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Natural Progesterone Cream for PCOS: The Missing Piece?

If you have been on any PCOS forum or Facebook page, you’re sure to come across a discussion on natural progesterone cream and PCOS. This is something that I’ve come across myself but never used. Well, I thought it might be time to have a closer look at why progesterone cream might be useful for PCOS and if it is, how we should be using it.

Before we get in to the nuts of bolts of Natural Progesterone cream for PCOS, we need to understand what progesterone is and why it is important for our bodies.

What is Progesterone?

Progesterone is a hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies (or should be). Progesterone levels rise and fall throughout our cycle, and is normally at its peak after ovulation. You see, once you have ovulated and the egg has been released, what is left of the follicle become a progesterone factory and raises progesterone levels to 200 to 300 times of that of estrogen (1).

The problem comes in when we don’t ovulate. That surge in progesterone causes the lining of the uterus to thicken in preparation for pregnancy and also tells the brain to stop producing hormones to stimulate your ovaries to produce follicles. So, if that surge of progesterone never happens, the ovaries are constantly stimulated to produce follicles which can lead to the development of multiple cysts forming.

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Estrogen Dominance

As a result of this low progesterone level, many women with PCOS are thought to be estrogen dominant. According to Dr John Lee, some symptoms of estrogen dominance include (2):

 

  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Water retention and bloating
  • Infertility
  • Hair loss
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Breast and uterine cancer
  • Irritability

 

Doesn’t sound good, does it!? Dr Lee recommends natural progesterone cream to counter balance the effects of estrogen in our bodies and it has been used successfully with many women with PCOS, it seems. (3)

Okay so now let’s have a look at how to use Natural Progesterone Cream.

 

How to Use Natural Progesterone Cream

Natural progesterone cream for pcos ovaryThe idea with using the cream is to mimic your natural cycle. So, you should take the cream after ovulation, in the last two weeks of your cycle, stopping two days before your period is due to start.

Now, my first thought here was, “What if you don’t have a cycle or your cycle is irregular?” Well, according to Natural Fertility Info (4) you need to work out what is normal for you. So, irrespective of the length of your cycle, work out when your next period is due and work two weeks back from that. That is when you should start using the cream.

If there is no rhythm to your cycle, you should mimic a cycle by following the same usage as normal, choosing a date and using the cream for 12 days before stopping for 16 days.

The Dosage

Both Dr Lee and Dr Mercola (3 and 5) recommend a dose of 15-24mg per day. The half life of the cream is relatively short so the dose should be split into two doses (morning and evening).

Where to Apply the Cream

You can apply the cream directly to the skin but it is preferable to use the cream vaginally. The reason for this is that progesterone is fat soluble. This means that it is easily absorbed by the fat cells under the skin where it is often stored. This causes a build up of progesterone in the body which is very unhelpful. Also, you may no longer feel the benefits of the cream as the progesterone is being stored instead of being used.

By applying the cream vaginally, you are bypassing the fat cells and allowing the cream to be absorbed directly into the blood stream that serves the ovaries. This again mimics the release of progesterone from the follicle.

Where can I get Natural Progesterone Cream?

No prescription is needed for natural progesterone cream and it is available from varuious retailers, including Amazon.

How long Should I use it For?

Dr Lee suggests that you use the cream for about 6 months to regulate your cycle and then wean yourself from the cream to see if your body is able to regulate itself. Start by using half of the dose and see how your body responds. Obviosuly if you need to keep using it, then do.

Are There any Side Effects?

I feel like it would be irresponsible of me to tell you all of the positives of using natural progesterone cream for PCOS, without letting you know about possible side effects.

Well, to be honest, I couldn’t find a whole lot of negative side effects of the cream. It seems fairly safe but, as with all things, you need to make sure that you are making informed decisions about your PCOS management. Please talk to your doctor before starting the cream or if you need further support.

