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Progesterone is a hormone and, as such, concerns about its inappropriate use have been raised. A physician should be consulted before using this hormone as a supplement. Few side effects have been associated with topical progesterone creams but can include skin reactions. Effects of natural progesterone on breast cancer risk remain unclear. Research has suggested both increased and reduced risk.
Synthetic progestins have many well-known side effects, including the increase of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and the decrease of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Other side effects reported with synthetic progestins include bloating, breast soreness, depression, and mood swings. Natural progesterone has been shown to have no adverse effect on HDL cholesterol levels.6 Overall, natural progesterone is considerably safer than progestins and is therefore preferred by many doctors in situations where either would be effective.7
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.