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What Are the Side Effects of Progesterone in Females?

author image Carole Anne Tomlinson
Carole Anne Tomlinson is a registered nurse with experience in rehabilitation, nutrition, chemical dependency, diabetes and health problems related to the elderly. Tomlinson holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and is presently working on her master's degree in nursing. Her screenplays have been viewed by Merchant Ivory, Angela Lansbury and Steven King's associates.

Progesterone is a female hormone that your doctor may prescribe to help you if you have passed through menopause, MedlinePlus states. Along with another female hormone called estrogen, progesterone can help as a hormone replacement therapy. It works to decrease the potential of cancer developing in your uterus. As a hormone therapy, progesterone also may help you if you have stopped menstruating properly. Progesterone also may have other uses, such as treating kidney and breast cancer, MayoClinic.com reports. The hormone can produce some side effects.

Menstrual Changes

The use of the female hormone progesterone as part of hormone replacement therapy can cause your normal menstrual cycles to become altered, MayoClinic.com reports. As the progesterone begins its function in your body, if you are pre-menopausal and still have periods, the infusion of the hormone can cause you to bleed more heavily, or lighter. It may make you bleed between your cycles, or it may cause a condition known as amenorrhea, a total lack of menstruation. If you have any of these side effects, you should seek the counsel of your gynecologist or doctor as soon as possible, MayoClinic.com recommends. Changes in your menstruation classify as serious side effects of progesterone use.


Tachycardia, the medical term for a rapid heart rate, can occur as a serious side effect of progesterone hormone therapy, Drugs.com reports. If your heart speeds up even when you do not participate in exercise or other activities, it constitutes a serious problem. A faster than normal heart rate could increase the pressure of your blood traveling through your cardiovascular system. This hypertension can produce life-threatening results, such as a brain event called a stroke or a heart attack. Progesterone use also could make your heart feel as though it pounds. Seek medical help if you notice changes in the way your heart beats.

Mood Changes

Your moods may become altered when you start using progesterone as hormone therapy, Drugs.com notes. The normal hormones in your body already affect your moods, so receiving more hormones from an external source can produce the same effect. Drugs.com indicates that if you start experiencing rapid changes of your moods, it could mean you have symptoms of depression. Other symptoms include bodily weakness and problems when you try to sleep. Any emotional changes that result from using progesterone require help from a doctor immediately and cessation of the use of the hormone.


Hyperglycemia, a condition in which your body's usual production of insulin does not effectively balance your intake of glucose or sugar, can occur as a serious side effect of progesterone use, MayoClinic.com reports. Hyperglycemia can lead to diabetes type II and cause other health problems. The website says that you may notice symptoms such as abnormal thirstiness and frequent urination. You also may lose your normal appetite and experience a sensation akin to having cotton in your mouth -- dry mouth. If you have any of these symptoms, speak with a physician as soon as possible.

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