Low Progesterone Symptoms in Women: 15 Signs of Hormone Imbalance

Low Progesterone Symptoms in Women: 15 Signs of Hormone Imbalance

June 29, 2020


frustrated with low progesterone hormone

Progesterone is a hormone produced by the female body. It is mainly a reproductive hormone and is created inside the ovaries. The process of progesterone production starts after the monthly ovulation is over. Progesterone is one of the most important female sex hormones because it regulates the female menstrual cycle and prepares the uterus for pregnancy.

After ovulation, progesterone works to thicken your uterus lining. This thickness prepares the uterus to support egg fertilization. If fertilization happens, the egg is implanted in the uterus wall. Progesterone level rises and maintains uterine lining and wall’s thickness throughout pregnancy. However, progesterone levels start dropping if no fertilization happens. This marks the start of menstruation.

This hormone also works with testosterone, a hormone that promotes the production of adrenal hormones, thus helping adrenal functioning. Some amounts of progesterone are also needed by men for sperm development. This post deals with many symptoms of progesterone deficiency that women face, which can be mitigated with progesterone supplementation. As with all hormone therapy, it's recommended you head to your doctor to get a quick progesterone test, and have your estrogen and progesterone receptor tested. If levels are too low and it's shown you have progesterone deficiencies, you might consider this hormone replacement therapy.

Low Progesterone Symptoms

Other than regulating the monthly reproductive cycle in females, progesterone performs several important female body functions. Its presence is necessary for breast development and for breastfeeding. The levels of progesterone in a female body determine the level of another important sex hormone, your levels of estrogen. The higher your progesterone level is, the lower the ratio of estrogen in your body and vice versa. So estrogen and progesterone have bit of an inverse relationship.

It’s very important to maintain a consistent progesterone level because of the wide range of functions it performs in the body. Lower levels of progesterone are very harmful during pregnancy. Low levels of progesterone affect the female monthly cycle and leads to a number of other issues as well - and can cause irregular cycles.

Hence, it’s important to look out for the some signs of low progesterone that show in your body. You must identify this deficiency and treat it before it’s too late. Given below are symptoms of low progesterone that you must look out for!

  1. Menstrual Cycle Irregularities or Missed Periods

    A regular menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days long. The duration of your cycle is seriously affected if your progesterone levels are lower than normal. Women with low progesterone levels may experience longer cycles with a delay in menstruation. Your cycle length may also be inconsistent, with an unusually small cycle being followed by a usually long one. If you have PCOS and experience strong cramps, you may have low progesterone levels. Spotting mid-cycle is another symptom to be careful about along with possible painful periods. Others may have an unusually heavy period - so irregular periods is a telling symptom.
  2. Infertility

    As stated above, progesterone levels have a lot to do with pregnancy. You must get your progesterone levels checked if you’re unable to conceive without any obvious issue or have a miscarriage. There’s a chance that your uterus is unable to host the fertilized egg because of a thin lining, caused by low progesterone. Women with low progesterone must first try to raise the hormone levels and then attempt to get pregnant. One important note is that the most common oral contraceptive is a hormonal birth control that uses progesterone, which prevents ovulation from taking place so it is important to a healthy pregnancy to consult your physician before considering any kind of hormone therapy.

    During the luteal phase, the corpus luteum is where your progesterone is produced and secreted in preparing the lining of the uterus for a possible fertilized egg.

  3. Acne

    Low progesterone levels also indirectly affect your skin. If you find that your typically clear skin has broken out, you may have low progesterone. Low progesterone levels also affect your nails, making them dull and brittle. You may also feel your hands and heels developing cracks and your hair becoming dull and weak if you’re low on progesterone. 
  4. Weight Gain

    Lower progesterone levels slow down your body’s metabolism too. This also imbalances the body’s hormone levels. These two factors then contribute a lot of weight gain. In such a case, you’re likely to gain some extra pounds despite eating well and exercising.

