FAQ and Q & A
What is application of natural progesterone cream?
Natural progesterone in a moisturizing cream can be applied to the face, hands, chest, abdomen, inner arms, inner thighs, and in cases of osteoporosis, to the entire trabecular spine. The cream is readily absorbed and leaves no trace after a few minutes. During absorption the cream bypasses the liver and goes to specific receptor sites where progesterone is needed. When the action is completed, residue is then excreted from the body. Absorption rate varies from person to person as does the relative need for progesterone.
For menstrual cramps try rubbing a small amount of cream on the lower abdomen. For migraines, rub cream on back of your neck.
PLEASE NOTE: Everyone is different. Some women require more progesterone cream to help alleviate symptoms, while others can use less. It may take some trial and error. You may want to start at the lowest recommended dosage and go up and down from there until you feel well. Then try cutting back on the amount of natural progesterone every 1 or 2 months. If symptoms return, resume previous usage. If your symptoms return when you are not cutting down, this could be that you have reached your balance and may want to cut down or take a break. For some women it can take years to reach this stage, others can only take a few months. It’s all about finding your own balance.
Make sure you read the ingredients of the cream before you start using them. Some creams have high estrogen content along with the natural progesterone so using those will not be helpful to your cause.
How do I know if I should use progesterone?
If you have PMS symptoms. PMS symptoms are those symptoms which occur consistently a week or 10 days before the period and stop with or shortly thereafter.
If you have Estrogen Dominance symptoms. There are quite a number of symptoms associated with estrogen dominance. Some of these symptoms include water retention, breast swelling, fibrocystic breast, uterine fibroid, loss of libido, mood swings, depression, craving for sweets, and weight gain, fat deposited at hips and thighs.
If you have menopausal symptoms. Estrogen can continue to be produced (including from the fat in cells) even after menopause; however, progesterone production virtually ends. Hot flashes are the most prominent symptoms of menopause.
Osteoporosis. Women can use natural progesterone cream to help prevent osteoporosis.
Does natural progesterone help vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness can occur in women of all ages for various reasons, but it is primarily present in post menopausal women. Natural progesterone in a cream base can be used intravaginally and has been very successful in treating vaginal dryness and vulvar atrophy associated with ageing.
What exactly is natural progesterone and how does it differ from synthetic progesterone?
Natural progesterone, a cholesterol derivative, comes from the Mexican yam. It matches exactly the chemical formulation of the body's own progesterone. Manufacturers alter the chemical makeup of progesterone in order to create progestins. Progestins in their altered molecular structure may cause many side effects, such as birth defects or abortion, fluid retention, epilepsy, migraine, asthma, cardiac or kidney dysfunction and depression.
Can natural progesterone help with endometriosis or fibrocystic breast?
There are many factors that affect both of these conditions, one common factor being a higher level of circulation estrogen, indicating a hormonal imbalance. Progesterone is the precursor hormone and it helps to normalize all other endocrine and hormonal activity in the body. In this case, assisting to lower the level of estrogen in the body and thus, possibly helping to clear these conditions.
Should estrogen be used without natural progesterone?
Definitely not. It is very important that natural progesterone be used with any form of estrogen. Estrogen without progesterone can cause endometrial and vaginal carcinomas. Estrogen blocks thyroid production and causes water retention; and it can cause fibrocystic breast disease and even fibroid tumors and cysts in the ovary area.
I am already taking hormones from my doctor, why should I switch to natural hormones?
Natural hormones are simply an alternative to hormone replacement therapy. Synthetic progesterone (known as progestins) has many side effects, and synthetic estrogen can be dangerous to your health, especially if taken without any progesterone. If someone is taking both synthetic estrogen and progestins, a gradual step is to substitute natural progesterone cream; and gradually reduce the synthetic estrogen. (Reduce estrogen by one-half and continue to reduce over 90 days until discontinued use).
I'm post menopausal, will I start menstruating again if I use natural hormones?
Occasionally, upon beginning use of natural hormone supplement, a post menopausal woman may experience some breakthrough bleeding, or a "period.' This is a perfectly normal response and is nothing to cause alarm. The progesterone is simply causing the body to rid itself of excess stored estrogen which can sometimes stimulate a uterine shedding - thus breakthrough bleeding. If this continues for longer than several months you should consult a physician.
