If you’re taking natural progesterone cream, it’s absolutely essential to know how and when to apply it. I find many women use the cream incorrectly, or aren’t aware about the importance of knowing when to take or apply progesterone (depending on if you’re taking it orally, via cream or both). The more you know about natural progesterone cream and pills, the better able you will be able to support your progesterone levels correctly.
When menstrual cycle length is irregular or cycles are long or skipped, or when egg release (ovulation) is absent despite regular cycles, progesterone levels are low or missing.
Generally progesterone is prescribed to control heavy flow, prevent irregular periods, acne, unwanted hair, or treat low bone density, or for perimenopausal sore breasts, sleep problems, heavy flow or night sweats. And when I prescribe progesterone for my ladies, I prefer to have them take it during certain days of their cycle. Why? Well, we want to mimic the body’s natural rhythm as much as possible.
Let’s discuss this further.
The first day of menstruation is called “day 1.” If you get a period regularly and your cycles are usually 27-30+ days long, I ask my patients to take progesterone on the 14th day after flow began and take it for 14 days or until cycle day 27. If your cycles are regular but shorter (for example, if your period starts every 21–26 days), then starting your progesterone on cycle day 12 and continuing it for 14 days or until cycle day 25 would be most beneficial to mimic your natural hormonal rhythm.
But if your period starts before you have finished the 14 days of progesterone, finish the full 14 days, but start the next progesterone 14 days after the flow began.
If your period starts while you are still taking progesterone, always take it for the full 14 days. If this early flow persists, or you are in perimenopause, then you either need daily progesterone for three months or we need to consider increasing your dose of cyclic progesterone therapy. The early flow is a sign that your body is making higher levels of estrogen that are over-stimulating the uterine lining & causing heavy bleeding.
If you haven’t started to flow within 2 weeks of taking progesterone it means your estrogen levels are lower than normal. After 14-days “off,” start the next progesterone cycle. As soon as your flow returns, then start taking progesterone.
If you get moody, feel bloated and have very sore breasts at the beginning of starting progesterone therapy, it often means progesterone is temporarily stimulating your body to make higher estrogen level, but this will improve after one to three cycles.
And lastly, if you aren’t applying the cream correctly it may not be effective. The best areas for application are places in which capillaries are dense and close to the surface of the skin, such as:
- Upper Chest
- Inner arms
- Palms of hands and feet
Avoid putting it on the fattiest areas of the body, as this may inhibit proper absorption. Fat can store the progesterone, rather than allow it to move into the bloodstream, circulate, and be utilized by the body. In addition, rotate where you apply the cream each time you use it to avoid saturation. Your skin receptors need a breather every few days!