It’s important to understand how progesterone affects Fertility and why she needs our support. I love all of our wondrous hormones but if I had a favourite it would be progesterone. I want to sing her praises and stop the bad underperforming rap she’s getting. She, is a wonderful calming and supporting influence and without her pregnancy could not occur.
Do you know someone, perhaps even yourself, who is calm and supportive, who is often doing other things at the expense of herself? Who because she is so calm, gets ridden over and taken for granted, pushed into the background? Well that’s progesterone.
Part of a Double Act
Progesterone and oestrogen are a double act, they are not opposites, they are supporting characters, they can’t function properly without each other, and it’s always been that way, but these days the relationship is becoming a bit one sided. Oestrogen is stepping into the limelight, and as she gets stronger and more visible, progesterone is being pushed to the back.
Why is oestrogen getting so strong? Well Progesterone and oestrogen keep each other in check. Supporting roles. But progesterone is being called on for other responsibilities, I told you she is doing other things. In order to support the stress hormones to keep you safe from tigers, she is being sacrificed if you like as the same ingredients used to make these stress hormones are used to make progesterone
And while shes called away, Oestrogen is having a whale of a time, shes growing on strength and shes brought some new friends along. They look a bit like her and the body believes they are the same too. Meet the xeno oestrogens, found in cleaning products, beauty products and personal care. So these guys are having a party, but in some parties. There is one guest who takes over, who goes a bit too far and that’s the xeno oestrogens.
Signs and symptoms
What I am trying to paint a picture of here is something that I commonly see in many of my clients and that is oestrogen dominance. Oestrogen dominance has its own symptoms and you don’t have to have all of them but if you’ve got 2-3 then its an indicator, including heavy periods, clotty periods, Bloating or puffiness, Irritability or mood swings, weight gain which you have difficulty losing especially around waist and hips, bottom and thighs, Perhaps even Diagnosis of fibroids or endometriosis.
An effect of this is that the progesterone is overpowered and what can happen is that you present with symptoms of low progesterone, Now the progesterone itself may not be clinically low, but the buffer between the two is too wide.
To give us more understanding of how progesterone affects fertility we need to learn more about her. She is natures anti depressant, a calmer, a promoter of sleep and a reducer in anxiety, well if in the 7-10 days leading up to your period you aren’t feeling this, in fact perhaps quite the opposite then we have a clue that the progesterone is either low or it is being completely overshadowed by oestrogen. Symptoms include PMS 7-10 days before period, feeling anxious, having painful, heavy or difficult periods and painful or swollen breasts before a period.
Also brown spotting is an indicator too.
Progesterone should be dominant in the part after ovulation and pre bleed, and in this part of the cycle, the luteal phase, it is produced by something called the corpus luteum, this is what is left behind on the ovary after the follicle has released the egg.
So ovulation is key, its presence and its strength.
How we know what is happening.
So I’ve mentioned oestrogen dominance, low progesterone and ovulation here, and it could be 1,2 or all 3 that is affecting the function of progesterone.
How do we know, in the first instance basal body temperature charting, pure and simple. We can move onto blood tests, but remember I said it’s not the levels per se, but the relationship and also progesterone can reduce at times of stress, which may not be demonstrated on the snap shot blood test. remember a blood test takes a photo of the here and now on that day.
Basal body temperature charting will give us an indication of what is happening in the follicular phase, ovulation and luteal phase, were we can see how it affects fertility. It can indicate our next steps and it can monitor progress of the steps we are taking.
Now charting in itself can cause stress, in fact I often refer to the charting tiger, and we know that we need to reduce the effects of the tigers we are with, to live amongst them.
How can we create a balance?
Reduce the effects of stress, now I know I always say bear with me and please do, I am not telling to relax and all will be well, because trying to relax is not easy. It is then a case of stressing about the stress, becoming less relaxed the more you try to relax, knowing that you should be relaxing, that this isn’t helping. so let’s focus on reducing the effects of the stress, not removing the stress necessarily, but reducing its power and in effect taming your tigers, which is the programme I work with my clients
It’s important to address both sides of this, so if oestrogen is showing itself to be in dominance we look at reducing this
We need to remove excess oestrogen effects and by this primarily the xeno-oestrogens. I’m not going to get into phyto-oestrogens here because they have a dual role and I don’t want to over complicate it. I want for to keep it simple
I have talked about the effects of xeno-oestrogens in episode 8, Can beauty products affect fertility, and in particular rerefer to phthalates. So have another listen to this for a refresher, and check your cleaning products, skin care products. Phthalate free products are big business now, and much more available. I do believe the best way is to make your own, it can be more cost effective too.
We need to be supporting the body to metabolise the oestrogen and remove its waste, in particular the liver, and we can support this in the process and also reduce the load on the liver by removing some of the other substances from our diet and house hold that it is exposed to.
When I working with couples we do this through self care and treatments or self treatments including castor oil packs, self massage and self administered hand reflexology, the use of essential oils, not just in a calming relaxing way but also to support the body in metabolising cortisol (stress hormone) and supporting hormonal balance, which I will be sharing more information about separately, appropriate foods and supplements as necessary.
We then look at supporting the body’s progesterone, to reduce the demands on it from stress hormone production, to strengthen and support the corpus luteum and use progesterone foods such as Beans, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Kale, nuts, pumpkin, spinach and whole grains and some of these foods also work to support oestrogen metabolism too.
What are the next steps?
So there is a lot of information to consider, the very first step is that through information we can identify the bodies signs of imbalance and create an action plan, but you have to know where to look, and then implement the action steps. Now I am saying we, because this is something that I work with my clients, but if course the we can become you at any step along the process depending on the amount of input is needed.
Now information is first and foremost the most important step, there’s a lot of it about and it can be confusing, and overwhelming and often contradictory and I am in the process of releasing a free course Fertility 101- an owners guide, which will give you this basic level of information, to allow you to become the detective. And it may be that you can do this alone, but if you need help along the way then you know where to find me, visit fertilityrewire.com on instagram and facebook
I’m passionate about people getting the right information, gaining a sense of control and understanding what is happening in their body, in its primal design, the very design that served your ancestors well and why you are here.
You are amazing you really are