Does Progesterone Cause Weight Gain?

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Recognize the multifaceted role this molecule plays in your health.

Does progesterone cause weight gain? This is a common question women have. Progesterone is an ovarian hormone that prepares the uterus for pregnancy and helps to maintain a healthy pregnancy . On the other hand, Progestin is a contraceptive pill that mimics the action of progesterone .

It is common for women to gain weight while on the pill and during pregnancy. So, does that connect progesterone to weight gain in women? Is that hypothesis backed by science? And how can hormone replacement therapy work?

Does Progesterone Cause Weight Gain?

Progesterone Increases Hunger
It is a known fact that consuming more calories and not burning enough calories can lead to weight gain. But what if your appetite was under the control of a few hormones (like progesterone)? It is true that sex hormones, including progesterone and testosterone, increase appetite . Since progesterone levels are high during pregnancy, there is a possibility that it may increase hunger in this period.

A scientific study shows that increased weight gain in women could also be triggered due to Progestin (birth control), which may increase the chances of binge eating in women during the luteal phasei . However, more research needs to be conducted to confirm this finding.

Low Progesterone Levels Cause Weight Loss
Menopause, miscarriages, and ovarian diseases cause progesterone levels to drop. This may elevate estrogen levels. Estrogen is a female hormone that also helps prepare the body for pregnancy and lactation . However, estrogen also reduces hunger . This means that reduced progesterone and increased estrogen levels may lead to weight loss

This could mean that progesterone is a primary driver of weight gain in women. However, there are many other hormones that also can cause weight gain. Scroll down to know more.

Other Hormones That Cause Weight Gain

Insulin
Insulin is a hormone that helps in the uptake of glucose in the bloodstream by cells. Glucose is then converted to usable energy (ATP) in the cells. However, the body sometimes may not produce insulin or the cells may not recognize insulin. This prevents glucose uptake, potentially leading to diabetes type 1 and 2 . With increased blood sugar levels, the excess sugar does not get used up and gets stored in the body.

Thyroid
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, fat oxidationi , and food intake. Reduced secretion of thyroid hormones, also known as hypothyroidism, reduces metabolism and increases BMIi and the risk of obesity .

Leptin And Ghrelin
Leptin is a hormone that reduces hunger. However, people with obesity are found to be leptin-resistant, which causes them to consume more calories . Ghrelin, on the other hand, is a hunger-stimulating hormone. Overproduction of ghrelin stimulates excessive hunger and increases one’s food intake.

Cortisol
Cortisol is a stress hormone. Excessive cortisol stimulates hunger and increased food intake. Scientists have also found a direct link between elevated cortisol levels and increased abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease .

Testosterone
Testosterone is a male hormone and is present in negligible amounts in women. However, women undergoing menopause have higher testosterone levels, which can increase the chances of developing visceral fat .

Talk to your doctor and get a thorough check-up done to understand if your weight gain is due to progesterone or any other hormone or other factors (such as genetic predisposition or medications like anti-depressants). Your doctor may prescribe medicines. If you are going through menopause, you may also be prescribed hormone replacement therapy.

But what is it? How does it work?

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