Low Progesterone Levels in Females - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

  • 4.7   (5 Votes)
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MBBS on 07 Jan 2019 - Written by Dr. Sheetal Pandey Tejwani - MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MBBS

Symptoms of low progesterone levels in females are irregular cycles, slower metabolism, emotional issues, lower sexual drive, and menstrual problems. Causes of low progesterone levels are increased stress, excessive physical activity, and xenoestrogens. If you want to increase progesterone levels, then you need to take conventional hormones.

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You might have low progesterone and you are not alone in this race. Many women across the globe are suffering from low progesterone levels. Being a part of estrogen dominant world, there are hormonal imbalances. In this article, you will read about what are progesterone, causes, signs and treatments available for low progesterone.

What is progesterone?

Progesterone is an essential part of menstrual cycle and maintenance of pregnancy. It is a female sex hormone produced mainly in the ovaries after ovulation every month. It regulates the menstrual cycle but its key role is getting the uterus ready for the pregnancy. After ovulating every month, it thickens the uterus lining for the fertilized egg preparation. Progesterone levels start dropping if there is no fertilized egg and menstruation begins. It helps in maintaining the uterine lining throughout the pregnancy if the fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall. This hormone is required for breast development and breastfeeding. It helps the other female hormone estrogen. It also has a crucial role with testosterone, as progesterone is a harbinger of adrenal hormones.

What are the symptoms of low progesterone levels?

Low progesterone levels can cause several symptoms some of which are obvious while some are subtle. The symptoms include:

1- Irregular Cycles: Cycles are not regular, longer than the usual or shorter luteal phase than the normal.

2- Menstrual Issues: Issues like PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), mid-cycle spotting, and severe menstrual cramps are also some of the symptoms.

3- Infertility: Miscarriages and difficulty conceiving, as Progesterone is one of the primary hormones involved in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Low levels can also lead to infertility issues.


4- Energy and Sex Drive Issues: Fatigue, low libido, and foggy thinking.

5- Emotional Issues: Anxiety, depression and mood swings are included in this section.

6- Skin Issues: Problems like acne, cracked and dry skin, brittle nails are some of the common signs.

7- Slower Metabolism: It includes weight gain, particularly in the midsection, and sugar cravings.

8- Other Medical Issues: It encompasses allergy symptoms, migraines, joint pains, and headaches.

It is interesting to know that men also produce a small amount of progesterone, which helps in the sperm development.

What are the causes of low progesterone levels?

During the second half of your cycle, the body naturally produces the progesterone. But there are several factors that affect this hormone’s levels. They are:

1- Excessive Exercise

Everything in excess has its own repercussions. Exercise is good for staying fit but excessive and rigorous exercise has its own negative effects on hormone levels, especially in progesterone levels. Though exercise is not an issue when women work out really hard for competing at higher levels, it disturbs their hormone systems. Moderate exercise helps in maintaining healthy progesterone levels.

2- Stress

One of the leading causes of low progesterone levels is ‘Stress’.With the fast-paced life, we are never satisfied and keep looking to finish everything. Once these desires are combined with the stress and we create hormonal disaster for ourselves.


Whenever we are stressed, our body releases Cortisol, a stress hormone.

Once this hormone is released, it blocks the body’s receptors and interferes with the hormone’s activity.

3- Xenoestrogens

Environmental estrogens or xenoestrogens are bombarded everywhere i.e. in our food as well as the environment. Progesterone levels suffer as xenoestrogens trick the body into thinking that estrogen level is high in the body then they actually are.

Xenoestrogens can be found in plastics, synthetic hormones and even in animal products.

How to increase the progesterone levels?

You have different options for treating the low progesterone levels. First, you must consult the doctor and get your progesterone levels checked for ensuring you are suffering from progesterone deficiency. If yes, then you can boost the levels through:

1- Changing Lifestyle

To get back to optimal progesterone levels, changing lifestyle can help a lot. Below are some tips for doing so:

a- Having a healthy and balanced diet. It implies getting rid of junk and processed food and adopting real food.

b- De-stress yourself. Stress is one of the main causes of low progesterone levels.

c- Adequate sleep helps in keeping adrenal glands healthy. So early to bed and early to rise, makes you healthy and bright.

d- Addressing the nutritional deficiencies via multivitamin or supplements.

2- Conventional Hormones

Your doctor may recommend you to take conventional synthetic hormone replacement if he finds your progesterone levels are lower than normal. Conventional hormones are the only option. Discuss all the possible side effects of before starting the doses.

3- Bioidentical cream like Pro-Gest

The bioidentical cream has hormones that are identical to the ones which body makes on a molecular level. These hormones act in a similar way the body’s natural hormones behave. Bioidentical hormonal therapy helps in treating the imbalances and has few side effects.

You will be dazzled to know that these days women can have perimenopausal symptoms in their early 30s also due to changes in lifestyle. Do you know that PCOS can also be the reason behind your infertility? Know the corrective health measures to be taken when suffering from PCOS.

Hope this article helped you in understanding the other important female hormone progesterone. Follow Elawoman blog to get regular updates on fertility health and treatments.

Dr. Sheetal Pandey Tejwani

Written by

Gynecologic Surgeon, Laparoscopic Surgeon

Dr. Sheetal Pandey Tejwani is an Infertility Specialist, Gynecologic Surgeon and Obstetrician, located in Mumbai and having an experience of almost a decade. Her alma mater is B J MEDICAL COLLEGE in Pune from where she completed her MBBS and MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2007 and 2009, respectively. In the following year, she pursued her DNB in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She received her Post Doctoral Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine from Krishna IVF Vizag and Nadkarni IVF Centre, Surat in 2013. She is the member of 3 different associations i.e. Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction (ISAR), Indian Medical Association (IMA), and Association of Medical Consultants. Her area of expertise includes Tubectomy/Tubal Ligation, Hysterectomy (Abdominal/Vaginal), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Caesarean Section and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). She is a consultant in Veda Fertility And Urology Care, Mira Road and is a visiting consultant in Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road, Mumbai. You can get the contact details of Dr. Sheetal Pandey Tejwani at


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Vedika Verma

Do women with low progesterone could also have PCOS?

Oct. 9, 2018, 11:51 p.m. 5.0


Gautami Bista

I often have mood swings because of low progesterone. Does having medicine for low progesterone affect fertility?

Aug. 17, 2018, 2:34 p.m. 4.5


Nikita Thapa

It is normal to have low progesterone since they depend on our lifestyle. You can always fix this with a balanced diet.

Aug. 1, 2018, 5:58 p.m. 4.5


Kriti Gulati

I was just thinking if there is something as high progesterone just like Low progesterone?

June 2, 2018, 2:42 p.m. 5.0


Waghamare Charan Sovinda

May 2, 2018, 11:09 a.m. 4.5

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