Are Diarrhea & Heartburn Side Effects of Progesterone Supplements?

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A woman holds her face as she looks down an experiences nausea. (Image: Viktor Pet÷/Hemera/Getty Images)

If you’re currently taking progesterone and you develop diarrhea and heartburn, you should call your doctor and rest assured that these are common side effects of this medication. Progesterone commonly is used as part of hormone replacement therapy in women who are post-menopausal. Taking this medication might reduce the risk of certain diseases, but also can increase the risk of uterine cancer. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking this medication and report all adverse reactions immediately.

Progesterone

Progesterone is a naturally occurring female hormone that helps a female body regulate ovulation and menstruation. The medication might be used to cause menstruation in pre-menopausal women because of a progesterone deficiency. It also might be used to prevent the overgrowth of uterine lining in post-menopausal women, according to Drugs.com. You should not use this medication if you have a history of breast cancer, liver disease or abnormal vaginal bleeding, or if you’re pregnant or have had a heart attack, blood cot or stroke within the past year.

Heartburn

An upset stomach is a common side effect of taking progesterone, according to PubMed Health. Heartburn is the result of indigestion, the feeling of fullness that is caused by reflux of acids commonly found in your stomach. After eating, you might develop a painful, burning sensation in the middle of your breastbone that might extend into your neck. Heartburn occurs when the esophageal sphincter muscle opens or doesn’t close entirely and allows stomach acid into your esophagus, according to MayoClinic.com. The acid irritates the soft tissue in the esophagus, causing a burning feeling and leaving a foul taste in your mouth.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is another common side effect of taking progesterone, according to Drugs.com. Diarrhea is defined by the National Disease Information Clearinghouse as loose, watery stool that occurs more frequently than normal. Diarrhea needs to be discussed with your doctor because excessive diarrhea can lead to dehydration and other medical complications if not treated. In order to prevent dehydration, increase the amount of fluids you consume at the first sign of diarrhea. If you notice blood in your stool, call your doctor immediately.

Warning

If you develop diarrhea and heartburn along with one or more of the following symptoms, contact emergency medical personnel immediately: shortness of breath, increased heart rate, severe dizziness, breast lumps, migraines, slow speech, chest pain, coughing up blood, bulging eyes, double vision, seizures, depression, stomach swelling hives, skin rashes, trouble swallowing, hoarseness, or swelling in the face, lips, hands, feet, lower legs, throat or tongue. These might be signs of a severe allergic reaction or a life-threatening chemical reaction.

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