progesterone, natural

Medically Reviewed on 8/10/2023

Generic Name: progesterone, natural

Drug Class: Herbals

What is natural progesterone, and what is it used for?

Progesterone is one of the two primary female sex hormones, and plays an important role in a woman’s reproductive cycle. Natural progesterone is a plant product made from diosgenin, a plant hormone extracted from soy and wild yam roots. Natural progesterone has an identical chemical structure as the endogenous progesterone produced by the human body, and produces the same effects.

Progesterone is secreted by the ovaries, placenta, and adrenal glands and plays vital roles in the regulation of menstrual cycles, implantation and maintenance of pregnancy, and fetal growth. Progesterone promotes the shedding of the endometrium when pregnancy fails to take place. Progesterone also mitigates the symptoms of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and anxiety.

Natural progesterone is available over the counter (OTC) as a topical cream that’s applied on the skin of thighs or upper arms for systemic absorption. Natural progesterone oral and intravaginal products are available as prescription products that are used under the guidance of an obstetrician/gynecologist, as part of assisted reproductive technology (ART), absence of menstruation (secondary amenorrhea), and to prevent overgrowth of endometrial tissue (endometrial hyperplasia).

Women use natural progesterone OTC products to relieve premenstrual symptoms (PMS), menopausal symptoms, and to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis related to menopause. Studies show natural progesterone may be beneficial for menopausal symptoms, but results are mixed or negative for efficacy in PMS and osteoporosis. While prescription products are safe to use under a physician’s guidance, OTC products are not regulated by the FDA and may contain more or less progesterone than indicated on the label.

What are the side effects of progesterone?


  • Do not use progesterone, natural if you are hypersensitive to any component of the formulation.
  • Do not use progesterone, natural if you are pregnant.

Common side effects of natural progesterone include:

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:

  • Serious heart symptoms include fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness;
  • Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady;
  • Severe nervous system reaction with very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, and feeling like you might pass out; or
  • Serious eye symptoms include blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.

This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


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What is the dosage for natural progesterone?

There isn’t enough reliable information to know what might be the appropriate dosages of non-prescription natural progesterone products.

Suggested Dosing

  • 20 mg (1/4 tsp) cream/day applied topically to thighs or upper arms, for 20 days out of each month


There is no information on acute overdose of progesterone, natural. Topical use of OTC products is unlikely to result in acute overdose. Excessive use of progesterone for prolonged periods may increase the risk for blood clots, stroke, heart attack and cancers of breast or the reproductive organs.

What drugs interact with progesterone?

Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.

It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • There is no reliable information on the safety of using OTC natural progesterone products during pregnancy. Avoid use.
  • There is no information on the use of natural progesterone products while breastfeeding. Avoid use.
  • Do not use any over-the-counter products including progesterone, natural without first checking with your physician, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What else should I know about progesterone?

  • If you use OTC natural progesterone products follow label instructions carefully. Natural products are not necessarily safe always and following suggested dosing is important. Do not use for prolonged durations unless directed by your gynecologist.
  • Check with your healthcare provider before taking any OTC product, including natural progesterone, particularly if you have any health conditions that are hormone sensitive or if you are on any regular medication.
  • Natural progesterone is marketed as an OTC product and is not regulated by the FDA. Products may differ in formulations and strengths, and labels may not always match contents. Exercise caution in choosing your product. Purchase products made by reputed manufacturers.
  • Store natural progesterone safely out of reach of children.
  • In case of overdose, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.


Natural progesterone is available over the counter (OTC) as a topical cream that’s applied on the skin of thighs or upper arms for systemic absorption. Women use natural progesterone OTC products to relieve premenstrual symptoms (PMS), menopausal symptoms, and to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis related to menopause. Common side effects of natural progesterone include rash, vaginal spotting, and swelling from fluid retention (edema). Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/10/2023