How does Progesterone work for men?

Progesterone for men
Medically reviewed by Richard Honaker M.D.

Overview

While commonly associated with women’s health, progesterone is pivotal in maintaining hormonal balance and overall well-being in men. Beyond its role as a precursor to testosterone, progesterone influences essential physiological processes such as bone density regulation, blood sugar maintenance, and cognitive function. Inadequate progesterone levels in men can lead to “estrogen dominance,” contributing to symptoms like erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and decreased libido. Under healthcare professionals’ guidance, progesterone supplementation offers a potential solution to restore hormonal balance and reduce symptoms associated with progesterone deficiency, ultimately promoting optimal health and vitality in men.

How does progesterone work?

The mechanisms behind progesterone’s function in men’s health are crucial for grasping its significance in maintaining hormonal balance. Here is how it works:

Alcohol Consumption and Progesterone Levels

Alcohol consumption elevates blood estrogen levels and negatively impacts progesterone production in men. Even moderate drinking can decrease zinc absorption, further exacerbating progesterone deficiency. This interconnected relationship underscores the importance of lifestyle factors in regulating hormone levels and maintaining overall health.

Weight Gain and Progesterone Imbalance

Low progesterone levels are often associated with weight gain, perpetuating a cycle of hormonal imbalance. Excess weight contributes to decreased progesterone production and exacerbates estrogen dominance, particularly in the presence of thyroid dysfunction. This interplay highlights the importance of addressing underlying health issues to promote hormonal balance and treat inflammation-related complications.

What happens if a man takes progesterone?

Progesterone plays a crucial role in maintaining normal health in men, balancing the following health aspects:

  1. Fertility and sperm function: Progesterone is crucial in male fertility by facilitating sperm function and maturation. Its influence extends beyond reproductive health, directly affecting the cardiovascular, nervous, and skeletal systems. Moreover, progesterone is recognized for its neuroprotective properties and potential therapeutic applications in conditions like cerebral edema, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetic neuropathy, and osteoporosis.
  1. Diverse physiological effects: Progesterone exerts a broad range of effects on men’s health, including regulation of testosterone production, sperm maturation, and central nervous system function. Additionally, it impacts sleep quality, behavior, immunity, kidney function, respiratory health, appetite regulation, adipose tissue metabolism, and weight regulation.
  1. High progesterone levels and metabolic health: Studies indicate that serum progesterone levels may influence metabolic health, particularly blood glucose regulation. Higher progesterone levels have been associated with elevated fasting blood glucose, HbA1C levels, and reduced beta cell function. Increased incidence of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has been observed in individuals with higher progesterone levels, which highlights the importance of hormonal balance in metabolic regulation.
  1. Risk Factors with low progesterone levels: When coupled with low estradiol, low progesterone levels pose a significant risk factor for aortic abdominal aneurysms in men. Hormonal imbalance characterized by insufficient progesterone levels may lead to an increase in estrogen production, triggering adverse effects such as weight gain, muscle mass loss, gynecomastia (development of male breast tissue), decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, prostate enlargement, and increased susceptibility to certain cancers.

What are the symptoms of low progesterone in men?

Some common symptoms may indicate progesterone deficiency or estrogen dominance:

  1. Physical appearance: Estrogen dominance may manifest in physical changes such as baldness, alterations in body odor, breast growth (gynecomastia), and reduced muscle development. However, it’s crucial to note that these symptoms can be multifactorial, and low progesterone levels may contribute to but not exclusively cause these outcomes.
  1. Psychological symptoms: Low progesterone levels can impact mood and mental well-being, leading to symptoms like depression, mood swings, and anxiety. These psychological symptoms may be indicative of hormonal imbalance and warrant further evaluation and intervention.
  1. Sexual dysfunction: Progesterone deficiency may manifest in sexual dysfunction, including low sex drive (libido) and erectile dysfunction. These symptoms can significantly impact the quality of life and intimate relationships, highlighting the importance of addressing underlying hormonal imbalances.
  1. Muscle mass loss and fatigue: Reduced progesterone levels may contribute to muscle mass loss and fatigue in men. Decreased muscle strength and endurance, persistent fatigue, and difficulty concentrating can impair daily functioning and overall vitality.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s advisable to seek medical evaluation. Early detection and management of low progesterone levels can help alleviate symptoms and promote overall health and well-being.

What are the benefits of men taking progesterone?

Progesterone isn’t just vital for women’s health and crucial in enhancing men’s overall well-being and vitality. 

