Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Avoiding HRT ~ Progesterone Cream

As promised, I am concluding the posts about what I have done to help me through 'The Change' naturally. I want to avoid medical HRT at all costs. As mentioned before, I found a great book by Ann Louise Gittleman & her advice has been of tremendous benefit to me, personally, w/the use of Flaxseed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil & Progesterone Cream. Another great souce of information on the use of Progesterone came from Dr. John R. Lee, M. D.; especially from a free CD I had gotten from the health food store that I work at, even before I worked there, on which he is giving a presentation about the benefits of using Progesterone Cream.

Below, are Q & A's from from Dr. Lee's website. I thought it was better to give you information 'from the horse's mouth' than to muttle through it myself. As I clarified in a comment to my last post (on using Evening Primrose Oil), talk to your Dr about any personal health issues you have before starting any new regimen...also take into consideration that MOST M.D.'s are only trained to use the practice of MEDICINE & no natural/herbal/holistic practices at all. It seems that everything is 'fixed' w/either surgery or a pill. My personal opinion is that: 1) we can benefit from BOTH; 2) we are ALL different, one size does NOT fit all! 3) I personally fear the changes coming to our health-care system & want to try to avoid using it as long as possible.

All of this information I'm giving you on my personal regimen is meant for information & opinion ONLY...this is not meant to be medical advice to you, personally. I'm sure you all understand that this must be stated. This has been of great benefit for me.

Now, before I post Dr. Lee's information, you must know that there will be a few personal issues discussed, below. I happen to believe that hard things must be discussed or else...how will we know? How will we know that what we are feeling/experiencing is 'normal'? How will we know that there are ways to ease one problem w/o increasing another? How will be know that there might be a better way? Personally, sadly, I know very few women who are facing the physical changes in their lives, that come w/age, naturally. I have had practically no one to go to for answers &/or reassurance; that's a huge reason why I want to share the advice I've been given & research I have found - that has worked for me. I want to encourage you to do your own research.

With that, I will leave you w/the Q & A's from Dr. Lee's website. I hope it helps you, too.

Blessings from Ohio...Kim<><


FAQ's About Progesterone Cream
by John R. Lee, M.D. and Virginia Hopkins

Q: What is progesterone?

A: Progesterone is a steroid hormone made by the corpus luteum of the ovary at ovulation, and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. Progesterone is manufactured in the body from the steroid hormone pregnenolone, and is a precursor to most of the other steroid hormones, including cortisol, androstenedione, the estrogens and testosterone.
In a normally cycling female, the corpus luteum produces 20 to 30 mg of progesterone daily during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.

Q: Why do women need progesterone?

A: Progesterone is needed in hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women for many reasons, but one of its most important roles is to balance or oppose the effects of estrogen. Unopposed estrogen creates a strong risk for breast cancer and reproductive cancers.

Estrogen levels drop only 40-60% at menopause, which is just enough to stop the menstrual cycle. But progesterone levels may drop to near zero in some women. Because progesterone is the precursor to so many other steroid hormones, its use can greatly enhance overall hormone balance after menopause. Progesterone also stimulates bone-building and thus helps protect against osteoporosis.

Q: Why not just use the progestin Provera as prescribed by most doctors?

A: Progesterone is preferable to the synthetic progestins such as Provera, because it is natural to the body and has no undesirable side effects when used as directed.
If you have any doubts about how different progesterone is from the progestins, remember that the placenta produces 300-400 mg of progesterone daily during the last few months of pregnancy, so we know that such levels are safe for the developing baby. But progestins, even at fractions of this dose, can cause birth defects. The progestins also cause many other side effects, including partial loss of vision, breast cancer in test dogs, an increased risk of strokes, fluid retention, migraine headaches, asthma, cardiac irregularities and depression.

Q: What is estrogen dominance?

A: Dr. Lee has coined the term "estrogen dominance," to describe what happens when the normal ratio or balance of estrogen to progesterone is changed by excess estrogen or inadequate progesterone. Estrogen is a potent and potentially dangerous hormone when not balanced by adequate progesterone.
Both women who have suffered from PMS and women who have suffered from menopausal symptoms, will recognize the hallmark symptoms of estrogen dominance: weight gain, bloating, mood swings, irritability, tender breasts, headaches, fatigue, depression, hypoglycemia, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and fibrocystic breasts. Estrogen dominance is known to cause and/or contribute to cancer of the breast, ovary, endometrium (uterus), and prostate.

Q: Why would a premenopausal woman need progesterone cream?

A: In the ten to fifteen years before menopause, many women regularly have anovulatory cycles in which they make enough estrogen to create menstruation, but they don't make any progesterone, thus setting the stage for estrogen dominance. Using progesterone cream during anovulatory months can help prevent the symptoms of PMS.

