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What Is Compounded Natural Progesterone?

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author image Cassie M. Chew
Cassie M. Chew is a multimedia journalist who covers politics, health care, education policy and technology news for print and online newspapers, magazines and trade press journals. When she's not pursuing a story, Chew enjoys independent film, biographies and books about nutrition and health. She holds a Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern University.
What Is Compounded Natural Progesterone?
A compounding pharmacist can produce a customized prescription for progesterone. Photo Credit Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

As the precursor to cortisol, testosterone, estrogen and several other hormones, adequate amounts of the steroid hormone progesterone are important to reproductive health, brain cell development, fat metabolism and thyroid hormone function. If you're diagnosed with a progesterone deficiency, holistic physicians may recommend compounded natural progesterone to balance your hormonal system and help your body reach optimal physiological functioning.

Symptoms of Progesterone Deficiency

In women, symptoms of progesterone deficiency may include premenstrual syndrome, weight gain, bloating, mood swings, irritability, tender breasts, headaches, fatigue, depression, hypoglycemia, uterine fibroids, endometriosis and fibrocystic breasts, according to physician and expert John R. Lee. A pioneer in the study and use of the hormone progesterone, Lee authored several books on how natural progesterone can be used to normalize body functioning and prevent diseases such as osteoporosis and breast cancer.

Hormone Imbalance

These symptoms develop when a person shows signs of estrogen dominance, a hormonal imbalance that places women at risk of breast cancer as well as cancers of the ovary and the uterus. In men, an inadequate level of progesterone to counterbalance estrogen has been shown to contribute to prostate cancer, according to Lee’s research. An imbalance in the ratio of progesterone and estrogen in the bloodstream can develop when the body requires more progesterone to produce the hormone cortisol toward helping the body respond to internal and external stress, writes Alicia Stanton, a specialist in preventative medicine and hormone imbalance, in “Hormone Harmony.”

Source of Natural Progesterone

Compounded natural progesterone is a bioidentical form of progesterone derived from a substance called diosgenin that researchers extract from a specific type of wild yam cultivated in Mexico. It is also derived from soybeans. In the laboratory, diosgenin is chemically synthesized into a substance that has the same molecular structure as the progesterone produced naturally in the ovaries and the adrenal gland.

Supplemental Form and Dosage

Women normally produce between 20 to 30 mg of progesterone daily in the last phase of their menstrual cycle. To supplement lower levels, compounded natural progesterone is produced at a compounding pharmacy to the specifications of a prescription written by your physician. It can be made into a pill to be taken orally, or a cream, in which the hormone is absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. For patients to whom he recommended over-the-counter progesterone creams, Lee advised applying 15 to 24 mg to thin-skinned areas each day, 14 days before their menstruation cycle begins and stopping one or two days prior for premenopausal patients. For postmenopausal women, Lee recommended 15 mg a day for 25 days of the calendar month.

Benefits of Supplemental Progesterone

For the progesterone deficient, supplemental amounts of the hormones can promote pregnancy, increase sex drive and improve thyroid functioning, says physician and pain management expert C. Norman Shealy, in "Natural Progesterone Cream." Since progesterone is needed for the synthesis of all the steroid hormones, correcting a progesterone deficiency can help optimize hormonal, physical and mental functioning, according to Lee’s research.

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