Low progesterone in females: Everything you need to know

Low progesterone in females: Everything you need to know

What is progesterone?

Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries, as well as by the adrenal glands, but in smaller quantities. This hormone plays an important role in regulating a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle and preparing her body for pregnancy.

If there is no fertilization and implantation of an embryo into the uterine lining during a particular cycle, levels of progesterone will drop and menstruation will take place. On the other hand, if an embryo implants itself into the uterine lining successfully, levels of progesterone will rise significantly throughout most of pregnancy to give protection to both mother and baby while they are growing together.

But what happens when progesterone levels are too low? And what are the signs and symptoms you should watch out for? Let’s find out.

Causes of low progesterone in females

Some of the most common causes of low progesterone levels are:

  • Hypothyroidism. It’s a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce and release enough hormones that the body needs.
  • Hyperprolactinemia. It’s a condition in which the body has too much prolactin. This, then, affects the production of sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.
  • Anovulatory cycle. It’s a menstrual cycle when ovulation, or the release of an egg cell from the ovaries, does not occur.

Signs and symptoms of low progesterone in females

Low progesterone levels can cause a variety of symptoms. It is not always easy to tell whether symptoms are due to low progesterone or something else, as they are similar to those of other conditions.

Some common symptoms of low progesterone levels in women include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Spotting between periods
  • Sleep disturbances or difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Mood swings, including depression and anxiety
  • Decreased libido or sex drive
  • Difficulty to conceive or infertility (inability to become pregnant)
  • Breast tenderness

For pregnant women, having low progesterone levels may be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. They may experience spotting and miscarriage.

Treatment for low progesterone in females

Treatment options for low progesterone in women can vary depending on your age and whether you are trying to get pregnant.

You may have low progesterone levels, but don’t experience symptoms; then, you may not need treatment. Those who are trying to have a baby may be recommended with hormone therapy.

Hormone therapy helps raise progesterone levels and thicken uterine lining. Chances of having a healthy pregnancy and carrying to term will be higher.

Women experiencing severe symptoms of menopause may be recommended with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that includes both estrogen and progesterone. HRT helps relieve menopause symptoms like vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and night sweats. 

Your doctor will help you determine the best option based on your needs. Treatment for low progesterone levels include:

  • Progestin-only pills
  • Progesterone creams
  • Vaginal suppositories

Hormone replacement therapy may not be suitable for everyone, and it may carry some risks for those who have certain medical histories. It’s always best to consult your doctor if you suspect you have low progesterone.


Progesterone is an important hormone in the female body. It can affect your health and cause  some symptoms when it’s out of balance.

Several things can cause low progesterone levels. If you think you may have low progesterone, consulting your doctor will help you determine the cause and the best way to treat it.


Targonskaya, A. (September 21, 2021). Low Progesterone Symptoms, Causes, and What You Can Do About It. Flo. https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/health/symptoms-and-diseases/low-progesterone-symptoms 

Gotter, A. (May 7, 2018). Low Progesterone: Complications, Causes, and More. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/low-progesterone 

Ratini, M. (December 8, 2021). Low Progesterone: Normal Levels and Symptoms. MedicineNet. https://www.medicinenet.com/low_progesterone/article.htm 

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