I have facial hair, especially above my upper lip, that requires shaving occasionally. What causes this?
This is a condition called "hirsutism' (defined as excessive growth of facial and body hair). It indicates that there is a hormonal imbalance between estrogen, testosterone (the dominant male hormone) and progesterone. Progesterone acts as a regulator for the entire endocrine system. A woman who has the hirsute problem probably has PMS too. Both menopausal and menstruating women have reported that facial hair (and body hair) decreased or completely disappeared after three to six months of regular application of cream twice a day. Natural progesterone is needed to effect proper hormonal balance.
Is natural progesterone useful for hysterectomized, oophorectomized and menopausal women?
Yes. Many women experience hot flashes following premenopausal hysterectomy oophorectomy (complete removal of ovaries), and in the beginning of the natural onset of menopause. The cream which contains natural progesterone is effective for relieving symptoms of hot flashes. Most women have reported a complete cessation of flushing within 3 to 8 weeks.
Is natural progesterone indicated for osteoporosis?
Many medical authorities tell female patients who are post-menopausal that osteoporosis is inevitable. A physician in Mill Valley, California, John R. Lee, has proven that this often repeated statement is simply untrue. The results of his ongoing clinical study with 68 women is noteworthy. All have experienced new bone density ranging from 5 to 40 percent for women who have used natural progesterone cream from 6 to 48 months. His results also indicated this therapy is successful even several decades after menopause. One of his patients, who is 82 years of age and has been using natural progesterone cream for four years, has a greater than 40 percent new bone density as proven dualphoton absorptiometry. Dr. Lee has proven that osteoporosis is not only preventable, but is also reversible in most cases.
Can I use natural progesterone if there is family history of breast or uterine cancer?
Yes, it is recommended. Breast cancer and endometrial cancer are two cancers that are related in some way or other to gonadal hormones. They occur in tissues sensitive to these hormones. Unopposed estrogen is the only known cause of endometrial cancer though there may be other factors involved. Estrogen, or at least one or more of the various estrogens, are thought to contribute to breast cancer.
Are there any other benefits of natural progesterone use?
Just some of the additional benefits and uses include: improved brain function, diminished muscular aches and pains, improvement of skin problems including acne, seborrhea, rosacea, psoriasis and keratoses, improved sleep pattern, anxiety, depression, brain fog, irritability, fatigue and insomnia.
Can men benefit from using Natural Progesterone?
In a word yes! Please see the following links on the website for more information -
Wild Yam Is NOT Progesterone
Some people think that Wild Yam Extract is Progesterone but it isn’t. Wild Mexican Yam contains significant concentrations of diosgenin, which is one of nature’s finest sources of natural progesterone. But wild yam can not convert into progesterone used in its original form.
There are no enzymes in the human body that will convert diosgenin, which is the active component of wild yams into progesterone so, it is done scientifically in labs. Diosgenin is still very useful in the body and has been used by phytotherapists for centuries as an adaptogen.
Diosgenin is converted into Natural Progesterone scientifically.
By the early 1950’s progesterone – like chemical compounds were found in thousands of plants with the most abundant precursor concentration being in the wild yam. It was found that the simple addition of hydrochloric acid and warm water coverts diosgenin to natural progesterone. The progesterone produced in this way is natural and exactly the same chemically, as human progesterone.
Progesterone vs. Progestins
The progesterone hormone and its synthetic analog, known collectively as progestins, are not the same molecular structure and, therefore, do not behave the same way in the body.
Progestins were developed because of a mistaken belief that bioidentical progesterone (i.e., progesterone that is biologically identical to that produced by the human body) could not be easily administered as an oral drug. Progestins are now the “basis of all contraceptive pills and gave rise to a multibillion-dollar industry,” according to Dr. Dalton.
When progestins were first developed researchers and practitioners believed that they were true progesterone substitutes. We now know that they have significant differences, including:
Progesterone is essential for maintaining pregnancy, while the use of progestins during pregnancy is associated with fetal abnormalities.
Progesterone lowers blood pressure and progestins raise it.
Progesterone is converted by the adrenal glands into all the stress hormones, while progestins are not.
Progesterone promotes calmness and progestins do not.
