Does Progesterone Cause Weight Gain or Weight Loss?

​When you think of progesterone most of us are conditioned to think that it causes weight loss. 

But the truth is that progesterone can cause both weight loss and weight gain, depending on the situation of who is using it.

Not only that ​but how you take progesterone and at what dose may determine if it helps with weight loss or weight gain. 

Learn how to use progesterone correctly in this post. ​

More...

Progesterone and your Weight

Healthy and normal levels of estrogen and progesterone are required for a woman to maintain a normal weight.

​The problem comes from understanding this balance and how to achieve it using supplements and creams. 

You can think of estrogen (including estrone, estradiol, and estriol) as growth hormones. 

Estrogens make your cells bigger, whether that be your fat cells, uterine cells or breast tissue.

Progesterone and weight gain

Progesterone, on the other hand, helps counteract these effects from estrogen (1).

In this way, progesterone is a natural way that your body balances estrogen levels.

So even though most women gain some weight during their menstrual cycle, that weight is lost once your hormones even themselves out.

​So how does weight fit into this picture?

What I've just described is how the system is SUPPOSED to work, but that doesn't mean that it works this way in every person.

Most women (at least in the United States) have trouble with too LITTLE progesterone and too MUCH estrogen.

This results in an imbalance known as Estrogen dominance, meaning you have too much estrogen relative to progesterone.

​Most women know if they fall into this category because they present with symptoms like these: 

  • History of endometriosis
  • History of fibrocystic breast disease
  • History of PMS or PMDD
  • Severe depression or anxiety around menstruation
  • Perpetual weight gain surrounding menstruation
  • Hormonal acne that changes with your menstrual cycle
  • History of migraines related to your hormones
  • Breast tenderness, heavy menstrual cramps, or mood swings

​If you fall into any of the categories above then chances are high that do indeed have an imbalance of estrogen to progesterone in your body. 

You can find more information about how to treat these symptoms using supplements in this post. ​

Does that mean that you should automatically take progesterone to balance the high estrogen?

Not necessarily, and this is what gets people into trouble.

The answer to high estrogen is not to dramatically increase your progesterone level.

In fact, taking progesterone if you have normal levels of progesterone, to begin with, is what causes weight gain in many people.

​Another important factor has to do with how you take progesterone and how MUCH you take (more on this below). 

You have to consider that each person

Most of the weight gain from progesterone comes from excessive or high doses.

But how do you know if you are getting too much progesterone?

Follow the symptoms! ​

Symptoms of excess progesterone in your body:

  • ​Weight fluctuations (usually mild weight gain of 5-10 pounds)
  • Drowsiness
  • Depressed feeling but not overt depression
  • Slight dizziness
  • Waking up groggy or "on edge"
  • Bloating
  • Sense of physical instability
  • Feeling of a spinning sensation
  • Discomfort or pain in the legs
  • Water retention
  • Anxiety or just feeling "tense"
  • Changes to libido (usually decreased sex drive)
  • Not feeling like yourself

These symptoms indicate that you have TOO much progesterone in your body, and if you are taking progesterone and experiencing these symptoms then chances are you might also be gaining weight. 

This weight gain may stem from the dose you are taking, HOW you are taking the medication or the frequency with which you are taking progesterone.

It doesn't necessarily mean that you need to stop taking the medication ASAP. ​

Let's take a closer look at how to make sure you are taking progesterone correctly: ​

How you take progesterone matters

​Remember there are really only two ways you should be using progesterone:

  • Bioidentical progesterone cream
  • Bioidentical oral progesterone (Prometrium)

You should NOT confuse these types of progesterone with synthetic or fake pharmaceutical forms of progesterone that most physicians prescribe. 

Pharmaceutical companies don't like to make bioidentical hormones because they can't patent the medication and therefore they can't make very much money.

Instead, they slightly alter the progesterone molecule and brand it with a new name.

But you want to stay away from these types of progesterones (called progestins or progestagens) because they are NOT metabolized in the same way as normal progesterone.

These synthetic and fake types of progesterones are responsible for a lot of weight gain that many people experience as well. ​

In fact, studies have shown that most women gain up to 5 pounds taking progestin-only birth control medications (2).

So we know that taking fake and synthetic progesterone is out of the question, but what about taking bioidentical progesterone pills? Is that okay?

Whenever possible it's always best to mimic nature when you are replacing hormones.

For progesterone that means the following:

  • Making sure that any progesterone you take bypasses the first metabolism from the liver (normally, progesterone is secreted straight into your bloodstream) -> this means preference on creams/gels instead of oral progesterone
  • Taking progesterone when it would naturally be high during the menstrual cycle (during the last 2 weeks or the luteal phase)
  • Avoiding synthetic formulations of progesterone (use only bioidentical forms)
  • Taking only enough progesterone for YOUR body (the dose that each person needs will be different)
How to take progesterone during your menstrual cycle

If you aren't following these guidelines, even if you are taking bioidentical progesterone, your dose may be simply too high or you may be taking it the wrong way. 

It's important to discuss these nuances because it might just be that progesterone isn't your problem, but it's more about how you are taking it.

We will go over in detail how to use progesterone below, but for now, let's talk about who should seriously consider using progesterone for weight loss. 

Who should use Progesterone for Weight Loss:

#1. Patients with LOW serum progesterone levels

This should go without saying, but if you have LOW progesterone then you are a great candidate for progesterone replacement therapy.

As long as you use bioidentical progesterone therapy with a transdermal application, at the right dose, there is a very low chance that you will have negative consequences such as weight gain.

​But how do you know if you have low progesterone?

It's actually quite easy to test your blood levels of progesterone. All you need to do is ask your doctor for a "serum progesterone" blood test.

Make sure you get tested on days 19-21 of your menstrual cycle (assuming a 28-day cycle). 

If your serum progesterone is low when you test on these days then you are likely not creating ENOUGH progesterone or you are having anovulatory cycles. ​

This is also where things start to get interesting: 

Progesterone levels obviously fall off dramatically during menopause (after ovulation ceases) but what you might not have realized is that progesterone naturally reduces around age 35 as well. 

age related decline of estrogen and progesterone

Both estrogen and progesterone decline around this time, but progesterone declines more rapidly. 

This process leaves a relatively high concentration of estrogen relative to progesterone and this is why many women begin to suffer from the symptoms of estrogen dominance.

Starting at age 35 you may consider using progesterone IF your levels are low. 

#2. ​Women that are menopausal

The second reason to use progesterone is due to a deficiency from menopause.

Once a woman hits menopause (whether that be from chemicals, hysterectomy or the course of time) she is no longer ovulating.

Because ovulation is the biggest source of progesterone in women, the reduction of ovulation almost always results in VERY low progesterone levels.

It's worth pointing out here that you can hit menopause early if you undergo removal of your ovaries due to surgery, or if you take certain medications (like those for breast cancer).

Both of these conditions create an early menopause-like syndrome which results in near zero progesterone levels. 

The problem with menopause is that while progesterone levels drop to nearly zero, estrogen doesn't always follow that trend.

Why?

Because your body can take androgens (DHEA and testosterone) and turn those into extra estrogen through your fat cells.

This process is known as aromatization (3) and it occurs in both men and women. 

This creates a very interesting and troublesome scenario in many menopausal women:

If they have extra fat on their body they may create much more estrogen than normal while they have virtually zero progesterone. 

This may, in part, help explain why menopausal women tend to gain weight (on average about 15 pounds). 

The bottom line?

If you are menopausal you can almost guarantee that your progesterone level is very low and replacing those low levels may help with weight loss. ​

#3. Women with Estrogen Dominance should consider it

We've been talking about this idea of having too much estrogen during menopause but what about other women? Do they deal with the same issue?

And the answer is yes.

The following conditions may result in excess estrogen AND low progesterone levels:

  • PCOS or being on the PCOS spectrum
  • Insulin resistance, diabetes (either type I or type II) or issues with blood sugar
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Obesity or weight gain from any cause
  • Eating disorders, binge eating, emotional eating, etc. 
  • High stress or a history of adrenal problems
  • Exposure to xenoestrogens or endocrine disrupting chemicals (4)

​These conditions result in a scenario where estrogen levels remain high while progesterone levels may be artificially lower than normal. 

​Women who fall into any of these categories may benefit from using progesterone ASSUMING their levels are low. 

You might also notice that many of these conditions are associated with weight gain in some form.

The use of progesterone in this setting may ultimately help with weight loss, but don't count on it.

Also, do remember to check your serum progesterone level prior to supplementing as sometimes serum progesterone levels (even in these conditions) may be normal or high. 

It's possible to have more than 1 hormonal abnormality going on at once. ​

#4. Women with hypothyroidism should consider using Progesterone Cream

​Next on the list is worth mentioning a second time:

Women suffering from hypothyroidism.

Why?

First of all, hypothyroidism is very common and worse than that it is misdiagnosed by many physicians.

This creates a scenario where many women are walking around with hypothyroidism and low progesterone without even knowing it.

