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Side Effects of Stopping the Use of Progesterone Pills

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: BStone • updated: 4/20/2011

Side effects of stopping progesterone pills are generally mild; however, in some cases the side effects can be severe or persistent. Side effects can include breast tenderness and even an increased risk for cancer.

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    Progesterone pills are used for a number of reasons to balance a woman's progesterone levels. Often, progesterone pills are taken during menopausal hormone therapy or to balance abnormal or irregular menstrual cycles. Progesterone can also be found in certain birth control pills. Although these pills are considered to be effective, certain side effects can occur upon stopping the use of the pills. Side effects of stopping progesterone pills occur when the body is unable to correctly rebalance the level of progesterone within the body. Often, the progesterone level becomes too low, which produces a wide range of side effects.

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    Progesterone and Estrogen

    Progesterone is needed in the body to balance the effects of estrogen in the body. If progesterone levels become too low, the effects of estrogen can be increased, which can often happen after stopping progesterone pills. Adequate levels of progesterone are essential during the childbearing years and throughout a woman's life to maintain health. It's essential to learn the side effects of stopping progesterone pills in order to rebalance progesterone levels within the body.

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    Signs of Low Progesterone Levels

    The body can become dependent on progesterone pills if taken for a prolonged period of time. If this occurs, the body may not be able to rebalance progesterone levels, which can lead to an increase in estrogen. Many symptoms of low progesterone or high estrogen can occur. Often, breast tenderness and fibrocystic breasts can occur. It's not unusual to have carbohydrate cravings or to suffer from depression as well.

    The most common symptoms of an imbalance include irregular menstruation, PMS and excessive uterine bleeding. Some women develop uterine fibroids or uterine cancer if the imbalance remains for a prolonged period of time. Many women experience a decreased sex drive, difficulty becoming pregnant and endometriosis. Blood clotting can become increased as well. Some women experience weight gain, bloating and water retention.

    Night sweats, inability to sleep and headaches are known to occur as well. Thyroid dysfunction can begin to occur also. Often, vaginal dryness, constipation and menstrual cramps are experienced. Many women report muscle aches, anxiety and dry skin or eyes after stopping the use of progesterone. Many women experience hot flashes, loss of concentration, insomnia and memory loss. Other side effects include mood swings, low body temperature and low sugar levels.

    Although many of the side effects of stopping the use of progesterone don't seem severe, if they persist for a prolonged period of time, they can increase the risk for further, more serious complications. These complications include osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and certain cancers. Symptoms will persist until the hormone imbalance is corrected. Some women may need to begin the use of the progesterone pills again to correct the imbalance of hormones.