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Category: PMS

Hormones 101: Progesterone

 

In the last post, I talked about estrogen, one of our two major female sex hormones.

 

Today, I’d like to have a closer look at progesterone, estrogen’s counterpart.

 

How much do you know about this essential female sex hormone? 

 

There’s often lots of discussion about estrogen, but not enough similar discussion about its partner hormone, progesterone.

 

Although progesterone is most closely associated with pregnancy and preparation for pregnancy, it is also important for a healthy menstrual cycle.

 

So what’s the deal with progesterone? 

 

The majority of progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum, a little structure that comes from the follicle of the egg that was released. This helps prepare the body for pregnancy if the eggs gets fertilised.

 

We also produce progesterone in very small amounts in the ovaries & the adrenal glands. In pregnancy, the placenta also produces progesterone.

 

If you think back to the four phases of the menstrual cycle,  your progesterone levels don’t stay the same throughout. 

 

They’re generally at their highest point a few days after ovulation, the halfway point of our menstrual cycle. Your progesterone levels drop  if you don’t fertilise an egg and are at the lowest point on the first day of our periods.

 

If the woman doesn’t get pregnant that cycle, the corpus luteum disintegrates, progesterone drops, and this is the signal for a woman’s period to start.  

 

If a women does get pregnant, then progesterone will help the blood vessels on the lining of the womb grow and stimulate glands that will nourish the embryo with nutrients.

 

It also prepares the womb for the fertilised egg to implant and helps maintain the pregnancy, rising all the way until birth.

 

So what else does progesterone do for us? 

 

Its other major function is to help regulate the menstrual cycle, so you want it to be balanced with estrogen.

 

When you have too little or much, you can experience PMS symptoms such as mood swings, insomnia, bloating, blood sugar imbalance, anxiety, acne and cramps.  Check out my post on the 5 Types of PMS to learn more.

 

Do you notice the ups and downs of progesterone across your cycle? 

 

Have you noticed it dropping as you approach perimenopause and menopause?

 

If you have questions about progesterone  and feel like you don’t know what’s going on with your progesterone levels, get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.

 


Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.

 

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating. 
 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.  
 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle! 

How To Manage PMS

 

train in west london

Do you dread the week before your period? How much do you dread it?

 

I used to count down the days, waiting for the familiar aches in my back, bloated belly and throughly grumpy mood.

 

I used to think all women suffered this way and that PMS was just a part of life that I had to accept.

 

I’m now here to assure you that it doesn’t need to be this way. You don’t need to suffer through your periods or the week before your period.

 

Here what I did:

1. Cycle monitoring:  I started to monitor my cycle by using a menstrual cycle tracking app to better understand my cycle and what symptoms I was experiencing at certain points in my cycle.

 

2. More anti-inflammatory foods: I increased the anti-inflammatory foods in my diet: fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, citrus fruit, wild salmon and at least 2L of water per day.

 

3. More vegetables, a bit more fruit: I gave myself the goal of eating at least 10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day – 7 portions of vegetables and 3 portions of fruit.

 

4. Sleep, sleep, sleep: I tried to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. The more sleep you get, the better your body responds to insulin and the better your energy levels.

 

5. Less sugar, less alcohol: Excess sugar and alcohol create inflammation in the body (NB: inflammation is when your immune system over responds and remains switched on, usually due to an external stimulus) and inflammation drives many PMS symptoms.

 

6. Get moving: Light exercise, such as yoga, stretching, pilates and walking will reduce cortisol, the stress hormone and produce endorphins, one of the feel good hormones. Keeping cortisol at bay is really important because it can be a driver of inflammation. I tried to take at 8,000 – 10,000 steps a day in active walking and latent movement (you’d be surprised how much running you do when you’re chasing a three year old around the house!).

 

7. Support the liver: The liver is your body’s tool for detoxifying – it’s very important for women because your body uses the liver to break down oestrogen to a less potent form so it can be excreted in your daily bowel movement. I added lots of green, leafy vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower to my diet as these have compounds that support the liver’s detoxification process.

 

8. Poop everyday: Adding in fruit, veg and lots of water made sure I was able to have a bowel movement every morning, which is really important because this is the way the body gets rid of excess estrogen after it gets metabolised by the liver. Too much oestrogen can be a driver of PMS symptoms.

 

Have you tried any of these tips to manage your PMS? What’s worked for you?

 

Do you have PMS? Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your menstrual health & wellbeing.

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