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What Is the Connection Between Progesterone and Weight Loss?

Weight loss may result from taking progesterone.
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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2014
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There is a clear connection between the hormone progesterone and weight loss. Progesterone is a diuretic which increases metabolism, lowers insulin, and helps the thyroid to function more efficiently — all of which can aid in the loss of excess weight. There is a common misconception that progesterone therapy causes weight gain, but this is only a temporary effect, seen when it is first introduced to the body via hormone therapy. Overall, the connection between progesterone and weight loss is that it helps the individual to both maintain a healthy body weight and avoid weight gain by limiting the production of excess fat and reducing food cravings caused by hormonal imbalance.

Weight gain is common during aging in both sexes overall and particularly during menopause for women. An imbalance in hormones lowers metabolism, which tends to lead to weight gain. Typically, both estrogen and progesterone drop during menopause, though the latter falls much more dramatically. The imbalance between the two hormones gives estrogen a more powerful effect on the system. Excessive estrogen can also cause weight gain, as it turns calories into fat.

Imbalanced hormones can make it extremely difficult to lose weight. A primary connection between progesterone and weight loss is that it restores hormonal balance and counteracts the dominance of estrogen in the system. The reintroduction of progesterone eases weight loss and helps the individual to maintain a healthy weight.

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At the start of hormone replacement therapy, progesterone temporarily causes a weight increase, as many of its resources are pitted against the estrogen, which fights to maintain dominance in the body. Once the body adjusts to higher levels of progesterone, the individual’s weight should normalize and even drop below the weight before hormone therapy began. Many menopausal women are not aware that there is a connection between progesterone and weight loss because they are alarmed by that initial weight gain and do not continue to use the hormone long enough to see its benefits.

The connection between progesterone and weight lost can be seen in a variety of ways in the body. Its diuretic effects help it to relieve fluid retention, which causes bloating and swelling. Supplemental progesterone burns fat by increasing metabolism, so that the body can more effectively turn it into energy.

Low progesterone can impede proper functioning of the thyroid, which regulates metabolism in the body. It also increases the amount of insulin in the body, which causes sugar cravings and subsequent weight gain. Excess insulin causes the body to create and store more fat than is necessary.

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Discuss this Article

anon350844
Post 6

I have been on a 1,200 calorie diet now for six weeks and haven't lost a pound. Now I know why. I did a hormone test and it revealed I was very low in progesterone. So frustrating!

anon344909
Post 5

Does anyone know exactly how long the weight gain effects last before you start losing weight with progesterone?

Mykol
Post 4

@bagley79-- You are certainly not alone when it comes to menopause and weight loss. I think this is probably one of the most common complaints as women age.

One thing my doctor started checking on me was my thyroid levels. When I started putting on extra weight for no apparent reason, this is something he checked out right away.

Before this I also realized I was really craving sweets, and this did not help my problem at all. Come to find out, part of my thyroid problem was low progesterone.

Once I started the right treatment, I was able to lose some weight and I felt a whole lot better too. For me it was a combination of starting progesterone and a thyroid supplement as well.

bagley79
Post 3

I would get pretty discouraged if I started to gain weight when I started to use progesterone. Weight is one thing I really struggle with, and this has become even harder to lose now that I am going through menopause.

How much weight does someone usually put on before they start to lose it after starting this? I am also curious as to how long this takes. Even if I knew this was supposed to happen, it would be hard.

I am motivated to continue using something when I see positive results, but if I started gaining weight instead of losing it, I would probably quit taking it.

myharley
Post 2

If someone is interested in using progesterone, one thing I would recommend is getting your progesterone levels tested first. It is a good idea to get many of your hormones tested, so you know for sure which ones your body needs.

Having your hormones out of whack can really mess up your system, and this just gives you an indication of where your levels are at. I use a progesterone cream in the morning and at night because I tested really low in progesterone.

This has helped me with hot flashes, but I really had no idea there was a connection between progesterone and weight loss. I have noticed a big difference in my symptoms since starting this, and now I will continue to use it for sure.

LisaLou
Post 1

There are many times when I have found it convenient to blame my weight gain on hormones. It sounds like there is more truth to that than I realized. I have not had to make the decision about using supplemental hormones yet, and find myself confused by it all.

It seems like I remember reading there are some negative progesterone side effects, but I might have that confused with conventional hormone treatment.

If using a natural progesterone can help with symptoms of menopause and help me lose weight at the same time, it sounds like something that would be worth looking into.

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