Progestin vs Progesterone: Everything You Need to Know

Progestin vs Progesterone supplements

Progestin vs Progesterone: Thyroid Health Benefits

Comparing progestin vs progesterone requires an understanding of their origins, uses, and potential benefits. Progesterone is a naturally occurring hormone produced in the body, while progestins are synthetic compounds designed to mimic its effects. This article will explore these two substances in detail and provide valuable insights for those seeking hormonal therapy or birth control options.

Progesterone and Progestins: Understanding the Basics

Progesterone is a natural hormone produced by women’s ovaries, playing a vital role in regulating menstruation and maintaining pregnancy. Progestins are man-made steroid hormones that, while having certain similarities to progesterone, have distinct chemical structures and roles in the body.

Natural Progesterone Production

The human body produces natural progesterone primarily during ovulation to help prepare the uterus for potential implantation of an embryo. It also plays a crucial role in supporting healthy pregnancies by preventing uterine contractions that could lead to miscarriage or preterm labor.

Synthetic Progestin Types

Synthetic progestins are created artificially through chemical processes to mimic some of the effects of natural progesterone. They can be found in various forms such as hormonal birth control pills, patches, injections, vaginal rings, hormonal IUDs, and even certain menopausal hormone therapy medications. However, these synthetic compounds do not bind perfectly with our body’s progesterone receptors, which may result in unwanted side effects or reduced effectiveness compared to bioidentical progesterones.

Bioidentical progesterone is a natural progesterone that is identical in molecular structure to the progesterone produced by the human body. It is often used as an alternative to synthetic progestins in hormone therapy and birth control.

It is important to note that while hormonal birth control and progestin-only methods can be effective in preventing pregnancy, they do not provide the same benefits as natural progesterone. Additionally, studies have shown a potential link between synthetic progestins and an increased risk of breast cancer, while natural progesterone has not been found to have the same association.

Overall, understanding the differences between natural progesterone and synthetic progestins is crucial in making informed decisions about hormone therapy and birth control options.

Medical Applications of Progesterone and Progestins

Both progesterone and progestins serve multiple medical purposes such as treating irregular periods, abnormal uterine bleeding, absent periods (amenorrhea), and chronic pelvic pain associated with endometriosis-related period cramps. However, they have distinct molecular structures which result in different effects on various parts of the body.

Natural Progesterone Production

Natural progesterone, produced by women’s ovaries, plays a vital role in regulating menstruation and maintaining pregnancy. It is also used to support fertility treatments or manage symptoms related to menopause when combined with estrogen therapy.

Synthetic Progestin Types

In contrast to natural progesterone, synthetic progestins are man-made hormones that mimic some functions of natural progesterone but differ significantly in their chemical structure. They are commonly found in hormonal birth control methods like pills, patches, injections, or intrauterine devices (IUDs). Synthetic progestins can be further classified into different generations based on their properties and side effect profiles:

  • First-generation: Norethindrone and norethynodrel;
  • Second-generation: Levonorgestrel;
  • Third-generation: Desogestrel and gestodene;
  • Fourth-generation: Drospirenone and dienogest.

Progesterone and progestins are important hormones in the human body that can be used to support a variety of medical applications. Research has been conducted in depth to investigate their potential as hormonal treatments, such as contraceptive pills and HRT.

Hormonal Therapy Treatments – Birth Control Pills & HRT

One of the most common uses for progestins is in hormonal birth control, including pills, patches, and injections. However, the types of progestins differ in their composition and effects. For example, levonorgestrel is more similar to testosterone than it is to progesterone. This similarity may cause side effects like hair loss or weight gain when used as part of hormonal therapy treatments.

Side Effects Caused by Levonorgestrel Use

  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Breast tenderness or pain
  • Nausea and vomiting (rare)

In addition to birth control methods that combine estrogen with a synthetic progestin, there are also options such as the progestin-only methods and hormonal IUDs which use only progestins.

Micronized Natural/Bioidentical vs Synthetic Progestins

Different types of progestogens used in combined estrogen + progestogen HRT regimens might be linked with varying risks for breast cancer development. A study published in The Lancet found that women using bioidentical progesterone had a lower risk compared to those using synthetic counterparts (source). This suggests that natural progesterones may be a safer option for some individuals seeking menopausal hormone therapy.

Synthetic progestins, while potentially effective in treating medical conditions, may pose risks and thus natural/bioidentical progesterones should be considered as a safer alternative. 

Benefits of Using Natural/Bioidentical Progesterones Over Synthetic Counterparts

A meta-analysis published in The Lancet found that HT users had a lower risk of death than non-users, thus implying the potential superiority of natural progesterone over synthetic progestins. In this section, we will discuss the benefits of using micronized natural/bioidentical progesterones over their synthetic counterparts.

Lower Risk of Death in HT Users

Bioidentical progesterone, which is molecularly identical to the hormone generated by your body, binds effectively with its receptors and thus can help attain a balanced hormonal state while potentially avoiding any undesirable effects associated with synthetic forms of the same. This similarity allows it to bind effectively with progesterone receptors, providing better hormonal balance and reducing potential side effects. On the other hand, synthetic progestins have a different molecular structure which can lead to unwanted side effects and increased health risks such as breast cancer.

Fewer Side Effects from Micronized Natural/Bioidentical Progesterones

  • Safety: Micronized natural/bioidentical progesterones are generally considered safe with fewer adverse reactions reported among users compared to synthetic progestin-based medications like hormonal birth control pills or menopausal hormone therapy treatments.
  • Efficacy: Since they closely mimic your body’s own hormones, bioidentical progesterones tend to work more effectively at relieving symptoms associated with low levels of these hormones such as hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances during menopause or other hormonal imbalances.
  • Reduced Health Risks: The use of natural progesterone in hormone therapy has been associated with a lower risk of developing breast cancer, as opposed to synthetic progestins found in some birth control methods and menopausal hormone treatments like hormonal IUDs or combined estrogen-progestin pills.

Improving Progesterone Levels Safely and Effectively

Progesterone can be taken in various forms to help address low levels caused by factors such as stress or thyroid issues. It is essential to explore different methods of administering progesterone.

Methods of Administering Progesterone

  • Oral: Micronized progesterone capsules, also known as bioidentical progesterones, are available by prescription and offer a more natural alternative to synthetic progestins.
  • Vaginal: Vaginal creams, gels, and suppositories containing natural progesterone can be applied directly to the vaginal area for better absorption into the bloodstream.
  • Injections: In some cases, doctors may recommend injections of natural progesterone for those who require higher doses or have difficulty absorbing oral medications.

Consulting a Doctor for Personalized Treatment Options

If you have tried these methods without success or have experienced side effects from hormonal birth control or menopausal hormone therapy, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider. They will evaluate your individual needs based on factors like age, medical history, and overall health status before recommending an appropriate course of action. Additionally, they may suggest other treatments such as lifestyle changes (e.g., diet modifications) or supplements that support healthy thyroid function (visit our store here.) in order to improve your hormonal balance naturally.


Understanding the differences between progestin and progesterone is crucial for those looking to improve their thyroid health with natural supplements. Both have applications in treating various conditions, but natural progesterone may offer fewer adverse reactions and lower breast cancer risk compared to synthetic progestins.
If you’re interested in exploring natural alternatives for improving your thyroid health, consider checking out With accessible over-the-counter options and potential benefits such as regulating hormone levels and reducing inflammation, incorporating natural supplements into your routine could be a game-changer.

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