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Progesterone Cream May Deliver a High Dose

Women who use over-the-counter progesterone creams could be exposed to hormone levels comparable to prescription oral progesterone, a small study suggests.

The study compared one brand of progesterone cream with a prescription oral progesterone that, like the cream, is derived from plant sources and provides a hormone that is structurally identical to the natural progesterone in a woman's body. The prescription product, Prometrium, is used as part of hormone replacement therapy after menopause, or for restoring menstruation in younger women whose periods have stopped.

The study found that the over-the-counter cream, when taken as the label directs, exposed study volunteers to as much hormone as the prescription did. However, the cream delivered a steadier dose because it is slowly absorbed through the skin.

We recommend that you not use over-the-counter progesterone creams unless you know exactly how much progesterone is in the product, and how much progesterone you actually need.

The dose of progesterone you get from the cream will depend on how much you apply, how often you apply it, and where you apply it. Some areas of the body absorb better than others.

Your wisest course of action is to consult with one of our naturopathic physicians before you to try to "rebalance" your hormones by yourself. You need expert advice to determine the appropriate amount of progesterone (if any) and the best delivery method for you.

Slathering progesterone cream on your body just because you think it is a good idea is not a good idea. Progesterone is a very powerful hormone. Treat it with respect.

Source: Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, June 2005