For women suffering from low levels of the hormone progesterone, many of the symptoms go unnoticed until they have caused significant health damage. Fortunately, early warning signs may be able to help women avoid additional health risks associated with the condition. Knowing these early signals of lowered progesterone levels can be one of the most important things a woman can do to ensure her future good health.
Low progesterone is a condition in which the female body does not produce enough of the hormone to effectively regulate estrogen. The female body naturally produces this critical hormone during ovulation cycles via the ovaries and the adrenal glands. At times, the body may not be able to produce enough progesterone due to a variety of causes, resulting in low progesterone levels and subsequent problems.
The causes of low progesterone in women may include the following: liver dysfunction, estrogen dominance created by environmental pollution, insulin resistance, stress, diet, lack of exercise and certain medications.
Many conditions associated with low progesterone levels, such as water retention, uncontrollable weight gain and vaginal dryness, may often be dismissed as being minor health concerns associated with stress. Women rarely seek treatment for these disorders until they begin to have a greater impact upon their health and well-being. Unfortunately, these symptoms will not just fade away if they are ignored.
Although the early signs of low progesterone levels may be easier to dismiss, the secondary symptoms may lead women to talk to their health care providers. These symptoms include migraine headaches, depression, panic attacks, abnormal menstrual cycles and blood sugar problems. Each symptom is serious within its own right, but when it could be the predecessor to a health problem associated with low progesterone, it is all the more important that the condition receives prompt medical attention. Without proper care, low progesterone levels can create further health problems.
If low progesterone levels are left undiagnosed and untreated, a variety of dangerous health conditions can develop. Women with untreated low progesterone levels have a higher incidence of several forms of cancer, osteoporosis, fibroid tumors and high blood pressure, along with the increased risk of heart disease and stroke associated with elevated blood pressure.
Infertility is also a side effect of low progesterone. Millions of women who long to be mothers are denied the common miracle of pregnancy and childbirth by low levels of progesterone. While women become pregnant and have children every day, women with low levels of progesterone may experience years of infertility and miscarriages due to their low hormone levels.
Low progesterone levels may accelerate the aging process. The body responds to the lack of progesterone by causing thyroid dysfunction, loss of hair, thinning of the skin and wrinkling of the skin associated with the loss of hydration.
The lowered levels of progesterone may also manifest themselves in the early onset of senility and Alzheimer's disease. Other symptoms may include the inability to handle stress and an increase in body aches and pains as the low progesterone level causes the breakdown of the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells.
While the outlook may seem bleak for women suffering from low progesterone, the truth is the condition is treatable. Tests to determine the presence of low progesterone are advised for any woman who exhibits any of the symptoms of the condition. With proper treatment, low progesterone is reversible.