Progesterone is a hormone in both men and women that is converted into testosterone and estrogen. According to MayoClinic.com, progesterone levels typically drop with age and affect testosterone production. At the same time, estrogen levels rise in older men, creating a hormone imbalance. Progesterone supplements often are used to treat hormone imbalances and to protect men against prostate cancer and other prostate-related conditions.
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High progesterone levels in men cause an increase in estrogen production, which can lead to a number of problems. According to MayoClinic.com, excessive estrogen is linked to heart conditions, depression and fatigue. Higher estrogen levels can lead to an enlarged prostate. Other side effects of an increase in estrogen caused by high progesterone levels include prostate inflammation, urination difficulties and erectile dysfunction.
Men produce approximately 5 to 15 mg of progesterone in their testicles each day, which in turn increases estrogen levels. In addition to the natural production process of the hormones, environmental factors and activity levels can increase the progesterone and estrogen levels, according to Health Fitness Australia. Increased exercise often lowers hormone levels and chemical exposure can affect hormonal balances. Household products that contain dioxin can enter the bloodstream and affect progesterone and other hormonal levels, according to the National Institute of Environmental Sciences. Dioxin commonly is used to manufacture plastics, cleaning products and lubricants.
Progesterone often is prescribed for men to treat infertility and prostate conditions. The hormone is available in natural and synthetic forms, each of which carries various side effects, according to the National Institutes on Aging. Hormone replacement drugs for men usually are prescribed in pill or cream form and should not exceed 6 to 10 mg per day. Excessive amounts of the replacement hormone can cause lethargy and fatigue. Men who take progesterone replacement drugs often experience joint pain, glucose intolerance and swelling.
Other Potential Effects
Untreated, other complications can occur if progesterone levels continue to rise. Men with an increased level of estrogen in their bodies tend to develop additional fat around the abdomen, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. They may experience a decrease in facial hair growth and an increase in fatty deposits in their breasts.
Natural increases in progesterone levels in men also can produce positive benefits as noted by researchers at the University of Michigan. Since progesterone reduces anxiety levels in men and can help to create an environment for attentive lovers as testosterone also rises. Watching a romantic movie with a partner can raise progesterone levels in men as much as 10 percent and coupled with the reduced tension, makes them calmer and more available to meet their partner's needs as well as their own.