In addition, thyroid hormone plays a special role in helping maintain normal progesterone levels and normal ovulation.

Low thyroid hormone results in decreased ovulation and therefore decreased progesterone.

This relationship helps explain why women with hypothyroidism suffer from infertility and difficulty maintaining pregnancy until they are treated. ​

You can see the complete list of thyroid symptoms in this post where you can also learn how to be properly tested. ​

#5. Women with severe fatigue or adrenal fatigue

Lastly, there is a strong connection between cortisol, stress, and progesterone. 

The unifying theme here is that these hormones all interact with one another and therefore must ALL be considered if you have a hormonal imbalance in your body.

The connection between stress and progesterone is sinister because it is often ignored or missed.

High levels of stress lead to high levels of cortisol.

As you can see from the diagram below, cortisol has an impact on multiple systems in your body (pretty much every cell): ​

cortisol metabolism and function

This impact extends to your sex hormones like progesterone and estrogen. 

Higher cortisol levels initially may stimulate high progesterone levels (leading to weight gain), and if the stress is maintained it may ultimately lead to low progesterone levels (5).

You've seen this relationship at play if you've ever had your cycle delayed or altered due to high-stress levels (relationship problems, finals at school, etc.). 

The point is to make sure you address your adrenals with certain supplements which can dramatically improve your progesterone levels. 

You can find out how to treat your adrenals and lower stress levels in this guide

Cream vs Oral Progesterone (Prometrium)

If you decide to use progesterone (because you fall into the categories listed above) there are 2 options for you that are both bioidentical.

Your default should be to use ​the cream FIRST and then do a trial of the oral progesterone if the cream fails (some people just don't absorb as well as others). 

Who should use progesterone cream: 

  • Those who have not tried progesterone previously
  • Those who do not tolerate the cream or have a hard time finding their optimal dose
  • Those who can't find a physician willing to prescribe them oral progesterone
  • *Note: Progesterone cream can be purchased over the counter without a prescription but oral progesterone requires a prescription. 

How to Supplement with Bioidentical progesterone

How to Use

  • If menstruating: Use 20-40mg per day on days 14-28 of your cycle (the latter half of the month)
  • If in menopause: you can use 20-40mg per day either 6 days per week (with rest on the 7th) or 26-28 days per month (with 1-3 days off per month)
  • Make sure to monitor your symptoms while using and discontinue use if you experience any negative side effects
  • Discuss the use of bioidentical hormones with your physician
My Recommended Brand and Product:

Your next option is to use oral progesterone which comes as the brand name Prometrium. 

The problem with using oral progesterone is that it is not metabolized the same way that transdermal progesterone cream is.

The metabolism of oral progesterone leads to high levels of pregnanediol ​which is not normal for the body. 

Having said that some women do benefit tremendously from oral formulations of progesterone. ​

​Who should use oral progesterone?

  • Those who have failed progesterone cream
  • Those who need very small doses of progesterone
  • Women who forget to use progesterone cream daily
  • Women who are also using multiple other transdermal hormones
  • Women who suffer from insomnia

Remember, if you need to use oral progesterone make sure you get bioidentical progesterone (Prometrium) and NOT a synthetic progesterone. 

Back to you

Progesterone, depending on how it is used, can cause either weight loss or weight gain. 

The problem with using progesterone is that you must be using the right type, the right dose and use it in the right way (preference on a cream or transdermal application). 

If you follow these instructions and only use it when it is necessary, you will benefit tremendously from its use. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you using progesterone? Is it helping you with weight loss? 

Has it caused weight gain?

Share your story and leave your comments below! 

References (Click to Expand)

Dr. Westin Childs

Dr. Westin Childs is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. He provides well-researched actionable information about hormone-related disorders and formulates supplements to treat these disorders.He is trained in Internal Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Integrative Medicine. His focus is on managing thyroid disorders, weight loss resistance, and other sex hormone imbalances.You can read more about his own personal journey here.

152 thoughts on “Does Progesterone Cause Weight Gain or Weight Loss?”

  1. Dr. Childs, you discussed balance between the hormones. What should the ratio of estrogen to progesterone be in post menopausal women?

    • Hi Cleo,

      For menopausal women the ratio is less important than it is for menstruating women. You can generally base dosing off of symptoms (but you should still evaluate labs during this process).

      • Thanks for the reply.

        To respond to your post, I am one of those who suffers immediate weight gain taking progesterone — bioidentical compounded or micronized pills, creams, other delivery methods, even small doses. Sublingual is the only method I have not tried. Aside from the ideals of “balance,” I feel better not taking it at all.

        • It’s certainly not necessary if you don’t tolerate it, so I think that’s a reasonable approach for now.

          • Really? That’s all there is to it? Just stop? What if the lab results show that progesterone levels are very low? Just curious as to how they will get balanced on their own.

          • Hi Dr. Childs,
            Any insight as to how Progesterone supplementation in the form of Prometrium can cause severe acne on face and neck? I have low progesterone with estrogen dominance and have taken both Compounded pill, cream, and Prometrium. I normally do not have acne. I also have Hashimoto’s and am on Nature-Throid . I just ceased taking the Prometrium and the acne stopped. My doctor is ordering me Compounded Progesterone as he said it has a yam base vs the peanut oil of Prometrium. Just curious if you have an idea why it would cause onset of acne. Thanks!

          • Hi Leti,

            It’s definitely more complex than just stopping the medication as you will need to address whatever underlying issue was causing low progesterone in the first place.

            But it also doesn’t make sense to simply treat a number especially if it is causing more harm than good.

        • Hi Cleo,

          I found this post searching something about side effects with progesterone cream, because everything I have read about it is good. However, since I started with bioidentical compounded (4 months ago), I have gained weight (4 kilos) and I feel pain behind my knees.

          According to your experience, could you please tell me something else about any side effects? I am 40 years old, I was diagnosed with early menopause 7 years ago, and I just want to find the right way to improve my quality of life in these times.

          Thanks in advance, and sorry for bothering you.

          Regards

          Rose

          • Hi Rose,

            My story is long, and I’m happy to follow up with you over email. The short of it is that I gained almost 10 pounds while on progesterone cream the first time, felt bloated, weepy, etc., then stopped. I tried different doses and delivery methods, with more or less the same result. I found Prometrium affected me the most, and suppository and cream the least.

            The latest time I tried it, I used a different compounding pharmacy and experienced the least weight-change side effects. It might have caused other side effects, including itching and hair loss. I maintained severe control over my diet (paleo) though so I gained no weight other than the first few days.

            I’ve determined that either I cannot tolerate it, or it’s the compounding, an interplay among other another hormones (thyroid, adrenal function), or dysbiosis.

            The only thing I liked about it was how my skin seemed to glow and the aid in sleeping, which I experienced on all delivery methods.

          • Hi Cleo,

            Thanks for your answer. I am so relieved to hear that. Please don’t get me wrong, it´s just that I had been feeling exactly what you feel and when I tried to find information about my symptoms, I just could read in forums, papers and abstracts about the miracle of the natural progesterone, so, is good to know that some else feel the same things.
            I think natural progesterone could be good for many people but probably we are a very small group intolerant to this medication.
            Actually, I am evaluating pros and cons of progesterone cream in my case. The only thing that progesterone could improve in my life, was exactly the same as you, skin and sleep. However, my libido does not come back, my vaginal dryness not improve at all, and plus, I have gained weight.
            Nowadays, I am taking some medication (Thyroid extract, bio-identical progesterone cream and testosterone cream), however, I tried taking just thyroid, then added progesterone and after that I added testosterone, and I could see with progesterone cream, I started to feel a weird pain behind my right knee (just when I need to bend it), and one month later I had gained 1 kilo.
            I just hope don´t be bothering you, but, it is the first time that I know somebody with a similar condition like mine.
            Have you tried testosterone cream? Was it easy for you remove those extra kilos?. I am reading a book about AIP (autoimmune protocol), how have the paleo diet been working for you?

            Regards

          • Rose, I think progesterone is more problematic than is discussed. If I considered progesterone again, it would be on a reduced schedule.

            Yes, I have tried testosterone cream, very lose dose. I am very sensitive to it (acne) and stopped. I lost the weight when I stopped progesterone, and continued working out and followed an eating regimen as I had in the past.

            Paleo works for me pretty well. It’s a bit restrictive at times, but it’s the only plan where I did not have adverse digestive issues. (I have done AIP and FODMAP as well.)

            Basically, I follow meal planning according to IFFYM, though limited to the Paleo foods. This is what works for me, but may not work for others due to their personal health issues.

          • Hi Cleo,

            Thanks a lot for your response. If you agree, I would be more than happy to share our experiences by e mail. Maybe, we can help us each other. My email [email protected].