A Final Word of Warning

Just before you rush off to Amazon to order your natural progesterone cream, there is one last word of warning. The cream will not necessarily solve your PCOS problem and address the route cause. Dr Lee suggests that it is vital to incorporate a healthy PCOS diet and exercise to manage your PCOS and natural progesterone cream is just one piece of the puzzle.

Have you tried natural progesterone cream? I would love to hear from you if you have! Please leave me a comment below and let me know if you felt any benefits from using the cream!

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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

26 Responses

26 Responses

  1. I had great success using Progesterone only once for about 2 weeks in June of 2017 and I’ve had very consist periods ever since (2 years). It seemed to just reset my whole body.

    For about 10 years I only had 1 or 2 periods a year and they were so heavy! (I would sometimes overflow a menstrual cup and giant night pads within 10 mins of having just changed them.). Sometimes they were 3 weeks long! After I stumbled upon an article on estrogen dominance I decided to experiment on my self. I reasoned that if I had really high estrogen (as evidenced by my super massive flow) that I would need a heavy dose of progesterone to exceed the estrogen balance.

    I administered 1 pump high into my vagina twice a day via an insulin syringe that I cut the needle off and also rubbed it on different spots on my body over the course of about 2 weeks. I believe I ended up using a total of 2 bottles of the highest concentration cream I could find. I then stopped and within 2 days I got my period. My periods, while not as regular as some, have happened every month since and have been significantly less painful, and much lighter (I can use a menstrual cup like a normal person now). My sex drive is back (I suspect because I’m actually ovulating now) (and I haven’t used any more progesterone after that first time).

    On an interesting side note, it also changed my nipples (they were always flat with large pale areolas, and I now have smaller and darker areolas with a prominent protruding nipple). From what I’ve since read, this likely happened because I’ve always had low progesterone, and I never had enough in my system to develop my nipples “properly”. I now have to worry about nipping out through my shirt on occasion, which I never had experienced before. Just thought I should mentioning it as a possible side effect.

    Overall, I’m very happy with my little experiment. 🙂

    1. I should also mention, I had been doing a lot of other things too for my PCOS (many recommendations from this site), but it seemed that the single high dose of progesterone was the thing that finally game me a break through and reset my personal biochemistry.

  2. Hi, I have pcos and my doctor has me taking 10mg of medroxyprogesterone 21 days out of the month and then I stop the progest. to have my cycle then resume the protgest. again on the 8th day of my cycle . I would like to get pregnant but I was wondering how would I take the progesterone for optimal ovulation? Would I use the cream the same way I use the pill? 10.g of cream for 21 days then stop until my 8th day.? Also, I notice my period hasn’t come along for the last two months like it normally does on the pill progesterone . Could I get some insight on these things? I sont have insurance right now to go and get help and I am looking for a more naturally alternative as the pill form is causing me to have some side effects.

  3. Hi,

    I understand the principles behind the use of progesterone cream regulating cycles due to the increase and then drop in progesterone but will the cream actually help you ovulate or does it just give you a ‘regular cycle’ i.e. a period every 28 days or so?

    Thanks,
    Elle

  4. I was diagnosed with PCOS back in Feb 2016. My OB prescribed me birth control pills & Metformin. I took birth control pills for a month & stopped. My cycles were back. I took metformin for 2 years & stopped taking it. During those two years I kept doing my research & figured out drugs & doctors aren’t no help. I started multiple herbal & non-drugs supplements. I completely stared eating non processed carbs & sugars (there are some cheat days), otherwise it’s going good.
    Here are the list of supplements I’m currently taking;
    1. DIM Pure 200 MG – Energy Fatigue & Stress Relief, Estrogen Balance, Menopause & Hot Flashes, Hormonal Support for Women and Men – 60 Vegetarian Soft Capsules
    2. CONCEPTION Fertility Prenatal Vitamins – Regulate Your Cycle, Balance Hormones, Aid Ovulation – Myo-Inositol, Vitex, Folate Folic Acid – 60 Vegetarian Soft Capsules
    3. VITEX Pure 400 MG – Natural PMS Relief, Balance Hormones, Regulate Your Cycle, Promote Skin Health – Chasteberry – Full-Spectrum & Standardized – 60 Vegetarian Soft Capsules
    4. DEVA Vegan Vitamins Vegan Evening Primrose Oil Vcaps, 90-Count Bottle
    Note: taking twice the amount suggested on the bottle
    5. Terry Naturally Tri-Iodine 12.5 mg, 90 Capsules (FFP)
    My cycles are typically 32-37 days. Can you please suggest me anything else I can add. Also, can I can Progesterone cream? If yes, then when to when, how much & how exactly to use? On many places I read people using differently.

