Natural progesterone is a steroid hormone which is produced by the corpus luteum of the ovary during ovulation. It is also created in less significant amounts by the adrenal glands.
Most women naturally produce in their body approximately 20 to 30 mg of progesterone on a daily basis, during the latter phase of their menstrual cycle. However, women approaching menopause may find they need to supplement progesterone for many reasons. If you are currently on progesterone cream or thinking to start using this hormone balancing cream, this list of 10 most asked questions on natural progesterone cream will certainly help you getting more clarity. If you don’t find the answer you are looking for, our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page also provide useful more detailed information.
Before we get to the top 10 questions, let’s explore the common benefits to progesterone cream which includes the following:
- Supports healthy breasts.
- Helps use fat for energy.
- Acts as a natural anti-depressant.
- Promotes healthy thyroid function.
- Normalizes blood clotting.
- Supports healthy blood sugar levels.
- Normalizes copper and zinc levels.
- Restores proper cell oxygen levels.
- Increases bone building.
- May help prevent endometrial cancer and breast cancer.
- Promotes normal sleep patterns.
- Why would I need to consider natural progesterone cream?
“Unopposed estrogen” can create a stronger risk factor for breast cancer and reproductive cancers. Estrogen levels can drop anywhere from 40-60 percent during menopause, which is only enough to stop the menstrual cycle.
However, progesterone levels may drop even more, and may completely disappear in some women. Because progesterone is the precursor to so many other hormones, using it can help rebalance hormones.
Progesterone also helps to stimulate the building of bones and thus helps protect against osteoporosis.
- What is estrogen dominance?
Dr. John R. Lee, M.D. has coined the term “estrogen dominance.” Lee uses this term to describe what may happen if and when the normal balance of estrogen to progesterone changes. This might mean too much estrogen or not enough progesterone. Estrogen is a very potent and even potentially dangerous hormone when it is not properly balanced by adequate amounts of progesterone.
The typical symptoms of estrogen dominance may include things like headaches, fatigue, tender breast tissue, irritability, mood swings, bloating or weight gain, depression or even hypoglycemia.
Symptoms may also include uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and fibrocystic breasts. Estrogen dominance is also known to be a possible cause and/or contributor to cancer of the breast, ovary, endometrium (uterus), and prostate.
- Is progesterone cream just for post-menopausal women?
No, pre or perimenopausal women may also need progesterone cream. Many women have something called anovulatory cycles, where they make enough estrogen to menstruate, but don’t make enough progesterone. This could potentially lead to estrogen dominance.
Using progesterone cream during this type of anovulatory cycle could potentially help prevent symptoms of PMS.
It’s a known fact that PMS can still occur despite normal progesterone levels when stress occurs. Stress increases the production of cortisol. Cortisol competes for and acts as a block to progesterone receptors. Moreover, progesterone is required to overcome this blockade, so stress management is vitally important.
- How is natural progesterone cream made?
The USP progesterone used for hormone replacement comes from the various oils and fats in certain plants. A substance known as diosgenin is typically used. Diosgenin is extracted from a very specific kind of wild yam, that is either grown in soybeans or in Mexico.
Quality is important because some companies are attempting to sell diosgenin, labeled as “wild yam extract” as a medicine or supplement, claiming that the body will then convert it into hormones as needed. This can actually be done in a lab, but there is no concrete evidence that this kind of conversion takes place in the human body.
- Is natural progesterone cream safe to use for women over 40?
According to Kingsberg Medical, natural progesterone cream is extremely safe to use for those women after menopause. It may even be preferred by doctors to help combat the undesirable symptoms associated with menopause.
During menopause, a woman’s ovaries basically stop producing progesterone but this hormone is vital for the maintenance of strong bones, and many other critical bodily functions. A blood analysis may also be performed before any treatment begins.
- What is the recommended dosage?
Dr. Lee recommends the creams that contain approximately 450-500 mg of progesterone per ounce, which is 1.6% by weight or 3% by volume. This translates to about one-quarter of a teaspoon daily which would provide about 20 mg/day.
- Why is a cream used instead of a pill?
The transdermal cream typically prescribed is preferred over oral progesterone. With pills, some 80% to 90% of the oral dose is lost through the liver. As a result, you would need a much higher dose to achieve a dose of 15 to 24 mg daily. Such high doses could create undesirable metabolites as well as unnecessarily overload the liver.
- Do I need a hormone test before taking natural progesterone?
According to Kinsgberg Medical, as with any hormone therapy, it is advisable that you check in with your doctor. As part of that examination, you may receive blood testing, a comprehensive health screening as well as a physical exam, all of which are recommended prior to the prescribing of progesterone therapy.
- How should I apply natural progesterone cream?
Progesterone is very fat-soluble, which means it is easily absorbed through the skin. After it is absorbed through the subcutaneous fatty or adipose tissue lying directly under the skin layers, the progesterone is then absorbed into capillary blood.
As a result of this, absorption is best in the skin sites where people blush: the face, neck, chest, breasts, inner arms and, palms of the hands.
- How is natural progesterone different than synthetic progesterone like Provera?
Progesterone may be preferable to the synthetic progestins such as Provera because it is natural substance to the body. As a result, it typically has no undesirable side effects when used as directed.
It’s important to remember that the placenta produces 300-400 mg of progesterone daily during the last few months of a pregnancy. We know those amounts are safe for a developing baby.
However, progestins, like Provera, even at fractions of this dose, can potentially cause birth defects. The progestins may also cause many other side effects, including migraine headaches, increased risk of strokes, partial loss of vision, breast cancer in test dogs, fluid retention, asthma, cardiac irregularities and even depression.
As with any natural supplement, it’s best to check in with your physician or health care provider to make sure there are no unintended drug interactions or health consequences you should be aware of.