In this week’s episode of The Whole Circle Podcast we talk to Naturopath and Nutritionist, Naomi Judge about progesterone deficiency and how this could affect you.
Full disclaimer here guys, Naomi is our Naturopath and we love her! She has totally helped us turn our health around.
Who is Naomi Judge?
Naomi is a certified Naturopath with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science. She is also a Nutritionist, blogger, and author, with her own Sydney-based business. Naomi has reached thousands of local, interstate and international clients reach their health goals over the past 9 years. Well-known for her expertise in helping women who are frustrated, fed up and struggling with unresolved hormonal health problems. Naomi helps these women connect the dots between their health, happiness and hormones. Enabling them to live a life in optimal vibrancy – what she calls “Your New Normal”.
Previous podcast episode with Naomi
We interviewed Naomi way back in episode 3 and we discussed with her all about zinc and magnesium. It’s still, to this day, one of our top trending episodes. There is so much juicy info in that episode, so if you haven’t listened to it before, then head on over and check it out HERE where you will also get the show notes. Otherwise, listen to it on Apple Podcast or Stitcher apps.
Progesterone is needed to help produce thyroxine (thyroid hormone 4 – T4). However, the catch-22 is that a lot of people are low in triiodothyronine (thyroid hormone 3 – T3) which helps to produce progesterone. So, if you’re low in one, you’re automatically going to be low in the other as well. That will then cause the downward spiral of your hormone levels getting lower and lower. This will then trigger your metabolism to slow down, you might put on weight or find it hard to lose weight no matter how much you’re exercising. It can also present with menstrual problems such as heavy painful periods or oestrogen dominance which is actually a symptom of low thyroid and low progesterone.
Getting to the root cause of why these issues are happening for you is vital.
Jo’s health concerns
Jo decided to see Naomi because she was experiencing the following issues:
- Weight gain
- Inability to lose weight
- Skin flare-ups such as acne
- Pigmentation flare-up
- Irregularly longer period cycles
Because of all these issues, Jo knew something was up with her body. She wasn’t feeling sick, you know, where you go see a GP because you know you’re sick, but she knew that something just wasn’t right within her body. Hence why she went to Naomi.
After Naomi did some tests, the results came back to show that Jo’s progesterone level was the lowest Naomi had ever seen! Whereas at the opposite end of the spectrum, Jo’s oestrogen was very high.
After implementing a protocol that Naomi recommended, including supplements, Jo’s cycles are now back to normal and she feels a lot better and like her body is functioning as it should. She still has a way to go, but she’s definitely on the right track. Had she not gone to Naomi she would never have brought about change. She would have just accepted that maybe feeling not quite right and experiencing all those symptoms listed above, was her body’s new normal given the life stressors that were going on for her as a busy mum.
Thankfully working out the root cause thanks to Naomi’s expertise, has been life-changing for her!
Pregnancy and low progesterone
Low progesterone can be a contributing factor to either miscarriage or inability/struggle to get pregnant. Jo struggled to get pregnant with their daughter, Eva and in fact Jo previously had a miscarriage.
If you are struggling with fertility issues or know someone who is, getting your progesterone levels checked could be the key to rectifying it.
Had hormone levels been checked prior to trying to conceive, then these issues could have been prevented.
Common signs of progesterone deficiency
The most common sign would be regarding your menstrual cycle such as:
- Longer cycles (ie. 37-40 days)
- Short cycles (ie. 18-21 days)
- Heavy painful bleeding
- Blood clots
Telling factors can also be in the week leading up to your period if you are experiencing:
- Sore or painful breasts
- Breast lumps
In the two weeks leading up to your period progesterone gets synthesised and you should actually be feeling good. If that is not working for you then are going to feel awful in those two weeks leading up to your period.
Also, if you’re not ovulating you actually make progesterone in your adrenal glands. If that’s not happening because you’re going through a lot of stress and your body is making too much cortisol or you’re in adrenal fatigue, then you’re actually going to have low progesterone most of your cycle. That can lead to symptoms such as:
- Sore breasts all the time
It can also contribute to mood symptoms of low serotonin which comes with:
- Reoccurring thoughts
- Thinking too much which can then cause anxiety
It begs the question of how many women are on anti-depressant medication when in actual fact the issue could be driven by their hormone levels which could be rectified?
How does being on birth control affect your progesterone?
There are things that stop progesterone production, such as:
Synthetic progesterone from:
- Implanon rod
- Oral contraceptive pill
Foods/products containing oestrogen such as:
- Synthetic oestrogen in the pill
- Toxins from products like parabens and BPA
How can you have low progesterone if you live a healthy lifestyle?
This was definitely the case for Jo. She was living an additive-free lifestyle, yet she still had low progesterone levels.
In these situations, it could be caused by stress whether it’s working long hours or life pressures which then depletes progesterone levels. So, your body might be producing progesterone but it then gets turned into something else.
What can you do to resolve it?
Work on reducing your stress levels. It’s not possible to stop what’s going on around you, but it’s about adapting to your stress. This can be done by prioritising self-care through such things as meditation or whatever it is that you like to do that calms your nervous system down. Women’s bodies can actually get into sympathetic nervous system mode quicker than a man. When we’re in that sympathetic nervous system mode our bodies use up progesterone a lot quicker by turning it into adrenalin and cortisol.
Take the moments in the day wherever you can, even if it’s sitting at the traffic lights or waiting to pick your kids up from school. Take the time to maybe do some deep breathing or listen to your favourite song. All these little snippets in the day have an impact.
Look at your diet
One of the biggest reasons our hormones can get out of balance is because we have issues with our blood sugar. When we have issues with our blood sugar, we can have high insulin in our bodies which causes a bit of insulin resistance. Naomi likes to refer to insulin as a ‘naughty hormone’ because it can cause:
- High cortisol
- Low progesterone
- High oestrogen
It’s about making sure that you’re eating good foods regularly so that your diet is regulating your blood sugar. Yes, there is lots of buzz at the moment with diets like intermittent fasting, keto or 5:2, but the best advice Naomi can give is to get your diet in a place where it is supporting you. Stick to savoury foods for your three meals a day. Once you’ve gotten your diet into a good rhythm and you’re feeling good because of it, then, by all means, give intermittent fasting a try and see how it goes for you.
But if you go straight into fasting from a situation where your hormones are out of whack then it can exacerbate your hormone imbalance further.
When Jo first consulted with Naomi, she was craving sugar all the time! She couldn’t get enough of it. But after working with Naomi and working on getting her hormones balanced, she now finds she doesn’t crave sugar at all.
If your progesterone is low or you have adrenal issues, then you will get those sugar cravings. Especially with your adrenals not only will you get sugar cravings, but you will also get salt cravings. Low progesterone can also make you feel dehydrated which means you can’t hold onto your electrolytes so you may also feel bloated and retain fluid.
Where can you find Naomi?
The best part about Naomi is that you don’t have to live in Sydney to consult with her because she consults over Skype too. This means everyone can access her! Yippee!
We cannot recommend Naomi highly enough. As we said earlier, she has turned our health around, and we are forever grateful for this and for her wealth of knowledge.
She provides so much free content on her Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels so make sure you check her out there as well as via the following if you want an appointment with her:
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