Progesterone cream is a product typically used to improve women's health. A hormone found naturally in the body and produced mainly in the ovaries, progesterone is a key element of hormone replacement therapy (a treatment commonly pursued by midlife women experiencing menopausal symptoms).
Typically made from soy or wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), progesterone cream is applied directly to the skin rather than taken orally as in hormone replacement therapy.
Progesterone cream is said to alleviate menopausal symptoms (such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness) and protect against menopause-related bone loss. In addition, non-menopausal women sometimes use progesterone cream to fight fatigue, improve mood, increase libido, and fight weight gain. Progesterone cream is also used to reduce signs of aging in the skin.
Research on the use of progesterone cream among menopausal women has yielded mixed results. In a report published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, for instance, investigators sized up the available studies on the use of progesterone cream for the management of menopausal
symptoms and protection against osteoporosis.
Due to a lack of consistency in study findings (as well as a lack of credibility in certain studies), the report's authors concluded that progesterone cream is "an unsubstantiated treatment option" for women undergoing menopause.
In another report, scientists found progesterone cream to be ineffective in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Published in Menopause International, the study involved 223 healthy postmenopausal women with severe menopausal symptoms.
For six months, study members applied either progesterone cream or a placebo each day.
While women given progesterone cream showed a significantly greater improvement in physical functioning and social functioning compared to members of the placebo group, progesterone cream was no more effective than placebo in the treatment of menopausal symptoms (such as hot flashes and night sweats).
Skin Health Benefits
In a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, scientists determined that progesterone cream may help increase skin firmness and elasticity. Involving 40 peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women, the four-month-long study also found that progesterone cream helped fight wrinkles.