Today we’ll talk about what lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your progesterone level. As with any lifestyle change, it’s ok if you need to slowly adapt rather than going “all in”. Believe me … I’m an “all in” kinda gal and it isn’t easy sometimes. But it has been worth it to me. It’s entirely up to you. So what if it takes a little longer to get to your goal. The time will pass anyway so you might as well be making constructive changes to your life in the meantime.
I actually have 2 sets of changes for you. One for those of us who are a little older and have low progesterone because it’s out of balance with estrogen, and one for the younger crowd who experiences PMS.
Let me start by dealing with PMS.
Lay off the sugar. I know … it’s a tough one, especially when you’re PMSing and all you want is chocolate. Caffeine is another substance that gets seriously abused leading up to our periods. Refined sugar causes a loss of magnesium through urine. Caffeine is a diuretic so you can see how these two substances might cause some trouble. You might well be saying, “So Sandy … you want me to get rid of the two substances that keep me from going off the deep end????” Here’s my question to you … Are you willing to invest 90 days of being caffeine and sugar free if it means you won’t deal with bloating, sugar and caffeine cravings?
Acupuncture is a fabulous alternative treatment for PMS and has been shown to be quite successful. But don’t worry … those needles are tiny. They really don’t hurt. I encourage you to find a good acupuncturist and try it out. If you need a referral, let me know and I’ll hook you up.
Exercise moderately for 30 minutes 4 times per week. That’s all it takes to help improve PMS symptoms. For you fitness enthusiasts who prefer to work out 6 days a week or for longer periods, moderation during this time is far more important than intensity. High intensity workouts can stress your adrenals, which will in turn lower your progesterone level which makes PMS worse.
Guided visualization has been shown to increase vaginal temperature which helps increase progesterone and lessen PMS. If you can reduce your stress and therefore cortisol levels, you increase your progesterone.
Now for those of us who have low progesterone associated with perimenopause and menopause….
This is probably my favourite remedy and is an addition rather than a removal of something. Hang out with your girlfriends in person, but make sure it’s a supportive group and doesn’t turn into a bitch session. Hang with girls who uplift and support. Since progesterone is another stress-related hormone, friendship and support helps lower cortisol levels and increases progesterone.
So you had to know I was going to say this … remove the coffee. The good news is that you can do this gradually. You can substitute coffee with “dandelion coffee”, chicory, yerbe mate or matcha green tea. I love how matcha gives me the boost I need without the diuretic effects or the crash that keeps us addicted to caffeine. You can then switch to green tea, decaf green tea, then non-caffeinated teas.
If you liked the coffee withdrawal, I know some of you will love this next one. Yup. It’s alcohol. Alcohol intake is associated with premenstrual anxiety, mood problems and headache. Drinking more than 3-6 alcohol servings per week increases the risk of breast cancer, increases belly fat and contributes to fatty liver disease. A drink now and then won’t derail you as long as you restrict alcohol to once in a while and not every night.
As you can see there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make. Don’t forget about the series on cortisol, also on the blog. I’ve included the post on lifestyle changes to manage cortisol.
The wonderful (and frustrating) thing about hormones is how interrelated they all are. If you need help balancing your hormones and want to get your energy, joy and sexy back, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help you.
In an effort to help balance your hormones and reset your metabolism, I am currently running a 10-Day Body Reset Detox. I hope you’ll join us. I know I felt much better after doing the program myself.