Hormonal health is of prime importance in human beings. Medical research has shown that Progesterone creams are really helpful in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to reduce menopausal symptoms. The cream also acts to counter skin issues due to aging, bone loss and mood swings. Progesterone is basically a steroid hormone occurring naturally in the body but can be made artificially as well. It belongs to the class of steroid hormones named Progestogens. It is the main steroid hormone critical to menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and embryogenesis of human beings. Progesterone is very important in conceiving and supporting pregnancy. It is extensively used in women to support pregnancy and fertility and to treat gynecological disorders as well. Progesterone can be taken in many forms via mouth, injection or directly in the female reproductive organs. Progesterone cream is very commonly used as it gets absorbed easily in the skin and mixes in the bloodstream. This article explains the definition, importance, health benefits, usage and precautions of progesterone cream.
Classification of Progestogens
Progestogens are endogenous hormones i.e. they are made by our body. AS mentioned, Progestogens are a class of sex steroids which is further classified into Progesterone and Progestins. Both of these are made in laboratory but the chemical structure of Progestins differs from the naturally occurring hormone. Progesterone formulated in the lab is purely identical to the naturally occurring one and is called Bioidentical Progesterone. Progestins are considered more potent due to their long lasting effect while progesterone dissipates quickly through the skin for instant effect. The hormones are further classified as follows:
Sources of Progesterone Cream
The Progesterone hormone is mainly produced by a woman’s ovaries. It performs a critical role in a woman’s menstrual process. The progesterone cream and all of the progestin products can be made artificially in the laboratory. The lab produced progesterone and natural progesterone hormone is identical. Naturally occurring Progesterone including the prescription products Crinone and Prometrium are manufactured from a chemical named Diosgenin which is extracted from wild yam or soy. In the laboratory, it is converted to Progesterone. It’s important to note here that the human body is unable to make Progesterone from Diosgenin, so intake of wild yam or soy will not boost the body’s progesterone levels.
Benefits of Progesterone
It is very important in women’s hormonal health. It is produced by women’s ovaries and hence closely linked to menstrual cycle and gynecological issues. Progesterone is beneficial in women’s menstrual problems and helps maintain pregnancy as well. Skin benefits and bone health is also improved by using it. The benefits of progesterone are briefly explained below:
1. Counters menopause and related symptoms
The menopause happens when a woman’s menstrual cycle stops and she is unable to get pregnant naturally. It happens due to the dropping levels of Oestrogen and progesterone. Oestrogen and progesterone are primary female hormones that play important roles in a woman’s body. Oestrogen helps to release eggs from the ovaries and progesterone prepares womb for pregnancy. Progesterone is also necessary for implantation of the fertilized egg. Their low levels can cause a lot of problems. In menopause, these hormonal levels become very low due to which the periods first become less frequent over some time (which differs from months to years for different women) and then the periods stop altogether. Sometimes they can stop suddenly as well with indication of several symptoms.
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness and low libido
- Tender breasts
- Memory loss & Fatigue
- Low mood or anxiety
- Night Sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
HRT for Menopause Treatment
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a popular treatment being used to reduce the symptoms of menopause. It replaces female hormones that are at a lower level with the identical man made hormones as someone approaches menopause. Progesterone is usually used in combination with Oestrogen in this therapy.
2. Improves skin and removes anti-aging effects
The lower progesterone levels can also result in the weakening of skin elasticity, firmness and freshness. Progesterone cream is reported to have a very positive effect on the skin as it counters the anti-aging process and improves skin tone.
3: Helps improve bone health and density
Progesterone cream can also prevent or slow down osteopenia (condition in which bones lose protein and minerals). The progesterone cream is said to have better effect than the oral progesterone.
Difference Between Progesterone Supplement and Bioidentical Progesterone
Progesterone is consumed by the users in many forms namely pills, creams and injections etc. Different products have different concentrations of progesterone and are used according to the dosage prescribed. The users ought to understand the following terms prior to progesterone use.
