This post is taking a closer look at another one of the key players when it comes to fertility and hormones- PROGESTERONE.
Just like estrogen, progesterone is produced by the ovaries, and plays a large role during the later part of the cycle beginning after ovulation, known as the luteal phase. It is natural to have slightly lower levels of progesterone after the age of 35, as we ovulate less frequently.
However if levels of progesterone are too low they can be a cause of premenstrual symptoms, spotting before the period, and in some cases early miscarrage.
Progesterone is also thought of as a “chill out” hormone, and it has a huge effect on our MOOD during the cycle. Signs of too little progesterone, (especially related to estrogen levels) include mood swings, or feeling irritable, weepy, anxious or depressed, especially before the periods. Stress is usually a huge culprit with this pattern, and feeling “wound up” or sleepless at night are also common.
Lower body temperatures, a general feeling of cold, and lower back ache might also be present, and in Chinese Medicine this is often seen as a combination of kidney yang deficiency and qi stagnation.
When kidney yang is insufficient, it is important to keep the lower back and lower abdomen warm. Avoid cold/raw foods and dampening foods such as dairy and overly greasy foods. When cooking, add aromatic herbs such as ginger, mint, basil, green onion, rosemary and cardamom to get qi circulating.
Incorporate gentle exercise and relaxation techniques such as meditation to help manage stress. Supplements such as vitex/chaste tree berry and a vitamin B complex can also be helpful in supporting healthy progesterone levels.
Of course acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and moxibustion are also great ways to help boost progesterone and balance hormones naturally, and our practitioners always provide recommendations that are specific to your patterns.
Book a session with Mallory to help balance your hormones if you feel your progesterone may be out of whack!