There’s a lot of buzz about the benefits of progesterone cream.
Alternative medical practitioners, health bloggers and actresses like Suzanne Somers (Chrissy from Three’s Company, a popular 70’s show if you didn’t grow up watching reruns) have touted progesterone cream as the “end all cure” for hormonal imbalances such as endometriosis, fibroids, menopause, PMS and infertility.
Since you don’t need a prescription for it and easily buy it online or Whole Foods, how could it possibly cause any harm?
Well, let me first state:
Addressing progesterone deficiency is A LOT more complicated than just adding one specific hormone to the mix.
If it were that easy, i’d be out of a job!
The Benefits of Progesterone
Progesterone is an A-list celebrity.
It’s a major sex hormone that operates harmoniously along with estrogen, which works to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. It’s used as starting material to make adrenal hormones (those stress hormones you’re constantly pumping out while sitting in traffic). And, it can also convert to estrogen or testostosterone if the body needs it.
It’s a powerhouse hormone that:
Essentially, progesterone helps counter the harmful effects too much estrogen can have on your body as a result of poor diet, irregular sleep patterns, stress, environmental toxins and sluggish detoxification.
Now, when your body has a difficult time breaking down and eliminating estrogen, you may experience the typical symptoms of estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency.
If any of these sound familiar, then you know the feeling:
Basically, every negative feeling we tend to associate with our hormones falls under this category!
If you’ve been suffering from PMS, painful periods, fibroids, and everything in between, taking progesterone might sound like the obvious answer to your hormonal problems.
And, for a while, it just might help!
Even too much of a “good” thing can do some harm.
Bioidentical VS. Synthetic Progesterone
Before running to your GYN and asking for progesterone, there is a huge difference between synthetic progesterone and the "safe" alternative often stemming from bioidentical hormones.
Synthetic pill forms of progesterone are known as Progestins, which are only available via a doctor’s prescription.
The more popular form is Provera. However, since these progestins are synthetic they are associated with serious side effects such as increased risk of stroke, heart disease and breast cancer.
In addition to these scary side effects, taking oral progesterone is an ineffective therapy because the body will only absorb 10-15% of the hormone!
This happens because it has to first pass through potent stomach acids. The remaining hormones that survive this process then go to the liver where they will be further broken down and detoxified before before letting any chemical pass into the bloodstream.
Also, the liver breaks down progesterone quickly, so even less of it is available in the bloodstream.
Bottom line: You would have to take A LOT of pills with very little therapeutic effect and high risk of side effects.
As a result of these risks associated with conventional hormone therapy, bioidentical hormone replacement jumped on the seen and has seen increased popularity throughout the years.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is an “alternative” hormone replacement model. Unlike conventional synthetic hormones, bioidentical hormones attempt to use the most chemically “identical” plant sources of progesterone, specifically Wild Yam, Diascorea uilosa.
Advocates of bioidentical hormone therapy claim it is the safest and most effective way to treat hormonal imbalances with no detrimental side effects.
Although it’s derived from “natural sources”, let’s not forget, BHRT progesterone is still manufactured in a lab.
It's absolutely NOT the same as the progesterone your body manufactures.
Why Progesterone Cream Is So Popular
Similar to synthetic hormones, there are several delivery methods for bioidentical hormones. They come in the form of pills, injections, patches, gels, vaginal rings and of course the most popular has been creams.
So why are creams so popular?
Topical creams are instantly absorbed into the bloodstream bypassing the stomach and liver detoxification process that usually breaks everything down into smaller dosages.
Creams instantly infuse your body with an abundant amount of progesterone.
Progesterone cell receptors instantly attract more progesterone and this process helps decrease your symptoms.
Progesterone Cream Complications
Progesterone creams need to be used cautiously because your body has a smart and complex protection mechanism that gets triggered.
The longer you slather on progesterone cream, the cell receptors eventually get numb and will require larger and larger doses to keep symptoms from returning.
This is a sign that your progesterone receptor cells are rejecting the hormone and in a sense shut their doors, leaving you “progesterone resistant”.
They just can’t take anymore….
During this time, progesterone tends to build up in your fat tissues increasing your toxic burden and also contributes to disruptions in adrenal hormones such as cortisol, DHEA and testosterone.
You can end up with more hormonal imbalances and toxicity than you even started with.
And, clearing these toxins from you body can take up to three to six months!
Boost Progesterone Naturally
Relying on bio-identical hormones turns a deaf ear to many underlying causes of low progesterone such as trigger foods, sluggish digestion, gut health, irregular sleep patterns, low nutrient and minerals, your toxic and viral load, and of course stress.
If you suspect progesterone deficiency, you start by making these lifestyle adjustments to consistently boost progesterone naturally.
Casual progesterone cream use comes with a host of potential problems. A holistic alternative to progesterone cream is to raise the levels naturally. This ensures that you are addressing root causes for long term solutions.
I believe that there are times when bio-identical hormones are beneficial, but only under the guidance of a functional medicine practitioner who can help address these underlying factors.
If you’re ready to get your body back in balance and heal from what’s really causing your hormonal imbalance then schedule your FREE 30 minute phone consultation with me. In our call we will address what’s going on, what you’ve tried and what changes you can make now to start enjoying a body free from pain and discomfort.