            Regards

          • Hi Rose and Cleo
            I am sensitive to progesterone as well. I have taken both progesterone before menopause, but could not tolerate more than 40 mg./day and took a day per week off. Menopause came along and bc of sadness and low energy, I took a little estrogen as well (Bioidentical as well). It went well for a few years with some ups and downs and adjustments as my hormones changed, but now suddenly I’m gaining weight without being able to loose it. I burst train, eat well, drink lots, sleep decent…mostly, but it’s tough to move the extra 10 pounds. I went off estrogen but I wonder if that’s not helping. I have lowered progesterone but that’s not working either. I’m quite sure it’s fluid retention. I’m trying dandilion tea and lemon juice. We’ll see! If you like, I sure wouldn’t mind staying in touch with you both and the my progress, as well as yours to see if we can troubleshoot together. Please let me know at [email protected]. thanks.

          • If you’re finding that fluid retention is a problem, I would strongly suggest you try keto. The first thing that happens as you fat adapted on keto is that you start shitting water weight. I’ve been on it for about two weeks and I haven’t seen that big of a change yet but my flash feels different to the touch because I’ve done so much fluid out of my body.

          • I’d have to disagree on the fluid retention point. The fluid retention that is reduced during keto has to do with balancing electrolytes which are different from the fluid retention from progesterone imbalances. There’s no guarantee that doing keto will improve your fluid status.

          • Hi

            So I am 38 and had my ovaries removed a year and a half ago. I’ve always been a pretty active person and I have talked to my family doctor and had them take a blood test to see how my hormones levels are doing and they say they are fine but I have gained 15lbs and no matter what I have tried over the past year it will not come off. I’m only on .9mg of Premarin and.5mg of medroxyprogesterone.

            I watch what I eat and I mix cardio with weights and some days just weights but the scale has not moved 1lbs in 3months with 4 days a week 1hr weight sessions and 1300 calories… It’s so disheartening…I don’t know what to do anymore to lose the weight.

  2. If someone’s cycle is severely irregular, when would the best time to test hormone levels be (i can go years without a cycle, then suddenly get a cycle again, but it’s super irregular, ie between 20-60 days)? Thanks for the great info on your website! 🙂

    • Hi Shel,

      If your cycle is irregular you can try to find out when you would ovulate and then counting 5-7 days after that for your testing, you can easily test for ovulation using LH strips.

  3. Is there an age – after menopause – that one should not use progesterone? I had a complete hysterectomy at age 47. I have been clinically tested as progesterone deficient in the past, but stopped using progesterone cream around age 60. At age 67 I still have symptoms of deficiency (also diagnosed with Hasimoto’s and Hypothroidism) but am concerned about messing with hormones again.

  4. I have used progesterone in different forms (always bio-identical) since I was 42. I am now 59 and you do not deal with the issue of menopause in this article much at all. The other issue that bothers me in SO many articles is that “estrogen” is all lumped together when there are really 3 different kinds of estrogen and some like estriol are ok while the others are not. After menopause, the progesterone/estrogen issue is very different. I would like to see some information regarding your thoughts on these hormones (including the separation of all three estrogens) for a woman in menopause. How do the amounts of estrogens change; what levels for each is good; issues of blood work vs saliva; what type of estrogen is good to take if needed (I have taken some in the past with great results). Thank you.

  5. I believe there is a new generic prometrium. Here is the press release dated April 2017.

    HYDERABAD, India & PRINCETON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd (BSE: 500124, NSE: DRREDDY, NYSE: RDY) announced today that it has launched Progesterone Capsules, 100 mg and 200 mg, a therapeutic equivalent generic version of Prometrium® (Progesterone) Capsules in the United States market, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

    Would you consider this oral progesterone?

  6. Hi Dr. Childs,
    Thanks very much for this post. I have somewhat a success story about progesterone.
    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and very low progesterone levels 7 years ago by my functional medical doctor . I have since been on Nature-Throid at varying doses . During that time, I was put on prescription progesterone bioidentical cream. I was later switched to prescription compounded pill 100mg. I had trouble conceiving for over a year until I was switched to Prometrium 150mg. I was able to get pregnant 2 months later. Healthy Pregnancy at 35 -no issues. I have since moved 4 hours away so no longer see same doctor. My progesterone levels have been in the “normal” range for about the past 2 years so none of my conventional physicians have addressed it . I have extreme PMS, unable to concentrate during that time and experience more bloating than ever. I maintain a healthy diet and exercise (keep a food log) yet I am unable to lose weight other than week two of my cycle where I then regain the lousy pound during PMS. It is so annoying. In the past, weight loss was slow with Hashimoto’s but not impossible as it is now. I am 39 and have been unable to have a second child. My OBGYN says this is likely due to my “TSH being low” (despite this always being the case being on ndt). My medical doctor has added Cytomel 5mcg to my Nature-Throid and I do feel better overall. No weight loss though. I am 20lbs overweight. Considering using OTC progesterone cream during days 16-25 as I had before. I actually forgot the cream is available without a prescription. Here is hoping for another success.
    I have gained and lost this same 20lbs about every 3 years for the past 20 years have always done something about it but nothing is working anymore . I did Orangetheory 3-4 days a week for a year and half…no change. Ok now I read your blog and see I was stressing my body so that probably was a bad idea. ha! Thanks for all the info! I will be trying out the cream again days 16-28.

    • Hi Antionette,

      No problem, I hope you found it helpful! You will find lots of information regarding weight loss on my blog, so I would poke around the various articles.

  7. I am using Progesterone Cream. I also have Hashimotos but have found that I have weight gain with Progesterone. I am using it everyday throughout my cycle, not just on day 14-28, maybe that is the problem. (I am not sure why my Dr prescribed it for me everyday). Do yo think it should only be used from day 14-28 if I am still menstruating (I am 51 yrs old). Thanks. Christina

    • Hi Christina,

      That depends on many factors. The chances of you ovulating and having a normal cycle even though you are menstruating is fairly slim, so daily application may be ideal. It might be your dose as well.

    • Hi Christina,
      I also used to be on it during the entire month . It was later changed to days -16-25. Not sure why either but I was able to lose weight easier then.

    • Hi Heather,

      You have to define what you mean by natural product. In most cases, if you are getting your medications from a compounding pharmacy they are likely bio-identical.

  8. Hi Dr Child’s

    I am about 2 months post mirena and was prescribed the combined pill, which I have been taking. I have definitely experienced the “crash” they talk about. Physically I feel better. By that I mean my back and knee joints suffer no pain now but mentally I have not felt myself.
    I feel progesterone is a big player here. Have you any suggestions as to what road I should travel to try and feel my normal self again. I put on approx 2stone and am struggling to loose it.

    Thanks
    Lucy.

    • Hi Lucy,

      If the problem is related to your mirena and synthetic progesterone then you will have to remove the mirena in order to get an accurate reading on what is happening with your progesterone/estrogen.

  9. I also gained from progesterone can you get off compounded hormones by just stopping or should you wean off ? I have been in them about 18 months ?

    • Hi JJ,

      That depends on how much you are taking and how long you’ve been taking it and if you are using cream/pills.

  10. Hi
    I noticed most of everyone have a complaint with weight gain but mine is the opposite. I was put on oral biodentical progesterone 100mg., and I’ve been having side effects such as irritability, unable to go to sleep, lack of appetite,and feeling worse than before in a sense. I also have gastritis in which I had already lost weight from it but since I’ve been on the progesterone it s
    like its decreasing my appetite even more. It makes me feel more like pregnancy symptons. Could the dosage be too much for me or maybe the wrong method? I feel like I am literally losing it.

  11. I just turned 30 years old and I have been prescribed a generic progesterone 100mg at bed time by my holistic doctor. I’m suppose to take it day 7-21 the first 3 months and then day 14-28 the next three month following. I was also advised to take 100mg of pregnenolone and raw adrenal tablets. I was diagnosised with stage 3 adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, low progesterone and low pregnenolone. I have already gained 18lbs in 4 months and after reading a few things I’m afraid I’m going to gain more weight from my high dosage. I’ve only been on them a few days but now I’m thinking maybe I should have a lower dose? Do you think it’s okay? She said my levels should have been between 13-21 and they were a 2. I don’t know what any of that means but I’m just concerned because I’m generally freaked out by taking any pills (I don’t even take pain relievers when I have a headache) any in put??

    • Hi Danielle,

      I can’t comment on your specific case because there isn’t enough information in your post for me to say one way or the other.

  12. Greetings, I am a 62-year-old female who has been on natural progesterone supplementation for around the last 6 years. I’m thin and athletic. When my hormone levels were tested, I had virtually zero progesterone, but also had almost no estrogen. I have slowly gained 5 to 6 pounds over the past 6 years. When I went on a 2 1/2 week vacation recently, I didn’t take my progesterone cream. During that time I lost 5 pounds. Since I have virtually no estrogen, does it make sense to continue using natural progesterone? Thanks, Debbie

  13. I can’t ever seem to get anything in balance, so am 50 pounds overweight on a 5’1 frame. My leptin is 30 and I know it should be less than 15, preferably 10. So I think that’s the problem. But nothing seems to address that problem. I have hashimotos and take t3/t4 compounded, and sometimes only T3 as t4 doesn’t really like to convert. I suffer from fibromyalgia and have been all over the country looking for answers. I have had a hysterectomy and been on bioidenticals most of my life. It doesn’t matter if I increase my thyroid, take progesterone or estrogen, I can’t lose this weight. I know some doctors supplement with amylin (symlin, byetta)) but my naturopath isn’t comfortable with that. What can I possibly do? See another doctor? I’ve been to several endocronologists and they are no help. Any suggestions?