  • Sperm production: Progesterone supports sperm production, contributing to male fertility and reproductive health.
  • Mood regulation: Progesterone plays a role in regulating mood and emotional well-being, helping to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and mood swings.
  • Stress reduction: Progesterone supplementation can aid in reducing stress levels, promoting relaxation and overall mental well-being.
  • Blood sugar regulation: Progesterone regulates blood sugar levels, crucial for metabolic health and diabetes prevention.
  • Prostate health: Maintaining adequate progesterone levels is essential for prostate health, helping to reduce the risk of prostate-related complications.
  • Lean muscle maintenance: Progesterone supports the maintenance of lean muscle mass, contributing to physical strength and endurance.

Treating Progesterone loss

Addressing progesterone loss in men typically involves hormone replacement therapy, often utilizing dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation to restore hormonal balance and promote overall health. Here’s a closer look at the treatment approach for progesterone deficiency:

  1. Role of DHEA

DHEA supplementation is central to hormone replacement therapy for progesterone deficiency, as it acts as a precursor to various hormones in the body. Often referred to as the “mother of all hormones,” DHEA influences the production of key hormones, including progesterone and testosterone, while regulating cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Restoring DHEA levels can maintain hormone balance, improving vitality, sexual function, and mental clarity.

  1. Age-Related Decline in DHEA

Most individuals begin to experience a decline in DHEA levels around 30, which continues annually after that. Loss of DHEA can result in diminished vitality, sexual function, and cognitive clarity, highlighting the importance of addressing hormonal imbalances early on.

  1. Vitamin D and Progesterone Production

Vitamin D plays a significant role in promoting sufficient progesterone production. Therefore, healthcare professionals often assess vitamin D and progesterone levels in individuals experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance.

Progesterone supplementation offers various benefits for men, including improved sleep quality, vitality, and overall well-being. While some may initially have concerns about potential side effects, such as gynecomastia (development of breast tissue) or changes in voice pitch, it’s essential to clarify that these are misconceptions associated with estrogen, not progesterone. With the right guidance and support, addressing hormonal imbalances can transform physical and mental well-being, fostering renewed vitality and vigor.

Why take progesterone at night?

Taking progesterone at night offers several benefits, promoting sleep quality and respiratory function. Here’s why it’s advantageous to administer progesterone before bedtime:

  1. Sleep induction: Progesterone exhibits sleep-inducing properties, acting as a natural sedative or hypnotic. By taking progesterone at night, individuals may experience improved sleep onset and overall sleep quality, leading to restorative rest and enhanced well-being.
  1. Respiratory stimulation: Progesterone is a potent respiratory stimulant, contributing to improved respiratory function during sleep. Research suggests that progesterone supplementation may decrease the frequency of central and obstructive sleep apnea episodes in men, thereby mitigating sleep-related breathing disorders and promoting uninterrupted sleep.

By harnessing progesterone’s sleep-inducing and respiratory-stimulating effects, individuals can optimize their sleep patterns and respiratory health, improving overall well-being. 

FAQs

Does progesterone help with erectile dysfunction?

By restoring the balance of progesterone and testosterone to normal levels, many men in our research experienced improvements in erectile function. Through the application of a progesterone/testosterone cream, we successfully addressed the hormonal imbalance often associated with erectile dysfunction.

Should men increase progesterone?

Indeed, progesterone is essential for men too. It serves to counteract the effects of estrogen on male physiology. Despite being commonly labeled as a “female hormone,” progesterone is naturally present in males and plays a role in maintaining their masculine traits. Interestingly, progesterone is a precursor to testosterone—the primary male hormone.

Does progesterone cause weight gain in men?

While progesterone doesn’t directly lead to weight gain, it can stimulate hunger, potentially causing individuals to consume more food and perceive weight gain. However, it’s important to note that progesterone’s impact on hormone balance and weight management is relatively minor compared to other factors that may contribute to weight gain.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Oettel, M., and A. K. Mukhopadhyay. “Progesterone: the forgotten hormone in men?.” The Aging Male 7, no. 3 (2004): 236-257.
  • Childs, Emma, Nicholas T. Van Dam, and Harriet de Wit. “Effects of acute progesterone administration upon responses to acute psychosocial stress in men.” Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology 18, no. 1 (2010): 78.
  • LANDAU, RICHARD L., DELBERT M. BERGENSTAL, Kathleen Lugibihl, and MARYE KASCHT. “The metabolic effects of progesterone in man.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 15, no. 10 (1955): 1194-1215.

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