Unequivocal proof that progesterone cream is absorbed by the skin – critics silenced by science.

This month, after more than two decades of cynicism and derision by many in the mainstream medical community, the peer-reviewed medical journal of the North American Menopause Society, Menopause, has published a study that unequivocally shows  the hormone progesterone is well absorbed after application to the skin.

The well designed study by US researchers examined the distribution of progesterone in whole blood, serum, fingertip capillary blood, and saliva after application of both progesterone cream and gel in menopausal women.

Menopause 20; 11 e-publication 2013



Critics of progesterone creams have always adopted the fall back position that because whole blood and serum progesterone levels do not rise post the application of progesterone creams that it isn’t absorbed. Supporters of progesterone cream have long-argued that supplemented progesterone is preferentially absorbed into cellular tissue and that saliva and capillary blood is more reflective of  progesterone absorption.

This study established a number of very significant  principles and in doing so debunked a number of misconceptions and myths about progesterone cream.

Fact 1: Progesterone applied to the skin in either a gel or cream is extremely well absorbed across the skin

Fact 2: After application of topical progesterone, saliva and capillary blood levels are approximately 10-fold and 100-fold greater, respectively, than those seen in serum or whole blood.

Fact 3: Progesterone levels in whole blood are less than progesterone levels in serum following topical progesterone application.

Fact 4: Progesterone is not carried on red blood cell membranes

Fact 5: Progesterone gel is less well absorbed than progesterone cream

Fact 6: Measuring whole blood or serum for progesterone levels will not reflect the true progesterone status of patients using topical progesterone.


Progesterone cream critics now need to eat humble pie – they have long argued “show me the science” The science is now there and it’s rock solid. No longer should women be denied treatment with topical progesterone based upon the argument that “it’s not absorbed”.

The authors conclude “topical progesterone is well absorbed and should be reconsidered as an effective means of treating clinical conditions that respond favorably to progestogens”.


The question that remains unanswered  is “will progesterone cream or progesterone gel be used in combination with estrogen protect the endometrium? “

The authors plan a future study to determine this.

For more information about progesterone cream see www.hormonesolutions.com

For Video Q&A about progesterone cream see www.hormonesolutions.com/video

One Response to Unequivocal proof that progesterone cream is absorbed by the skin – critics silenced by science.

  1. Judith Volpe MD says:

    I cycle BHRT and the women don’t get menses or even mild withdrawal bleeding unless the serum progesterone levels reach a certain level. I am therefore not comfortable with topical progesterone creams unless they are used 3 weeks a month by themselves [ no estrogen component]. They often do seem to provide significant symptom relief from PMS and perimenopause.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newsletter sign up

Read previous newsletters