  14. Hi
    I was diagnosed with high estradiol and normal to low progestrone. I’ve been taking oral progesterone now for 2 months. I’m on cycle 2 but don’t notice any physical changes other than weight gain. I’ve currently had my dose from 50 to now 75. Is there another reason why I’m gaining weight?

  15. I was over using cream & oral at same time for every day x3 mos & have gained 30lbs. Didnt realize I was over doing it. Taking a holiday then gonna cycle days 15-24 at 100 oral to start then 200 if need be.
    gonna lower my E oral to .5 and dhea mg every other day with goal to keep E around 100 ish
    I am 40 started perimenopause early at age 35. Before HRT I was at E 15, Prog. .5 and T 4. I started bc I had gained 10 quick pounds & extreme fatigue.
    then, over did thr HRT & became a blimp. moe ow starting my new plan fingers crossed. May add DIM once a week to metabolize excess estrogen to be safe. I would rather be under 100 than too far over.

  16. Hello Dr. Childs–you asked for a story, well unfortunately, I have one. I’ve had migraines since I was 16 {I’m now 52}. I’ve never had a weight problem, I’m a vegetarian, fitness instructor, usually weighed 115 lbs. The migraines became progressively worse and more frequent over the years, *usually* only happening at my PMS time. I have had a hysterectomy and one ovary removed. When I was 49 I had all heck break loose, a 6 day migraine, with everything it entails. I went to the doctor who said my FSH was 156 and welcome to menopause.

    I couldn’t get 6 day migraines every month. Imitrex would work for a few hours but then the pain would return. This was new. Someone told me progesterone cream took care of their migraines. After so many years and no help, I was desperate. I tried it in January 2015. By Valentine’s Day 2015 I was 10 lbs heavier. I went off it. I read that I should have stayed on it because it needed to just overcome ‘estrogen dominance’ {which I never was} and then I would lose the water weight it put on me. Like an idiot I went back on it, the cream—and gained another 10 lbs. By this time I was frantic. My only relief was at PMS time every month, I would lose 4-5 lbs and be hopeful it was staying off—but it always came back.

    I got off the cream for a year and a half and nothing happened. I took supplements (including adaptogens} and worked out and didn’t lose an ounce. I went to a ‘bio identical hormone specialist’; she had me do the 24 hour cortisol test which showed at certain times of the day it was over whatever their chart showed as high. My cortisol was very high at late afternoon. It made sense because during the progesterone cream I was falling asleep at work in the mornings when it was low. She put me on phosphatidylcholine which did nothing.

    She put me on a bi-est cream, 80/20 and progesterone pills. I was terrified to do it but desperate. I gained another 10 lbs. I’m a tiny framed woman and now I’m always in pain, all my joints including my elbows hurt me all the time. Leg discomfort, all the time. Tachycardia. Very big pregnant looking tummy. The works.

    I stopped seeing her and went to someone else who noticed that my estriol was {but is no longer} extremely high at the time I saw the previous specialist. My estradiol was -15. So right now I am on an estradiol patch. I’ve gained a couple of pounds.

    I’m just about resigned to always carrying around the water and fat weight for the rest of my life. I just wish my joints didn’t hurt so bad and I felt better. This fitness instructor is no fitness instructor anymore. It’s hopeless, isn’t it. I feel in my desperation to stop my migraines I ruined my body forever. Oh did I mention depression? 🙂 Thank you for listening. I found your website very informative and I’m so glad someone out there knows something about the delicate hormone balancing act.

    • Hi Denine, interesting story. I share some similarities to your experiences, tests, etc. Honestly except for the sleep benefit which eventually verged into lethargy, I feel better without progesterone.

    • Hi Denine,

      I am sorry to hear your problems. Something similar happening to me. Denine, the very first time that you tried Progesterone cream, it was just Progesterone or combined with estrogens?

  17. Hello, I am 50 and just had my 3 month check-up after being on Progesterone cream. I have gained 12 lbs in 5 months. The first two I went off the pill so that I could have accurate hormone testing and then I went on the cream, DHEA, Vit D and adrenal drops. I could feel the weight coming on daily. I eat better than I ever have as far as clean. I am active, too. I feel much better on the cream but hate feeling chubby. My dr. drew labs the other day to see if I am getting too much. The cream makes me calmer, sleepier at bedtime and able to handle stress.

  18. Hi,

    How is this 20-40mg determined? My doctor put me on 100-200 mg depending on the time of month to help my migraines. It definitely has helped my migraines and acne but I am now gaining weight, which is something I have never had to deal with before. Im 31 and very lanky! I have read in other posts that 20-40 mg is way too low and can cause negative side effects that mimmick estrogen-dominance. Have you seen this before? Thanks!

    Kimmy

    • Hi Kimmy,

      Dosing depends on if you are taking it orally or transdermally. The 20-40mg dosing schedule is recommended for transdermal application. In addition, taking progesterone in general will not cause estrogen dominance as progesterone is a direct antagonist to estrogen. The opposite is true however, as there is cross reactivity between progesterone and estrogen receptors at high dosages.

  19. I completely failed to ask a question—my sad story being what it is, now that I’m on an estradiol patch now, should I also go on bio progesterone cream also to hopefully lose this water and fat weight?

    • Hi Denine,

      While progesterone is an antagonist to estradiol, it doesn’t necessarily mean that taking it will undo the consequences of taking estradiol. This depends on a number of factors including how much estradiol you were taking, how long you were taking it, existing hormone imbalances, existing and starting progesterone level, etc.

      • Hi Doctor. I’m on estradiol to undo the consequences of being on progesterone. 🙂 I laid it all out in my original post above. I’m a mess, a wreck, just praying for my life back. 😀

  20. I am 50 yr old, naturally thin. 5’9″ usually 135-140. Started on progesterone cream and gained 15lb, felt horrible, depressed,body dragging. I think too many people, websites, books promote progesterone use and to increase if problems occur…incorrect info in my opinion. I personally do best on BHRT DHEA/test. Cream and Est. cream and no progesterone…when i had progesterone it is much too difficult to balance and horrible side effects for me and weight gain is a NO NO!

  21. Hi,

    Im an athletic, fit person who went on bioidentical hormones 14 years ago. The problem is that I gained a lot of weight. My breasts went up two sizes and have been so tender, I Feel like they could explode. The doctor at the ‘aging clinic’
    prescribed 10mg of testosterone, 10mg of estrogen and 120mg of progesterone.

    when I went to the new gynecologist last month she suggested I go off the medication because of the side effects and the dosage.

    Guess what? A month off the medication and I feel so much better. My breasts have dropped a cup size and they don’t hurt. Also interesting is that feel much calmer, easy going and positive. I don’t have to work so hard to manage my moods.
    I recall in my 30’s that I used to get PMS for a few days each month where I struggled not to lock horns with anyone or go on a cray cray ‘crying jag’. Imagine, bringing that kind of mood onboard 24/7 with these massive hormones.

    I feel so calm an happy now !

    I am wondering how the aging clinics can get away with prescribing such massive amounts of hormones.

    any thoughts?

    • Hi Beth
      If you originally went on HRT bc you ‘needed’ it, then you were likely put on doses that were too high for you. If the doc only put you on them for anti-aging purposes, then you gained weight bc your body was telling you you didn’t need them. When you went off your HRT years later you went back to normal. Lucky you! But sometimes in menopause you can have severe hormone fluctuations that may require ‘small’ doses of HRT. Hopefully not.

  22. 6 yrs. ago I was still on the pill. I had read about progesterone and started using the cream twice a day. Honestly, without changing anything else, I very easily lost 13 lbs. in 3 months. I am not a good dieter so this was totally out of the norm. I thought I was sick! And my thighs and butt shrunk! Then for a reason I can’t recall, I quit. And that weight came right back. Fast forward to 2 yrs. ago. I tried it again to lose weight, and went off the pill simultaneously thinking that would double my chances. My thighs grew out of control and went up a pant size. I went off the progesterone and, in a couple of months, my pants fit again. Remembering the success of the first time, I have tried it occasionally for a couple of days, get scared,and quit. I just got off another 2 wk. sycle and I gained weight during. So, I am disgusted and I am done. I am 56, menopausal and, thankfully, symptom-free as far as I can tell. I also take DIM, and have for a couple of yrs. I keep reading these articles about how great progesterone is and you can’t use too much. I am done messing with my hormones unless something drastic happens. Now, just hoping I can reverse this latest weight gain.

