What can I Expect During Progesterone Therapy?

Erin J. Hill

What will happen for you during progesterone therapy will depend on what you are using it for. You may have progesterone injections, be given oral pills, or have a vaginal insert. Side effects for progesterone are common and can include fatigue, breast tenderness, and fluid retention.

Pregnant women may undergo progesterone therapy if their bodies do not produce enough of the hormone naturally to sustain pregnancy.
Pregnant women may undergo progesterone therapy if their bodies do not produce enough of the hormone naturally to sustain pregnancy.

Progesterone therapy can be used for a variety of health conditions and problems. Pregnant women may be given supplements if their bodies do not produce enough to sustain a pregnancy, and it is also used in the treatment of infertility, epilepsy, and prostate and other cancers. Sometimes progesterone therapy is also given to help alleviate menopausal symptoms and pre-menstrual syndrome, and it is one of the ingredients in some birth control pills.

Progesterone therapy may cause breast tenderness and heartburn.
Progesterone therapy may cause breast tenderness and heartburn.

The exact procedures and side effects you can expect during progesterone therapy will depend on why you are using it. If you have a serious health condition, you may be given intravenous progesterone. This generally takes place in a hospital or medical center. You may be connected to an IV for several hours, or you may be given one injection at normal doctor’s visits.

For progesterone therapy use in the treatment of infertility, pregnancy deficiency, and menopausal symptoms, vaginal inserts or rings may be used in place of injections or pills. Both natural hormones and synthetic ones are commonly used, and they can often be both prescribed or purchased over the counter. They are usually inserted at home, but your progress will likely be followed with regular doctor’s visits. Sometimes pregnant women are given progesterone shots, so speak with your doctor about your options.

Men may also be given progesterone therapy in the treatment of prostate and other male hormone-related cancers. Side effects in males may be more pronounced than those in women, although this will vary based on the dosage. During progesterone therapy you may experience fatigue, nausea, vomiting, water retention, heartburn, cramping, mood swings, and breast tenderness. These are the most common symptoms during treatment.

If you are undergoing progesterone therapy in the treatment of infertility, you may have a hard time noticing pregnancy symptoms because they are similar to side effects commonly reported during progesterone treatments. For this reason, consistent follow-up with a physician is important. This is especially true if your periods are normally irregular or non-existent, because noticing a pregnancy would be even less likely in these cases.

Occasionally a severe allergic reaction can occur. If you notice hives, redness, itching, welts, shortness of breath or severe dizziness you should discuss this with a doctor. A severe allergic reaction can be life-threatening, so if you feel like you may faint or are having trouble breathing, this should be dealt with as a medical emergency.

Women undergoing progesterone therapy for infertility may have a hard time noticing pregnancy symptoms.
Women undergoing progesterone therapy for infertility may have a hard time noticing pregnancy symptoms.

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