As a woman, we produce many different hormones that directly affect fertility and various other physical health issues. Progesterone is one of those hormones. Made in the ovaries and adrenal glands, and eventually in the placenta during pregnancy, progesterone plays a role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Progesterone is also responsible for preparing the body for conception, regulates the menstrual cycle and sexual desire.

About Progesterone

During our reproductive years, our eggs develop and are housed in our ovaries. Once mature, these eggs are then released by our ovarian follicles every month. When these follicles begin to develop, the sex hormones, progesterone and estrogen are produced which aid in thickening the lining of the uterus. Progesterone levels peak during the second half of menstruation, during ovulation and continues to be produced by the ovarian tissue that replaces the follicle.

Progesterone causes special proteins to secrete through the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), which prepares the uterus to be able to receive and nourish and implanted fertilized egg. This is one of the most important functions of progesterone in your body. If the egg is not implanted the lining of the uterus breaks down and menstruation occurs.

Why You Need Progesterone

The reason doctors are concerned about progesterone levels is because of how much it impacts other areas of your health. Not just reproductive. As explained by senior author Dr. Lawrence M. Resnick, Professor of Medicine at the Hypertension Center of Weill Cornell, hormones such as progesterone have previously been thought of primarily in terms of their most obvious reproductive function. However, studies have shown that progesterone, produced by both men and women (for men, progesterone is produced in the adrenal glands that sit atop of the kidneys) affect other areas as well, such as the heart, blood vessels, and the brain, benefiting cognitive function. Your mental and physical health both do best when you have adequate amounts of progesterone in your body.

Here are some of the primary benefits of having the right amounts of progesterone in your body:

  • Maintains the lining of your uterus, preparing for pregnancy.
  • Diuretic effects
  • Helps reduce the severity of your PMS symptoms.
  • Aids in building bone strength
  • Aids in a healthy metabolism
  • Thyroid health
  • Maintains healthy blood pressure.

How to Improve Progesterone Levels Naturally

If you feel that you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance, you are not alone. Many women deal with this problem every day, but there is hope. Here are some different ways you can balance your hormone levels, including progesterone, without medications. This includes adopting a healthy lifestyle, from diet to exercise, to replacing unhealthy habits for healthy ones.


While these foods don’t contain progesterone, they help stimulate the production of the hormone. These include:

  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Nuts
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Whole grains

Foods such as bananas, cabbage, shellfish, and walnuts are associated with lowering the amount of estrogen in the body which increases the ratio of progesterone to estrogen. Adding these foods to your diet could boost natural progesterone levels.


If you’re looking for natural progesterone, you can buy products made from soybeans or yams, it is important to know that yams must be from the variety Diascorea uilosa. Regular yams you purchase in the store will not produce the same benefits.

The most commonly available natural progesterone product available are creams. The body absorbs creams efficiently which means progesterone directly enters the bloodstream making it more available.


Natural progesterone pills are also available, the problem is, progesterone becomes less available in the bloodstream due to the liver breaking down progesterone. If taking a pill, the dosage of progesterone ingested will be significantly higher than if you were applying a cream. This is so that you are able to receive an adequate amount of progesterone into your bloodstream.  You can also take progesterone suppositories, which are inserted vaginally. They’re also thought to enhance healthy tissue in the uterus and improve pregnancy success.

Your doctor can also provide a progesterone supplement if you are not able to improve the hormone levels on your own. Your doctor can perform simple tests to determine how much progesterone you are producing on your own, and where your levels need to be. It is crucial that you speak with your physician before trying out any progesterone boosting product. Synthetic forms of progesterone, also known as progestins, are available, but they’re also associated with an increased risk for breast cancer.

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