  5. Migraines or Headaches

    Lower progesterone leads to higher estrogen that, in turn, causes water retention and vasodilation in the body. These two factors may become a cause of severe headaches. These migraines and headaches are experienced more by women before or during menstruation.
  6. Mood Swings

    Women experience a shift in their mental functioning due to hormonal imbalances. Among such imbalances, the most common is a low progesterone level that makes women experience sudden shifts in their moods. If you have low progesterone, you may find yourself frequently shifting between happy and sad. There is also emerging research that moods can be effected by gut health - that is, whether or not enough of the right bacteria is present. A healthy gut flora may affect mood, and estrogen and progesterone fuel bacteria in your gut making a decline in these hormones disruptive.
  7. Low Libido

    Low progesterone levels also affect one’s energy and sex drive. Women with lower levels of progesterone are likely to start experiencing a lower libido over time. Lower progesterone levels also affect your sexual performance and may lead to an overall lack of interest in sexual activity.
  8. Depression

    Lower progesterone levels affect the functioning of various neurotransmitters, such as GABA. This leads many women to feel depressed, experience anxiety, and get irritated quickly. Moreover, women with lower progesterone levels, regardless of their age, are likely to suffer from insomnia, which also starts to affect cognitive ability.
  9. Hot Flashes

    Hormonal imbalances can cause hot flashes in your body. With lower progesterone and more estrogen in your body, you’re likely to experience hot flashes - especially during the night or when you’re asleep. 
  10. Gall Bladder Problems

    Your gall bladder is supposed to empty itself when prompted to do so by cholecystokinin. However, this doesn’t happen when there’s a hormonal imbalance created due to low progesterone levels. This can lead to stones and cysts forming in your bladder, which can worsen if not treated in time.


Low Progesterone Symptoms in Pregnancy

Up to this point, we discussed symptoms that any woman would go through, regardless of her child-bearing status. However, lower progesterone and higher estrogen levels can have some serious implications for pregnant women in particular. Given below are some low progesterone symptoms that are common in pregnant women. You must watch out for these and take the necessary steps if you experience any of the following.  

  1. Low Blood Sugar

    Lower progesterone levels mean your body becomes more insulin sensitive. This results in poorer management of your body’s sugar levels. You’re likely to experience lower blood sugar levels during pregnancy under such a condition.

  2. Tiredness

    Lower levels of progesterone also affect your ability to sleep. This has serious implications for pregnant women. If an expectant mother does not get the sleep she needs or is depressed all the time, it can affect her mental health. Such a condition results in pregnant women feeling excessive tiredness, which is not healthy for both the expectant mother and the child. 
  3. Abdominal Pain

    Because your uterus wall has to provide the fetus with energy and nutrition, it must be very strong. Under low progesterone levels, this strength can’t be assured, and the lining becomes quite weak. The weak lining performing may also lead to pregnant women experiencing severe abdominal pain and cramps.

  4. Spotting

    Lower progesterone levels affect your hormone levels, which may lead to spotting while pregnant. Sometimes, this spotting can be heavy enough to feel like an actual menstrual flow. It may come together with cramps, so if you experience these symptoms, call up your OB/GYN.

  5.  Miscarriage

    Lower progesterone levels mean a thin uterus lining. In rare cases, it can also mean no uterus lining at all. If your progesterone levels drop to a serious level halfway through your pregnancy, there’s a chance that your lining will weaken. A weaker endometrial or uterus lining means the developing fetus gets less or no nutrition. This can lead to a miscarriage, or in some cases, a stillbirth. 

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


    Progesterone is an important female hormone that is needed by the body. Any change in its production or presence can result in an overall hormonal imbalance, which can affect your body. Progesterone therapy can regulate levels associated with various symptoms that you can keep a lookout for. By doing so, you may be able to quickly detect low progesterone levels and thus can seek effective treatment. If you do however decide to start supplementing with progesterone, be aware of how to reduce the side effects of progesterone.

  6. References








Quick Links:

Most common low-progesterone symptoms to watch for

Common causes of low levels

Is low progesterone common?



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