People also use different progesterone supplements available in the market which claim to have progesterone as an ingredient. A few herbs and supplements are said to raise progesterone levels. These include:
a. Chaste berry
b. Evening primrose oil
c. Vitamin B6
However, the FDA does not use herbs and supplements as thoroughly as prescribed medicine. Even if the supplements contain progesterone, we are not sure of the concentration. Therefore it’s not a wise option to use them. Also, the use of supplements is not backed by evidence and hence their use is discouraged in treating the aforementioned health problems. Try using a reputable brand if you have to use herbal progesterone supplements anyway.
Bioidentical hormones are the synthetic hormones that are identical to the hormones produced by the human body. Most common identical hormones are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These hormones are then used in the Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to balance the hormones in men and women. Some prescribed forms of bioidentical hormones are made by a drug company while other forms are custom made by a pharmacist based on a doctor’s advice. FDA has approved a number of preparations of bioidentical progesterone, which are structurally identical to the hormones produced by the human body. These forms are tested vigorously to make sure of the safety and concentration labelled. These Bioidentical progesterone prescriptions are the best since we know exactly what quantity are we taking and what to expect.
Over the Counter Estrogen and Progesterone
There’s a term called Over-the-counter (OTC) which is used for drugs are medicines. Over the counter drugs are those drugs which are sold directly to consumers without a doctor’s advice. In the case of natural progesterone this is considered the safest practice as a topical hormone cream does not interfere with the liver or digestion – or other hormones directly. Over the counter Estrogen and Progesterone medicines are also sold retail. In the United States, estrogen is available in very low dosage. It is sold over the counter as natural estrogen cream (estriol oil or cream being the lowest and safest available). Oral and vaginal rings are not the same and add to their dangers. Over the counter progesterone is primarily sold as a topical cream which is known for many health benefits. Over the counter (OTC) products contain the essential hormone in varying strengths/concentrations as labeled and the natural progesterone oil / estriol are not conjugated and molecularly changed. They are actually identical to what our own bodies make when healthy. Over the counter estrogen and progesterone might be used in normal medical conditions but check with a doctor educated in natural, bioidentical hormone therapy BHT for clear information.
Progesterone Side Effects
With all the benefits mentioned, there surely are some risks and side effects associated with progesterone products. Since the medication involves hormonal activity it is best to be educated in using it. More should be written about the dangers of progestins but we should at least mention what might be considered progesterone side effects or sensitive situations. The side effects while using progesterone cream or progesterone products may differ from patient to patient. Few women will be very sensitive to the active ingredient but often times it is progestins that are the culprit but results are grouped in with natural progesterone. Generally, any drugs or medicines containing progesterone can cause the following side effects:
- Weight gain
- Blurred vision
- Fatigue and headaches
- Breast tenderness and enlargement
- Swelling and Inflammation
- Mood swings
- Irritation at the application site
Most symptoms for consumers are reported these effects on the first usage since the body is not familiar with the new hormonal change. Over time, the body adapts to the change and the adverse effects keep reducing. Anybody experiencing long term side effects which do not fade away must consult the doctor.
Progesterone Weight Loss or Weight Gain
As mentioned above, progesterone cream and products help in countering menopausal symptoms and helps in maintaining and supporting pregnancy. Since side effects of pregnancy involve weight gain as well so positive progesterone effects Counter weight gain in pregnancy and helps in controlling weight in pregnancy. However, there can be negative effects if the body doesn’t adjust with the administered hormones than it can result in weight gain as well.
Too much Progesterone
As they say excess of everything is bad, so is the case with progesterone. Taking too much progesterone is rare. High conjugated (not naturally converted) levels of progestins are linked to the risk of breast cancer. Elevated progesterone levels, during pregnancy, are also supposed to be responsible for symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as breast tenderness, feeling bloated and mood swings.
The Best Natural Bioidentical Hormone Cream
Progesterone is one of the best natural bioidentical hormone creams for a lot of medical problems associated with women hormonal health and gynecological disorders. It can have a magic effect if approved forms and prescribed dosages are administered in women facing hormonal issues. Progesterone cream is very easy in application as well since it gets absorbed in skin very quickly and mixes in blood stream readily to induce positive effects. Cautious use of progesterone cream with a doctor’s advice can help us maximize the positive impact of any hormone cream.