How common is low progesterone?

June 29, 2020

Research indicates that most women going through their pregnancies don’t experience low levels of progesterone. Although, in some instances, complications may arise and result in a miscarriage. While there isn’t a significant amount of research going into how common are low progesterone levels in women that aren’t pregnant, we can use different measures to get an idea. Polycystic ovary syndrome has already been mentioned as one specific issue that causes low levels of progesterone in women.

The statistics showcase that polycystic ovary syndrome is an issue that affects 1 in 10 women who are of childbearing age. It’s an indication that women suffering from low levels of progesterone are a common issue. As awareness increases regarding the role of low levels of progesterone, more women are going to be able to identify and deal with the disease. There are also several different solutions to the problem. Doctors may choose to treat low levels of progesterone with the use of hormone therapy. In less severe cases, lifestyle changes can play a significant role in improving the progesterone production in the human body.


Progesterone is a hormone that the female body produces. It is predominantly a sexual hormone that is produced within the ovaries. After the monthly ovulation is done, the mechanism of progesterone development begins. Since it controls the female menstrual cycle and prepares the uterus for conception, progesterone is one of the most significant female sex hormones.

Progesterone acts to thicken the lining of the uterus following ovulation. To support egg fertilization, this thickness prepares the uterus. The egg is inserted in the pelvic wall if fertilization occurs. The amount of progesterone increases during pregnancy to preserve the thickness of the uterine wall. Progesterone levels, however, tend to decrease if no fertilization occurs. It signals the onset of menstruation.

Testosterone, a hormone that stimulates the development of adrenal hormones, also interacts with this hormone, thereby aiding adrenal functioning. For sperm production, certain quantities of progesterone are also required by men.
The Poor Effects of Progesterone

Progesterone performs some major female body roles, rather than controlling the menstrual ovarian period of females. For breast growth and for breastfeeding, its presence is important. A female body's progesterone levels decide the level of another major sex hormone, estrogen. The higher your level of progesterone, the lower your body's estrogen levels and vice versa.

Owing to the broad variety of roles it plays in the body, maintaining a stable progesterone level is very important. During breastfeeding, lower levels of progesterone are very dangerous. A deficiency of progesterone impacts the menstrual feminine cycle and therefore contributes to a variety of other problems.

It's very necessary to check for the signs in your body that indicate a lack of progesterone. Before it's too late, you must recognise this deficiency and cure it. There are symptoms of low progesterone given below that you must watch out for!

Irregularities in the Menstrual Cycle or missing cycles

A normal menstrual period lasts roughly 28 days. When the progesterone levels are smaller than average, the length of your cycle is severely impaired. With a delay in menstruation, women with low progesterone levels can experience longer periods. Your cycle duration can also be inconsistent, accompanied by an unexpectedly short cycle that is normally long. You could have low progesterone levels if you have PCOS and have heavy cramps. Mid-cycle flickering is another symptom to be wary of.

For infertility

The levels of progesterone have a lot to do with pregnancy, as mentioned above. If you are unable to conceive without any apparent complications or have a miscarriage, you must get the progesterone levels tested. There is a risk that because of a thin lining caused by low progesterone, the uterus is unable to host the fertilized egg. Women with low progesterone must first try to increase the levels of the hormone and then try to get pregnant.


Your skin is also indirectly affected by low progesterone levels. You could have low progesterone if you notice that your normally smooth skin has broken out. Your nails are also affected by low progesterone levels, leaving them rusty and brittle. If you're low on progesterone, you can even feel your hands and heels forming cracks and your hair getting brittle and thin.

Gain in Weight

Lower levels of progesterone delay the metabolism of the liver, too. This often imbalances hormone levels in the body. These two variables then result in a great deal of weight gain. In such a scenario, while eating well and exercising, you're likely to add some extra pounds.

Headaches / Migraines

Lower progesterone contributes to higher estrogen that in turn allows the body to retain water and vasodilate. These two factors may cause serious headaches. Women experience more of these migraines and headaches before or after menstruation.


Mood Swings More Intense

Women undergo a transition attributable to hormonal imbalances in their mental functioning. Among such imbalances, a low amount of progesterone that lets women undergo abrupt changes in their moods is the most prominent. You can find yourself constantly moving between happy and unhappy if you have low progesterone.

Decrease in Sex Drive or Libido

Low levels of progesterone also control one's desire for energy and sex. With time, people with lower progesterone levels are likely to begin having a lower libido. Lower levels of progesterone also affect the sexual performance and can contribute to a loss of interest in sexual activity overall.



The activity of different neurotransmitters, such as GABA, is impaired by lower progesterone levels. This causes many women to feel sad, experience anxiety, and easily become annoyed. In addition, women with lower levels of progesterone are likely to suffer from insomnia, irrespective of their age, which also starts to affect cognitive ability.

In your body, hormonal imbalances can cause hot flashes. You're likely to feel hot flashes with lower progesterone and more estrogen in your body - especially during the night or when you're sleeping.

Problems of the Gall Bladder

When encouraged to do so by cholecystokinin, the gall bladder is intended to clear itself. However, where there is a hormone deficiency produced due to low levels of progesterone, this does not happen. This will cause the bladder to develop stones and cysts, which can intensify if not treated in time.

Symptoms of Reduced Progesterone in Pregnancy


Up until this point, irrespective of her child-bearing status, we addressed signs that any woman might go through. Lower progesterone and higher levels of estrogen can however, have some significant effects for pregnant women in particular. Some low progesterone symptoms that are normal in pregnant women are seen below. If you witness any of the above, you must look out for these and take the necessary action.

Blood Sugar Levels

Lower levels of progesterone mean that the body becomes more responsive to insulin. This results in poorer control of the levels of sugar in the body. In such a condition, you are likely to have lower blood sugar levels during breastfeeding.

Fatigue and Other Pregnancy Symptoms

Higher progesterone levels also have an effect on the ability to sleep. For pregnant mothers, this has serious consequences. It will effect her mental health if an expectant mother does not get the sleep she wants or is stressed all the time. Such a disease results in extreme exhaustion in pregnant women, which is not safe for both the expectant mother and the infant.

Pain in the Abdomen

Since the wall of your uterus needs to provide energy and nutrients for the fetus, it must be quite powerful. This resilience can not be guaranteed under low progesterone concentrations, and the lining becomes very thin. The weak lining can also lead to extreme abdominal pain and cramps in pregnant women.

Your testosterone levels are affected by lower progesterone levels, which can lead to bleeding when pregnant. This flickering may often be too intense to sound like a real menstrual discharge. It could be associated with cramps, so call your OB/GYN if you have these symptoms.

Higher amounts of progesterone indicate the lining of a small uterus. In rare cases, it may also mean no lining of the uterus at all. If your level of progesterone decreases to an extreme level halfway through your pregnancy, your lining is likely to weaken. A weaker endometrial or uterus lining means that little or no energy is received by the developing fetus. This can lead to an abortion or in some circumstances, a stillbirth.

Other than these, some complications that pregnant women with low progesterone levels face are pre-term births, post-partum depression, nausea, and hair loss.


Progesterone is a major sex hormone that the body requires. Any modification of its development or involvement will contribute to an overall hormonal imbalance that can affect the body. There are different signs with reduced progesterone levels that you can keep a watch for. By doing so you will be able to spot low levels of progesterone easily and may then pursue successful care.