What is progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. It can also be made in a lab.
Women take progesterone to restart a period that has stopped unexpectedly (amenorrhea), to treat abnormal bleeding in the uterus due to hormonal imbalance, and to treat severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Progesterone is also used in combination with the hormone estrogen to "counteract estrogen" as part of hormone replacement therapy. If estrogen is administered without progesterone, estrogen increases the risk of uterine cancer.
Progesterone is also used for a number of other conditions not mentioned above, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Why is progesterone prescribed?
Progesterone is used as part of hormone replacement therapy in women who have gone through the menopause and who have not had a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus).
Hormone replacement therapy usually involves estrogen. It is used to treat the symptoms of menopause and reduce the risk of certain diseases. However, estrogen can also cause abnormal thickening of the lining of the womb and increase the risk of uterine cancer. Progesterone helps prevent this thickening and lowers the risk of uterine cancer.
Progesterone is also used to initiate menstruation in women of reproductive age who have had normal periods and have stopped menstruating after that. Progesterone belongs to a class of drugs called progestins (female hormones). It works as part of hormone replacement therapy by reducing the amount of estrogen in the uterus. It works to start menstruation by replacing the natural progesterone that some women lack.
How does progesterone work?
Progesterone prepares the endometrium for possible pregnancy after ovulation. It causes the lining of the uterus to thicken to accommodate a fertilized egg. It also prevents the muscles in the uterus from contracting, which would cause the body to shed an egg. As long as the body produces high levels of progesterone, it will not ovulate.
If the woman does not become pregnant, the corpus luteum breaks down, causing the progesterone level in the body to drop. This change initiates menstruation. If the body does become pregnant, progesterone continues to stimulate the body to build the blood vessels in the endometrium that will nourish the growing fetus. The hormone also further prepares the lining of the uterus so that it can receive the fertilized egg.
Once the placenta develops, it also begins to secrete progesterone, supporting the corpus luteum. This ensures that levels remain high during pregnancy so that the body does not produce more eggs. It also helps prepare the breasts for milk production.
What are the side effects of progesterone?
Progesterone can cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- Sensitive or painful breasts
- Upset stomach
- Muscle, joint or bone pain
- Mood swings
- Worrying excessively
- Running nose
- To sneeze
- Vaginal discharge
- Problems with urination
Some side effects can be serious. The following are uncommon, but if you get any of these, tell your doctor immediately:
- Breast lumps
- Severe dizziness or fainting
- Slow or difficult speech
- Weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
- Lack of coordination or loss of balance
- Shortness of breath
- fast heart rate
- Sharp chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Swelling or pain in the legs
- Loss of vision or blurred vision
- Bulging eyes
- Double view
- Unexpected vaginal bleeding
- Shaking hands you can't control
- Stomach pain or swelling
- Skin rash
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
Medications such as progesterone can cause abnormal blood clotting. This can cut off blood flow to the brain, heart, lungs or eyes and cause serious problems. Call your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms listed above as serious side effects. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.
In what dosages is progesterone prescribed?
The dose you take this drug for will depend on the condition you are taking it for. Talk to your doctor or health care professional to determine the correct dose.
What drugs or supplements does progesterone interact with?
If your doctor has instructed you to take this medicine, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of possible interactions with other medicines and will monitor you accordingly. Do not start, stop or change the dose of any medicine before talking to your doctor, healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Serious Progesterone Interactions Include:
Moderate interactions of progesterone include:
- Elvitegravir/Cobicistat/Emtricitabine/Tenofovir DF
Mild interactions of progesterone include:
- Conjugated Estrogens
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, tell your doctor or pharmacist all products you use before using this product. Keep a list of all your medicines with you and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist. Contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health.
Where can I buy progesterone?
Can I buy progesterone online?
Can I buy progesterone without a prescription?