Weight Gain With Progesterone

by Dora
(California)

Almost three years ago I found an amazing doctor who discovered that my progesterone levels were extremely low. She put me on bio-identical progesterone, and I quickly felt so much better. Everything changed for the better for me.

My anxiety went away and my mood improved. Even my canker sores went away. However, she warned me that I could gain weight, but everything I read told me that I would lose weight. Sure enough, as of last year, I am steadily gaining weight. I have gained 15 pounds in the last year which is a lot for me since I am 5 foot. On my last visit, I was progesterone dominant! (I would go back but our insurance changed.) I exercise regularly and have been watching what I eat. What I would normally do to lose pounds is not working. I have now limited my intake to 1300 calories a day and work out each day. I still feel good, but this weight just won't budge and it's steadily climbing. I am 39. Any advice is appreciated.

Comments for Weight Gain With Progesterone

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Oct 20, 2010
Progesterone Dominant
by: Eve

When I hear progesterone dominant, my reaction is that is a good thing. That is what we are striving for. I am not aware of any weight gain associated with progesterone. I would venture that there is something else going on. Are there any other symptoms? Have you had your thyroid and insulin levels checked? Has your cycle changed? Are you starting to skip periods? I would start to look at the whole picture and also pay very close attention to any other changes beside the weight gain. Diet change, appetite change, mood change, stress, when does the weight come on (ie. during what part of your cycle)? That's my personal thoughts! I am insulin resistant and it took a long, long time for a doctor to figure that out. Losing weight is difficult and gaining is very easy. I would look at the whole hormonal system and lifestyle etc. Good luck!!

Oct 20, 2010
Wt. Gain with Progesterone
by: Cheryl

Dora, I have had the same problem. I cannot lose weight no matter what I do. I burn off over 700 calories every day working out and am on Weight Watchers and count my points very seriously. I can't burn any pounds off. I am stable now at 35 pounds over where I should be. I would give anything to know why I gained so much.

Oct 22, 2010
Weight Gain With Progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Dora As Eve said, progesterone needs to be the dominant hormone for us to feel well. From saliva tests a naturopath runs for us, we've found to feel well the ratio of progesterone to oestrogen should be over 600:1. I'm delighted it's helped with your other symptoms, but the weight gain is caused by excess oestrogen. This sounds paradoxical, but if insufficient progesterone is used it stimulates oestrogen, please see Oestrogen Dominance. Oestrogen is a mitogen, causing cells to divide and multiply, including fat cells. But fat cells are a non-ovarian source of oestrogen so a vicious cycle ensues. Progesterone is thermogenic, meaning it speeds metabolism slightly. Excess oestrogen also causes insulin resistance, which is what I believe you now have. For more info on this please see our page on Insulin Resistance. I recommend between 100-200mg/day progesterone, anything less will merely ramp up the oestrogen affect. For more info please see How to use progesterone cream. You are also 39, from about age 35 we begin to have anovulatory cycles, where no progesterone is made. This of course allows oestrogen to become dominant. Please consider using more progesterone. Take care Wray

Oct 22, 2010
Progesterone Dominant
by: Wray

Hi Eve Thanks for your input, which I agree with. I also suggested she could be insulin resistant too. It often happens as we get older, as oestrogen is one cause. The other is a lack of vitamin D, so many of us are low in this, please have a test done. For more info please see the Vitamin D council website. And our page on Insulin Resistance. Although you seem to know all about it, it might throw some more light on it for you. Take care Wray

Oct 22, 2010
Wt. Gain with Progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Cheryl As Eve suggested to Dora, you could be insulin resistant too, it very much sounds like it. For more info please see our page on Insulin Resistance. I don't know what age you are, but this often sets in after age 35, but particularly in the peri-menopausal years. It's almost impossible to loose weight if you have it, but it can be reversed naturally. The other point I made to Dora was excess oestrogen, this causes weight gain by stimulating fat cells and causing water retention. You might consider using progesterone if you suspect excess oestrogen. Please see our page on How to use progesterone for more info. Take care Wray

Dec 26, 2010
Weight Gain after quitting progesterone?
by: Anonymous

I am 46, had a full hysterectomy 2 years ago. Recently, my doctor told me to get off the prometruim because it could cause breast cancer. I am taking estridol through wearing the patch. So, I have gained 7 pounds in one month. I am exercising 4 days a week and am freaking out about this. Does anyone think that getting off the prometrium has caused an imbalance? I am turning into an apple and I have always been a pear? Help!