    • Remember that your hormone levels change as the years go by, so HRT needs adjustment as well.
      It’s just easier to gain weight when your metabolism slows down.
      Much of gaining weight while taking progesterone at too high a dose results in water retention. I’m 62 and the older I get the lower I have to go with my progesterone. I’m at an impass right now but I’ll figure it out again. I’m giving my body a week off right now to clear the receptors. Osteoporosis runs in my genes and progesterone in small doses (even as low as 6mg. Per day can help to build bone. So if that’s all I need, that’s all I’ll take.

  23. I recently had a endometrial biopsy due to cystic hyperplasia and thickening of the lining of the uterus. My Gynecologist said if the biopsy comes back normal, she will put me on Progesterone for 6 months. Then do another ultrasound and biopsy then. I’m scared to death to go on Progesterone due to the side effects – especially possible weight gain. Do you know if there are alternative options? Thanks, Kelly

  24. My 14yo daughter has Hashimoto’s/hypothyroidism. She takes an NDT brand called WP, but although her numbers have sometimes been in range (never optimal according to the thyroid experts on the internet) they are mostly below range…so basically, her thyroid is still not working correctly after years of taking meds. She also has high cortisol (morning, noon, and evening). She has always struggled with weight even though she is very athletic and plays many sports. She’s 5’7 so she can carry the weight better than most, but she still looks dough-y as she carries it all in her stomach and thighs. She recently went to a BHRT doctor that was supposed to be a thyroid expert. She did what every doctor does…increased her meds again…but also determined that she was low in Progesterone based on symptoms and a good guess. Blood work confirmed it and she put her on the oral Progesterone (not The Pill, just progesterone). She was told to take 100mg before bed and to take it everyday. Well, she’s never had her cycle since starting it (3 months) and has gained weight, especially in her thighs. Now that I am reading on this blog about others gaining weight while using progesterone (with a few specific references to the thighs) I am connecting some dots. I decided to stop the progesterone, hoping her cycle would come before she starts high school next week and even before I read this blog, I thought she looked like she lost a bit of weight. Now I am wondering if I should bother putting her back on the progesterone since I don’t think it did anything for her. If she doesn’t get her cycle soon, is it worth testing her progesterone levels again? And when?

    • Hi Sarah,

      I would recommend against the use of progesterone in someone that young, if you can manage her thyroid correctly then her sex hormones should improve.

  25. Here’s my question, I recently started on progesterone 100 mg at bedtime. I’m experiencing tremendous blotting not to mention weight gain. Besides the progesterone I wear a patch called Climara pro estradiol/levonorgestrel 0.045/0.015 I change it out every week. Am I getting to many hormones??
    Oh I am also feeling fatigued more then usual
    What should I do. Please help I truly don’t like this feeling at ALL!!
    Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Lisa,

      It’s impossible to say what is causing what while you are taking both bio-identical progesterone, synthetic progesterone and estrogens. Your symptoms could be related to any of the medications listed or simply due to the dosing, you will need someone to help you tease out the specifics.

  26. I am having trouble gaining weight. I have lost 20 lbs in 7 months. I eat and cannot seem to gain. My hormones were tested a couple months ago by bloodwork. My progesterone was 0.2, estradiol 15.3, testosterone 7.6. I also suffer from depression, rapid heart rate, severe anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, hair loss, dry skin, dizziness, blurred vision. I’m 37 years old. Would I benefit from progesterone cream?

  27. I thought I was going crazy until I read this article. My dr increased my progesterone and I put 10 pounds on in a few months. I can’t seem to drop them. I’m going to ask to have my progesterone level dropped. I hope the dr listens. Thank you for this blog. I have hashimotos also. Fun times!!

  28. Hi,

    I am strongly considering the Nexplanon implant for birth control (I am not a candidate for an IUD and I do want to breastfeed when I give birth in a few weeks and I want something more than 98% effective as birth control).

    I used to be 115 lbs and three children later and three rounds of the mini-pill later, I am currently 34 pregnant and 180 lbs. I was 155 when I conceived (while on the mini-pill.

    I have been on the mini-pill and each time gained more weight. I definitely have an increased appetite and I retain water.

    Will the Nexplanon likely make me gain weight? Prevent weight loss? If so, how can I combat that since I don’t have many options for birth control…

    Thank you in advance for your help!

  29. Dr. Childs,

    My doctor was fairly certain that a submucosal fibroid the size of a golf ball was the cause of my constant bleeding and severe cramps. I had a hysteroscopic myomectomy followed by a D&C on September 15th. Though there was initially a reduction in the symptoms, that lasted only for a few days. Severe cramping and daily bleeding are back with a vengeance. An intensified dose of birth control over the course of a week stopped the bleeding and cramps for about a week, but as soon as I was back on normal dose the bleeding and cramps started again. I do not have endometriosis, and pathology indicates no uterine cancer. So, we can only conclude that this is a hormonal imbalance. The stress levels I have had this year are off the charts, partly related to managing my mom’s dementia care and transition to long term care, and then subsequent associated circumstances. I am 43. I have a healthy diet (lean proteins, no processed sugar, only whole grain breads and pastas in minimum consumption, lots of fruits and vegetables. I exercise regularly. I am not overweight. I started taking chasteberry, milk thistle, flaxseed oil, and vitamin B complex a month ago. I asked my doctor about natural progesterone and she gave me the options of provera or norethindrone. Before I ask her about prometrium, I want to try bio-identical cream. Herein lies my problem. All of the advice I can find anywhere discusses the day of your cycle on which you should start and stop the cream. I have been bleeding every single day since June 15th with the rare exception of the few days of relief I had after surgery, so how in the world do I determine how and when to start and stop the cream?

    Thank you,

    Heather Owen

    • There are many ‘natural’ hormone specialists that can help you. It sound like you are high in estogen compared to progesterone, and that you could use Bioidentical progesterone to rebalance. Stop using pharmaceutical HRT. Go see a doctor who will help you with a Bioidentical approach.

  30. Hi Dr.,
    I am 61, post menopausal and have been on bioidentical estrogen(intravaginal 2mg) and progesterone pills(200mg at night) for 1 year. should I get my levels tested again to see how they look now? They both were extreme low when I started. I have gained weight even though I exercise and watch my diet,about 10 lbs since I started! 🙁 I sleep great but the weight gain is distressing. I tried the testosterone (also extreme low) but didn’t like how I felt on it (angry). I am thinking of going down to 1mg on the estrogen. Both are from a compounding pharmacy.
    Thank you!! Sandy

  31. I am 30 years old, since January 2017 I was diagnosed with hashimotos, and in April I was diagnosed with stage 3 adrenal fatigue from saliva cortisol labs. My DHEA, Progesterone, and estradiol were the levels of a 70 year old. I have been supplementing DHEA, and taking bioidentical estrogen and progesterone creams from my local compounding pharmacy. I also have been taking adrenal support supplements. And I take Armour thyroid. I feel better and will be taking another saliva cortisol test next month to see where my levels are at now. I am frustrated with the weight gain though. I have gained 15 pounds in the last year. I cut out gluten and cows milk from my diet, but I have a hard time tolerating post exercise soreness. It leaves me in bed for days. I don’t understand why the pain is so bad. I used to be a distance runner and I could deal with post exercise soreness. Now the pain feels too much to handle, it’s extremely frustrating..I just want to feel like my old self. Any insight or advice would be very much appreciated.

  32. Hi, my doctor put me on progesterone tablets to stop heavy menstrual bleeding. It has caused weight gain and breast tenderness.
    Do you suggest a natural cream may be better? Would I need to take this daily to stop menstuation?
    Would appreciate your guidance Dr Childs

  33. I started using the cream and on day 2 of using it I started my period. I’m 51and my periods are irregular and typically only occur every three or four months. I know getting my period isn’t a coincidence. I’ve read that it is a sign my estrogen levels are high if you get your period while taking it. My question is should I continue taking it since I started to bleed or stop. What is your schedule recommendation?

  34. Hi,
    Thank you for the article! SO informative! I’m on my 4th months of Bi-est/T/D Versa/1.25/.5/10mg/Ml cream. I take .5 daily of this and 1capsule of progesterone 50mg daily. These are both compounded locally.

    My labs in October were estradiol:19 FSH:69 LH 59 Progesterone 8.2 Testosterone 22. My labs prior to HRT were all very low. My Dr. said my hormones were non-existent.

    I started these as I’ve been dealing with Chronic Fatigue and a number of other ailments for a few years. I stopped menstruating at age 43 with no menopausal symptomes until a few months ago when I started experiencing night sweats.

    My Dr. monitors my thyroid and currently I’m on a low dose of WP thyroid.

    I can’t tell much difference at all on the hormones. My skin and hair are as dry as ever and sleep hasn’t changed much. I did put on at least 10lbs and gained visceral belly fat and facial fat. I’m a very petite person so this is quite a bit of weight for me. I am extremely active and maintain a grain free, paleo, high fat diet.

