Based on my credentials, I know I am not a doctor, however I have had years of training hundreds and hundreds of women! I noticed a common thread about 4 years ago, it seemed as though all the women who had been taking birth control pills for years and years had big issues dropping fat. Initially, I worked them harder, and was extra strict when it came to their food intake. Then it hit me, have them stop taking their birth control all together!! I would say about 80% of them actually listened and changed their form of contraception. Once they did, the weight did come off in a fairly fast manner. However, after they had dropped about 5- 7 pounds, they slid to a halt. Now what was the issue??? I toyed with the “break the plateau” idea and switched their routine for a mega dose of training confusion, yet they still hung on to their last 5 -10 pounds. On a hunch, I told a client that although the change in birth control, I felt she should get ALL her levels tested. Sure enough,she had low progesterone levels.
So why were her levels low? After all, she hadn’t had any kids and she was a completely healthy 34 year old; long term birth control use can actual throw off your progesterone levels due to the increase in estrogen! Once she began supplementing with progesterone everything changed. Her demeanor improved, her excess weight dropped like a bad habit, her skin seemed to glow, and she even looked younger! I’d like to say it was my awesome training abilities but in fact it was really my role as a concerned and attentive professional that helped put all the pieces together. Credit also goes to the client for ACTUALLY taking my advice and listening!! From that point on I could spot hormone issues more readily and I knew which questions to ask! In the end, it was the client who would decide to listen or shine me on.
Recently, I also noticed these trends in mothers. They may not have been been on birth control for decades, but they did have several babies. Each baby is floating around in a sea of, yup you guessed it, PROGESTERONE! Hence, the depression that follows pregnancy. Most mothers coming to me after the birth of a child always seemed tired, depressed, and struggling to get their body back in a timely fashion. Their natural glow had been traded in for a rougher version of their old self. Once again I applied this observation, but this time I tested it out on family (HA!). My sister has had 2 kids in close proximity to each other. They are bubbly little boys full of life, so it’s no wonder she was low in hormones. They took them all!! Once on a cream, she dropped 5 pounds in under 2 weeks!! Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge deal, however, she isn’t a big person. She doesn’t have 30, 0r 20 pounds to lose but rather her last 10. So 5 pounds is great! She also was struggling to lose even one pound in a week!
The moral of the story is this, if you have been truly struggling to lose weight and you have various symptoms from the list below, then you should consider getting checked. You would ask for a hormone panel to be done (which is a blood test). What have you got to lose???
Symptoms of Low Progesterone
- Mood Swings
- Weight Gain (especially around the middle)
- Hair Growth (on face, neck and chin)
- Irregular Periods
- Spotting Before Menstral Cycle
- Clotting During Cycle
- Breast Tenderness
- Decreased Sex Drive
- Allergy Symptoms
- Vaginal Dryness
- Headaches and Migraines
- Galbladder Issues
- Foggy Thinking
- Ovarian Cysts
- Menstrual Cramps
- Cracked Heals
- Cold Hands and Feet
- Brittle Nails
Causes For Low Progesterone Levels
There are times when the body is able to produce too much estrogen in certain cases, such as in cases of obesity and with hormone medication. Fat cells produce estrogen. Thus, we may conclude that the more body fat you have, the more estrogen is being produced in your body. When the estrogen levels are higher in terms of production, the progesterone levels produced reduces naturally.Resistance to Insulin Hormone
When a person’s body has a tolerance to insulin production, this can cause the hormones to become imbalanced, lowering the progesterone production in the body. Resistance to insulin all-together is a leading factor as well.Chronic Stress
If you are leading a stressful lifestyle, you must know that this can affect the body’s ability to create and produce progesterone. Strenuous physical stress, mental trauma, anxiety and disturbances could severely affect body’s hormones and their productivity.
A sedentary lifestyle not involving any activity and putting up a lazy front when it comes to regular exercise can cause hormones to get dormant, inactivated or decrease production, causing trauma to the hormone producing gland and hindering the ability to release needed progesterone.
Malnutrition could be a cause of low progesterone as well. This condition will not only affect your internal organs, but your hormone production will also be hampered. For your body to produce progesterone in the body, proper nutrition is a mandatory requirement (source).
Thyroid Issues: If you have them, then you probably are having issues with your progesterone!
Other Roles of Progesterone:
- helps normalize blood sugar levels
- boosts thyroid function
- helps us use fat for energy
- has beneficial anti-inflammatory effects
- reduces swelling and inflammation (source)
Disclaimer: Fit Tip Daily.com does not seek to treat any medical condition but rather provide information on health related topics. It is advised that you see a hormone specialist before taking matters into your own hands.
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CPT, BS, CES, PES