Progesterone is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. It can also be made in a laboratory.
"Progestin" is a general term for a substance that causes some or all of the biologic effects of progesterone. The term "progestin" is sometimes used to refer to the progesterone made in the laboratory that is in oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. However, all progesterone and progestin products are made in the laboratory. The term "natural progesterone" is really a misnomer. "Natural progesterones," including the prescription products Crinone and Prometrium, are made from a chemical called diosgenin that is isolated from wild yam or soy. In the laboratory, diosgenin is converted to progesterone. The human body is not able to make progesterone from diosgenin, so eating wild yam or soy will not boost your progesterone levels.
Over-the-counter (OTC) progesterone products may not contain progesterone concentrations as labeled. Also, topical progesterone products (preparations applied to the skin) marketed as cosmetics require no FDA approval prior to marketing. There is currently no limit on the amount of progesterone allowed in cosmetic products. In 1993 the FDA proposed a rule to limit the amount of progesterone in these products, but this rule was never finalized.
Women commonly take progesterone to help restart menstrual periods that unexpectedly stopped (amenorrhea), treat abnormal uterine bleeding associated with hormonal imbalance, and treat severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Progesterone is also used in combination with the hormone estrogen to "oppose estrogen" as part of hormone replacement therapy. If estrogen is given without progesterone, estrogen increases the risk of uterine cancer.
Progesterone is also used for a variety of other conditions not listed above, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Is a Form of:
Also Known As:
Corpus Luteum Hormone, Hormone de Grossesse, Hormone du Corps Jaune
How Does It Work?
Progesterone is a hormone released by the ovaries. Changing progesterone levels can contribute to abnormal menstrual periods and menopausal symptoms. Progesterone is also necessary for implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus and for maintaining pregnancy.
Lab-made progesterone is used to imitate the functions of the progesterone released by the ovaries.
- Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea). Taking progesterone by mouth and applying progesterone gel into the vagina are effective strategies for treating absence of menstrual periods in premenopausal women. Micronized progesterone is FDA-approved for this use, as is intravaginal progesterone gel (Crinone 4%).
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Micronized progesterone (Prometrium) is FDA-approved for use with estrogen as a component of HRT. Research shows that adding progesterone to HRT protects against side effects of estrogen.
- Inability to become pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (infertility). Intravaginal progesterone gel (Crinone 8%) is FDA-approved for use as a part of infertility treatment in women. Some research suggests that applying progesterone intravaginally and injecting it into the muscle may have similar effectiveness for increasing pregnancy rates as giving it by mouth. Also, research suggests that intravaginal progesterone seems to be as effective for pregnancy rates as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
- Abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia). Some research suggests that applying progesterone (Crinone) into the vagina prevents endometrial hyperplasia in women with an intact uterus that are taking estrogen replacement therapy. Other early research shows that a specific intravaginal progesterone cream may help reverse abnormal thickening of the endometrium and decrease vaginal bleeding in premenopausal women with non-cancerous endometrial hyperplasia.
- Breast pain (mastalgia). Some research suggests that applying progesterone (Crinone) into the vagina seems to reduce breast pain and tenderness in women with non-cancerous breast disease.
- Symptoms of menopause. Some research suggests that applying a specific progesterone cream (Progest) to the skin reduces symptoms such as hot flashes in menopausal women.
- Preterm birth. Most research suggests that applying progesterone gel or inserts into the vagina, alone or along with therapy to delay labor (tocolytic therapy), reduces the risk of premature birth in some women at high risk of premature birth. However, other research suggests that applying progesterone gel into the vagina does not decrease premature birth rates in women with a history of premature birth. The effect of progesterone on premature birth in women with twin pregnancies is not clear.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For hormone replacement therapy (HRT): 200 mg micronized progesterone (Prometrium) per day is typically taken for 12 days of a 25-day cycle with 0.625 mg conjugated estrogens.
- For inability to become pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (infertility): 300 mg micronized progesterone per day is usually taken for about 30 days after the embryo has been placed in the uterus.
- For preventing preterm birth: 100 mg micronized progesterone twice daily starting at week 20 of pregnancy has been used.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
- For symptoms of menopause: 20 mg progesterone cream (equivalent to 1/4 teaspoon Progest cream) is typically applied daily to rotating places on the body including upper arms, thighs, or breasts.
INSIDE THE VAGINA:
- For breast pain (mastalgia): a typical dose of 4 grams of vaginal cream containing 2.5% natural progesterone is placed inside the vagina from the 19th to the 25th day of a 28-day cycle.
- For absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea): one applicator (90 mg) of progesterone gel (Crinone 4% or 8%) is typically placed inside the vagina every other day for 6 days per month.
- For reducing abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia): a dose of 90 mg (Crinone 8%) or 100 mg progesterone cream placed inside the vagina daily from day 10 to day 25 or on days 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, and 27 of a 28-day cycle has been used.
- For inability to become pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (infertility): 90 mg progesterone (Crinone 8%) or 100-600 mg of other types of progesterone have been placed inside the vagina every day for about 2 weeks after the embryo has been placed in the uterus.
