Natural Progesterone Is a Safer Kind of HRT

natural progesterone

Natural progesterone fared well in the new KEEPS study. It proved to be effective for menopausal symptoms, but without the risks of conventional HRT.

When I first started practicing in the 1990s, many of my patients needed a way off the nasty HRT duo of Premarin (horse estrone) and Provera (medroxyprogesterone). As the WHI study was to prove in 2002, those pseudo-hormones cause breast cancer and significant cardiovascular risk. My job as a natural doctor was to help women transition onto natural progesterone.

Advocating for natural hormones has not been easy.  Until now, the medical community has been decidedly scornful.  Despite the mounting evidence that body-identical hormones—real human hormones—are much better for the body, most doctors were not aware there was even a difference. In a structural diagram of the hormones, natural progesterone differs from medroxyprogesterone by just one tiny methyl group. What’s the big deal?

As it turns out, that tiny molecular difference is an incredibly big deal. (A breast cancer, heart attack kind of big deal.) A hormone fits into a hormone receptor like a key into a lock. Is it any surprise that the body didn’t appreciate having the wrong key jammed in?

So far in the KEEPS study, body-identical estradiol and progesterone have proved effective for menopausal symptoms but with no risk for heart health. According to one of the researchers:

… the form of progesterone used in WHI, medroxyprogesterone is very different than the form that KEEPS used, which is micronized progesterone, the more natural form of progesterone. We certainly did not see any adverse effects with this type of progesterone..

“This type of progesterone..”  — Finally!

As body-identical progesterone and estradiol transition into mainstream therapies, they are going to lose their “natural” label, but that is OK with this natural doctor. Personally, I will welcome the day when it is no longer my job to do damage control for conventional medicine. But sadly, I suspect that day is a long way off.

Nasty, old-fashioned HRT may be giving way to natural hormones, but the birth control pill and its pseudo-hormones still reign supreme. Young women die of Pill-induced blood clots every year. Women suffer weight gain, depression and low libido from the Pill, but it seems to be more popular than ever. The natural hormone message still has a long way to go.

Lara Briden, women's health doctor and period revolutionary

12 thoughts on “Natural Progesterone Is a Safer Kind of HRT”

  1. Hi, I’ve had hair loss for 5 years now and the shedding only seems to get worse. I quit birthcontrol about 6 months ago which 3 months later caused severe acne and more hairloss. Now 6 months later the acne is a tiny bit better but the hairshedding is terrible. I really think i am going to lose all my hair an am only 21. The is no patterned baldness in my family, but the shedding is just massive. I lost about 75% of my hair already. I have run all kinds of tests and i have some hormone related problems: PCOS, estrogen dominance and adrenal fatigue/insufficiency (probably due to the stress the hair loss is causing me). As i have low progesterone, my doctor recommends natural progesteron cream. I have already changed my diet (lots of juices, organic and whole foods, no lactose or gluten, Etc.). What should I do? I am afraid the cream will make it worse but it could als be the cure to my massive shedding…

    Thank you in advance for taking your time to read this.

    Kind regards,

    Patricia

  2. Hi Lara, I have a perscription for natural progesterone from my doctor. I am 27 years old, have been suffering from acne for the last 7 years. I have PCOS, but my periods have regulated this year. I followed a peony/ licorice, zinc, magnesium, and no sugar gluten dairy protocol. My acne still persists and I’m wondering whether natural progesterone supplement on days 15-28 of my cycle might help? I have slightly raised testosterone and consistently low progesterone as per my blood work. Thanks, Em

  3. Can taking vitex increase progesterone levels in the body? Also, I’m confused about whether Estrogen or Progesterone causes slow motility in the gut. I’ve heard they both do.

  4. I’m 50 and I’ve had some vaginal pain. I quit having periods about a year ago. The last one was a gusher then nothing for a year. I went for a pap this past Feb and started bleeding lightly. Then went back to doc for another exam.then was sent for uterine ultasound, which showed thicken in in uterus. Then went for biopsy. Everything negative. Then 3 weeks ago started filling pads and having large clumps of blood.after 3 days went to hospital they gave me medroxyprogesterone to stop bleeding has not stopped.lessened a little but then started heavy again if I take DIM will this help? I’ve had to call out of work because I spend most of my shift in the bathroom. I’m up all night. I hurt all the way to my rectum. No blood is coming from my rectum. I’m exhausted and my doctor says go to ER ER says go to doctor. What can I do?

  5. Hi Lara,
    After refusing to go back on the pill, and asking for a natural solution, my obgyn suggested prometrium to stimulate ovulation.I wonder if you consider prometrium ( or it’s generic form) as natural progesterone?

  6. Dr. Lara,

    I have been struggling with infertility and amenorrhea since coming off of the pill in Aug 2013. I have been diagnosed with lean pcos. After adopting a low carb/high fat diet I have seen a significant improvement in my skin quality and mood, but still no period. I had struggled with restrictive eating for years before coming off the pill, and have been in remission for about a year (which I suspect is why I had very low estradiol levels at the beginning of my infertility journey. My question is, will natural progesterone cream help me to start ovulating, or is there something else I should be adding as far as herbs or foods to my diet? Any insight would be very appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Jess

  7. Hi Dr. Lara,

    So glad I found your website. I haven’t been feeling my best for awhile…irritable, anxious and my libido has been almost non-existent. I have seen a homeopathic doctor who diagnosed me with a “lazy” right ovary, (among other things, including adrenal issues) so every other month I don’t have a period yet feel like I go through all the symptoms of p.m.s. I actually found your site while searching for the right birth control pill to balance my hormones, after being treated several times for the lazy ovary by said homeopathic doctor to no avail. Thank you for re-opening my eyes to the false hopes that the pill promises. I was put on the pill at 17 for my irregular periods, and I never felt worse. (I quit using it after 3 months.). I think Progesterone could be the answer to my problems, and I was wondering did you could recommend a product? Thank you so much for your time and attention.

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Senica

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