DISCLAIMER: I was told by my doctor to use progesterone cream for my short luteal phase. Even though this product is available OTC, do not use unless given instructions by your doctor. Using progesterone cream when it is not needed can harm your cycle instead of help it, especially if not used properly. Consult your doctor if you think using progesterone cream is right for you.
My doctor told me to start using progesterone cream at my annual physical where it just so happened that it was also around the year-mark of trying to conceive. She explained to me that the cream will help strengthen and lengthen my luteal phase which was 9 or 10 days before using the cream. Most websites define a “short luteal phase” by less than 10 or 11 days. I’ve been told by my OBGYN and Reproductive Endocrinologist both told me that they would like to see my luteal phase at least 12+ days so that was our goal when we started the progesterone cream.
The cream that I bought was for under $20 and I got it from Amazon. I’m on my third month using it and I still haven’t run out of product so I think the bottle lasts for a good while.
WHY IN THE WORLD DO I HAVE A SHORT LUTEAL PHASE?
According to Health Line, “A short luteal phase can also be due to failure of the corpus luteum. If the corpus luteum doesn’t secrete enough progesterone, your uterine lining may shed before a fertilized egg implants on the uterus. This occurrence can cause an earlier menstrual cycle.”
HOW I USED PROGESTERONE CREAM
My OBGYN instructed me to apply a “dime-size” of cream to my abdomen twice daily. To keep myself accountable I made sure to do it when I woke up (after a shower if a shower was needed that day) and right before bed. I was also instructed to start using it the day after ovulation so obviously, it’s a smart idea to track your ovulation while using the cream.
I’m not sure what would happen if you used it before ovulation but I am usually really strict on myself and don’t do anything that isn’t recommended by my doctor. I mean, they are the professional here - right?
SIDE EFFECTS OF PROGESTERONE CREAM
Now for the information you probably came to this post for, let’s discuss the side effects. I get quite a few messages on Instagram about this because I wrote a post complaining about the side effects once upon a time. I have absolutely no proof that the progesterone cream was the cause of these side effects but it was the only change I made that cycle so, your guess is as good as mine. Starting from maybe the second day of using the product, I felt so weak and exhausted. It was terrible. I had zero energy no matter how much sleep I got, coffee I drank, walking around I did. Nothing was going on and it was so odd! I was taking daily naps, falling asleep on the couch by 7 p.m. I always wake up around 5:30 a.m. to help my husband as he gets ready for work (yes, I know, I’m a nice wife) and for the first two week using the cream, it was so hard for me to get out of bed. I felt like I was really slacking on my duties!
Some other side effects that I had was a mild headache that just wouldn’t go away. Taking a nap usually helped the headache though. It wasn’t the most painful headache in the world but it was just so aggravating!
DID PROGESTERONE CREAM WORK?
The short answer is, yes.
The first cycle that I used progesterone cream, my cycle was 31 days (usually 27) and my luteal phase was 14 days exactly.
The second cycle using progesterone cream, my cycle was actually 26 days, so one day shorter than “normal” for me. BUT I had my HSG done that cycle so that could have made me ovulate earlier, meaning my period came earlier. Something I had to admit about this cycle is that we did not use OPKs because we had a lot going on in life and I forgot to buy some more of my Easy @ Home OPKs so I took the cycle off from testing. Because I wasn’t properly testing, I only assumed when I ovulated based on my body symptoms and when I usually ovulate. I feel like I chose the wrong month to do that because it was right after my HSG and now I’ve read that the HSG can make you ovulate sooner! So I’m curious to know if I started using the cream too late and it threw off my body, hence why I started my period early that cycle.
Learn from my mistake, don’t take a break from OPKs (or temping) if you plan on trying something new! It doesn’t help you one bit.
If you suspect that you have a short luteal phase, of course I think the first step is talking to your doctor! I’m just telling you my experience and what helped me but please remember that what works for one person, may not work for another. So be optimistic but cautious when you try something new!
I think that I had great results when I used the progesterone cream but now that we are moving on to our next step in our journey, I don’t have to use it. If my body does have a progesterone deficiency which is causing a short luteal phase, than WHEN the time comes and I FINALLY GET THAT BIG FAT POSITIVE, my RE will either instruct me to use the cream again or prescribe something stronger.
Comment below if you found this helpful! I try to only put out my opinion, experiences, etc when it can be beneficial to all of you!