Sexual health of women depends a lot on hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Of these two, estrogen is a key sexual hormone while progesterone plays a supportive role. Progesterone mainly ensures that the walls of your uterus are ready to handle a fetus within. Apart from this, progesterone is also a key hormone for the growth of breast-tissues and overall health of breasts. Women who have reached menopause may witness a marked decrease in their progesterone levels. The absence of needful levels of this hormone is linked to a wide range of conditions such as bone repair, weakening of skin, etc. Progesterone cream is used for restoring a right balance of this hormone. This cream however is capable of trigger a few undesired side effects. It helps to know about these side effects before starting to use this cream.
A right level of progesterone is essential for the sexual health of women. The hormone helps avoid uterine walls from shrinking, which reduces the possibilities of eggs getting rejected soon after being implanted inside the uterine region. In essence, this hormone – secreted from ovaries – is essential to ensure that the fertilized egg gets properly placed. Among women who have attained menopause, doses of progesterone can help control symptoms such as skin problems, flashes, insomnia, decrease in bone health, etc.
How to detect a drop in your progesterone level? The signs are fairly easy to identity. Most common signs include mood shifts including depression or being in an anxious state. You may also witness discomforts such as chronic headache or other associated conditions like migraine. Progesterone cream is widely available as an over the counter (OTC) drug to manage such symptoms. You need to know that most of these creams do not fall under the purview of the food and drug administration (FDA).
It is a transdermal or a topical cream which is applied onto your skin. The formulation makes way for quicker absorption. Its chemical structure and composition resemble a lot with hormones naturally made in your body. Needful ingredients are sourced from a few types of yams as well as soy-based products. The merits of progesterone cream are yet to be fully ascertained under scientific testing conditions. A marked increase in clinical research is underway to establish the properties of commercially available creams to boost progesterone levels.
Studies have largely proven the absorbing potential of these creams; more evidence is emerging on the ease of absorption of creams with an alcoholic base. Absorption levels are not very significant when creams are based on gel or water. However, women – especially those who have reached menopause – have reported a marked improvement in wellbeing of their skin after using progesterone cream. The normal dose is twice every day; you may need to take the advice of a qualified medical practitioner to understand safe dosage levels. This cream can be used at the rear side of your elbows, knees or in general, any other such sites.
The side effects of progesterone cream
The most likely side effects of progesterone cream include tiredness, weakness, softening of breasts, erratic heartbeats, inflammation of body parts, increase in body weight, etc. People have also complained of abdominal discomforts such as gas formation, flatulence or bloating as well as nausea. Some users have experienced chronic spells of headaches or migraine. Side efforts such as changes in your menstrual cycles, blurring of eyesight, hypotension (decrease in blood pressure level), mood shifts including anxiety or depression, a persistent spell of coughing, being in a confused state of mind, vertigo, etc. have also been reported.
You are advised to tell your treating doctor as well as pharmacist about known allergies or hypersensitivity, especially when you apply topical drugs or creams. A few people have experienced allergic reactions like respiratory problems, inflammation of facial organs or limbs, rashes on skin, persistent spells of itchiness, chest-tightness, a numbing or tingling sensation on oral parts, etc. In some rare cases, users of progesterone creams have noticed excessive levels of drowsiness, stomach upset, indigestion, loose stools or diarrhea, feeling dizzy, etc.
Your medical team may issue cautions about risks associated with application of progesterone cream for a prolonged timespan. Prominent among risks of an increased level of hormonal supply include formation of cysts or fibroids in the uterine area, incidence of strokes, problems related to clotting of blood, cardiac conditions, cancers – especially in ovaries or breasts. Women who are pregnant may need to stay away from using this product. However, if your condition necessitates usage of this cream, you need to take needful advice from your treating doctor prior to applying it.
