Does Progesterone Cream Help Teens with PMS And Stress Symptoms?

Teenagers and young women are experiencing hormonal symptoms that can often be traced to low progesterone levels so how can they be helped?


Although the majority of customers are interested in symptoms from Peri to post Menopause, there are still a considerable number of younger women who can also benefit from using progesterone for a variety of conditions.

This specific topic was suggested by Dr David T Zava, who is the CEO of ZRT Labs, and the co-author with John Lee, MD. of the book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer.

How would it help teenagers?

It was suggested to Dr Zava by a retired Registered Nurse – this is her story in her own words:

“I wanted to have more information on the use of progesterone cream to normalise cycles in teens. I had found that both my own daughters, one in her teens and the other in her twenties, benefited from using progesterone in the latter half of the cycle to normalise their cycles when they were stressed.

In my work I see a lot in girls in their 20s who stress over career, classes, relationships and so on. Many get depressed and it is often responsive to rebalancing oestrogen with progesterone but I had found there was little information on this indication for progesterone use and it would be helpful to have ‘real’ info to share with people.

These girls can have migraines with expensive, invasive workups. There is solid physiology to support its use, since if stress is great, I believe ovulation can become ‘sub-par’ and set them up for oestrogen dominance.”

Dr Zava’s comments:

If by ‘real’ you mean double-blind, placebo controlled studies with thousands of subjects alas, it’s not there. In fact it’s not even there for a small group of teens with PMS, half on progesterone cream for the last two weeks of the cycle, half on placebo.

But the research is badly needed, since with all the estrogen in the environment teens and young adults are much more likely to be estrogen dominant.

As you say, there is solid physiology to support the use of progesterone for PMS, and there are also numerous studies indirectly supporting its use.

One study showed that in the first year after the start of menstruation 80% of girls did not ovulate, meaning they did not make progesterone.

Three years after this 50% did not ovulate, and by the sixth year 10% did not ovulate.

That represents a lot of girls with premenstrual bloating, weight gain, mood swings, irritability and anxiety.

In a teen the adrenal glands can pick up some of the slack in progesterone production, but in a stressed young adult the adrenals will be busy elsewhere.

What can help:

A physiologic dose (15 to 20 mg) of progesterone cream during the last week or ten days of the cycle can indeed be enormously helpful. I’ve received hundreds of emails and letters over the years from parents of teens and from doctors treating teens, who swear by progesterone cream for PMS.

The caveat is that too high a dose of progesterone cream, or oral (pill) progesterone, can create byproducts such as allopregnanolone.

Although progesterone normally hits the GABA receptors in the brain and has anti-anxiety effects, progesterone can spill over into excess allopregnanolone and have a “paradoxical” effect in teens, causing increased sensitivity, anxiety, irritability and aggression.

A high rate of success was reported by the pioneer of bioidentical progesterone cream usage by the late John R. Lee, M.D. who used transdermal progesterone cream in his practice for more than 17 years.

The difference between the methods of application is that oral progesterone requires 5-8 times the daily dose to obtain the same results as the transdermal cream.

Approximately 80% of oral progesterone is intercepted by the liver and conjugated by glucuronic acid for excretion in the bile. Additionally, oral progesterone will produce a sharp rise in serum progesterone levels followed by a rapid drop in serum levels within several hours.

Helpful information:

Hormone balance affects women of all ages, and in the teens and twenties mood swings and depression are not uncommon.

A natural aid to rebalancing is bioidentical progesterone in the same dosage as the body’s own ovaries produce, so there is no possibility of overdosing.

Serenity in the maintenance dose provides 22 mg of progesterone daily which is the dose suggested above.

It is most effective applied twice daily in the latter half of the cycle, starting two weeks after the first day of the period.

You may also find this article by Australian naturopath Lara Briden to be helpful.