Jan 19, 2011
weight gain
by: Anonymous

I have been taking bio hormones in the form of troches for about 3 moths now and have gained about 5 kilos. The main problem for me is I have a back problem from nursing for 25 years. The weight gain is starting to excacerbate my back injury and cause pain so now I have a delema do I stop the hormones or live with the pain

Jan 21, 2011
Weight Gain after quitting progesterone?
by: Wray

Hi there I don't know where your doctor got the info that progesterone can cause Cancer. Please read through this page and you'll see the reverse in fact. Moreover there's no question that oestradiol does increase the risk, please see our page on HRT, in particular all the studies shown. Oestrogen is an excitatory hormone, it stimulates fat cells to divide and multiply. Fat cells are a non-ovarian source of oestrogen, so a vicious cycle starts up. Oestrogen also causes sodium retention, which in turn causes water retention, another reason for the weight gain. Excess oestrogen causes Insulin Resistance, please read through this page for more info. One of the affects of IR is weight gain. Please consider having a vitamin D test done, most of us are short of this vital nutrient, and a low level reduces the benefits of progesterone. Plus a lack causes weight gain and insulin resistance. For more info see the Vitamin D council website.
Take care Wray

Jan 21, 2011
weight gain
by: Wray

Hi there Troches are not the best Delivery system. Much of the progesterone gets destroyed by the gut and liver, whereas oestrogen does not. The small amount of progesterone you will be getting is enough to stimulate oestrogen causing Oestrogen Dominance, but insufficient to make progesterone the dominant hormone. Oestrogen is an excitatory hormone, it stimulates fat cells to divide and multiply, plus it causes water retention. Progesterone stops mitosis, plus it's an excellent diuretic. I would suggest changing to a form which is absorbed well, and if you are taking oestrogen too, consider stopping this. You might like to see our pages on Peri-menopause and Menopause, I'm not sure how old you are, hence the two options. Take care Wray

Feb 22, 2011
Eve
by: Susan

Eve, Progesterone WILL make you gain weight. i have always weighed 125 and i love to exercise and eat right. When i began taking progesterone, within 45 days i had gained 17 pounds and I'm only 5'2". I don't care what anyone says, I know progesterone made me gain weight. The worst part is, its virtually impossible to get it off. I reduced my daily calorie intake to 1000 calories with only lean meat and vegetables. I doubled up my cardio and still can't lose the weight progesterone made me gain. :( it also left me with TERRIBLE brain fog that I've been trying to deal with, and after doing a little research, there are MANY withdrawal symptoms when stopping progesterone. Many are very similar to antidepressant withdrawals. You can google it and take a look yourself. goodluck!!!

Mar 06, 2011
Eve
by: Wray

Hi Susan Progesterone cannot cause weight gain, for one thing it's thermogenic, so increases metabolism slightly. Plus it prevents mitosis, or cells dividing and multiplying. Whereas oestrogen is a mitogen, in fact it stimulates fat cells too. These are also a non-ovarian source of oestrogen so a vicious cycle starts, see here, here, here, here here. You were undoubtedly given too low an amount of progesterone, probably the standard 20-40mg/day, which would merely ramp up oestrogen. This would cause water retention and an increase in fat cells, both leading to weight gain. Excess oestrogen also causes Insulin Resistance, which is probably the reason you are finding it difficult to loose weight. The brain fog is caused by excess oestrogen, not by progesterone. In fact it's protective in the brain, particularly in the ageing brain, see here, here and here. These are more papers you might like to read, see here, here, here, here and here. You might like to see our page on Oestrogen Dominance too. It explains why progesterone initially ramps up oestrogen. The amount of progesterone to prevent this occurring needs to be 100-200mg/day, were you using this amount? Take care Wray

