Progestins (Megestrol & Provera)
interfere with Progesterone
Don't be freaked out by the molecules above. Think of the those pictures you looked at as a kid and played as a game. You compared each picture to the other looking for differences.
To give you an idea of how small molecular differences can have large differences when affecting humans and animals we show two hormones below. One is testosterone, the "male" hormone. The other is estradiol, the potent "female" hormone. Even though the molecular differences are very small and the hormones look very similar, testosterone tells the body it is male, and estradiol tells the body it is female. So, if small differences in molecular structure are the difference between male and female, think of the artificial hormones and the side effects that they will have.
Estradiol and Testosterone are very similar molecular structures. However, they produce the maleness and femaleness in animals and humans.
Side Effects of Progesterone
A woman produces about 20 mg per day of progesterone from her ovaries during the latter part of the menstrual cycle before menopause. During pregnancy the placenta begins to produce progesterone, as much as 400 mg per day. That is why it is called progesterone. Pro meaning "for". Gest meaning "gestation". At physiologic doses progesterone cream about 20 mg per day applied to the skin has little or no side effects. There is some slight drowsiness. Thus, you can apply progesterone on your skin just before bed time. If you are using too much progesterone you may feel emotionally elated and also have an increase in sex drive. If you are taking too much progesterone when you stop you may also feel slightly emotionally depressed. This is why women have post partum depression. After the placenta is delivered, their bodies experience a drop in progesterone, and the women experience an emotional depression.
At high doses (10% progesterone cream or 2,800mg progesterone/oz of cream) for many years, I have heard of anecdotal reports of mental confusion which cleared after several months of discontinued use.
Side Effects of Progestins
Because of these alterations to the molecule, the drug has side effects. The following is a partial list of side effects of Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate) from 1993 PDR (Physician's Desk Reference):
Increased risk of birth defects such as heart and limb defects if taken during the first four months of pregnancy.
Beagle dogs given this drug developed malignant mammary nodules. ("malignant mammary nodules" is the same as BREAST CANCER)
Discontinue this drug if there is a sudden or partial loss of vision.
This drug passes into breast milk consequences unknown.
May contribute to thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism, and cerebral thrombosis.
May cause fluid retention, epilepsy, migraine, asthma, cardiac or renal dysfunction.
May cause breakthrough bleeding or menstrual irregularities.
May cause or contribute to depression.
The effect of prolonged use of this drug on pituitary, ovarian, adrenal, hepatic, or uterine function is unknown.
May decrease glucose tolerance; diabetic patients must be carefully monitored.
May increase the thrombotic disorders associated with estrogens.
Stopping the Progestin
Progestins are found in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and birth control pills. Dr. John Lee recommends stopping them.
Dr. Lee maintains that a woman on a progestin such as Provera (Medroxyprogesterone acetate) or Megestrol should stop the progestin. Immediately lower the dose by 1/2 and lower it more the second month. By the third month the progestin may be completely stopped. There are two reasons for this method.
The first reason is that the progestin competes for the binding sites of progesterone. Thus, continued use of the progestin will block the effect of progesterone.
The second reason is that plasma progesterone levels will not reach a maximum level until the 2nd or 3rd month of use. Initially, in progesterone deficient patients, much of the progesterone is absorbed into body fat. With continued use, fat levels of progesterone reach an equilibrium such that successive doses of progesterone result in increased blood levels and stronger physiological effects. Thus, progesterone applications may take 2 to 3 months before the maximum benefits are experienced.
Where Does Progesterone and Progestins Come From?
Progestins and conjugated estrogen used as birth control pills were discovered by the pharmaceutical companies while looking for a fertility drug by studying folk medicine in Mexico. Wild yams were found to have a diosgenin that had the base compound of progesterone in it. To preserve profits, conjugated artificial estrogens and artificial progestins were invented and patented to protect market share. These artificial hormones have serious side effects. The pharmaceutical companies maintain large farms of these yams to give them the base compounds for the manufacturing of their artificial hormones. All or most of the natural progesterone is also made from these yams. The yams contain a compound called a diosgenin. Disogenin has the progesterone molecule in it. Some molecules are cleaved off of the diosgenin, and progesterone is the result.