I’ve talked a lot about hormones on Fertility TV. My patients often ask me if hormone treatments will increase their chances for pregnancy.
Hormonal imbalances can play a significant role in causing your fertility issues. Symptoms like irregular menstrual cycles, acne, weight gain around the middle and it’s hard to lose weight, dark facial hair or body hair, thinning head hair (alopecia), skin tags, fatigue, irritability, anxiety or depression, uncontrollable cravings can all be signifiers that you have some sort of hormonal imbalance which needs addressing. (Want to know 9 secrets that can help you to balance your hormones? Click here).
Today, I’d like to specifically focus on when you should use progesterone to help you get pregnant. It’s often referred to as the ‘pregnancy hormone’ because (when taken correctly) it will help your body to achieve and maintain a successful pregnancy.
Progesterone is produced naturally by your body after ovulation (the moment after your egg is released into the fallopian tube) and its purpose is to get your uterus ready for a fertilized egg.
Progesterone is a pretty important hormone when it comes to conception and successful pregnancy, so, if you think you could have a progesterone deficiency, then it’s important that you investigate it as soon as possible.
Here’s how you can check if you should be using progesterone as part of your fertility plan…
If we don’t know if you have progesterone deficiency, then we don’t know if you need it. First and foremost, to check if you would benefit from using progesterone you will need to have some tests done.
A blood test (Serum Progesterone Test) taken seven days post ovulation will be able to check your levels at their peak time. This test can determine whether or not you’re producing either too much or not enough of the hormone and whether or not your progesterone levels are fluctuating normally.
I also love the Dutch Test. I rely on it for all of my patients and think it’s a great way to find out what’s going on with your hormones. It’s a dry urine test which is great for accurate testing of your sex and adrenal hormones. I recommend (again) that you take this test seven days post ovulation. You can order a Dutch Test online, here. Just remember that if you order directly from the company you will need someone to interpret your results and guide you. This is something me and my team can do for you.
Cycle mapping can also map the progesterone and estrogen pattern throughout your menstrual cycle. It give you a full picture of your cycle and provide the answer to important questions for your infertility.
You have a Luteal Phase Defect
The luteal phase is the stage of your cycle that comes after ovulation and before your period starts. During this stage, the lining of your uterus will thicken to prepare it for a potential pregnancy. If you have a luteal phase defect, the lining doesn’t grow properly making it harder to get pregnant and increasing the chances of miscarriage.
The luteal phase is usually about 12 to 14 days long. If the phase of your cycle after ovulation is not long enough, then you should be suspicious there that there is a progesterone issue that needs to be addressed with your doctors.
Basal body temperature charting
Your basal body temperature (BBT) and progesterone rise and fall on a similar scale. By tracking your BBT, you can get an indication of your progesterone levels and whether or not they are rising and fluctuating normally.
Your BBT charting requires you to start checking your basal temperature from Day 1 of your menstrual cycle (first day of full bleeding) and should be checked and noted down every day to get a full picture. As it is supposed to check your base (resting temperature) you should do it first thing in the morning – immediately upon waking if possible: do not even get up to use the bathroom first.
If your BBT has dropped too early and the length of your cycle is too short, this could be a sign that you might have not enough progesterone and gives you enough cause to order a test to have it checked.
If you’ve had recurrent miscarriages, (first off – I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through that) chances are you’ve heard of progesterone.
Like I mentioned in the luteal phase defect section, progesterone issues can often cause miscarriages due to the lining of your uterus not developing properly in order to maintain a pregnancy. Having low progesterone before a miscarriage could be the cause of your miscarriage.
If you’ve had a miscarriage in a previous pregnancy, then it’s definitely worth testing your progesterone and investigating whether or not it could be affecting your fertility.
My advice to you is that if you can relate to any of the information I’ve discussed with you above then it’s time to book a progesterone test to see if you should be taking it as part of your fertility plan. If you like me to book a test for you, you can schedule an appointment with me here.