High progesterone: signs, symptoms, and complications

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High progesterone levels are most often associated with the period just before menstruation or pregnancy. Progesterone is a hormone responsible for preparing the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, during pregnancy after ovulation , for the release of an egg from the ovaries .

If a person does not get pregnant, the level of progesterone in their body will drop and this will trigger menstruation. On the other hand, if pregnancy occurs, progesterone continues to stimulate the body by providing blood vessels that will nourish the growing fetus. Progesterone levels also remain high during pregnancy and can be even higher if you are pregnant with more than one baby.

However, high progesterone levels can also mean ovarian cysts , adrenal disease, or ovarian cancer . It can also be a sign of molar pregnancy when abnormal cells grow in the placenta.

Symptoms of high progesterone levels are difficult to identify, as you can associate them with menstruation or pregnancy.

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Frequent symptoms

Increases in progesterone as your body prepares for fertilization has been linked to symptoms associated with PMS or PMS, including:

  • Swelling of the breast
  • Tender breasts
  • Swelling
  • Anxiety or excitement
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Low libido (sex drive)
  • Weight gain

Complications

High progesterone levels by themselves do not cause health complications, but they are a sign that something else is raising them.

High progesterone levels can occur in a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia (HCH). This rare condition affects the adrenal glands, small glands at the top of the kidneys that produce hormones, and is the result of a lack of an enzyme, 21-hydroxylase.

CAH disrupts the balance of hormone production (insufficient or overproduction) and can cause more pronounced male traits. For example, girls with severe CAH may be born with ambiguous genitalia , and people with milder forms of the disease may have early signs of puberty or fertility problems.

How common is congenital adrenal hyperplasia?

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (a type of 21-hydroxylase deficiency) affects about 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 15,000 people in the United States and Europe. Babies born in the United States are screened for this type of hyperplasia.

Other conditions associated with high progesterone levels include molar pregnancy and ovarian cancer.

Low progesterone

By the age of 30, you are more likely to worry about low progesterone levels than high levels. This is because its levels naturally decline over time, which can cause high estrogen levels. Low progesterone symptoms can indicate the onset of perimenopause or the time before menopause, and can mimic the symptoms of menopause.

When to see a doctor

Regardless of your age, when you feel that your hormonal balance is out of balance, you should call your doctor. Your doctor will know what tests to order and what to advise based on your concerns.

The only way to know if your progesterone is elevated is to see your doctor and have a blood test. However, keep in mind that hormones are constantly fluctuating and that results outside the normal range may not mean something is wrong.

Just because you are over 35 years old and have trouble conceiving after six months of trying or having a miscarriage does not automatically mean that you have trouble making progesterone. However, you should check it out. Ovulation problems are a common cause of infertility.

Summary

There is often no need to worry about high progesterone levels because levels naturally rise before menstruation and during pregnancy. However, it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If you have symptoms of elevated progesterone levels and are not pregnant, talk to your doctor about what may be causing this and if you need treatment.

Get the word of drug information

Progesterone is a powerful hormone, but it doesn't work on its own. Together with estrogen and testosterone, it creates a unique picture of changes in levels throughout the menstrual cycle.

Any symptom must be viewed through the prism of how these three hormones work together and how their collective ebb and flow changes the human body at different times and in different life events.

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