Progesterone cream is a topical hormone therapy containing bioidentical progesterone. Further research is necessary to determine the effectiveness and safety of progesterone cream for endometriosis.

Progesterone cream contains bioidentical progesterone, which is a plant-derived hormone similar to the progesterone the human body creates.

Forms of progesterone, including synthetic forms, may help reduce pain with endometriosis. However, there is little evidence to suggest that progesterone cream is a safe and beneficial treatment for endometriosis.

This article looks at the potential risks and benefits of progesterone cream for endometriosis, as well as other treatment options.

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In the United States, people may be able to buy progesterone cream over the counter (OTC) or with a prescription. People apply the cream topically.

The cream contains bioidentical progesterone. Progesterone is a sex hormone involved in the menstrual cycle.

One synthetic form of progesterone called progestin may help decrease pain symptoms of endometriosis. A 2022 meta-analysis reports that, in one study, progestins decreased or eradicated painful symptoms in about 90% of people with endometriosis.

Researchers do not fully understand endometriosis and why it occurs, so they do not understand why progestin can decrease its symptoms.

It could be because progesterone plays an important role in controlling the tissue growth of the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus.

Endometriosis occurs when tissue that is meant to line the uterus grows elsewhere. Stopping or controlling this growth with synthetic progesterone may help relieve symptoms of endometriosis.

Although studies have shown that progestin can decrease endometriosis symptoms, there has not been enough research into the effects of progesterone cream on this condition.

Doctors may instead recommend different, stronger forms of progesterone for endometriosis, such as the progesterone-only pill, injection, or intrauterine device (IUD).

People will need to talk with a pharmacist or doctor about how best to use progesterone cream for endometriosis and to follow packaging instructions.

Progesterone, progestogens, and progestin may help reduce pain and the extent of lesions in endometriosis.

Progesterone and progestin may help improve symptoms of endometriosis by reducing or stopping menstrual flow or by controlling the tissue growth of the endometrium.

A pill, injection, or IUD may be effective in reducing endometriosis symptoms, but it is not clear if progesterone cream has the same effects.

There is little scientific evidence on the benefits or effectiveness of progesterone cream for endometriosis.

Compounding pharmacies create bioidentical hormones such as progesterone cream, which are custom-made.

Compounding pharmacies may use saliva testing to measure hormone levels, but these are not the same as hormone levels in the blood.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate or approve custom-compounded hormones. This means there is a lack of knowledge about their quality, purity, and strength.

Amounts of progesterone may vary with each formulation, and there may not be the same safety warnings as there are with regulated medications.

According to a 2019 article, the body may not absorb progesterone cream well, which may hinder its effectiveness.

There is also little evidence to show that progesterone cream has any endometrial protective effects. The authors of the article noted that they have financial connections to various pharmaceutical companies.

Side effects of progestogens or progestins may include:

It is unclear whether bioidentical forms of progesterone have similar side effects.

Other treatments for endometriosis may include:

  • gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) drugs
  • oral contraceptives
  • danazol
  • pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • surgery to remove or destroy areas of endometriosis or cut pelvic nerves to relieve pain

This section answers some frequently asked questions about progesterone cream and endometriosis.

Does low progesterone make endometriosis worse?

Low progesterone may link to endometriosis. In endometriosis, there is a disruption in how progesterone and estrogen function, which can result in estrogen dominance and progesterone resistance.

Progesterone also plays a role in stopping and controlling the tissue growth of the endometrium. Less progesterone may lead to an overgrowth of endometrial tissue, causing it to grow in different places. This could cause or worsen endometriosis.

Can you take progesterone for endometriosis if you’re pregnant?

Research suggests progesterone is safe to take during pregnancy and may help prevent miscarriage in early pregnancy. The FDA has also approved the use of progesterone in pregnancy for preventing preterm birth.

If people want to use progesterone cream during pregnancy, it is best to talk with a doctor first.

Can progesterone make endometriosis worse?

It is not clear that progesterone worsens symptoms of endometriosis. Instead, it may help improve pain symptoms, and doctors may recommend forms of progesterone as a treatment for endometriosis.

Forms of progesterone, such as progestin, are a common treatment option for endometriosis and may help reduce pain.

There is little research on the effects of progesterone cream, a bioidentical form of progesterone, for treating endometriosis.

The FDA does not regulate bioidentical hormone treatments, and there is little evidence supporting the safety or effectiveness of progesterone cream.

If people are considering progesterone cream for endometriosis, it may be best to speak with a healthcare professional first.