Deficiency – What are the symptoms?

Progesterone deficiency is all too common in women.

Not sure what it feels like to have progesterone deficiency? Check out this list of signs and symptoms from the book Natural Hormone Balance for Women – Look Younger, Feel Stronger, and Live Life with Exuberance by Uzzi Reiss, MD/OB-GYN:

  • Amenorrhea – no period at all. There is no ovulation. The ovaries are producing only a bare minimum of progesterone. Frequently, patients tell me, “I just want to have a period.’
  • Oligomenorrhea – the period comes infrequently, perhaps every few months. This is also a result of minimum progesterone production. “Is such a small flow healthy?” patients want to know.
  • Heavy and frequent periods. This situation could be related to tissue buildup in the uterus because of prolonged progesterone deficiency. “I get frightened when I see the large clots,” patients often say.
  • Spotting a few days before the period. Here, the progesterone level is dropping rapidly and prematurely during the monthly cycle. Patients will tell me they “don’t like to use pads for so long.”
  • PMS. Most PMS symptoms, whether physical or emotional, are progesterone-related. Initially, they may occur for a few days before the period. The more severe the deficiency, the longer they last. They may persist from the time of ovulation until the onset of the period. Many a patient has told me that “for a few days out of the month, I don’t like the person I become.”
  • Cystic breasts. “The cysts in my breasts scare me.”
  • Painful breasts. “When my husband hugs me I have a lot of pain.”
  • Breasts with lumps. “When I feel the lumps my heart stops.”
  • Most cases of endometriosis, adenomyosis, and fibroids. “I will take anything to get rid of this.”
  • Anxiety, irritability, and nervousness. Difficulty sleeping and relaxing. “I have become a nervous wreck.”
  • Water retention. “I can’t fit into my shoes.”

Want to know the best way to test for progesterone?

It is with a saliva test, NOT a blood test. Saliva tests measure the amount of ACTIVE progesterone available to stimulate your body. Blood tests cannot do this, and this is why you can have all the symptoms of obvious hormone imbalance, but still be told you have “normal” hormone levels in your blood. Trust me, saliva testing is the way to go.

Here is a perfect example…

This 34 year old female patient of mine had obvious signs of hormonal imbalance. The long and short of it is she only got her period every 2-3 months and had been trying to get pregnant for two years to no success. She went to a fertility specialist, and was told that all her hormones were “normal” (she had the typical blood testing done) and all her body parts (uterus, ovaries, tubes) were normal, too. That makes no sense, right? I know.

This is what we did for her…

I ran a month-long saliva panel on her. She had to spit in a vial every other day for a full month to map out her estrogen and progesterone cycles. These are her progesterone results:

Now, normally, a 34 year old female should have total progesterone levels of about 1,600-2,000. This patient is at 356.7. It turns out her progesterone levels are not “normal” but more like a 70 year old. This is why I love saliva testing, and totally love helping women with their hormones!

Here’s what else you should know…

When progesterone levels are out of balance there is always an underlying reason. Progesterone NEVER just goes out of balance all by itself. There is ALWAYS something else out of balance in the body triggering the progesterone to either be used up or not made. I commonly find problems in the adrenals, GI system, and detox pathways as the main underlying causes of progesterone deficiency. This is true even for women going through perimenopause/menopause.

Here’s what to do next…

Call or email my office and speak with me directly to see what can be done for your hormones.