Progesterone relieves water and sodium retention, whereas progestins attract and hold water. According to Dr. Phyllis Bronson, this primary difference explains why so many women on the Pill and other conventional progestin based hormones are prone to edema (water retention), which can result in “brain fog” or feeling bloated.
Natural v Synthetic Progesterone
(Note - When a Progesterone cream is made from or derived from wild yam or soy and the cream ingredients say USP progesterone on it, this doesn’t mean it has wild yam, soy or estrogen in it. Derived meaning there is NO YAM OR SOY etc. left in the progesterone once it is refined. Progesterone can be synthesized from many plants with nothing of that plant left behind)
It is important to distinguish between the “natural” progesterone and synthetic progestational agents such as progestins, progestagens or gestoizens that are present in oral contraceptives. Progesterone refers to a specific molecule, the hormone produced by the ovaries or adrenal glands. All progestins are synthetic hormones that closely resemble progesterone, but differ in important ways. The natural and synthetic hormones share the ability to sustain human secretary endometrium but progestins do not have the full range of biological activity of progesterone. Progestins are associated with a wide range of undesirable side effects that often undermine patient compliance. Significantly, progestins’ appear to inhibit biosynthesis of progesterone, lowering serum levels of the hormone and aggravating conditions linked to inadequate progesterone. Synthetic progestins lower the “good” HDL cholesterol and reverse the benefit of estrogen on heart disease.
Plant sterols contain significant amounts of diosgenin, a complex molecule which converts readily and inexpensively to pregnenolone and then into a “natural” progesterone which is essentially identical to the hormone produced in a woman’s body. Both progestins and the “natural” progesterone derive from diosgenin, but because a natural hormone cannot be patented by a pharmaceutical company, an alteration of the molecule was required in order to secure patent rights … hence progestins.
Female athletes who exercise to the point of having anovulatory cycles with subsequent loss of progesterone experienced bone loss despite normal levels of estrogen levels.
Given the first-pass liver loss with oral progesterone preparations and the inconvenience of injections and suppositories, a different route of administration of the natural progesterone is highly desirable. The development of transdermal creams containing progesterone combined with plant extracts containing diosgenin have proved to be a very effective alternative. Since transdermal absorption bypasses the liver, smaller amounts of progesterone are required to accomplish results. Over the past 10 years enough clinical evidence has accumulated to verify that topical natural progesterone is an effective tool for the management of a majority of PMS cases.
Progesterone and Menopause
By the time a woman reaches menopause, gonadal hormone production, which has been on a slow, steady decline since her 30’s, reaches its lowest point. With the exception of small amounts produced by the adrenal cortex, a woman’s production of both progesterone and estrogen after the menopause is negligible, and the biological consequence of this loss are dramatic.
For decades the focus of research on the climacteric and its health risks was exclusively on estrogen (specifically, synthesized estradiol) probably because it was regarded as the most potent of the female hormones. Additionally, it was known to mediate the activity of osteoclasts (bone resorption cells), an important consideration in light of the risk of serious health consequences of osteoporosis. Despite a growing list of concerns surrounding the use of supplemental estrogen (including increased risk to cancers of the breast, cervix, and endometrium) it has for years been the standard of care for menopausal complaints and the prevention of osteoporosis.
Progesterone and Osteoporosis
While conventional estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) does retard bone resorption and decreases the incidence of fracture for a number of years it does not stop or reverse the progressive dismantling of bone. As concerns regarding the side effects of ERT continued to mount estrogen began to be paired with progestins to balance the tissue stimulating effects of estrogen and confer protection against estrogen-related cancers. Analysis of several studies on the effect of combined progestin-estrogen therapy indicates that progestins do appear to improve bone density, but their use is accompanied by a long list of unacceptable potential side effects.
Since these observations, the role of natural progesterone in osteoporosis has been investigated, most notably John Lee, M.D., a California clinician and researcher. In a recent article, Dr. Lee reviewed several important observations concerning the role of progesterone in bone formation:’
The correlation of osteoporosis with hormone decline is stronger for progesterone than for estrogen. Bone loss begins well before the actual onset of menopause, a time when estrogen is still sufficient but when progesterone levels have already begun to decline.
There is evidence of progesterone receptors in osteoblasts (bone building cells) but not for estrogen, indicating a bone-building role for progesterone.