Apr 25, 2011
paradoxical response? or too little? or stop?
by: TerBer

Hi everyone,
I am up late at nite a little scared and a lot confused. I have had a rough year with some troubles that seem to have started when a doctor gave me thyroid medication without checking my levels. I felt great at first, then began having periods that were very very heavy and long. I have dropped way back on the thyroid and my levels are normal however...it seems my progesterone is at a 2 and my estrogen is a little dominant. I have had both blood and saliva testing and have (just 3 days ago) started on my first cycle of progesterone (called progonB). I took: 3 13.5mg tablets 2x day for two days then 2 13.5 mg tablets 2x day. this is only my third day and I cannot sleep, I feel depressed, and I am blown up. I look awful and feel awful. FYI was also told to take 5mg of DHEA and indole-3 carbinol but I am afraid to add anything else to this mix right now...is this possibly a case of a "paradoxical response" or am I not taking enough causing even more estrogen...I have never felt like this when my estrogen was about all I had though...any thoughts? I am 48 and supposidly I am not in peri

Jul 10, 2011
estrogen protects against obesity
by: Christi

Progesterone can most definitely cause weight gain. It slows digestion through the decrease of digestive enzymes, which is why women in their first trimester of pregnancy when progesterone is definitely dominant, get nausea. Most compelling is the recent article in the New York Times citing research that was done recently showing that when two groups of mice were put into surgical menopause, the group that was given estrogen replacement functioned normally, whereas the group that was not given estrogen became obese. The pictures tell it all. Low estrogen levels cause the body to store fat because estrogen is made in fat cells and this is the bodies way of generating more estrogen production when the ovaries aren't producing enough to keep everything in balance. I've had the same response with progesterone. It makes me gain weight, and I've been thin my whole life. Once the weight is put on, it's extremely hard to get rid of because the body takes months to rid itself of excess progesterone. Progesterone is helpful for some, but it is not the answer to every woman's ills and shouldn't be touted as a cureall with no side effects because that's simply not true.

Jul 11, 2011
ProgonB
by: Eve

I am not familiar with ProgonB. After googling it, I found it hard to determine exactly how much progesterone is in it. It appears to be an oral administration and also a very low dose. I would make a large bet that you are getting a small dose and it is aggrivating your estrogen dominance symptoms. Most of us have had to take a minimum of 100-200 mg to alleviate the syptoms you speak about. I personally had severe symptoms and took a much higher dose. Assuming that there actually is 13.25 mg in a dose of ProgonB, you still are at a dose that would cause your symptoms to become amplified.

When we use oral progesterone it has to travel through the gut which is not how "normal" progesterone hormone is delivered in our system. I think a more direct absorption makes more sense. I personally started with oral progesterone, but I don't think that is the most effective approach. And certainly, if you choose to stay with oral delivery you will need a much higher dose.



Jul 14, 2011
paradoxical response? or too little? or stop?
by: Wray

Hi Terber You should have been warned about Oestrogen Dominance before starting the progesterone. Unfortunately oral progesterone is not the best Delivery system. The amount you're getting from the tablets will be very low. I've found this generally causes more symptoms than it cures. My recommendation is 100-200mg/day progesterone, more if symptoms are severe. We do have three pages you could look at, I'm not sure of your age, so I'm giving them all. See Peri-menopause, Menopause and How to use progesterone cream. Take care Wray

Jul 14, 2011
estrogen protects against obesity
by: Wray

Hi Christi Progesterone can't cause weight gain, it's thermogenic for one thing, plus it prevents mitosis. Whereas oestrogen is a mitogen, causing cells to divide and multiply, including fat cells. Which causes weight gain. The study above was not comparing progesterone and oestrogen, I would have to read the paper to see exactly what the study was trying to prove. Oestrogen is not something I would recommend to any woman, you might like to see the papers on our pages on HRT and Contraceptives. If progesterone did cause us to gain weight, all pregnant women would be obese. The increase in oestrogen and testosterone in peri-menopausal and menopausal women is the reason they gain weight. You might like to read our page on Oestrogen Dominance, this explains why some women gain weight when using progesterone. I've found invariably it's because they are using far too low an amount, which merely stimulates excess oestrogen production. I recommend 100-200mg/day, were you using this much? Take care Wray

Jul 14, 2011
ProgonB
by: Wray

Hi Eve Thanks once again for your input! I also found their website gives nothing away. But as you say the oral system is not very effective. Take care Wray

Jun 17, 2012
progesterone weight gain
by: Anonymous

I have gained 12 pounds since I started progesterone cream 3 months ago.
Getting on the scale is getting frighting.
I ride a bike and walk 4 miles a day working with special needs students at a middle school.
All hunger needs have been incredible.
U cannot say that this is not caused from the progesterone unless u are actually using the cream. If not u should not be giving advice.


