Are you struggling with anxiety, irritability, insomnia or irregular cycles? If so, perimenopause might be upon you. It can be a time of great flux. Progesterone is the first hormone to fall, and it can cause hormonal havoc from as early as your mid to late thirties onwards. But luckily, we have tools to encourage healthy progesterone production. Today I am sharing with you ways to increase progesterone in perimenopause naturally.
As always, the tools I am sharing work with the body to promote balance and good health. So, grab a cuppa and watch the video below, or read on, to ensure a happier perimenopause period.
HOW TO INCREASE PROGESTERONE IN PERIMENOPAUSE
Today we’re talking about low progesterone in perimenopause, but before we get there, let’s look at the role of progesterone in the premenopausal years.
In our premenopausal years, progesterone is made in the ovary glands, and a small amount is also made in the adrenal glands.
Balanced progesterone levels lead to a nice, healthy, regular menstrual cycle, and it’s an important hormone in the early stages of pregnancy.
From the mid to late thirties onwards, ovarian function begins to slow, and we move into the perimenopausal years.
During that time, it’s progesterone that falls first and it falls very quickly.
Symptoms of low progesterone include:
- An irregular cycle
- Shorter cycles
- Spotting in between periods
- Decreased libido
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Migraines and headaches
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Aches and pains
- Mood swings/irritability
- Insomnia – especially trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Progesterone is our calming hormone, whereas oestrogen is our excitatory hormone, progesterone comes along and calms everything down.
And in addition to that, it interacts with a neurotransmitter in the brain called GABA. And GABA is our neurotransmitter that, again, is very calming and acts like an anti-anxiety neurotransmitter.
So, with low levels of progesterone and lower functioning of GABA, we see a lot of unrest and hence the symptoms like anxiety, depression, irritability, and insomnia.
PROGESTERONE PRODUCTION IN PERIMENOPAUSE
As we move through perimenopause, the adrenal glands pick up the responsibility of producing progesterone.
Our adrenal glands are also responsible for making our stress hormones, and this is key.
Stress is all about staying alive as far as the brain is concerned.
When the brain gets the message that we have stress in our life, it assumes that there is a threat to life and anything that is not required to keep us alive, including producing progesterone will be downregulated.
INCREASE PROGESTERONE NATURALLY
In order to have nice healthy levels of progesterone, we have to make the brain feel safe. We must do everything within our power to keep our stress levels under control. That means daily self-care practices.
Daily self-care needs to be our priority: quiet time, meditation, yoga, Nidra, reading, and walking in nature. It doesn’t matter so much what it is, as long as it’s quiet, it’s reducing stress within our system, allowing the brain to feel safe and so that the message is sent to the adrenal glands that it’s safe to produce progesterone.
Good food is so powerful and for progesterone production, we want to be eating foods rich in vitamins B6 and C and zinc.
B6-rich foods: sunflower seeds, chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, and dark leafy greens.
Vitamin C-rich foods: citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, and peppers.
Zinc-rich foods: beef, shellfish, chickpeas, lentils pumpkin seeds.
Also include healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds as our sex hormones are made from cholesterol so we need healthy fats for hormone production.
And of course, lots of fibrous vegetables for good gut health. Good gut health leads to an entirely better menopause experience.
L-theanine is found in green tea, black tea, and in mushrooms. Or you can take it in a supplement form.
L-theanine is beneficial because it helps with GABA function, and can be useful for the low progesterone issues of insomnia and anxiety.
Herbs to support perimenopause
Agnes Castus, which is known to increase progesterone levels and can be useful for anxiety, sleep issues, irregular cycles and hormonal headaches.
Ashwagandha is great for helping us to be more stress resilient. When we are stress resilient, we’re not so reactive to stress, which means the brain feels safe and sends the message to produce progesterone. I talk about both of these herbs in this blog. So if you haven’t read that, make sure to check it out next.
And just remember, before jumping straight to a herbal supplement, get your foundations in place. That is your nutrition and stress management.
If you need help with getting the foundations right, download my free ‘Ultimate Guide to Thriving in the Menopause’ today.
P.S. Feel free to use my 15% practitioner discount code for products found through the Natural Dispensary.
Natural Dispensary: https://naturaldispensary.co.uk/
Discount code: CHELG15
🚫 If you are on medication, it is your responsibility to check for contraindications before starting a new supplement and if unsure check with your healthcare provider 🚫