Posted by: Amy | February 26, 2011


A majority of women with PCOS take birth control pills to regulate their monthly cycles and to control androgen excess. Yet, studies have shown that some formulations of the pill may actually increase insulin resistance See my blog post . Furthermore, some women experience negative side effects of the pill such as mood swings and loss of libido. This leaves many wondering, is there a safe alternative to produce monthly cycles and decrease male hormones?

Dr. Jerilynn Prior, a physician-researcher and professor of endocrinology at the University of British Columbia, actually prefers to treat her PCOS patients with natural progesterone rather than the pill. She believes that the underlying problem of PCOS is that the body does not produce enough progesterone for two weeks during the menstrual cycle. Dr Prior explains, “Progesterone is the hormone made by the ovaries after an egg is released. This lack of progesterone in women with PCOS leads to an imbalance in the ovaries, causes the stimulation of higher male hormones and leads to irregular periods and trouble getting pregnant. Progesterone is usually missing – replacing it therefore makes sense.

“Progesterone talks back to the hypothalamic and pituitary (brain) hormones that control the ovaries and stops them from stimulating the ovaries to make too much testosterone.”

Dr Prior recognizes that the pill, with its synthetic type of progesterone, does help women with PCOS to a certain degree. But her goal for PCOS patients is, “to return the brain/ovary system to a normal balance. The goal of the Pill is the opposite – it must suppress the brain-ovary system to prevent pregnancy.”

To help her PCOS patients achieve a normal hormonal balance, she prescribes oral micronized progesterone (trade name Prometrieum) which is a bio-identical hormone. Taking this natural progesterone for two weeks every month (called cyclic progesterone therapy) may help the brain to develop the normal cyclic rhythm that is missing in PCOS.

Interestingly, Dr. Prior believes there is another benefit of cyclic progesterone therapy. She explains, “most doctors don’t realize progesterone antagonizes and inhibits the enzyme (called 5-alpha reductase) that is needed to make testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is the powerful male hormone that talks hair follicles into making coarse hair and too much oil that causes acne.”

The late John R. Lee M.D. was an international authority and pioneer in the use of natural progesterone. He stated that, “Natural progesterone should be the basis of PCOS treatment, along with attention to stress, exercise and nutrition.” He recommended using 15 to 20 mg of progesterone cream daily during the last two weeks of your cycle and to give the treatment at least six months in conjunction with a diet and exercise program. If symptoms begin to fade, Dr. Lee suggested easing off the progesterone by reducing the dose by half with the goal being to return your body to its own “hormonal rhythms.”

Natural progesterone cream has been part of my PCOS regimen  on and off for the last few years.  I use a cream that is made by my  local compounding pharmacy.  It  is a pharmaceutical grade natural progesterone cream and I use 2 pumps 2x a day.  I rub it on the inside of my upper leg.  If you are interested in exploring the use of Natural progesterone for your PCOS,  I have included some links below.  If you would like more information on the cream that I use you can contact my pharmacy.  If you are interested in purchasing they ship.  The name of the pharmacy is Medicine World and their phone number is (603) 881-9500

For more information on natural progesterone therapy to help control PCOS please visit:



  1. I will definitely give it a try. Thanks for the tip.

  2. I am hoping someone will read this reply and draw some encouragement. I have had PCOS since I was 14 years old and have had over ten surgeries including a hysterectomy at age 29 that left part of one ovary that had never had a cyst. Now at 42, I have also had a thyroidectomy due to Hashimoto’s Disease and cancer. I have always been a proponent of natural therapies, and whereas I do have to take Synthyroid, I do find relief from numerous symptoms with the progesterone cream. With decent diet habits and my membership at Curves – I am able to maintain a size 10. I strongly suggest trying the cream – it lessons headaches and tiredness which enables you to work out more and feel well enough to want to monitor your diet!
    I JUST found out that after 13 years, the remaining ovary now has a cyst and I have recently added a few pounds on. However, I am thrilled to have found this site with menu plans and great articles to encourage and motivate! I promise – if you have PCOS you don’t have to be infertile – I have 3 children – you don’t have to feel bad all the time – supplements really help – and you don’t have to be fat! You just have to eat the right things 🙂 and get out and move you body. Try Curves – it is only 30 minutes!!!! Can’t get easier than that.

    My doctor does want me to start metformin for PCOS – does anyone know anything about this?

    • Thank you for your comment – I completely agree with you! You may want to look at my post about Apple Cider Vinegar. It helps control blood sugar and may be worth a shot before you start metformin. Lot of women (including me) have trouble tolerating metformin – terrible GI issues.

  3. Thankyou so much for sharing all this! I am due at my specialist next week and I ll be bringing up the suggestion of progesterone to help me as nothing else seems to be working.
    I love your site too, you’re an inspiration!

  4. I have PCOS and it has been a pain. I agree that diet and exercise the are best over a boatload of meds. I am on BP meds now but the lowest dose and hope to be off when I get to my goal weight. I’ve tried Metformin twice. The first time, I only lasted about 2 days on it because it made me sick. I am on it again now because my blood sugar is boaderline because my diet is off track. I take 500 mg 3 times a week. I refuse to take more than that because it really messes with my stomach. After I finish this bottle, I doubt that I will continue to take it.

  5. Re: Metformin. If I can offer the counter-opinion for Metformin, I had terrific success with it. It does upset the stomach, yes, but that effect went away when I figured out that I needed to shift the balance of my diet from carbs to protein (which also helped with weight loss: sometimes you need that outside element forcing to stay nutritionally honest!). It doesn’t require Atkins-level protein, just a higher ration of protein to carbs. I’ve been on it twice: I’d suggest starting in small doses and working your way up to a full dose as you find balance in your diet. The smaller doses will help with the stomach issues.

    • Peg-
      Thanks for sharing your experience with Metformin. You are absolutely correct. A PCOS treatment plan is based upon the individual. If metformin has worked for you and you can tolerate it that is wonderful. Keep up the good work with your diet.

  6. Hi My name is Char.
    I have had pcos for 12 years, my weight has krept up on me over the yrs. My heavyest being 325 pounds. Three yrs ago a wonderfull friend came into my life, and researched for me. Two yrs ago I started taking progesterone, and it changed my life. I got pregnant with my 3rd child, but I also feel better. After my daughter was born my weight bothered me!! I continue using the P.C and with diet and exercise I have lost 35 pounds so far. Eating right is a big part, especially with insulin resistance. You have to stay away from refined sugars, carbs, and focus on protein and veggies. Its hard but worth it!! I have become more regular with my cycles, and I feel great. With P.C diet and exercise we can beat pcos, but you have to want it… its not just a diet its a life change. Once you get to your goal weight, youCAN”T go back to your old eating habbits, that weight will come right back on. Be strong, stay focused and be healthy.

    • Char-
      Thanks for taking the time to share your journey. I wish more docs knew about the benefits of natural progesterone cream. Great job reclaiming your health!

  7. My daughter has PCOS. she is 17 and she started taking natural progesterone two months ago. it is causing more irregular periods than before. Just wondering if this is normal and if it will go away eventually. she only takes 20mg a night. This is a hard thing to combat. She is not very motivated and has very little energy. what can i do to help her?

    • Rosa-
      I am now at I only have experience with natural progesterone cream. How is your daughter’s diet and exercise?

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