In the early 80’s Dr. Lee began using transdermal progesterone (derived from plant sterols) to treat his female osteoporotic patients. Bone mineral density (BMD) was monitored by lumbar dual photo absorptiometry, and other factors such as hypothyroidism and achlorhydria were adjusted as required. Dr. Lee observed BMD increases of 10-15% within 6 months and 20-25% in 3 years. Mean 3-year increase in BMD was approximately 15% with even greater increases in those with the lowest initial BMD. Therapy produced relief of bone pain, increased physical activity, height stabilization, and fracture prevention. The benefits of progesterone were independent of age, time from menopause, or estrogen use.”
Other significant benefits were observed in Dr. Lee’s patients: Women with endometrial hyperplasia when using estrogen alone reverted to normal endometrium on progesterone. Women who experienced fibrocystic breast disease while on estrogen alone reported improvement. Similarly, women who developed hypertension while on estrogen became normotensive when switched to progesterone. Lipid profiles improved, and a general feeling of well being without unpleasant side effects was characteristic of his patients.
Other menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, declining libido, and emotional irritability/ lability also respond well to progesterone therapy. Some patients reported an improvement in skin quality, and a decrease in “brown” spots.
1. Basic and Clinical Endocrinology, Lange Medical Publications, lst Edition, 1983:p.376.
Gaby, Alan. The Doctor’sGuide to Vitamin B6, Rodale, 1984, p. 25.
London, R. et al. Evaluation and Treatment of Breast Symptoms in Patients with PMS. Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 1983;28: 503-508.
Chakmakjian, Z. A Critical Assessment of Therapy for the Pre-menstrual Tension Syndrome. J. of Reproductive Medicine 1983;28: 532-537.
Whittaker, N. PMS and Post-partum Depression, Mothering1983: 27-34.
Kamen, Betty. Hormone Replacement Therapy, Yes or No, Nutrition Encounter, Inc. 1993: 210.
Lee, John. Successful Menopausal Osteoporosis Treatment Restoring Osteoclast/Osteoblast Equilibrium.Townsend Letter for Doctors,1994; 133-134
Prior, J, Vigna Y. Spinal bone loss and ovulatory disturbances New England JMedicine 1990; 323:1221-7
Prior, J. Progesterone as a bone-trophic hormone, EndocrineReviews 1990; 11: 386-398.
Lee, John. Osteoporosis Reversal, The Role of Progesterone, InternationalClinical Nutrition Review, 1990; 10:384-391.
Natural Progesterone does not cause cause cancer, in fact it is cancer protective and a preventative. Natural Progesterone is not the same as synthetic progestins that are in contraceptives and HRT ~
‘ The chemical structure of natural progesterone (P4) is quite different from chemically altered, synthetic chemicals called progestins, which results in different actions at the cell level... The evidence is clear that progesterone does not cause breast cancer. Indeed, progesterone is protective and preventative of breast cancer.’ ~
Estrogen stimulates cells to grow, which can lead to cancer. Progesterone (natural) inhibits the action of estrogen, hence it is protective against cancer.
‘Oestrogens have a key role in the aetiology of breast cancer, probably because of their proliferative effects. Current data suggest that these steroid hormones mediate the relationship between breast cancer and many established risk factors, such as age at menarche, age at menopause, and obesity in postmenopausal women.’ ~
Progestins (or progestogens), synthetic progesterones, are not the same as Natural Progesterone and have an altered molecular structure and side effects may include:
Breast tenderness or pain
Upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation
Changes in appetite
Muscle, joint, or bone pain
Mood swings and irritability
Runny nose, sneezing, and cough
Uncommon but potentially serious side effects requiring medical attention include:
Dimpling of breast skin
Clear or bloody discharge from nipple
Crusting or scaling of the nipple
Slow speech or difficulty speaking
Weakness or numbness of limbs
Absence of coordination
Sharp chest pain
Coughing up blood
Loss of or blurred vision
Unexpected vaginal bleeding
Uncontrollable shaking hands
Stomach pain or swelling
Hives, skin rash, and itching
Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Progestins are not suitable for people with a history of the following conditions, unless they are using it to treat the condition:
Severe arterial disease
Undiagnosed vaginal bleeding
Severe pruritus occurring during pregnancy
Pemphigoid occurring during pregnancy