Does Progesterone Cause Weight Gain?

Progesterone is a vital female hormone which is essential in regulating many processes. But does its imbalance cause weight gain?

During the menstrual cycle and later during pregnancy, the ovaries produce the majority of progesterone. However, some people have concerns about whether progesterone causes weight gain. So, this blog will address your fears by shedding light on the following points:

Table of Contents

By highlighting this subject, you will gain a better understanding of how progesterone affects weight and become able to make decisions about your health and hormone-related issues.

Importance of Progesterone

Progesterone, also called the ‘pregnancy hormone’, plays an integral part in the complex hormonal processes in the female’s body. Progesterone works silently in the background, managing crucial processes that support reproductive health, while oestrogen usually takes the spotlight. However, the role of progesterone extends beyond reproduction.

Here lies the significance of this vital hormone:

Reproductive Cycle Regulation

According to the research published in Endocrine Reviews, progesterone plays a defining role in ovulation, pregnancy and implantation. Progesterone and oestrogen regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterine lining during the luteal phase. It maintains pregnancy by delaying ovulation while improving the uterine environment.

Metabolic Impact

Progesterone has diverse metabolic effects beyond reproduction; studies link it to appetite, energy, and fat storage, and future research may reveal how it affects weight fluctuations.

Bone Health

Progesterone maintains bones by encouraging growth and reducing bone loss to prevent diseases like osteoporosis and brittle bones.

Mood and Well-being

Balanced progesterone levels are essential for stability because they prevent mood swings, irritability, and other emotional problems.

Hormonal Balance

Progesterone and estrogen’s delicate balance affects menstrual cycles, fertility, and overall health; optimal levels are vital for hormonal harmony.

Causes of Low Progesterone

Various factors can cause progesterone deficiency, negatively impacting reproductive health, menstrual cycles, and overall well-being.

Here are some causes of low progesterone:

Stress and Cortisol

Cortisol, a stress hormone, can be raised due to ongoing stress. High levels of cortisol can affect the production and balance of progesterone.


Low progesterone levels can result from irregular or absent ovulation, in which an egg is not released from the ovaries. Without ovulation, the corpus luteum (the structure that produces progesterone) may not form properly, resulting in decreased progesterone production.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

PCOS is a hormonal condition that can interfere with ovulation and cause hormone imbalances, including lower progesterone levels. 

Low Body Fat

Low levels of progesterone production can result from insufficient body fat; in cases of extreme weight loss or eating disorders.

Perimanopuase and Menopause

There is an expected decline in hormone production as women approach perimenopause and menopause. It can lead to reduced levels of progesterone in the body.

Chronic Illness

Several long-term illnesses, including diabetes and autoimmune diseases, can interfere with hormonal regulation and raise progesterone levels.

Genetic Factors

The production and balance of hormones can be affected by biological factors, which may result in lower progesterone levels.

Note: It’s important to remember that each person will react to these factors differently, and several variables may work together to cause low progesterone.

Does Progesterone Cause Weight Gain?

The relationship between progesterone and weight gain is a complex and debated topic. Although progesterone does not directly contribute to weight gain, its impact on specific physiological functions can lead to changes in weight in some people. 

Here, we highlight some connections between progesterone and weight gain:

Fluid Retention

Progesterone can cause fluid retention and bloating, especially during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. The sudden rise in water retention can be confused with weight gain.

Metabolic Effects

According to some studies, progesterone may slightly affect appetite, metabolism, and fat storage. However, the extent of these effects and their impact on weight can vary among individuals.

Hormonal Imbalances

As progesterone levels vary during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, these hormonal changes can also affect weight. However, these changes are often part of natural bodily processes and may not only be caused by progesterone.

Progesterone levels greatly increase during pregnancy to support placenta development and maintain the uterine lining. While gaining weight is typical and expected during pregnancy, progesterone is only one factor contributing to these changes.

Hormonal Birth Control

Some women may experience weight changes due to using specific hormonal birth control methods, such as progestin-containing birth control pills. However, factors not related to hormones can also cause weight changes.

Insulin Sensitivity

Depending on the individual, progesterone may affect insulin sensitivity. Low insulin sensitivity may impact how the body uses and stores glucose, resulting in weight changes.

Muscle Mass

According to some studies, progesterone may affect muscle size and strength. Changes in muscle mass can affect overall body composition and may be a factor in weight shifts.

Individual Variation

Progesterone can have many effects on people. Some individuals might see only slight variations in their weight, while others may see more noticeable changes.

Progesterone Side Effects

Progesterone is often taken through hormone therapies and medications to balance its levels in the body. Despite being essential for maintaining pregnancy and regulating the menstrual cycle, progesterone intake can also have the following adverse effects in some cases:

Mood Changes

When using progesterone, some people may experience mood swings, irritability, or even depressive symptoms. 

Breast Tenderness

Progesterone-related changes in breast tissue may cause breast sensitivity, swelling, or discomfort.


Migraines and other headaches have been identified as possible side effects of progesterone use.


When taking progesterone orally, some people may experience nausea while using it.


The sedative properties of progesterone may cause feelings of fatigue, drowsiness, or low energy.

Allergic Reactions

Although uncommon, progesterone-based medications can cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes, itching, or swelling.

Note: As a healthcare professional, progesterone’s side effects can differ on some variables, including dosage, administration method, and individual sensitivity. Consult our professionals if you’re worried about possible side effects.

Also Read: How to Increase Progesterone Naturally?

Final Remarks

Progesterone can affect weight through metabolism, appetite, and fluid retention. But blaming progesterone alone for weight gain ignores the importance of genetics, lifestyle, and hormonal balance.

Moreover, it is crucial to seek out individualised advice from healthcare professionals about potential risks and adopt a holistic approach to health that considers hormonal balance and lifestyle factors. Thus, by getting a more profound understanding, people can navigate the potential effects of progesterone on weight and take responsibility for their well-being.

Are You Worried About Progesterone Intake Side Effects? Get In Touch With BioId Professionals Today and Address Your Concerns!


Can you lose weight on progesterone?

Progesterone has a complicated relationship with weight; while changes in metabolism and appetite may contribute to weight loss, progesterone is not the only cause.

Does progesterone make it harder to lose weight?

Progesterone’s influence on weight loss is not straightforward, but it may affect metabolism and appetite, making it difficult for some individuals to lose weight.

Does progesterone help you lose weight or gain weight?

Although progesterone does not directly cause weight gain, it increases appetite, giving the impression that you are eating more and gaining weight.

What are the side effects of taking progesterone?

Progesterone usage may result in adverse side effects, such as mood swings, tender breasts, fluid retention, and irregular bleeding.

Dr. Charlotte
Dr. Charlotte

As an experienced medical professional, Dr. Norton has amassed a wealth of knowledge, culminating in her role as Chief Medical Officer at BioID Health. Her comprehensive grasp of evidence-based treatments and her unwavering commitment to patient well-being position her as an invaluable asset within the healthcare landscape.
With a proven history of compassionate care and a legacy of collaboration with multidisciplinary teams, Dr. Charlotte Norton embodies the principles of excellence, empathy, and expertise. Her journey, fuelled by a passion for guiding patients towards optimal health, continues to have a positive impact on lives at every juncture.

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