    Would you recommend I stop the hormones? I just don’t right on them and the extra fat bothers me as well. I gained alot of weight on the BCP pill in my twenties and I do have a history of TIA’s on them as well

    Thank you for your help!

  35. Would I benifit from prometrium made from peanuts or oral progesterone made from wild yam.I have PCOS and graves disease. I have gained weight since using Ona’s oral progesterone.

  36. I am a 70 year old woman who has been fighting with hair loss and weight gain since i started menopause in 1996. I am currently on compounded estriol ,05 mg. Progesterone 250 mg. T-3 15 mcg. I have gained so much weight (15 pounds) which is a lot for someone 5 ft. I also take iodoral for my thryroid condition. I am thinking about doing a saliva test to see where i am at with my progesterone and estriol. I know my cortisol is high, because of the stress of weight gain and hair loss. Trying to decrease my stress is almost an impossibility with all that is going on. I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you in advance!

  37. What do you think about the all natural progesterone oil ? Essential oils came out with one but not sure how I feel about it . Wanted to know your thoughts . Thank you

  38. Hi,
    I am 47 and have PCOS. I have never had a weight problem in my life and fall last year started feeling so exhausted I couldn’t function (along with severe arthritis from a car accident.) My doc said I was low on progesterone and put me on 30 mg cream daily- since then I’ve gained 1.4 pounds A WEEK. Could it be too much? I’m so confused as they don’t want to retest me. I have taken this in the past (when pregnant) and not gained weight. HELP!

  39. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I am 48 years old with very regular cycles, though they are getting closer together (every 28 days versus my normal every 35 days). Over the past 3 years my PMS symptoms have increased dramatically- irritable, hungry all the time, weepy. I started using the progesterone cream that you recommend on your website 5 months ago to help with these symptoms and it has helped with my moods but now I am noticing even more increased hunger and a weight gain of 7 pounds. I use the cream during the last two weeks of my cycle. Do you think the progesterone is causing the cravings and weight gain?

  40. Hi! Im trying to figure out what caused a sudden 13lb weight gain. I am 45, not in menopause. Recent bloodwork showed testosterone levels at 22 and progesterone at .9. Decided to take a friends advice who runs a hormone replacement clinic. She put me on bio identical testosterone pellets and 100 mg progesterone in the troche that goes under the tongue. level raised to 1.9 so she increased it to 150mg. I gained 7 lbs immediately then another 6 before the first 3 months of therapy were complete. now Im bloated, holding water, sore nipples and cannot drop a pound to save my life. Mind you I’m a fitness professional (pro physique competitor) and know what I’m doing and always stay around 18% body fat so this feels like I’m in an aliens body. I”m about to stop everything asap. but i cant help wonder if its just the progesterone causing this.

    • Hi Jill,

      It’s very unlikely to be related to your testosterone, so in the absence of other issues that you may have not listed your weight gain is most likely related to progesterone – but you’ll need some blood tests to make sure!

  41. I was prescribed oral progesterone 4.5 years ago based on the results of a saliva test. I was also recommended a battery of supplements, and I took most of them. My chief complaints had been insomnia and weight gain that isn’t controlled by diet and exercise (which I do a lot). At age 35, weight weight came on suddenly over the course of a few months–after years of holding steady at one number.

    At first while on the progesterone, I gained maybe 4 lbs (I assume water weight), but I ended up losing weight and getting back to the weight I was before the big gain at 35.

    Blood tests this past week show a similar story to the saliva test, but possibly worse. I’m not even in the reference range. I’ll see how it affects my weight this time.

  42. What method of testing do you recommend to determine if a woman who has gone through menopause or is elderly (64) has too little progesterone? Thanks.

  43. I have been taking compounded progesterone 100mg for 3 months and I have gained 10 pounds. Can one just stop taking it immediately or do you have to slowly taper off? I eat a healthy diet and I have started eating only 2 meals a day because of the weight gain. I was prescribed it because of adrenal fatigue, but the weight gain is causing more stress! Thanks

  44. Dr. Childs, I would love your insight into my situation. I’m 32 and I started progesterone because I had a partial hysterectomy, experienced loss of sex drive and sleep interruptions, foggy mind, acne, and just didn’t feel myself. The dr noticed my progesterone levels were a little low so wanted to just try 100mg of synthetic progesterone (oral). I sleep a lot better but still feel the other symptoms and now have breast tenderness. It just seems he threw that out there to try it? What would you suggest I do next after reading this article? It sounds like synthetic hormones are a bad idea? I would love your advice, thanks!

  45. Hi, Thank you for this information. I have had adrenal dysfunction and gut problems for a few years now, and couldnt lose weight no matter what i did. Last year, i went on oral progesterone (all my hormones are under functioning) at 100mg and i started dropping weight like crazy and i physically felt great. I had no cravings and a decreased appetite, but I was emotionally a mess! So i went off it, cause i felt so mentally stressed and couldnt stop crying. This year my progesterone is still low, even using the dermal ones (which never felt like it was helping much), and plus i dont get the great weight loss/appetite benefits, so i went back on oral at only 10 mg. I am not having any of the digestion benefits and its putting me to sleep around 4pm daily I feel like ive been drugged. I dont understand how the larger dose never did that, but this one is. Any ideas? Maybe it goes away? Its just my first month back on. My doctor is pretty out of thoughts at this point. Thanks! Erin

  46. Jan 2017 out of the blue started having bad panic attack’s that is totally out of character for me. After my doctor just wanted to put me on anti depressants which I didn’t want to do because I’m not depressed, I wanted a second opinion because I feel like something is off. I found out thru a saliva test from a compounding pharmacy that my estrogen levels where low and my progesterone was low and I had high testosterone. So a I got referred to a doctor that deals with bio dentical hormones. She put me on 100 mg of progesterone pills August 2017 at night before bed. I think it helped with sleep somewhat but was still panicky feeling. It’s been 7 months of being on the 100 mgs, I took another saliva test to see how I was doing and my estrogen and progesterone results where even lower than when I started 7 months ago. So they think I’m not absorbing the pills? I was 29 years old,160lbs (5’7) when I started 7 months ago and I’m thankfully the same weight, I exercise regularly and eat healthy but I’ve had the hardest time losing weight even before taking hormones. Now I’m 30 years old and my doctor wants to put me on 25 mg of progesterone cream (which I started this morning 3/4/18) in the morning and keep taking 100mg pills at night. After seeing this website I’m really worried I could put on more weight. I asked my doctor about it and she says she hasn’t heard any of her other patients that are on progesterone complain about weight gain. I’m just wondering if taking it every 12 hours in pill and cream form is good to do? I’m super confused. I’d love some input.
    Thanks
    -Stephanie C

  47. Hi there,
    I have had a hysterectomy and have been left one ovary. My doctor has just prescribed me progesterone pills. I also have hypothyroidism and am on aurmor thyroid and lyvoxcil medication for that. I have gained about 20 pounds in the past 6 months and am afraid to take more medication and the fear is more weight gain. Is this a good medication addition or not?

  48. I have been taking medroxyprogesterone 2.5 mg/day and Estradiol 1 mg/day for a few years with no weight gain or loss. About 4 months ago I stopped because I ran out of my RX supply and was waiting to get into the doctor to have it renewed. When I got it renewed (I think it was probably about a month later), I began taking the same drugs, the same dosage again. At some point during this- I think it must have been about two months ago- I noticed slight weight gain, even though I had zero change in diet or exercise patterns. I’m now frustrated and unhappy with this weight gain, although it’s not a huge amount, and am wondering whether the brief hiatus from the hormones could have caused it? I stopped taking them again a couple weeks ago, thinking they were CAUSING it. Can you help me figure this out?

  49. Hi, I was told I have extremely low progesterone so a naturopath prescribed 50mg natural progesterone pill daily to start. I’m likely perimenopausal. She also thought it might help shrink my large fibroid because of the hormonal imbalance. Anyway, the first week it made me extra anxious. That got better the second week but my stomach is huge! I’ve gained some weight overall but especially in my stomach to the point where clothes don’t fit and I’m embarrassed. This is not normal for me. I’ve been exercising more and eating less but doesn’t seem to matter. I’m really fed up. If I have such low progesterone why is my stomach getting so fat? It’s been 2 weeks. Shouldn’t I level out by now?

  50. My doctor prescribed 100 mg of bioidentical oral progesterone since the transdermal did not absorb well. Is that too much?

  51. Dr. Childs, what if your cycle is extremely erratic and you can’t determine the best days to test (i.e. 19-21)? Since having my thyroid removed due to thyroid cancer 11 years ago my cycle has never been regular. I will go for 6 months without a period and then have 3 heavy ones in two months. I may then go three months without and have another two in one month, and then I’ll go another 6-8 without. My OB/GYN has tried testing, but we’re shooting in the dark. I tried progesterone cream with no change and ended up blacking out after my doctor continued to recommend increased doses. I am currently taking 25mg of pregnenolone daily to see if it helps regulate things, but it only seems worse. I switched from Synthroid to NDT 3 years ago and that hasn’t seemed to help either. My thyroid panel seems fine. I’ve seen numerous doctors and no one seems to have any clue what to do. My OB/Gyn eventually recommended ablation and possibly hysterectomy. I do not want to do that because it will only address the bleeding symptoms but doesn’t address the underlying and systemic issue. I’m desperate for suggestions. Thank you in advance for any you may have, and thank you for all of the wonderful information you provide.