- For preventing premature labor: 90-400 mg progesterone in the form of gel or an insert has been placed in the vagina every day starting at about 18-22 weeks of pregnancy.
AS AN INJECTION:
- For inability to become pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (infertility): 50-100 mg progesterone each day with in vitro fertilization has been used.
Progesterone Supplements Frequently Asked Questions
What does a progesterone supplement do?
Progesterone supplements are then required to prepare the body for pregnancy and thicken the uterine lining to support successful embryo attachment in the womb. ... Continuation of progesterone supplementation is advisable, on an individual basis, even up to 12 weeks of pregnancy in a cycle where embryo transfer is done.
How can I increase my progesterone levels naturally?
Other ways to naturally increase natural progesterone
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Excess weight causes a woman's body to produce more estrogen.
- Reduce stress. Stress triggers the production of stress hormones and can cause the kidneys to convert hormones like progesterone to cortisol.
- Refrain from overexercising.
What are the symptoms of low progesterone?
If you aren't pregnant, some symptoms of low progesterone include:
- Hot flashes.
- Migraines or headaches.
- Depression, anxiety or other mood changes.
- Menstrual cycle irregularity or absence.
What supplements help increase progesterone?
Vitamin B6 has been shown to help improve progesterone levels and is, therefore, one of the vitamins which women who are trying to conceive often take.
- Sunflower Seeds.
- Dried Fruit.
Does taking progesterone make you gain weight?
Progesterone: It is also common for progesterone levels to decrease during menopause. Progesterone's role in weight gain is more deceiving; low levels of the hormone do not actually cause you to gain weight, but instead cause water retention or bloating.
What are the side effects of taking progesterone?
Commonly reported side effects of progesterone include: abdominal cramps, depression, dizziness, and headache. Other side effects include: anxiety, cough, diarrhea, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, bloating, emotional lability, and irritability. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.
Does vitamin C increase progesterone?
Vitamin C. Research has shown that women who take vitamin C have significantly increased levels of progesterone in their systems, in fact, women who took 750mg of vitamin C per day had an increase of 77%.
Does folic acid increase progesterone?
Improved pregnancy rates have been documented after folic acid supplement use, suggesting a possible link with ovulation, however research is limited. Higher intake of synthetic folate was significantly associated with higher luteal progesterone levels (P trend 0.05).
Does caffeine affect progesterone?
Among premenopausal women, caffeine and coffee intake were inversely associated with luteal levels of total and free estradiol. Furthermore, caffeine intake was positively associated with luteal progesterone levels. We also observed a positive association between tea intake and follicular and free estradiol levels.
When should I take progesterone?
It is usually taken once a day in the evening or at bedtime. You will probably take progesterone on a rotating schedule that alternates 10 to 12 days when you take progesterone with 16 to 18 days when you do not take the medication.
How do you know if progesterone is rising?
The levels of progesterone peak at 6–8 days after ovulation, even when a woman does not become pregnant.
This is the time when women may begin to experience pregnancy symptoms, including:
- breast tenderness.
- food cravings.
- increased nipple sensitivity.
- headaches and muscle aches.
Does stress cause low progesterone?
Chronic stress is also a big contributor to progesterone levels. When your body is stressed, it works to produce higher levels of the hormone cortisol which manages stress in your body. So, too much stress in a woman's life can lead to a progesterone deficiency, causing the estrogen dominance symptoms mentioned above.
Does low progesterone cause hair loss?
Progesterone and Estrogen Levels Out of Balance
Unfortunately, when progesterone levels get too low, estrogen dominance (a state of having too much estrogen in one's body relative to progesterone) can occur. This can trigger excessive hair shedding and ultimately, hair loss.
What are the symptoms of high estrogen and low progesterone?
Females with high estrogen can experience other symptoms, including:
- cold hands and feet.
- difficulty sleeping.
- hair loss.
- lowsex drive.
- mood changes, depression, or anxiety.
How can I increase estrogen and progesterone naturally?
Other ways to naturally increase natural progesterone
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Excess weight causes a woman's body to produce more estrogen
- Reduce stress. Stress triggers the production of stress hormonesand can cause the kidneys to convert hormones like progesterone to cortisol
- Refrain from overexercising
How long does it take to get progesterone levels up?
Progesterone levels rise after ovulation and peak five to nine days after your luteal phase–which occurs during the second half of the menstrual cycle, after ovulation occurs–so progesterone level is usually checked six to eight days after you ovulate (about day 21 of a day 28 cycle).
Why would a woman take progesterone?
Women take progesterone by mouth for inducing menstrual periods; and treating abnormal uterine bleeding associated with hormonal imbalance, and severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Progesterone is also used in combination with the hormone estrogen to "oppose estrogen" as part of hormone replacement therapy.
Does taking progesterone help you lose weight?
In all these effects note that progesterone does not directly cause weight loss. Instead it reduces the effect of other hormones in the body which are causing the weight gain. Think of it as allowing rather than causing the body to lose weight.
Does Progesterone cause hair growth?
Progesterone is our natural androgen (testosterone and DHEA) receptor blocker. In other words, it protects the hair follicle from testosterone. Progesterone is the reason women's hair grow so thick during pregnancy. To have adequate progesterone, we must ovulate regularly.