Progesterone is a hormone that plays essential roles in a woman’s body, such as getting the body ready to conceive, regulating a woman’s menstrual period, and maintaining pregnancy. It naturally occurs in the adrenal glands, the ovaries, and the placenta (during pregnancy). It also affects libido.
From a tender age (precisely in prepubescent years), our hormones trigger specific changes that transform us from girls to women. During adolescence, estrogen triggers body fat placement in areas such as the butts, chest, hips, and thighs. Weight gain during puberty can be up to 15 pounds. During post-puberty, stability or balance of our hormones is essential to maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle every month. Hormonal imbalance can trigger non-reproductive issues such as sudden weight gain.
Weight gain is a complex topic, and several things can cause it. For instance, weight gain can be a possible side effect of using birth control options, making women think that progesterone also causes weight gain. However, progesterone doesn’t inherently cause weight gain.
When women are in the initial phase of their ovulation cycle, estrogen will restrict food intake. This leads to reduced hunger levels or appetite. Progesterone levels during cycles will then increase, enhancing your body’s metabolism and appetite. This will result in you eating more and possibly gaining weight.
Progesterone occurs naturally in the body, but it can also be artificially manufactured in a laboratory. The generic term for a compound that triggers some or all of the effects of progesterone is called Progestin. In some instances, Progestin is used as the term for the synthetic progesterone used for orally administered contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. This means that every progestin or progesterone treatment or product is manufactured in the laboratory.
Women experiencing unexpected cessation of their menstrual periods (amenorrhea) usually use progesterone to restart their menstrual cycles. Progesterone is also used to treat uterine bleeding affiliated with hormonal imbalance or fluctuation and adverse symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Does Progesterone Cause Weight Loss?
The short answer is while progesterone doesn’t cause weight loss, it allows it.
Just as progesterone doesn’t directly play a role in weight gain, the same applies to weight loss. When progesterone is low in the body, estrogen will be the dominant hormone, enhancing the secretion of insulin in the body. Higher insulin levels will lead to cravings for sugary or sweet foods, which can cause weight gain. These cravings are usually hard to control, occurring during post-menstrual syndrome.
This means that normal progesterone levels can regulate the influence of estrogen on insulin production. This will result in fewer cravings for foods that can make you gain weight. In addition, progesterone has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it lessens inflammation in the body. This can help your brain receive Leptin, an appetite-regulating hormone. With a regulated appetite, you’ll eat moderately and achieve weight loss.
Progesterone promotes sleep by inducing a calming effect on the brain. Estrogen does the exact opposite; it keeps the brain stimulated, resulting in poor sleeping habits. Poor sleeping can also result from disrupting Leptin, which will lead to higher calorie consumption and lesser burning of calories.
Low Progesterone in Women
Progesterone is essential for childbearing in women. So low progesterone levels will make it difficult for women to conceive or remain pregnant. Progesterone levels are usually higher during ovulation, and this hormone thickens the uterus to prepare it for the entry of a fertilized egg. So when a woman has low progesterone, her uterus won’t be sufficiently thick for the egg to implant or stay.
Certain symptoms can help you detect low progesterone in your body:
Mood swings, depression, or anxiety
Migraines or headaches
Irregular or absent menstrual periods
Spotting (for pregnant women)
Ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage (for pregnant women)
Low progesterone can trigger unusual uterine bleeding for women who are not pregnant, and they will see very heavy flows.
There are various ways to enhance or boost progesterone levels in the body to neutralize the dominance of estrogen. Progesterone medications can be oral, topical, or vaginal. The oral form can be tablets or capsules. In addition, you can apply some creams topically and gels vaginally.
The gel and micronized progesterone (Prometrium) are used to treat amenorrhea, which is the non-occurrence of menstrual cycles in women who haven’t reached menopause.
Another treatment method is hormone replacement therapy. Prometrium is used alongside estrogen. Progesterone is included in hormone replacement therapy to neutralize the effects of estrogen, such as night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. If you have medical conditions such as stroke, breast cancer, blood clots, liver failure, or endometrial cancer, your doctor may caution you against this treatment method.
Progesterone as a suppository is used to treat female infertility and help women conceive. It thickens the uterus and stops abnormal uterine bleeding.
You can naturally boost your progesterone levels by eating more foods rich in Vitamins B and C. They are essential for the maintenance of progesterone levels. Also, it would help to eat zinc-rich foods and control your stress levels. That’s because your body secretes cortisol instead of progesterone when your stress levels are high.
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Like other medications, there are side effects that come with using progesterone. You may ask, “Does progesterone make you tired?” Or “Does progesterone cause cramps?” Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is yes. Abdominal cramps are one of the common side effects of progesterone. Just as having low progesterone can make sleeping difficult, having very high progesterone can make you feel dizzy and tired.
Some of the other common side effects of progesterone include:
Oedema (swelling) and fluid retention
Breast enlargement or discomfort
Allergic skin rash
Altered menstrual periods
Progesterone is a hormone that plays an essential role in a woman’s body and naturally occurs in the adrenal glands, the ovaries, and the placenta (during pregnancy).
Because progesterone is essential for childbearing in women, low progesterone levels will make it difficult for women to conceive or remain pregnant. There are various medications to treat progesterone.