  52. Hello. After not being able to lose 1 pound after giving birth I was confused so I got my hormones tested. The test showed that I was estrogen Dominant. My doctor gave me promethium (Teva progesterone) 100mg. I took it on day 14-28 for four months and didn’t see 1 pound of weight loss. I went to a different specialist and he recommended taking 100 mg of promethium AND 80mg of progesterone cream everyday of the month. I’ve been taking this for one month and still no wight loss ( or weight gain ). Can you explain why I’m seeing no difference? If I am estrogen dominant (which could explain the weight gain and why I’m unable to lose any weight) then why when I take progesterone is it not helping?. I am a personal trainer and a holistic nutritionist so I take very good care of my body

  53. I’m one of those few women that did very well on the depo shot, other than some acne, I lost weight, no other sides. I quit due to age and worries of osteoporosis. However I have been suffering hormonal issues for years, I’m now 46 and have endometriosis, hyperplasia and severe pelvic congestion. I tried natural progesterone cream immediately gained weight, which had to be fluid retention. My stomach and breasts were very engorged and painful. Also made me even more tired than I already was, and that was a huge issue already. I played with the dose, lasted 3 cycles and quit. Tried it again with same results. Then I tried Mirena IUD, same exact result but worse because it tore through my uterus. Had it out in emergency room e weeks later, within days I was back to normal. Now I’ve developed IC painful bladder syndrome and the pain is too much to take. My gyno wanted me on megace and I said no way. I decided to try the shot again. I’m very fit and a good weight but I also have to eat very little and very healthy while working out a lot. I’m on 45 mg armor thyroid for over 3 years. 2 days post shot no reaction and a noticeable decrease in appetite and sugar cravings.

    Can you explain this? Everyone says depo is so bad and yet I do better on it than on natural progesterone? I will do another biopsy in 3 months and I will consider bio oral progesterone. But if I’m doing good on depo then I may just go another round.

    • Hi Maria,

      I was wondering if anyone has ever mentioned your hormone issues including your thyroid dysfunction to your use of the DEPO Provera injection in your younger years?

  54. I started back on bio-identical hormones in Jan. took them for the entire month. The cream is 2 clicks a day, 2 times a day, morning and night. It is E-2 Estradiol 0.7, E3 Estriol 2.8, Progesterone 100 and Testosterone 2. At the end of the month, I dropped ten lbs, leaving me very much on the thin side. I was also on a beta blocker which I had stopped 2 weeks prior. I stopped the hormones instantly. Needless to say, I feel like I need them. Could this hormone cream cause this much weight loss in a month? I have had blood work done and all my blood work is fine, not sick. I did ask my doctor for hormone patches and have not started them yet, I came across your board and wanted to know what you think but I do need to be on one or the other hormones. I just don’t want to lose any more weight. Thank you.

  55. Hello Dr Childs

    I am transitioning into Menopause and at 45 I feel like I am 60!

    I am on the following supplements to try and curb my weight gain and very low Testosterone (1) and Progesterone (0.8) and ESH (60).

    0.5% Testosterone bioidential every night
    2% Progesterone bioidentical every night
    1000 mg x 2/day of liquid Berberine
    800 mg x 2/day Alpha Lipoic Acid
    Pyrrole tablets x 2/day
    Vitamin C 1000mg x 1/day
    Ultimate Omega 1000mg x 3/day
    Activated B x 1/day
    Activated Sublingual B12 x 2/day
    Priobiotic
    Vitamin D Bone Builder Powder (1 scoop in water)
    Alka Magnesium Powder at night 5g/night

    I started the berberine and alpha lipoic acid as you mentioned on your website that this will help with weight gain. Am I safe to take the Progesterone and Testosterone together every night? Do I need all of these supplements?

    Please help! I have been on this journey for 4 years and I have seen 3 top GP Naturopaths who can’t seem to stop this awful experience. Have you heard of Panacea Protocol?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Luana,

      There really is no substitute for a knowledgeable physician to help guide you so I would recommend that you seek out someone to help you. It can be very difficult to try and figure out hormone balance without some help.

  56. Hello Dr. Childs,

    I began having hormone problems after being prescribed an experimental birth control while in the Navy. I had a hysterectomy at 29 but kept my ovaries. I am 39 now. I had/have one ovary that seems to work okay and one that is troublesome. I have seen many doctors of many types in the last 10 years. At one point, a holistic doctor had me on 600 mg of progesterone cream daily. Yes, you read that right. Needless to say I went down hill quickly. Thyroid tanked. 40 pounds of weight came on rapidly in two 20 pound sets. I went off everything years ago but have kept progesterone around as a rescue treatment during bad PMS months. I have healed my thyroid with probiotics, prebiotics, and low carb/ketogenic eating.

    This month I am having what I know is very elevated estrogen in relation to progesterone. A close friend reminded me to dust of the progesterone cream. I have been taking 15 mg twice daily for a few days and feel remarkably better. This morning though, I got the telltale fatigue and lightheadedness of too much, so I think 20 mg or less, at night, will be my sweet spot. My question is: How do women with ovaries, but no menstration to guide them because of a hysterectomy, dose? During the bad months I know when I need it (breast tenderness, PMS, lack of sleep, etc.). Thank you.

    • Hi Tiffany,

      You can try to find your “normal” by testing your labs on a “normal” month, but otherwise, the best way to do it is via your symptoms.

      • That’s what I figured. I’ll just need to get a mind set of okay I need it rather than a schedule. Thank you again. Have a wonderful day.

  57. Hi, hoping you can please give me some advice. I’m 49 and haven’t started menopause yet. I have been gaining weight, especially over the last few months, and nothing I do seems to shift it. I’ve been diagnosed as having extreme adrenal fatigue and have low counts of both testosterone and progesterone. My doctor has prescribed me creams for both and I’ve been told to use one pump each day of each for a few days and then increase to two pumps to see what feels better. For the progesterone I only use this from day 14 to day 25 of my cycle. I’m not sure how to tell which dose is more suitable for me as I’m not sure exactly what effect each one has on the body. I’m desperate to get this weight off as it is causing problems with my feet. Could you please offer any advice on what sort of dosage I could try that might help to get things properly balanced so I feel better and the weight starts coming off? The doctor just tells me that when we get the balance right the weight will shift but I don’t know how to get this balance right. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou

    • Hi Lina,

      I can’t really recommend dosages unless I have all of the information and that would require blood tests, an interview and so on.

  58. I am 44 and on 200mg bioidentical progesterone a day (oral) and 5mg DHEA cream, for early menopause. I was on conventional HRT for a year (estrogen gel and oral progesterone) but went off that regime 6 months ago as I was concerned about the risks of estrogen supplementation, and also I had gained almost 10kg in the year I was in it. I have now been on the bioidentical progesterone for 6 months and still cannot loose weight. I am not obese by any means (I am 1.78m and weigh 73kg) but really do not like carrying the extra 10kg I have gained. The progesterone definitely does help with my sleep though. Do you think it’s the dosage that is causing the weight gain?

  59. Hi, I am 48 years old. My doctor put me on 100mg of promethium once a day (bedtime). He did not test my progesterone levels prior but I was having hot flashes and headaches every day. I feel much better, but I’ve gained 6 pounds and my stomach is bloated! I look like I’m 4 months pregnant. Does this mean that the dose is too high?

  60. How much biodentical oral progesterone is ok? It has been helping me sleep so much better since I upped my dose. 150 mg at night. I will be getting my levels tested soon but was wondering if this was super high dose.

  61. I had my estradiol, progesterone, cortisol, FSH, and LH tested on day 26 (no one, not even my ND, said there was a preference on what day to test).
    Hopefully, this results will still be useful.
    Anyway, looking at the scale, time in cycle, and my numbers:
    I have low progesterone (over 4 points past the low end of the scale)
    low estradiol (in range)
    high LH (almost off range)
    low end of range FSH
    low end of range cortisol (and yes I know serum cortisol isn’t very reliable).

    I’m also on T3 and T4 for hypothyroid (low end of ‘normal’)

    I also have Lyme disease.

    My reason for taking these tests is that within the last 6 mos, I’ve gained 15 lbs and I’m a small person, thin all my life, to begin with. From 125 to 140.

    Have you seen these types of relationships between range results? I’m assuming all this accounts for my sudden (relatively) weight gain? And yes I’ll be checking with my docs.

