Progesterone is a hormone that is usually associated with females. However, it is essential in both sexes. In men it is mainly produced by the testes and is required for such vital bodily functions as development of bone density and regulating blood sugar levels. In men, progesterone is converted to testosterone. When a man has low progesterone levels his testosterone levels will also be low. There are several symptoms to be aware of if you suspect your progesterone levels are low.
Men with low progesterone levels may be more prone to fractures due to reduced bone density that can lead to osteoporosis. Men over age 50 are more at risk of developing osteoporosis, which affects more than 2 million men in the United States. Low progesterone levels in men are one of the causes of low bone density.
Reduced libido or loss of sex drive is a common symptom of low progesterone in men. This may lead to loss of interest or desire for sexual activity. Another feature of reduced libido is erectile dysfunction. This occurs when a man has difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. A man experiencing reduced libido may also have low mood, increased stress levels or depression.
Common symptoms of depression include low mood and loss of interest in daily activities that you used to enjoy. You may also experience early morning awakening. This happens when you wake up in the early hours of the morning, usually 3 or 4 a.m. and are unable to get back to sleep. More severe symptoms of depression include thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
One of the functions of progesterone is to protect the body against high levels of estrogen. Low progesterone levels create a hormonal imbalance that leads to estrogen dominance. This is when the body produces more estrogen than it requires. Symptoms of estrogen dominance in men include an increase in abdominal fat and development of fatty tissue in the chest area. There can be a reduction in facial hair and low levels of energy leading to exhaustion and fatigue. A man with low progesterone levels and estrogen dominance may notice an increase in the frequency of urination and may also be at an increased risk of developing a heart condition.
Is This an Emergency?
- Baby Boomer Care: Symptoms Low Progesterone In Males
- NIH Oesteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center: Osteoporosis in Men
- "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism"; The Realtionship Between Libido and Testosterone Levels in Aging Men; T.G. Travison et al; February 2006