Understanding the Signs: Low vs High Progesterone Symptoms

Dinesh Patel
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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low vs high progesterone symptoms

Progesterone is one of the hormones that play an essential role in maintaining the delicate balance and functionality of the female reproductive system.

The ovaries produce Progesterone after ovulation and help prepare the body for pregnancy. 

However, the levels of Progesterone can fluctuate, leading to different symptoms depending on whether the levels are low or high. 

Both low and high Progesterone levels can have significant implications for a woman’s health and reproductive well-being. 

In this article, we will explore the low vs high Progesterone symptoms.

Quick overview

Here’s a quick overview of the symptoms of Low vs high Progesterone:

AspectLow Progesterone symptomsHigh Progesterone symptoms
When not pregnantIrregular menstrual cycle, Amenorrhea, insomnia, and difficulty conceivingBreast tenderness, mood swings, and changes in libido
Rare signs when not pregnant There are no rare symptoms that occur when Progesterone decreasesIn rare cases, high Progesterone can cause Ovarian cancer, Adrenal cancer, and CAH
During PregnancySpotting, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancy, and pre-eclampsiaWeight gain, fatigue, and nausea. When the progesterone levels increase more than permissible levels, it can cause molar pregnancy and multiple pregnancies. 

When not pregnant

Progesterone levels change throughout the menstrual cycle, affecting a woman’s reproductive system and overall health.

How it affects women’s health depends whether Progesterone has increased or decreased. 

Fact:
Normal progesterone levels in women vary across the menstrual cycle. In the follicular stage, levels range from 0.1 to 0.7 ng/mL; in the luteal stage, levels increase to 2 to 25 ng/mL. 

Low Progesterone symptoms

Periods occur more than 35 days apartSource: Mehaniq
Menstrual pads on calendar

The low Progesterone in the body can manifest in signs such as:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles: Women with low Progesterone levels often experience irregular menstrual cycles, including missed periods or unpredictable cycles
  • Amenorrhea: The absence of menstrual periods, known as amenorrhea, can be linked to insufficient Progesterone levels, indicating potential issues with ovulation
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances: Low Progesterone levels may contribute to insomnia and disturbed sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and daytime drowsiness
  • Difficulty conceiving: Low Progesterone may contribute to fertility challenges by affecting the ability to conceive due to irregular ovulation or anovulation (lack of ovulation).

High Progesterone symptoms

You can recognize the high level of Progesterone in your body when not pregnant by signs such as:

  • Breast tenderness: Elevated Progesterone levels may cause increased sensitivity or tenderness in the breasts
  • Mood swings: Progesterone can impact mood, and high levels may contribute to mood swings, irritability, or anxiety
  • Changes in libido: Progesterone can influence sexual desire, and high levels may lead to suppression of libido

In rare cases, increased Progesterone level can be a sign of :

  • Ovarian cancer or cyst
  • Adrenal cancer
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)

When Pregnant

UTIs in women are considered complicated if they are pregnantSource: tatyana_tomsickova from Getty Images
Pregnant woman

It is common for the hormone levels to fluctuate when you get pregnant. 

Progesterone tends to increase, which supports the pregnancy throughout the three trimesters. 

However, sometimes, Progesterone levels may decrease during pregnancy, which can cause complications. 

Low Progesterone symptoms

When Progesterone levels are low during pregnancy, it is an issue of concern. This imbalance can affect the fetus. 

The symptoms of low Progesterone include:

  • Spotting: The occurrence of light vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy is one of the common symptoms of low Progesterone levels
  • Recurrent miscarriages: Low Progesterone levels during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, as they maintain the uterine lining
  • Ectopic pregnancy: If you have ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilized egg is outside the uterus, it may indicate low Progesterone in your body
  • Pre-eclampsia: Low Progesterone levels may also be linked to pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure), typically occurring after the 20th week of pregnancy
Recommended Article
To know the symptoms of low Progesterone in detail, read Understanding Low Progesterone Symptoms: A Comprehensive Guide.

High Progesterone symptoms

It is normal for the Progesterone level to increase during pregnancy. Progesterone levels tend to increase as the pregnancy progresses. 

If Progesterone levels increase normally, the symptoms include:

  • Weight gain: Changing Progesterone levels can increase the appetite of women and lead to weight gain
  • Fatigue: It is a common symptom during the early stages of pregnancy and is typically attributed to elevated levels of the hormone Progesterone
  • Nausea: Elevated Progesterone levels in the early stages of pregnancy can impact the digestive tract, causing nausea

When the Progesterone levels increase than the normal levels, symptoms include:

  • Molar pregnancy: High progesterone levels may be indicative of a molar pregnancy characterized by abnormal growth of tissue in the uterus
Warning:
It is imperative to remove the growth if you have a molar pregnancy, as the abnormal growth has the potential to transform into cancer. 
  • Multiple pregnancies: Higher-than-expected Progesterone levels during pregnancy may be a sign of multiple gestations, such as twins or triplets

Conclusion

Throughout the menstrual cycle, fluctuations in Progesterone levels can impact various aspects of a woman’s reproductive system and overall health. 

Low Progesterone levels can cause irregular menstrual cycles, insomnia, and fertility challenges, while increased levels cause breast tenderness, low libido, and headaches.

During pregnancy, the role of Progesterone becomes paramount in supporting a healthy gestation. 

Low Progesterone levels during pregnancy can pose risks such as spotting, recurrent miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and pre-eclampsia.

On the other hand, normal elevated Progesterone levels during a normal pregnancy contribute to weight gain, fatigue, and nausea.

While abnormally high levels may signify multiple pregnancies or molar pregnancies, necessitating specialized care.

Regular monitoring ensures a proactive approach to addressing imbalances and promotes healthy reproductive health. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my Progesterone is high or low?

If you’re experiencing irregular menstrual cycles, missed periods, or unpredictable cycles, it could indicate low Progesterone levels. Additionally, symptoms like insomnia, sleep disturbances, and difficulty conceiving can suggest low Progesterone. Conversely, breast tenderness, mood swings, headaches, and changes in libido may indicate high Progesterone levels.

What happens if Progesterone is high in pregnant women?

In a normal pregnancy, elevated Progesterone can lead to weight gain due to increased appetite, fatigue, and nausea. However, abnormally high Progesterone levels may signal multiple pregnancies, such as twins or triplets. Alternatively, high Progesterone could be indicative of a molar pregnancy—abnormal growth of tissue in the uterus.

How many days before the period does Progesterone drop?

Progesterone levels typically start to drop approximately 7-10 days before the onset of the menstrual period. This decline sheds the uterine lining, resulting in menstruation. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, Progesterone and estrogen levels decrease, initiating the menstrual cycle.

Does high Progesterone mean a successful pregnancy?

While elevated Progesterone is normal in a successful pregnancy, it alone does not guarantee a successful outcome. High Progesterone is crucial for maintaining the uterine lining and supporting early pregnancy, but the overall health of the mother, proper embryo implantation, and other hormonal balances are essential factors. 

Citations:
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