    1. I am seeing a naturopathic dr who has me taking nearly all these same vitamins and I’m taking a pill form of bio identical progesterone. I went from having no period to a period every 20 days. Is this normal? Ive been doing this routine for 3 months now. My dr thinks my body is just regulating. Has anyone else had similar side effects?

  5. I am 30 years old and have been ttc for over 7 years. I am on the lean side of pcos and have never had a regular cycle in my life. Just started the cream 11 days ago and started my period at day 8. I am beyond excited! I really hope this can get me regulated. I have been following all your advice on no dairy, no gluten, vitamin d, inositol, and spearmint tea twice a day. I am very hopeful for a happy ending with all of this:) Tarryn you seriously are amazing for putting this website all together for others to benefit from. I would not be where I am today with out your guidance. So thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

  6. I use Progensa Plus. Prior, my periods kept getting farther and farther apart and were up to every 40 days. My mom, a nurse, was taking Progensa and recommended it. The first month, I followed the Progensa recommendations, which are different from Dr. Lee’s. My period happened at 28 days. The next month, I remembered to use it only a few times. My period was at 40 days again. This month, I remembered and used extra just to be safe, and my period was at 24 days. I will go back to using as prescribed by Progensa.

  7. Hi. I started using essential oils along with a natural progesterone cream. Iv been using it for 4 months and in those 4 months my cycles have gone from 100+ right down to 29-30 days.

  8. I was lucky and found a supplement called DIM, while it gave me my period back it didn’t address the estrogen dominance. What has helped me lose weight, have more energy and keep my cycle regular (to the day) has been a very clean diet without bread, alcohol, or coffee and supplements like Estrosense, Inositol (stabilizes blood sugar-incredible difference!) And flax seed. I also make sure I stay active each day and swap cardio and weight training at least twice a week. Im not 100% but I’m so much happier with my symptoms under control. I hope this helps!

  9. Hello, when I was 16 years old my doctor told me I have fibroids that what cause me having irregular periods and heavy bleeding so she put me on birth control pill and I been on it for 12 years .. In August 2015 I quit taking my pill and start taking progrestrone cream, chasteberry (vitex), metformin, and vitamin c my period came on mid September 2015 but I missed my periods in October, November, and December but in January 1 2016 my period finally came I took progrestrone cream, chaste berry, vitamin c, kelp,femsupport (got it on ebay.com), Caesar Pharma Menstrufix (got it on eBay.com) and Caesar Pharma OvuVita (got it on eBay.com)… I just happy to have an normal period again without birth control pill

  10. I hadnt had had a period in over a year and a half used natural progesterone cream i got at a nutrtion store n around a week later i had a normal period i have done it on 2 seperate occasions and it has worked…i also have pcos …it just felt good to release all that from getting my menstrual soon i will have health insurance and find a good dr to help me because i also want kids one day…soon (29yrs old)

  11. It’s amazing reading all this now. I am 45 now. Twenty-five years ago, all my doctor knew was that I was unable to get pregnant. Even fertility doctors didn’t use the term PCOS. I found out ten years ago that was my battle. I am glad that so much is out there now and there is so much more awareness to PCOS and doctors are much better at diagnosing and advising women today. We have such a plethora of information at our fingertips and are so fortunate that we have other women we can talk to and hear their stories and how each of us manages on a daily basis on our journey to wellness. Thank you for sharing all your stories.

