Progesterone is a steroid hormone found in the body of women. The level of this hormone fluctuates depending on the need and state of the body. Progesterone is mainly released by the corpus luteum during ovulation. Secretion of progesterone in small amounts also takes place in the adrenal gland. Progesterone plays an important role during the time of pregnancy and menstruation. In females, the levels reach a peak value during the luteal phase of the menstruation cycle. Adequate levels of progesterone are necessary during pregnancy for normal development of the baby. It counteracts the harmful effects of excess estrogen, that might cause serious birth defects in a child if the quantity secreted goes beyond normal. Women deficient in progesterone are externally administered to suffice the need of the body. Doctors either prescribe pills, injection or creams to supplement the need of progesterone in the body.
Progesterone Cream: An Overview
The symptoms of low progesterone inside a woman's body can easily be diagnosed. The causes are mostly associated with unhealthy lifestyle that includes stress, depression and insomnia. Excessive smoking and drinking are also responsible for low progesterone levels. Progesterone creams are available both over the counter and prescription forms. The creams are meant for external application as they are easily absorbed by the body. They are basically of two types, synthetic and natural. Creams, pills or injections are also advised to women who have undergone menopause. The risk of cancer of the reproductive system and breast cancer increases if the body is deficient in progesterone and the levels of estrogen are on the higher side. Synthetic progesterone is manufactured in laboratories and the main component of such creams is progestin. Natural progesterone creams are herbal products, derived mainly from Mexican wild yam, ginseng and many other herbs. The extract is known to have a similar molecular composition to that of the hormone produced by the body. Progesterone shots are sometimes replaced by creams due the simplicity in their application.
The dosage of the cream varies depending upon the health status of a woman. Provera is a very common product prescribed by doctors. Women during pregnancy are usually advised not to apply the creams topically. The levels of progesterone rises to up to 300-400 mg during the last few months of pregnancy. Thus, maintaining such high levels with external dose is not safe during pregnancy. However, application of a natural progesterone cream is safe for pre and postmenopausal women. Progesterone is a fat soluble hormone and the ingredients of the cream get easily absorbed by the body. The cream passes to the capillary blood through subcutaneous fat.
The best areas for application as suggested by doctors are palms of hand, inner thighs, neck, chest, breast and face (if it suits). The dose is strictly decided by doctors. Usually, the quantity required for a premenopausal woman is 15-24 mg/day. It needs to be continued for 14 days or stopped before onset of periods. The dose is approximately 15mg/day continuing for 25 days for postmenopausal woman. The creams usually contain 400-500 mg of progesterone in an ounce. Thus ¼ teaspoon meets the need of 20mg of progesterone per day. The cream is supposed to be massaged in gentle motions till it gets absorbed completely. Preceding this comes the most obvious question, 'are there any side effects of progesterone creams'.
A woman's body undergoes many changes when under the effect of progesterone creams. This hormone is one of the main reasons behind the appearance of symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome. The side effects are tender breasts, breast pain, pain in muscles, headaches, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, bloating, stomach and abdominal pain. These symptoms are quite normal. However, in some cases, side effects are associated with sudden weight gain and appearance of facial hair. It might also cause vaginal problems, like itching and untimely discharge. Its use is strictly restricted during pregnancy as it increases chances of miscarriage and birth defects in the child. The most obvious side effects observed in postmenopausal women are increased risk of strokes, breast cancer, cardiac irregularities and migraine headaches. Application of these creams for a prolonged period might also cause blurred vision and formation of fibroid in the uterus.
Thus, it's advisable to always consult a doctor before choosing any brand of a progesterone cream. Although natural creams are considered to be safer than synthetic ones, their authenticity should be approved of by doctors. Therefore, do not take any decision all by yourself.