  62. Hello,
    I am a healthy and fit 47-year-old female but have had terrible PMS for the last few years. After a few erratic cycles last winter, both my Ob-Gyn and Naturopath doctor prescribed me 100mg of OMP (not Prometrium but a generic brand of micronized natural oral progesterone) that I take day 15-25. Since I started, my PMS has simply gone away and my cycles are back to being regular (i.e. ~28 days). I have also taken DIM for years, but its a bit hit-or-miss on this one, but the combination with OMP seems to work well. The other helpful things I’ve noticed, are reducing the intake of coffee (tea seems ok), as well as a minimal amount of alcohol (2-4 servings per week max).
    Hope this helps!

  63. Hi, not sure if this discussion is still going. But I take the pills based on having endometriosis. Doc stated I need to continue the pills or risk the disease coming back. But I am basically dealing with all the side effects. Bloating, weight gain, mood swings, tenderness on tummy, depression.
    Anything special to reduce this effects?

  64. I’m sorry, I came here for information but every time I see a male medical person medicalize my premenstrual emotions and the natural activity of my uterus they lose credibility to me. Sadly, I think you will make a lot of money medicalizing natural processes in women. I hope you end up having a daughter who is smarter than you.

  65. I’m 32 years old and diagnosed with “menopausal syndrome” by my Dr. He ran a handful of blood tests, and my estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone were all low. (5.0 for est, 0.15 for pro, and 7 for test). First, how do I determine if I am estrogen dominant? Secondly, would a progesterone cream possibly be beneficial for me and aid in weight loss? The low hormone levels were discovered because I haven’t been able to lose weight since having my son 3 1/2 years ago. He has me on a testosterone cream and phentermine right now but I still have night sweats and hot flashes and in 2 months of the test cream and phen I’ve only lost maybe 3lbs.

  66. I have been taking progesterone orally 100 mg and estrogen gel .06% 2-3 pumps daily for many years. I also had started taking thyroid meds Synthroid 125 mcg after I had my 3rd child, at age 38 because my thyroid stopped working. Since I started going into menopause, at age 45 and I have gained 40 to 50 lbs. I was never over weight until I started this and can’t seem to control it. Before this, I was always slim 120 lbs. What can I do, I’m also wondering what normal hormone levels should be.

  67. Hi Dr.
    I’m on my first month of progesterone orally (day 14-28). I have estrogen dominance. I’m 40 and have a regular cycle. I’m also taking cytomel for hypothyroid. Very active, eat well (vegetarian and clean) but suffer from inability to lose weight. Can you recommend a part of your blog or any reference that follows a patient through the first few months on progesterone? Side effects, weight loss (or gain) etc. I’m noticing strange side effects and it would help me to feel less alone if I could follow along with someone’s journey. Thanks.

  68. Hello,

    I have A Mirena IUD with 2mg progestatif release/day since April 2017.
    I also have endometriosis Stage 3 that’s been excised in last February 2018.
    Since the excision surgery, I’ve been put on 5mg PO DIE (Norlutate) because we want to slow the process of Endo lesions forming but at the same time, not put me in a complete menauposal state because I’m 42 yo and I want to still be able to reverse to a fertile state when I’ll try to get pregnant. If if were younger, my body could of bounce back from a GnRH antagonist.

    Basically,I have gained 30-35 pounds in the last year and I was wondering if the progesterone might be at fault?

    Thanks in advance,
    Véronique

  69. Hi Dr. Childs,
    I have 2 questions:
    1. I have been on the patch and progesterone for 6 mo, and Spironolactone for hair loss for 2 mo. Do I need to reduce the patch dose, given that Spiro will also increase my estrogen level, which will make me “estrogen dominant”?
    2. I was on progesterone 200mg for 14days and recently switched to 100mg daily, because I just stopped monthly bleeding. Should I continue with the 14 days pattern 2-3 years after menopause, whereas I am only few months into it. What is the drawback for daily dosing?
    Thank you,
    Mona

  70. I realize I’m a little late to this thread, but I need some advice. My doctor has prescribed progesterone for me. I take one in the morning and two at night. She actually recommended me adding a third at night to see if the breast tenderness went away, she said it could also get worse. I just have to see how my body responds. My progesterone is made by a compound pharmacy and are 25mg caps. She also has me on testosterone (.5mg troch)I just started the testosterone a week ago. I’m taking both of these because of estrogen dominance. However my weight over the past three months has blown up! I’ve gained 6 lbs and I am a very active person. I workout 4-5xs a week, I have a healthy diet, I do not eat gluten, processed foods, no grains, legumes & I try to go easy on the dairy. Before I toss my progesterone in the trash & just embrace the cramps & migraines I get with my period I’m wondering if my body is just in hormone shock & if my weight will go back down after awhile of adjusting. Does that happen? I’m short so every pound counts.

  71. Finally an article that gets me! Started on troches and instantly gained 5 pounds. I’m up to 7 now. It’s been 12 weeks. I was tired all the time, not sleeping well, over all blah feeling. My weight was about 130 at 5’2″. Since starting the troches, I am sleeping better, a little less anxious, have more energy. But the weight gain is killing me. I hike and exercise. I’ve been doing a 16 hr fast. no food from 8pm – 12noon, 5 days a week. My doctor modified my next batch, so hoping for the best! If this doesn’t work, I may switch to the creams and try that. Supposedly I’m in full menopause and I still have an IUD. – it is a few years old. Would removing that make any difference at all?

  72. Hi there, I didn’t see a dose range suggestion for the oral Prometrium. Did I miss it or can you give a little detail about dosing for that? I see the 20-40mg for transdermal.

    Many thanks!
    Barbara

  73. Dr. Childs,

    I have been taking 200 mg of bioidentical progesterone nightly which has made me sleep really well however I do notice that when I take it I feel drunk and can barely walk…so I’m thinking my dosage is too high and my doctor is lowering my dose but wants me to go off for a couple of weeks. I’m not sure if I have gained but if I have will the weight just come off by removing the bioidentical progesterone? Just curious about your thoughts.

    • Hi Dayna,

      Sometimes reducing the dose is enough to normalize the weight but I don’t find this to be a common occurrence. Meaning many women who drop their dose still maintain the new weight that they have gained.

  74. I am 36, I want to have children, but I am having some serious problems with my cycles right now. I currently weigh 315 pounds on 5’8″ lean frame. Two years ago I weighted 260 pounds but through time I gradually put weight on. I’m trying to diet to get rid of the weight, but it is slow going and takes time. It is much easier for me to gain weight then to loose it. After each 10 pound weight gain starting after 280, I began to suffer irregular menstrual bleeding. When I went to the women’s doctor I had an ultra sound done, and found out the lining in my uterus was extra thick. I don’t have insurance and can’t go back to my doctor. I saw a youtube video where a doctor said that problems with weight, can cause problems with progesterone and cause a thick lining. In the video he said that he often prescribes progesterone to help correct the problem. Since I can’t go to a doctor I ordered a cream from Amazon haven’t tried it yet. I’m wondering if I should.

  75. Hi, I am perimenopausal and have very low progesterone and average estrogen but have gained a lot of middle weight because of the imbalance despite my limited paleo diet. However I tried taking natural compounded oral progesterone per a naturopath, 50mg a day, and within 2 weeks gained a ton more weight in my middle that I can’t get off. I felt better mentally but it made my weight much worse.

    What is the right way for me to take progesterone to balance my hormones and not gain more weight? I can’t seem to find a doctor that has a clue about how to balance female hormones. Thanks.

  76. Hi,

    I had a hysterectomy 7 years ago. I have my ovaries. I am now 38. Since the hysterectomy I have not felt the same a significant amount of my hair has fallen out and not come back and I have terrible migraines, fibrocystic breasts, insomnia a bit of acne. I have started taking Prometrium 100 mg for a couple of weeks I didn’t really notice a difference so I bumped it up to 200 mg. Since taking the 200 mg it makes me extremely tired which is good because I actually sleep at night. But I have been having terrible breast pain, tired and lethargic all day and now I’m noticing chest pain after taking it. I started taking one pill in the morning and one pill at night to divide it up. I’m still having these symptoms. My question for you is is this helping me? Should I just give it some more time? Or try something totally different? Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Dina,

      All of those symptoms would indicate that your dose is off and should be adjusted. Breast pain/tenderness is never a normal side effect that women should experience when taking hormones and should be addressed.

  77. You wrote in bold to take progesterone when it is naturally high in the cycle. That’s confusing. Were replacing it, so we should take it when it’s low, no matter what time of the cycle.
    And as for the cycle information, that means to start taking it beginning on approximately day 16. At that time, it will be low for those of us with estrogen dominance.

  78. My dr just increased my progesterone because I tested low and I suffered from insomnia. I take 6.25 mg of Estradiol cream also. I am sleeping great now but I have gained 8 pounds. I need to sleep well but I am concerned about the weight gain and I don’t know what to do?

  79. I’m 51 and in perimenopause. I’ve been prescripted oral progesterone to reduce my very heavy bleeding. I take it on day 2 of my cycle, trying to maintain my energy & iron stores. The doc suggested taking it 10 days, but I hate how it makes me feel. Could I be causing myself problems if I take it only on days 2-6 of my cycle?

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