You also need to remember that progesterone cream is soluble in fats. This means your tissues may absorb them and store it up for later use. For this reason, usage of progesterone cream over a longer term can lead to a significant increase in the hormonal level. Talk to your medical team to understand the adverse effects of an excessive accumulation of progesterone in lipids, fats or tissues. As most of these creams are sold for the use of women who have already reached menopause, you need to stay cautious of using over the counter (OTC) creams without needful medical supervision. Women who have used these creams for a fairly longer time have experienced chronic episodes of nausea and other abdominal problems. It becomes necessary to talk to your doctor about options available to restore proper hormonal balance and which among them suits your body.
Prior medical conditions and use of progesterone cream
In general, your doctor may recommend taking needful precautions if you are living with clinical conditions such as chronic headaches, respiratory conditions like bronchitis or asthma, mental conditions viz., bipolar disorders, depression, psychosis, etc., renal conditions or problems related to heart. Also, people with a few prior medical conditions or clinical history are not advised to use creams for boosting their progesterone level. Such clinical conditions include hepatic disorders – mainly, cirrhosis of the liver, inflammation of liver (hepatitis), etc., being allergic to progesterone or its supplements, elongated time taken for clotting of blood, arterial problems or diseases, excessive discharge of blood during menstrual cycles, incidence of cancers in your genitals or breasts.
You also need to remember that co-administration of estrogen with progesterone can suppress the benefits of the former. Talk to your pharmacist as well as the treating physician about concurrent intake of estrogen. Always remember that estrogen can be prescribed in multiple forms – such as conjugated form of estrogen, ethinyl version of estradiol or as a plain version of estradiol.
Other precautions to avoid possible side effects of progesterone cream
Usage of progesterone creams can lead to dizziness and an excessive level of drowsiness. Hence, it is strongly recommended to avoid taking drugs that can induce sleepiness or medications which can make you feel drowsy. So, before using cough relieving drugs or meds to relieve pains, you are advised to talk to your treating doctor about the possible side effects and other risks. For these reasons, it is also not recommended to engage in activities that require a high level of mental alertness or agility. For example, your doctor may advise you not to operate heavy machines or engage in activities like driving. It is a good practice to prepare a list of drugs you are currently consuming; include drugs such as prescription medicines, over the counter (OTC) drugs and herbal medications to this list. Above all, once you have shared this list, never discontinue or stop taking these drugs without the knowledge of your treating doctor.
As regulatory agencies such as the food and drugs administration (FDA) do not govern the manufacture or packing of over the counter (OTC) progesterone creams, you need to understand the likely risks. It is possible that many of these OTC goods may not contain the amounts they claim in their packaging. The key raw materials used in the making of most of these OTC creams are soy or yams. These products contain a substance (diosgenin), which gets converted into progesterone only under closely supervised lab environment. It is unlikely for your body to make progesterone out of this ingredient. So, stay extremely cautious of progesterone creams or other similar topical products which are sold under the category called cosmetics.
Other approaches for a right balance of progesterone level
You can also consider a few other supplementary approaches to boost your hormonal wellbeing – especially, a proper balance of progesterone level. Such approaches include elimination of stressful living conditions (for example- pursue a hobby, mediate or spend more time with friends and family to reduce your stress levels), take foods that are rich in B6 vitamins (chickpeas, fish as well as foods made from whole grains), consume needful amounts of zinc based foods (this mineral boosts your hormonal wellbeing to a sizeable extent; also, remember that insufficient intake of zinc can bring down the levels of essential hormones like progesterone) and maintain a workout / exercise regimen. Above all, ensure your body weight is under control. Talk to a qualified dietitian to know the optimal weight for your height as well as your age.
Above all, you also need to need how much progesterone cream to apply. Your doctor may inform that 15 milligrams (mg) is a safe dosage level; this roughly translates to about less than a quarter (1/4th) of a teaspoon. It is equally helpful to note that progesterone is also available in many other forms. Most commonly available forms are as an injectable drug, vaginal lotion, ointment or as a pill. Talk to your treating doctor about the forms suiting you best while taking needful advice about the possible discomforts and side effects progesterone creams are known to trigger.