Progestin Side Effects

Progestin Side Effects – Overview

Progestins, also known as progestogens, are a type of synthetic hormone that mimics the endogenous hormone progesterone.

These medications all work on the progesterone receptor, although they have different effects and are classified by generational class or structural derivation.

Progestins are drugs that are used to treat a range of illnesses, including contraception and postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

The mechanism of action, indications, contraindications, side effects and other critical components of progestin therapy in the clinical context are reviewed in this article to assist healthcare team members to manage the care of patients who may benefit from progestin medication.

Why Progestin (Progesterone) Prescribed?

Oral contraceptives containing progestin are used to prevent pregnancy. Progestin is a hormone produced by females.

It acts by stopping eggs from being released from the ovaries (ovulation) and altering cervical mucus and uterine lining.

Oral contraceptives that contain solely progestin (norethindrone) are very successful for birth control, but they do not prevent the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

How to Use Progestin

Oral contraceptives that exclusively contain progestin are taken as tablets. They are taken once a day, at the same time each day.

Follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully, and if you don’t understand anything, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain it to you.

Take progestin exactly as advised. And do not take more or less of it, or take it more frequently than your doctor has recommended.

Oral contraceptives with just progestin come in packs of 28 tablets. Begin the following pack the day after the previous one has been completed.

When you should start taking your progestin or another oral contraceptive, your doctor will tell you.

If you’re switching from another method of contraception, let your doctor know (other birth control pills, vaginal ring, transdermal patch, implant, injection, intrauterine device [IUD]).

You may need to use a backup method of birth control for the next 48 hours if you vomit soon after taking a progestin-only oral contraceptive.

Before you start using your oral contraceptive, talk to your doctor about it so you can prepare a backup method of birth control in case you need it.

Before using progestin-only oral contraceptives, get a copy of the manufacturer’s patient information from your pharmacy or doctor and read it thoroughly.

Side Effects of Progestin

There are certain adverse effects that may not require medical care. As your body responds to the drug, these side effects may disappear during treatment.

Your health care provider may advise you on how to avoid or alleviate some of these adverse effects.


  • Abdominal cramping.
  • Face and feet swelling or edema.
  • Mild increase in blood pressure.
  • Drowsiness
  • Migraine
  • Changes in your mood.
  • Nervousness
  • Unexpected weight gain

unexpected weight gain.


These events may occur after long-term use of progestin

  • Back Pain.
  • Face round out.
  • Irritability
  • mental depression.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • An unexpected decrease in sexual ability or desire in men.
  • Unexpected weakness or exhaustion.

Besides the desired effect of progestin utilization, in high doses, progestins may induce side effects such as blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as liver and eye problems.

Even though these side effects are uncommon, however, some of them might be fatal. It’s unclear whether the progestin is to blame for these issues.

They could be due to sickness or condition being treated with progestins.

The Following Side Effects may Need Emergency Attendance


  • Variations in Vaginal bleeding (increased amounts of menstrual bleeding occurring at regular monthly periods, lighter vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods, heavier vaginal bleeding between regular monthly periods, or stopping of menstrual periods).
  • Symptoms of blood sugar abnormalities (dry mouth, frequent urination, loss of appetite, or unusual thirst).

Less Common

  • Mental Disorder.
  • Unanticipated increase in breast milk flow.
  • Skin redness or rash.


Symptoms of blood clotting abnormalities, which are generally acute and unexpected, and may produce

  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Coordination, and change in Speech or vision.
  • Shortness of breath, and numbness or pain in the chest, arm, or leg.

Don’t Use Progestin or Ask Your Doctor if You Have Any of the Following

  • Pregnant or breast-feeding
  • Liver disorder.
  • Vascular disease.
  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Porphyria
  • Depression

See Also

Types of Progesterone

HCG Level Ranges

Fertility Calculator


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