Progesterone is a steroid hormone that prepares and maintains the uterus for pregnancy. Progestin is any of a group of steroid hormones that mimic the effect of progesterone. Progesterone or progestin cream may be used to regulate menstruation and help relieve menopausal symptoms, reports Medline Plus. Hormone replacement therapy or HRT often combines progesterone with estrogen to diminish hot flashes, vaginal dryness and other symptoms associated with menopause. Side effects associated with progesterone or progestin may include weight gain.
Progesterone or progestin may have different effects depending on the specific brand prescribed and how much you use, reports the Mayo Clinic. While high doses of progesterone may be needed to continue a pregnancy, low doses of progestin can can prevent pregnancy. Progesterone also works as part of hormone replacement therapy or HRT by reducing the amount of estrogen in the uterus. Progesterone cream may diminish hot flashes, bloating, headaches and other symptoms in menopausal women.
Unusual or rapid weight gain is a potential side effect of progestins. As a matter of fact progestins are sometimes used to stimulate appetite and treat dramatic weight loss in cancer patients or individuals with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS, reports the Mayo Clinic. Progestins encourage the production of certain proteins that can improve appetite and cause weight gain.
Progesterone may cause fluid retention that may lead to bloating or swelling of the ankles, feet or face. In some cases loss of appetite may occur, notes Drugs.com. Additional side effects may include drowsiness, muscle pain, irritability, diarrhea, breast tenderness, dry mouth and low-grade fever.
Commercial progesterone creams can vary dramatically in additional ingredients and suggested dosages. Little credible data exists to support the effectiveness of progesterone cream, cautions the American Academy of Family Physicians or AAFP. Women with a history of liver disease, breast cancer or abnormal vaginal bleeding should not use progesterone cream. Tell your doctor or dentist that you are using progesterone if you are scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure.
Women who have had hysterectomies don't typically need progesterone, notes the Cleveland Clinic. Check with your doctor about the potential benefits and side effects of progesterone. Always apply progesterone cream to the skin exactly as directed. Keep in mind that certain side effects of progesterone may not have been reported.