  12. I highly recommend tracking your cycles with the Creighton method! It has been an eye opening on how PCOS is affecting me. I started just a month ago, and my doctor can already tell where some of my problem areas are.

  13. HI Maria,
    Thanks for your sharing, and giving me so much hope.
    I’m trying to get my period back after failure Stimulate ovulation.
    We will get there.
    Phoebe

  14. Ashley,

    I’ve recently been diagnosed with PCOS. Can you please share some things that have helped you? Thanks in advance!

    1. I am no expert in this but I’ve had PCOS since forever. I don’t remember a time where I got my periods easily and a year where I got periods every month. Have been under the guidance of an Ob/gyn and now trying to conceive.. Few things that have worked for me, although yet to eradicate PCOS completely for me are:

      1)I eventually let go of feeling sorry for myself and blaming PCOS the reason of me being fat and different. I, somehow, ingrained it in my mind that I can’t change the way I look, lose fat, be good just because I have PCOS.

      2) I met with a doctor and discussed it with her in detail. About my problem, about my options, about my concerns and about prevention.

      3) I am avid reader of this blog and it gives you not only hope but guidance as to what should you do and don’t.

      4) I have started brisk walking/jogging 25 mins daily, 6 days a week and started eating sensibly. I don’t really have a sweet tooth or crave fatty food, my problem was eating when I am not hungry and potion outta control. Won’t say I got there but I am better than before. Lost 15lbs in 3 months.

      5) Didn’t get periods even after loosing weight, didn’t conceive even after trying clomid 500 mg. Doctor put me on prenatal vitamin and Metformin 2000 mg for last 2 months, still trying to get upto that dosage, can only tolerate 1500 mg as of yet.

      6) Started taking insitol in the form of pragnitude as mentioned here.

      7) No periods no ovulation even after taking all this – In fact workout sweat or whatever gave me extremely bad rashes. Then I found out Tarryn’s blog on omega 3 and testosterone.

      8) My problem is that I can’t take big pills and after taking 2 packets of pragnitude, 3 tablets of metformin and 1 giant pre natal vitamin, it was really hard for me to take omega3 also. So didn’t start it and procrastinated on it. Then when my acne got really bad and people started looking at my acne while talking to me rather than making an eye contact with me, I thought I should better start on Omega3.

      9) Was reading a review of one of gummy omega3, where I found Coromega Omega3 at Amazon.com. It has the right amount of DHA & EPA, it is NOT A TABLET, it is in a ‘Tang’ like orange flavor concentrated liquid and GUESS WHAT – Within 4 days of taking it, I got cramps and boom Periods!!! Regular, normal, without any medicine period without heavy bleeding and clotting that provera or birth control pills give you.

      10) Its been 9 days since first day of my period and we are still trying to conceive and I am not sure if we will get successful in it or not, but I have a hope now.

      I used to think my body has come up to a point where nothing works, I will never be cured. I am not sure what worked out for me, neither am I sure if this process will repeat itself, success should be able to repeat itself right, but I am not going to give up….

      I will take Pragnitude, I will take metformin, I will workout even if only 25 mins a day, I will try to eat less and only when I am hungry and I will continue to omega3. Some day sun will shine again, some day life will smile on us. I want to bring the change, I wanna see in myself.