Jun 17, 2012
progesterone weight gain
by: Wray

Hi there Of course I use progesterone and have been for 15 years now. I use about 170mg/day, often more, particularly when stressed. Please take time to read the info on the site, there are over 3000 pages, I go into great detail why women put on weight. It's caused by using too little progesterone, even on this page I have endlessly repeated this refrain. But there is more info on our pages about Progesterone Misconceptions and How to use progesterone cream. Progesterone cannot cause weight gain, it's a potent diuretic so gets rid of excess water if that's the problem. And inhibits mitosis, which causes an increase in fat cells, both these problems are caused by oestrogen, as explained on the Oestrogen Dominance page. Take care Wray

Jan 17, 2013
..
by: Anonymous

I have been taking 200 mg progesterone for 3 months and have gained 20 pounds. I am afraid to keep taking it, I am so fat I can't fit into any of my clothes and it upsets me alot. My symptoms have improved, but at what cost? When will this nightmare end...

Jan 18, 2013
Weight gain
by: Wray

Hi there Please clarify something for me, you say you've been 'taking' progesterone. So many use this term to cover using either a cream or taking oral progesterone. If you are taking oral progesterone, it's the least effective Delivery system. Most of it gets destroyed passing through the gut and liver, see......."The liver and gut region removed a mean of 96 per cent of the progesterone entering these tissues" see here. The small amount getting through stimulates oestrogen leading to Oestrogen Dominance. Please open the capsules and empty the contents into a small amount of skin cream and apply that to your skin. That way you will get the full benefit of the progesterone, see here. Oestrogen causes both water retention and weight gain, as it causes cells to proliferate. Progesterone inhibits mitosis, and is an excellent diuretic, see our page on Traumatic Brain Injury. If you are using a progesterone cream, it could be the 200mg/day is insufficient. This would be the case if you had high oestrogen levels. I've found the higher the oestrogen, the greater the amount of progesterone needed to overcome it. We have more info on these pages, How to use progesterone cream, Peri-menopause and Menopause. Take care Wray

Apr 19, 2013
ABSOLUTELY weight gain
by: Anonymous

I agree with the posters on weight gain.. NO other reason for it.. My background: I just turned 40. I am a Personal Trainer and group fitness instructor. I have always been LEAN and was VERY LEAN when I was started on Progesterone, first 100 mg then 200 mg. When I gained 10 lbs in the first few months on 100 mg, I was told to UP the dose.. THEN I gained ANOTHER 5... I am stopping this madness of hormone therapy. It's a CROCK and just a money making scheme by doctors with Biodentical hormones and "magic cremes"... Just take SAM-e for mild depression and exercise. I would RUN FROM THIS STUFF AND FAST LADIES!!!!!!

Apr 22, 2013
ABSOLUTELY weight gain
by: Wray

Hi there If you read the studies on progesterone and not the blogs, you'd realise that progesterone cannot cause weight gain. Like testosterone it's an anabolic hormone, and speeds metabolism slightly. In fact I'm surprised as a trainer you haven't read them, hormones do have a profound affect on our metabolism, and can enhance or slow it. As evidenced by the bodybuilders who use testosterone and other synthetic anabolic steroids. Take care Wray

Jun 26, 2014
DEFINITELY ADDED WEIGHT IN ONE MONTH
by: Anonymous

i couldn't figure out why i am so ravenous. i am taking the bio-identical cream to taper off of sleep medications.
Its horrible and my naturopath won't admit it but thousands of users admit to putting on weight.
So who is in this to benefit from another western med monopoly scam of big pharma ? All the information and these ridiculously skewed, biased and propagandized studies are all for the benefit of the industry
I am livid about the weight gain!

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