During perimenopause you may begin to experience certain symptoms of low progesterone, or you may find that your existing symptoms become more pronounced.
In my previous post, I discussed the four cardinal signs of progesterone deficiency:
- Irregular Periods
- PMS and other signs of estrogen dominance
- Irritability, anxiety and mood swings
- Infertility or miscarriages
During perimenopause, you may begin to experience some of these symptoms, develop certain new symptoms, or find your existing symptoms worsen.
This is because progesterone begins a journey of gradual decline in perimenopause, which can start in our mid-to-late 30s, through our 40s, until menopause, which begins at an average age of 51, when progesterone drops to a minimal level (along with estrogen).
4 Most Common Symptoms of Low Progesterone in Perimenopause
For example, you may notice that your periods become sporadic and your PMS symptoms get worse. You might begin to develop severe headaches or have trouble sleeping, or your moods may start flying all over the place.
Below are some common changes you may encounter as you journey through the perimenopausal phase.
Perhaps the most important sign of perimenopause is irregular periods. As the ovarian reserve diminishes over time, the ovaries may not produce a mature egg each month despite the increasing attempts of the FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) to promote ovulation.
And without regular ovulation, your periods will become irregular (and often unpredictable).
And when there’s none, you may miss your periods or have light bleeding.
The length of the menstrual cycle also fluctuates. It may take a longer time for the egg to mature, despite the trying attempts of the FSH, which results in a longer follicular phase and a longer cycle.
But other times the FSH may succeed in producing a mature egg quickly, leading to a shorter follicular phase and a shorter cycle.
My cycles used to be very regular. But since last year they‘ve become quite sporadic. I may go without a period for 2 months. Then I’ll get a light period, followed by a heavy one in less than a month.
What about you? Have you notice any changes in your cycles?
This change is natural and inevitable, and there’s not much you can do about it. However, it’s important to pay attention and learn to differentiate unusual signs from normal changes.
Progesterone is considered a soothing hormone because it stimulates GABA receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps reduce stress, increase relaxation, balance moods, alleviate pain, and promote sleep.
When our body produces the right amount of progesterone, we feel relaxed and levelheaded – and we sleep better. But when progesterone levels take a dive during perimenopause or in the week leading up to menstruation, we may become more easily agitated or anxious, and have trouble sleeping at night.
If you used to sleep well but begin to experience sleep disturbances as you get older (for example, you’re in your late 30s, 40s or 50s), low progesterone could be a cause of your insomnia.
As it turns out, estrogen and progesterone not only regulate our menstrual cycles, but may also affect headache-related chemicals in the brain, according to Mayo Clinic.
Having steady estrogen levels may improve headaches, while experiencing a dip in estrogen levels can make headaches worse. As we know, estrogen levels drop around menstruation, as well as during perimenopause and menopause.
So it’s no surprise that many women experience headaches and migraines during these times of significant hormonal changes. Or they may find that their headaches get worse (more intense or more frequent) in perimenopause.
Worse PMS (Estrogen Dominance)
As progesterone levels decrease during perimenopause, estrogen levels may appear to be higher relative to progesterone. This imbalance can manifest as various signs of estrogen dominance, such as PMS, irritability, anxiety, and mood swings, etc.
If you’ve already experienced PMS and other signs of estrogen dominance, you may find your symptoms getting worse because declining progesterone levels can exacerbate the underlying imbalance.
Perimenopause is a period of big changes for women. This is understandable, because it’s an important life transition for women to move from the archetypes of Maiden and Mother to Crone (the Wise Woman).
There are things you can do, however, to make this process as smooth and as graceful as possible. For example, you can use proven natural supplements to support your progesteorne levels and help you maintain natural hormone balance throughout perimenopause.
I hope you find this information helpful. As usual, please leave a comment to share your thoughts, questions or experiences.
Chasteberry (proven to help treat low progesterone and regulate menstrual cycles in more than 60 years of clinical research, including 5 randomized trials)
Vitamin B6 (one of the best vitamins to boost progesterone)
Progesterone Cream (bio-identical hormonal support)
Reduce Estrogen Dominance
Liver Cleanse Detox and Repair Formula (support liver functions)
Dim Plus (improve estrogen metabolism)
Support Adrenal and Thyroid Functions
Adrenal Health Daily Support (promote overall hormone balance)
Thyroid Support Complex (support energy and metabolism)
Once Daily Organic Whole Food Vitamin Supplement (provide essential nutrients for health and hormone balance)
Liquid Iron (support healthy blood)
Fish Oil (help reduce inflammation and support overall health)
The Hormone Cure, by Dr. Sara Gottfried
Cooking for Hormone Balance, by Magdalena Wszelaki