Are you wondering if Progesterone causes weight gain? Let's dive into the facts!

​​As you know, there are a number of factors that contribute to weight gain. Birth control can be one of those factors that cause weight gain, but can progesterone cause weight gain? 

Many women may believe that progesterone can do the same as birth control. However, it is unlikely that progesterone alone will cause weight gain. As your hormone levels fluctuate throughout your cycle, your appetite is affected, causing you to feel as if you're gaining weight.

Your hunger levels may be lower than usual during the first part of your cycle because estrogen reduces food intake. Ovulation increases progesterone levels, which improve metabolism and increase appetite. However, progesterone increases your appetite, making you feel like you eat more and gain weight despite not directly causing it.

What Is Progesterone?

Progesterone is the precursor hormone to the more well-known hormone— estrogen. It is predominantly a female hormone produced by the ovaries in women. The adrenal glands also produce it in both men and women. The progesterone hormone is naturally produced in the body; however, a synthetic form of it has also been made. This is known as progestin and has a similar effect as progesterone. 

Progesterone and estrogen are often confused with each other or are thought to have the same hormone. But, the fact is, progesterone is produced in the body to provide balance for estrogen. Additionally, while progesterone is the hormone that aids with a successful pregnancy, estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle. Notwithstanding, they are both very crucial to the sexual development of the female body.

What Is the Function of Progesterone?

The primary functions of progesterone include:

  • preparing the uterus for the fertilized egg
  • aiding in breast development and the regulation of the menstrual cycle
  • preventing a woman from producing more eggs while she is pregnant
  • prompting the production and release of milk

Does Progesterone Cause Weight Gain?

It's no secret that progesterone is associated with a number of health benefits, such as reducing anxiety and your risk of developing depression. It may also significantly improve your quality of sleep and help you to reduce stress. Unfortunately, progesterone is also quite frequently associated with weight gain, and there are many sources, even research papers, that state this claim.

According to a journal article published by PubMed, during a clinical trial, rats were given progesterone, and as a result, an increase in their body weight was noted over time. In another research paper, the authors explained that metabolic weight gain due to progesterone is most significant during pregnancy.

Nonetheless, It's important to understand that progesterone is a hormone: it is a chemical that is produced by the body and travels through the bloodstream to different organs. Therefore, progesterone does travel to the fat cells directly; but there is insufficient evidence to support the claim that it directly causes fat gain.

Potential Reasons Why Progesterone Causes Weight Gain

Excessive progesterone levels can cause weight gain due to a number of factors.

It is possible that progesterone may increase the amount of fat stored in the body, which can lead to increased body fat and unexplained weight gain. In such cases, this occurs because progesterone can lower the metabolic rate. Further, an increase in progesterone levels can also cause some women to have cravings for unhealthy foods or maybe just a larger portion of food. As they eat more than they normally would, this can lead to weight gain indirectly due to progesterone.

It is also believed that hormonal imbalances between estrogen and progesterone contribute to weight gain. So, while progesterone may not be directly responsible for your weight gain, a combination of excessive progesterone and a poor diet can result in fat storage and, eventually, weight gain.

Excess progesterone symptoms include:

  • Variations in weight (usually a 5-10 pound gain)
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Feeling depressed but not overtly depressed
  • A slight feeling of dizziness
  • Feeling groggy or tense upon waking up
  • Leg pain or discomfort
  • Retention of water
  • Bloating
  • Instability of the physical body
  • A sensation of spinning
  • Feeling tense or anxious
  • Sexual drive usually decreases as libido changes
  • Feeling unwell

A person with these symptoms could also be gaining weight if they are taking progesterone and exhibiting these symptoms.

How to Prevent Hormonal Weight Gain?

Hormones can cause weight gain, but it can be fixed. You can lose weight and balance your hormones by making the necessary lifestyle changes. 

You can fix hormonal weight gain by following some of the tips below:

1. Consume fiber-rich foods

Whole grains, vegetables, and low-GI fruits are all rich in dietary fiber. The digestion of dietary fiber takes longer, which reduces hunger. Additionally, dietary fiber increases good gut bacteria and improves digestion.

2. Consume protein with each meal

It is rich in protein to consume chicken breast without skin, fish, lentils, tofu, mushrooms, and beans. The slower digestion of proteins increases satiety. To reduce hunger, eat a protein-rich meal every day.

3. Consume healthy fats

Inflammation and weight gain triggered by inflammation are reduced by healthy fats. You can get healthy fats from foods such as fatty fish, avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

4. Practice portion control

Consume fewer calories by practicing portion control. Nuts, for example, are very easy to consume in excess. Nuts contain a lot of calories. Weight gain can occur even with healthy foods if portion control is not practiced.

5. Avoid junk and processed foods

Sugar, salt, trans-fats, preservatives, and other additives are abundant in fried foods, pizza, burgers, frozen foods, salami, sausage, canned foods, and packaged drinks. There is evidence that certain types of food processing (especially highly- or ultra-processed foods) are associated with poor health outcomes. According to Harvard School of Public Health, these can affect the body’s metabolism and increase bad cholesterol. A large proportion of this association is due to ultra-processed foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and fat.

6. Mix cardio and strength training

Exercise and staying active are important for burning calories and maintaining mental health. It is recommended to burn fat and maintain muscle by doing cardio three days a week and strength training two days a week.

Customize your exercise routine with your trainer to suit your body's needs. Keep your body active by playing sports, dancing, or swimming.

7. Learn a new skill

Feeling anxious and stressed all the time? Learning a new skill is a good way to channel your energy. Learn a new skill, enroll in an online course, or take an online course. During the learning process, the activity will keep the brain engaged in a positive way, reducing stress and improving brain function.

8. Sleep to reboot

Weight gain is a major consequence of sleep deprivation. Ensure you get enough sleep every night. Read a book, turn off the electronics, and/or listen to soothing music. A dark room is also important for melatonin production, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles.


So, does progesterone cause weight gain?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. On the one hand, the claim that progesterone causes weight gain is true, but on the other hand, it's important to understand that progesterone does not directly cause weight gain. 

Instead, progesterone increases the amount of fat that is stored in the body and makes you more likely to store fat. Also, excessive progesterone levels can lead to an increase in appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods, which can lead to weight gain. It is also important to note that many women take progesterone as a supplement, so if you are taking a progesterone supplement, make sure you are following a healthy diet to avoid potential weight gain.

 Hormonal weight gain can be prevented by managing your caloric intake, reducing unhealthy snacking, employing meal frequency control measures, and engaging in regular exercise.

In life, there will always be challenges. But it is our responsibility to do what we can to mitigate these challenges. Unfortunately, excessive weight gain is one of the problems women face at some point in their lives. However, there is always something you can do to rid yourself of unwanted weight or prevent it. It's time for you to take action; your health is in your hands.



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