We now know that PMS can occur despite normal progesterone levels when stress is present. Stress increases cortisol production; cortisol blockades (or competes for) progesterone receptors. Additional progesterone is required to overcome this blockade, and stress management is important.

Q: What is progesterone made from?

A: The USP progeterone used for hormone replacement comes from plant fats and oils, usually a substance called diosgenin which is extracted from a very specific type of wild yam that grows in Mexico, or from soybeans. In the laboratory diosgenin is chemically synthesized into real human progesterone. The other human steroid hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and the cortisones are also nearly always synthesized from diosgenin.

Some companies are trying to sell diosgenin, which they label "wild yam extract" as a medicine or supplement, claiming that the body will then convert it into hormones as needed. While we know this can be done in the laboratory, there is no evidence that this conversion takes place in the human body.

Q: Where should I put the progesterone cream?

A: Because progesterone is very fat-soluble, it is easily absorbed through the skin. From subcutaneous fat, progesterone is absorbed into capillary blood. Thus absorption is best at all the skin sites where people blush: face, neck, chest, breasts, inner arms and palms of the hands.

Q: What is the recommended dosage of progesterone?

A: For premenopausal women the usual dose is 15-24 mg/day for 14 days before expected menses, stopping the day or so before menses.

For postmenopausal women, the dose that often works well is 15 mg/day for 25 days of the calendar month.

Q: What amount of progesterone do you recommend in a cream?

A: Dr. Lee recommends the creams that contain 450-500 mg of progesterone per ounce, which is 1.6% by weight or 3% by volume. This means that about ¼ teaspoon daily would provide about 20 mg/day.

Q: How safe is progesterone cream?

A: During the third trimester of pregnancy, the placenta produces about 300 mg of progesterone daily, so we know that a one-time overdose of the cream is virtually impossible. If you used a whole jar at once it might make you sleepy. However, Dr. Lee recommends that women avoid using higher than the recommended dosage to avoid hormone imbalances. More is not better when it comes to hormone balance.

Q: Wouldn't it be easier to just take a progesterone pill?

A: Dr. Lee recommends the transdermal cream rather than oral progesterone, because some 80% to 90% of the oral dose is lost through the liver. Thus, at least 200 to 400 mg daily is needed orally to achieve a physiologic dose of 15 to 24 mg daily. Such high doses create undesirable metabolites and unnecessarily overload the liver.

{Q & A from www.johnleemd.com}


  1. This is very helpful Kim...thank you. I am 43 and have noticed an increase in my PMS within these past 4 yrs. Should I begin using this? I don't know of a Doctor to go to that help with this. When did you begin using it? And do you continue using for the rest of your life?

  2. Fairmaiden~If you've already noticed these changes you may want to look into starting something like this now. I was greatly helped w/my symptoms by using these products. EPO is especially good for the mood swings. I'm 51 & I've been doing this (w/a short break while going through our $$ crunch after my DH's lay off) for about 5 yrs. I would have started earlier if I would have put 2+2 together. I'm assuming that I will be doing some form of this regimen for the rest of my life.

    Be sure to read the other posts on this subject, if you haven't already.


  3. Thanks for posting this, Kim! I have the book for premenopausal women by Dr. Lee...very informative indeed! I also purchase my progesterone cream from Beeyoutiful.com...very good stuff and not expensive either! ;)


  4. I went through a completely natural
    menopause,had my last period at the
    age of 51. I read Dr. Lee's book and
    used natural Progesterone cream
    faithfully for years. I came through
    fine. There were tough times that
    would have been tougher had I not
    used the cream. I also used Evening
    Primrose Oil capsules and other times
    Borage Oil. I tried the herb Motherwort
    and found that to be very helpful with
    hot flashes, night sweats, nervousness,
    etc.I used it for 2-3 years. I appreciate
    all of your good natural health info.
    God's best,

  5. I have recently encountered horrible symptoms of high estrogen levels. I got no help from my family doctor, and knew if I went to my old gynecologist - we'd be talking HRT. So, I went to Happy Hormone Cottage (goofy name, but hey...it works) in Piqua. They tested me, and now I'm actually on Progesterone Pills temporarily, as the cream would not have been strong enough. My progesterone was SOOOOO low, and my estrogen was way to high. I'm already seeing results and it's only been three weeks. I think it's worth checking into if you're struggling. Thanks Kim for another great post.

  6. I just began the progesterone cream for hair loss.I started the Life-flo Progestacare brand. I've had gradual hair loss for nine years since getting a Depo-Provera injection, synthetic progesterone. I've also had weight gain, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts. I had to have one ovary removed. I'm now 30. This first month of cream my hair loss actually increased greatly. I'm very scared and confused. I've read so much contradicting information about progesterone cream. I don't want to make my condition worse. I've been praying for an answer for so long. Please help!


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