One of the most common fertility issues women face is low progesterone. Progesterone deficiency may disrupt ovulation and inhibit conception by preventing implantation or causing miscarriages. For good reason, those possibilities scare a lot of women. It is that fear which drives many women with low progesterone to think they need to boost their levels as soon as possible.
It seems logical that if you have low progesterone when trying to conceive, you would want to get those levels up immediately so that you can achieve a healthy pregnancy quickly. But does that desire for quick results warrant the application of a higher dose of natural progesterone cream, known as a “loading dose”?
Fortunately, for women with low progesterone, over-the-counter natural progesterone cream supplementation is an option to directly increase progesterone levels. Because natural progesterone cream helps to increase progesterone levels, it makes sense that applying more would get those levels up even sooner, right? Yes and no. While a “loading dose” may increase levels quicker, consistency of use at a “regular dose”, over an extended period of time is actually best for your body.
For women who are trying to conceive, a realistic plan is to increase progesterone levels gradually over time, in order to help achieve pregnancy and prevent miscarriage due to progesterone deficiency. Women with low progesterone who desire this natural alternative should apply natural progesterone cream at a suggested regular dose for many months prior to trying for a baby. This is the best way to prevent the likelihood of miscarriage due to low progesterone levels.
Who should be applying a loading dose?
Only those with confirmed very low progesterone should consider applying a loading dose. Confirmation of very low progesterone levels can be diagnosed through at-home saliva hormone testing, or through a blood test at your doctor’s office. If you are not sure if the loading dose is right for you, ask your healthcare practitioner to suggest an exact dose for your specific needs. When dealing with very low progesterone levels, it is best to work with a healthcare practitioner–someone who can monitor your levels and progress, adjusting your dose as needed.
Regular Dose Vs. Loading Dose – What’s the Difference?
A loading dose is essentially double that of a regular dose.
A standard regular dose of progesterone cream is 20mg twice a day. That would be one 20mg application in the morning and one 20mg application at night, for a total of 40mg of natural progesterone throughout the day. You should apply for two weeks before your period (about day 14 in your cycle), up until menstruation begins.
When applying a loading dose, you would want to use 40mg twice a day. That would be one 40mg application in the morning and one 40mg application at night, for a total of 80mg of natural progesterone a day. Again, this dose should be applied for two weeks before your period (about day 14 in your cycle), up until menstruation begins.
Q&A: Common Questions About Loading Dose
1. Q: I have not been ovulating and heard I can induce ovulation by applying a loading dose? Is this true and do you recommend it?
A: Dr. John Lee, a pioneer in working with natural progesterone cream for this exact reason, does offer information based on the work he completed with clients who had anovulatory cycles. It is true that a woman who has not been ovulating for many months may have extreme progesterone deficiency, which may be alleviated through application of a loading dose. I urge women with anovulatory cycles to not only consider progesterone cream as a tool to help them regain a normal cycle, but to also look at what may be the root cause of their disrupted ovulation to begin with.
2. Q: I have PCOS and haven’t had my period for months, will a loading dose bring my cycle back?
A: It might, but with PCOS it is very difficult to know when to apply progesterone cream at the right time in your cycle. Applying it prior to ovulation may suppress ovulation, which is not the goal if you are trying to conceive. It may be best to work with other natural therapies, as suggested by your doctor, and to implement important lifestyle changes prior to choosing to use natural progesterone cream at all.
3. Q: How long should I apply a loading dose?
A: In general, a loading dose is best applied for 3 months consistently before switching over to the Regular dose.
4. Q: I have been told I am estrogen dominant by my doctor; would applying a loading dose help me lower estrogen levels?
A: It may help to balance the estrogen to progesterone ratio, by increasing progesterone levels over time, which will support the body in regulating estrogen. It is important to remember that while a loading dose may increase progesterone levels quicker, the body responds better to a consistent regular dose, over the course of many months. A loading dose should only be viewed as a short-term solution. When you look at the bigger picture, diet, lifestyle, natural therapies, and support from your healthcare practitioner, all need to be in place. Progesterone cream should only be one of the many tools in your health toolbox.
- Rodriguez, H., C.H., C.M.T. (n.d.). Progesterone Fertility Guide. Retrieved from: http://natural-fertility-info.com/progesterone-fertility-guide