Educational Material Provided by Dr. John R. Lee and Virginia Hopkins
- Q: What is Progesterone? A: Progesterone is one of the 2 main hormones (the other being estrogen) produced each month by the ovaries of menstruating women (and is produced in smaller amounts by the adrenals). It is the major female reproductive hormone during the latter 2 weeks of the menstrual cycle, made by the corpus luteum of the ovary. It is normal for the levels of progesterone to rise and fall during the monthly cycle. Progesterone production starts just before ovulation each month and increases rapidly after ovulation. It is what enables the fertilized egg to survive.
- Q: What is Progesterone's relationship to Estrogen? A: Progesterone is one of the 2 main hormones (the other being estrogen) produced each month by the ovaries of menstruating women (and is produced in smaller amounts by the adrenals). It is the major female reproductive hormone during the latter 2 weeks of the menstrual cycle, made by the corpus luteum of the ovary. It is normal for the levels of progesterone to rise and fall during the monthly cycle. Progesterone production starts just before ovulation each month and increases rapidly after ovulation. It is what enables the fertilized egg to survive.
- Q: Where should I put the natural 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 natural 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: Where can I get more information on progesterone and natural hormone balance? A: For a detailed explanation of women's hormone balance issues, a hormone balance program, as well as detailed descriptions of how to use natural progesterone, the following books by John R. Lee, M.D. are recommended:
- Q: What are Phytoestrogens? A: Phyto-Estrogens are found in many plant sources, primarily soy, wild yam, licorice, black cohosh, and chamomile. Our formulation attempts to copy the same molecular structure as in female human production of natural estrogens. We feel by adding progesterone to our phyto-estrogen cream helps in protecting women against bone loss, which is one of the many benefits of progesterone.
- Q: Who needs Natural Estrogen? A: In the April 1998 edition of The John R. Lee, M.D., Medical Letter, Dr. Lee addresses this question by stating: "Estrogen has positive effects, and I do recommend it when it's clearly needed. Women with measurable low estrogen tend to have high cholesterol, low blood pressure, depression, thin hair on the head and hair above the lip, and poor memory. It also does play a role in slowing bone loss, and as such can be useful for a few years around the time of menopause. Also, if a natural progesterone cream does not help the menopause-related low-estrogen symptoms of hot flashes night sweats and vaginal dryness, then a very small amount of estrogen will usually help."
- Q: What is menopause? A: Menopause means the cessation of menses. The follicle cells which, upon ovulation, produce progesterone have disappeared or become dysfunctional long before menopause.
- Q: What are peri-menopausal symptoms? A: Hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and occasionally a distressing growth of facial & body hair.
- Q: What are peri-menopausal symptoms? A:
- Water retention.
- Breast swelling, fibrocystic breasts
- Premenstrual mood swings, depression
- Loss of libido
- Heavy or irregular menses
- Uterine fibroid
- Craving for sweets
- Weight gain, fat deposition at hips & thighs
- Q: What are the benefits? A:
- Stops hot flashes
- Eliminates night sweats
- Helps with sleep disorders
- Eliminates vaginal dryness
- Regulates mood swings
- Normalizes Libido
- Improves New Bone Formation
- Q: What are the benefits? A: It refers to the time preceding menopause when hormone changes are occurring.
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause: The Breakthrough Book on Natural Progesterone, (Warner Books, 1996)
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause: Balance Your Hormones and Life from Thirty to Fifty (Warner Books, 1999)