      1. Dear Maria,
        You are being so proactive in not only helping yourself but other women understand what it really means to have PCOS. Great job and keep trying. My mother was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis after a long time of trying to have a baby after me and at 34 had to have a full hysterectomy due to growths on her ovaries and such horrific bleeding and periods. So when I started having femal issues we knew what to do but still wasn’t as informed. My husband and I tried for three years including clomid Metphormin and 3 failed iui treatments. Dr finally said he only gave us a 1% chance of having a baby the other dr we saw said 2% But I wouldn’t accept that! I finally started a regiment like you and lost 35 lbs which I am 59 and still weighed 175 so you don’t have to be skinny just healthier and my husband to reward me for my hard work took me on a vacation and when we came back about 3 weeks later I found out I was pregnant. I now have a beautiful 18 month old. I gained all my weight plus a few pbs being Prego and am having a hard time getting back into a routine especially with a little one and long work hours but you reminded me that even a few min a day can make such a big difference. I am 28 and hope to have another baby by 30. I am going to try talk to my doc about the cream because the achne, mood swings and no sex drive are really wearing.. Thanks and know there is hope and you will have your happy ending!!

  15. While I’ve enjoyed much of what you’ve written on PCOS, I must wholeheartedly disagree with this recommendation to use progesterone cream. In the short-term, I know many find it beneficial, however in the long-term, I have a number of concerns:
    1. The creams are extremely difficult to dose correctly, as you’re dealing with a cream and attempting to apply it topically and vaginally. Depending on the source of the progesterone, the concentration may or may not be accurate.
    2. Progesterone, when applied topically, does tend to accumulate in the fatty tissues. I have doubts about the ability of vaginal application to bypass this, but would be interested to see any research demonstrating this to be true. Accumulation of progesterone in the fatty tissues causes further hormonal dysregulation, because there is excess progesterone in the body, which tends to down-regulate progesterone receptors. This often causes a person to need larger and larger quantities of the cream to have the same effect.
    3. Hormone creams can affect others that you are in contact with. Children or partners may inadvertently absorb excess progesterone.
    4. Taking exogenous hormones, whether naturally or chemically derived, does nothing to correct the underlying pathomechanisms that lead to estrogen dominance in the first place.
    As a woman who has ‘cured’ my own PCOS, and has worked with many women who have a PCOS diagnosis, I encourage everyone to skip the ‘easy answers’, as they tend to cause more difficulty in the long run.

    1. The biggest changes I made that I believe helped me recover from PCOS were diet, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine.

      I followed many of the dietary recommendations that are presented on this site, but have found the Weston Price Foundation’s nutritional guidelines the most helpful. Dietary changes were slow and gradual, but I’ve stuck with them for many years because this has helped me tremendously.

      I started getting acupuncture regularly, and later taking Chinese herbal formulas. I was so amazed with the results I got, that I eventually went to acupuncture school and studied both so that I could share this incredible medicine with others. I got treatments and took herbs off and on for 6 years before I was completely free of symptoms. Now, all of my blood tests and hormone levels are normal, my cycles have been regular for 2 years, and I conceived my second baby (currently pregnant) on the first cycle trying!

      Anyone interested in trying acupuncture and Chinese herbs should check NCCAOM.org for board-certified practitioners in their area.

      1. I conceive my dd after 4 years of trying …. I was actually scheduled for a hysterectomy the month I got pregnant with her. I had tried everything !! Diet , prescription fertility drugs, progesterone creme and when I found out I need a hysterectomy I thought might as well give one last thing a try. I hadn’t tried it before because I really didn’t think it would do anything nor could I find a lot of research on it. But it’s Maca Root. And within 2 days I could tell it was helping! For the first time ever in my life had a normal cycle and the next month I was able to get pregnant. Hope it help you as well

      2. In my twenties and early 30s, I used nutraceuticals , diet and exercise to control my PCOS. It wasn’t until I turned 38 and now almost 40 that my same regime is not working. I had labs done and my progesterone is in fact low. I started adding a natural progesterone cream daily and have HUGE benefits. Noticed a change in overall mental health and physical health almost immediately. My hair was falling out, I gained 15 lbs which seemed to be mid section area only, depressed, moody, and always hungry. Adding the progesterone cream daily along with my PCOS supplements, diet specific and exercise has decreased all those newer symptoms I was having. I believe they have now decided there are 4 or 5 different types of PCOS. I am estrogen dominant.

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