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Thyroid UK
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Oral vs topical progesterone?

There is something I have been wondering for a while...many online reviews claim progesterone and estrogen supplements sold OTC are simply not potent enough to achieve what prescription drugs do.

My doctor (trained by Hertoghe, but now in private practice) prescribes topical estrogen (day 5-25 of cycle), and oral progesterone (Utrogestan, 200 mg, day 15-25). I have read that each 200 mg capsule only releases 20 mg of progesterone after being processed by the liver...however, each pump of Biovea Progesterone Cream is also said to contain 20 mg of progesterone, so what is really the difference...?

When I search for info online, it seems that topical progesterone is so much better than the one to be taken orally...however, I cannot find any difference in the actual amount of progesterone being available to the body after swallowing or applying the product in question...?

9 Replies

Perhaps it's the quality of the product that makes the difference?

Something prescribed as a medicine should have be higher quality, have better quality assurance, standardisation, & more rigorous testing than something sold OTC.

I've just swapped to bio-identical oestrogen gel & the same progesterone you mention, though I'd had no issues with my synthetic HRT. I expected to need to plead, but the first thing the GP said was that topical oestrogen was better as it doesn't stess the liver. I'm guessing progesterone does not do so, & it's ok to take this orally. There may also be a difference in the amount needed, so oral

progesterone may be absorbed more effectively than a cream or they'd be

sold as a combined topical gel.

1 like

OK, thanks! Can I ask why you switched from synthetic HRT to bio-identical?


Natural progesterone is better for the body than synthetic progestin.

However, I had no negative effects from my synthetic HRT, & found it easier to take than using a gel, & a pill that I have to take on an empty stomach that clashes with my bedtime magnesium.


I have been wondering lately if synthetic HRT is more effective...it seems it has longer-lasting effects in the body. But it's also true that bio-identical hormones are considered better in the long run. I believe that's the reason the Hertoghe doctor in Belgium only work with bio-identical hormones.


The brand I took, Angelique, had no negative side effects, & is supposed to be the safest available. It was recommended by my friend's sister, who is a gynaecologist. She took it, & prescribed it for my friend.

I have breast tenderness this week, & have just been sent a mammogram appointment ~ ouch!!!


I found that progesterone cream did very little for me (including prescription cream) while sublingual lozenges work well.


Interesting...I don't know if sublingual lozenges are available in Belgium; I'll have to ask my doctor about that.


Mine are prescribed and made up specially, but they contain all my hormones. not just progesterone

1 like

Oh, I see...maybe that's why it does not seem widely available. Glad to hear it's working so well for you!


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