What is Progesterone?

Progesterone is the most important of a group of steroid hormones called progestogens. In women, it is mainly secreted by the corpus luteum in the ovary during the second half of the menstrual cycle. It plays important roles in the menstrual cycle and in pregnancy. Although most progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum, it’s also made in smaller quantities by the ovaries, the adrenal glands and during pregnancy, the placenta.

Men also have progesterone, produced by their adrenal glands and testes. Men need progesterone to make testosterone. It also aids in spermiogenesis (sperm maturation) and sperm capacitation.

Types of Progesterone

The name progesterone is used for the natural hormone produced by the human body and the bioidentical hormone. Bioidentical hormones, isolated from plant materials, have the exact chemical and molecular structure as hormones made in the human body, while other types of lab-made hormones do not.

Synthetic versions of progesterone are known as progestins. There are many different types, created from progesterone, testosterone, and spironolactone. They do some of what the body’s natural progesterone does, but may attach to more than just progesterone receptors in the body. They can also bind to receptors for androgens, estrogens, and adrenal hormones, creating potential side effects. Bioidentical progesterone, however, works in all the same ways that natural progesterone does.

Who May Benefit From Progesterone Replacement?

Progesterone supplementation may be a beneficial treatment for:
Menstruating women with low progesterone levels

Low levels can cause abnormal periods or infertility. Normal levels for progesterone in premenopausal women at the beginning of their menstrual cycle are 1 nanogram per milliliter(ng/mL) or less. Normal amounts for women in the middle of their menstrual cycle range from about 5 to 20 ng/mL. Treating women with progesterone may help restart menstrual periods that unexpectedly stopped (amenorrhea), treat abnormal uterine bleeding due to hormonal imbalance, and treat severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The causes of low progesterone levels can include a diet deficiency (a lack of vitamins B and C or zinc), stress, or malfunctioning ovaries.

Perimenopausal and menopausal women on hormone replacement therapy

Postmenopausal women generally have less than 1ng/ml of progesterone. These low levels are the normal result of the ovaries ceasing to function with age. However, when women are treated with estrogen therapy for uncomfortable symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, adding progesterone may help protect against the potential side effects from elevating estrogen alone (estrogen dominance).

Men with low hormone levels

The normal amount of progesterone is less than 1 ng/mL for a man. However, men need some progesterone to produce testosterone. Testosterone is necessary for sex drive, sperm production, muscle mass/strength, fat distribution, bone density, and red blood cell production. Testosterone replacement, however, can sometimes cause estrogen dominance in men, because some testosterone is naturally converted to estrogen in the body. Progesterone may protect men from the effects of estrogen dominance, including fatigue, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, mood swings, increased belly fat, and a greater prostate cancer risk.

Men and women with central nervous system conditions

Progesterone is also important in protecting nerve and brain function in men and women. It has been found to produce a calmer mood, help with midlife insomnia, promote a sense of satiation after eating, increase dopamine-controlled signaling, and even promote brain and nerve repair, for example, in peripheral neuropathy from diabetes or MS.

Dosage and Form

Progesterone is often combined with other hormones to support a healthy balance of hormones in the body. The following dosage forms and strengths of progesterone and progesterone combinations currently fall within our formulary:

Medication Form Strength
Progesterone (peanut-free) Tablet 50mg – 200mg
Progesterone Fast Burst Sublingual Tablet 50mg – 200mg
Progesterone Sindi Cream Base 25mg/gm – 200mg/gm
Estradiol/ Progesterone Tablet 0.5mg/50mg – 2mg/100mg
Biest/ Progesterone Tablet 1.25mg/50mg – 5mg/100mg
Biest/ Progesterone Sindi Cream Base 2.5mg/100mg/gm – 2.5mg/200mg/gm
Estradiol/ Progesterone/ Testosterone Tablet 0.5mg/ 100mg/ 2mg – 1mg/ 100mg/ 2mg
Biest/ Progesterone/ Testosterone Tablet 1.25mg/ 100mg/ 1mg – 5mg/ 200mg/ 2.5mg
Biest/ Progesterone/ Testosterone Sindi Cream Base 2.5gm/ 100mg/ 0.5mg/gm – 2.5mg/ 200mg/ 1mg/gm
Triest/ Progesterone Tablet 2.5mg/ 100mg

How Belmar Can Help

If you’re a clinician interested in prescribing compound medications to your patients, contact us for information on how to get started and to access all of our clinical resources. If you are new to compounding, you may find our page on How to Write a Compounding Prescription helpful. You can also visit our Treatment Options page to find a formulary and learn more about all the medication solutions available from Belmar.

Contact Belmar Pharma Solutions

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If you’re a patient, we’re here to help you fill prescriptions or provide you the information you need to work with your doctor to help decide if a compounded prescription might be a good treatment for you.

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