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Restoring progesterone for hormonal balance

Reviewed by Dr. Mary James, ND

The body’s need for progesterone is never-ending — from dealing with stress to balancing hormones to sexual satisfaction, and more. But problems with progesterone production, especially in the years leading up to menopause, can cause levels of the hormone to decline and fall into an imbalance. When women want to know why they are experiencing symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain, irritability and irregular periods — the answer often is an inadequate supply of progesterone.


So, if your progesterone levels are low, what can you do about it? Dr. Mary James explains how problems with progesterone production develop, why stress is so disruptive to healthy progesterone levels, and the easy remedy that can help restore hormonal balance in a natural and lasting way.

Keep reading to learn more from Dr. James — or watch her video!  

 Hi I’m Dr. Mary James! Today we’re going to explore why a simple cream could be a game-changer in helping you restore hormonal balance in a natural and lasting way. 

That simple cream is USP progesterone, and a big reason it helps so much relates to how your body uses progesterone to make other hormones — the hormones you need, in the amounts you need, just when you need them.

It’s helpful to understand how this works. The body is a chemistry lab of sorts. It makes tens of thousands of compounds, from hormones to enzymes and beyond. 

One of the key product lines are your sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. That assembly line starts with cholesterol. Yep, the same cholesterol you’ve been told was bad. Well, guess what? Your body needs some! For example, your body turns cholesterol into a hormone called pregnenolone. In another step, pregnenolone becomes progesterone.  

Now this is where things get interesting. Progesterone is used “as-is” in your monthly menstrual cycle for important jobs like helping to trigger ovulation. It also protects your uterus from excessive amounts of estrogen. And, in the case of pregnancy, it helps create a comfy home in your uterine lining for a fertilized ovum. 

But progesterone is also used as a building block to make other hormones, and it can go in different directions. Down one metabolic pathway, your body turns progesterone into cortisol, your stress hormone. If you’re under significant stress, like many of us are unfortunately, you’ll need a lot of progesterone to make enough cortisol. But the more you need to make, the less progesterone is available to go in the other direction, which includes making the various forms of estrogen. For healthy hormone balance, those forms of estrogen must be in the right amounts at the right times. Your body even uses a small amount of progesterone to make testosterone, which you need partly for sexual arousal and orgasm. 

So, regulation of the menstrual cycle, balancing estrogen, helping with stress, sexual satisfaction — you can see that the body’s need for progesterone is enormous!

Which explains why it sometimes doesn’t have enough to work with, especially during perimenopause, the years leading up to full menopause. That’s when estrogen can be really high at times, but progesterone can be really low because you may no longer be ovulating.  That’s when a little progesterone can be especially helpful. 

When you see progesterone cream listed with a USP designation, it means that it’s “bioidentical.” In other words, it’s the same molecule produced by your own body and used in all of these important ways. That’s why a USP progesterone can have such profound effects on the body. 

Next time we’ll talk more about the science behind hormonal balance. Looking forward to seeing you then.

Learn more: Is progesterone the secret for menopause symptom relief?
Last Updated: September 21, 2023
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