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What actually is progesterone?

Is there a progesterone side effect? You might have heard the word progesterone in conversations about abortion, pregnancy, or birth control. Progesterone is a big player in the female body, especially when it comes to stuff like periods and pregnancy.

So, what is progesterone?

Okay, so during your monthly cycle, progesterone levels go up after your ovary releases an egg.1 Think of progesterone as the interior decorator of your uterus. It swoops in and thickens up the lining,2 getting it all ready  in case a fertilized egg comes in.3 If a sperm doesn’t meet an egg during ovulation, the lining of the uterus goes out through the vagina as your period.4

So again, progesterone is a hormone that preps the lining of your uterus, just in case of a pregnancy. Progesterone is also responsible for keeping your cycle regular.3 

Progesterone side effect

Now, you’ve probably felt the effects of  hormone changes during your period, right? Like those mood swings, bloating, and headaches before Aunt Flo comes to town? It’s thought that changes in hormones (like the drop in progesterone before your period) may be a cause of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).5 

Oh, and did you know? Progesterone isn’t just about reproduction—it also plays a role in your mood and sleep.6, 7 Fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone can change serotonin levels and leave you feeling blue.7?

If you do get pregnant, progesterone sticks around to help keep everything developing right for the fetus growing inside you.2.

The abortion pill, birth control, and the progesterone side effect connection

Wondering how the abortion pill works? Progesterone plays the biggest part here. These pills alter your natural progesterone levels, basically telling your body to call off the pregnancy. This isn’t an easy process for your body to go through. That’s why there are so many side effects to taking the abortion pill.

Some of the most common side effects are:

  • Abdominal or stomach pain or uterine cramping
  • back pain
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headache, and
  • nausea or vomiting.

Mayo Clinic, Mifepristone (Oral Route) Side Effects

It’s a big deal for your body to expel and end a pregnancy. The process rids your body of progesterone, which it’s trying hard to produce to support the pregnancy. 

It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before you take an abortion pill. Take time to learn more about the risks and process that your body has to go through after taking the abortion pill. Figure out what all of your options are. 

What are your options? Well, to answer that question, you need to do two things:

  • Take a pregnancy test. Confirming your pregnancy is the first step. You shouldn’t take any medication before you make sure you’re actually pregnant.. ThriVe+ offers no-cost lab-quality pregnancy tests. If you want the most accurate result as soon as possible, please don’t wait. Make an appointment soon to get answers.

  • Have an ultrasound. Having an ultrasound is important  for keeping you safe. This goes beyond the progesterone side effect. Before jumping into anything, you should have an ultrasound to make sure the pregnancy is developing the way it should. Why does that matter if you’re considering abortion? It actually matters a lot, and we’re not here to pressure you into anything. An ultrasound will show where the pregnancy is developing. If it’s developing outside of the uterus, that would be a life-threatening condition. You’d need medical attention, and the abortion pill wouldn’t help that. This condition is called an ectopic pregnancy. An ultrasound can keep you safe, no matter what decision you make. We offer pre-abortion screenings (including a pregnancy test, ultrasound, and STD screening) at no-cost as well. Make an appointment when you’re ready.

Is there a progesterone side effect with birth control?

Most forms of birth control work by altering your hormone levels, including progesterone. Keep in mind that progesterone is produced by the ovaries and they regulate the menstrual cycle. Birth control pills are not foolproof — and come with risks and side effects.

Both combination birth control pills (containing synthetic progesterone and estrogen) and the “mini-pill” (synthetic progesterone only) can cause symptoms like:

1. Nausea: Some people may experience nausea, particularly when they first start using hormonal birth control.9, 10

2. Breast Tenderness: Changes in hormone levels can lead to breast tenderness or enlargement in some individuals.9, 10

3. Headaches: Hormonal fluctuations can trigger headaches or migraines in some people.9, 10

4. Mood Changes: Some women may experience changes in mood. Some get increased irritability or mood swings while using hormonal birth control.9, 10

5. Weight Changes: Some women report that they see weight gain after they start taking hormonal birth control. This varies from person to person.9, 10

6. Spotting or Irregular Bleeding: Especially in the first few months of use, some women have irregular bleeding or spotting between periods.9, 10

About half of the women taking the Minipill (synthetic progesterone only) still ovulate — meaning pregnancy is still possible.10 And if a woman on the Minipill does get pregnant, there’s an increased risk of the embryo implanting outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy), which needs prompt medical attention.10

Also, it’s important to remember that birth control pills don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).9, 10

Well, it’s clear that progesterone plays a huge role in a woman’s monthly cycle, and her fertility in general. You’re already taking care of yourself by doing this research on progesterone side effect – that shows that you’re taking the reins on your health! If you’ve still got questions, you can always talk to your doctor about your cycle. 

It’s a good idea to ask questions about the abortion pill and birth control before you rush into anything. Your health is worth the time. If you’re worried you could be pregnant, please take care of yourself. Come get a no-cost pregnancy test as part of a pre-abortion screening at ThriVe+. You’re worth it. 

1https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/female-infertility/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354313

2https://mcpress.mayoclinic.org/pregnancy/can-donor-eggs-help-you-get-pregnant/

3https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352829

4https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menstrual-cycle/art-20047186

5https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780

6https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-understanding-postpartum-depression/

7https://mcpress.mayoclinic.org/menopause/cant-sleep-how-menopause-can-contribute-to-sleep-problems/

8https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/mifepristone-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20067123

9https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/combination-birth-control-pills/about/pac-20385282

10https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/minipill/about/pac-20388306

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