There are different high progesterone causes, although they’re not always something you should feel concerned about. If you’re wondering whether you can have too much progesterone and the effects of increased progesterone, just keep reading.
What is progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone that’s produced by the body, and it plays a significant role in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Progesterone is the most important pro-gestation hormone produced by the female reproductive system.
According to the Society for Endocrinology, progesterone is mainly secreted by the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum is a cyst that appears on one of your ovaries after ovulation each month. This cyst comes from the remnants of the follicle where the egg was before ovulation, and it continues to secrete hormones to prepare your body for a potential pregnancy.
Progesterone can also be synthetic. According to MedlinePlus, synthetic progesterone is often used as part of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in postmenopausal women who still have their uterus. Synthetic progesterone, or progestin, can also be used for other medical reasons, which we’ll discuss below.
What causes high progesterone?
Progesterone levels typically vary a lot depending on your age, whether you’re pregnant or not, and which phase of the menstrual cycle you’re currently on. According to the University of Rochester’s Medical Center, the progesterone levelsbelow are considered normal:
- 10 to 44 ng/mL during the first trimester of pregnancy
- 19.5 to 82.5 ng/mL during the second trimester of pregnancy
- 65 to 290 ng/mL during the third trimester of pregnancy
- 0.1 to 0.3 ng/mL for girls who haven’t had their period yet
- 0.1 to 0.7 ng/mL in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle
- 2 to 25 ng/mL in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle
As you can see above, your levels of progesterone are much higher during pregnancy. There are different reasons that could lead to elevated progesterone, during pregnancy or otherwise. According to the Saint Luke’s Health System, some of the causes of high progesterone can include:
- High levels of progesterone during pregnancy could be a sign of twins or a rare pregnancy complication called molar pregnancy.
- High progesterone causes when you’re not pregnant include different types of ovarian tumors, including lipid ovarian tumor or chorionepithelioma.
- High progesterone has also been associated with a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
High progesterone symptoms
Progesterone dominance doesn’t typically cause any negative symptoms. Since progesterone levels fluctuate so much throughout your cycle, it’s normal to feel some physical changes depending on your hormone levels. As progesterone levels rise, some of the signs of progesterone dominance during your cycle could include:
- Breast tenderness
- Low libido
If you experience severe PMS, you should seek medical assistance to manage these symptoms.
Progesterone plays different roles in the human body. It prepares the endometrium for a potential pregnancy by increasing its blood supply. If you become pregnant, progesterone plays a vital role in maintaining the pregnancy.
As we mentioned above, synthetic progesterone is often used as part of HRT for postmenopausal women. However, HRT that contains progesterone is only prescribed for women who still have their uterus and haven’t had a hysterectomy. That’s because progesterone works to protect the endometrium, which is the innermost layer of the uterus, whereas taking estrogen alone can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Women who have had their uterus removed, on the other hand, typically only receive estrogen for HRT.
Synthetic progesterones, also known as progestins, are also used in combination with estrogen in combined birth control pills. Progestins are also used in the mini pill, which doesn’t contain estrogen. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the indications for the contraceptive mini pill include:
- You’re currently breastfeeding
- You have a personal or family history of blood clots
- You have experienced side effects from taking estrogen
How does progesterone make you feel?
In some cases, taking progesterone can cause some side effects. Side effects of taking progesterone can include:
- Breast tenderness
- Upset stomach
- Vaginal discharge
- Increased appetite
More serious side effects can also occur, but they’re uncommon. You should contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following high progesterone side effects:
- Breast lumps
- Frequent or severe migraines
- Speech difficulties
- Shortness of breath
- Fast heartbeat
- Weakness or numbness in one of your limbs
- Blurry vision
- Loss of balance
- Unexpected vaginal bleeding
However, it must be said that as long as you take the correct dosage as prescribed by your doctor, progesterone is typically a very safe medication. By itself, progesterone doesn’t usually cause weight gain either — however, hormonal imbalances can affect your weight and appetite. Estrogen dominance is more likely to cause weight gain.
Hormone levels are just one aspect of your sexual and reproductive health. It’s also important to keep yourself protected against STDs, and getting tested regularly plays a big role in your reproductive health. You can discover at-home STD testing options at STDWatch.com now.
Progesterone - yourhormones.info
Progesterone - medlineplus.gov
Progesterone - urmc.rochester.edu
Minipill (progestin-only birth control pill) - mayoclinic.org