Many of the Estrogen Dominant women that talk to me complain of
a loss of sex drive. Most of the Estrogen Dominant women used
numerous toiletries that contained xenoestrogens, and when they took
progesterone and cut out the xenoestrogens, the sex drive
came back. Their husbands were happy. Some of my biggest fans
for progesterone cream are the husbands. They would tell their
wife to get the progesterone cream.
I have also observed that women that used Natural estradiol cream
in a proper physiologic dose AND cutting out xenoestrogens and
phytoestrogens ALSO had an increased sex drive or libido. Again
there is a difference between how estradiol fits into the estrogen
receptor and how a xenoestrogen and phytoestrogen fits into the
Here is John Lee, MD page 96,126 "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You
'The early proponents of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT)
created a myth promising that estrogen would keep women
"feminine" and sexually attractive "forever." Without
the magic pill, they would turn into sexless hags and no
longer be attractive to their husbands. It was a common misconception
that older women were no longer interested in sex.
In my medical practice, many premenopausal women told me that
they were less interested in sex. Others, however, told me
that as they approached menopause, they had become even more
desirous of sex; it was their husbands whose sexual stamina
was failing. The difference in the women, it seemed to me,
related to whether or not they were experiencing estrogen
dominance, that is, continued estrogen effects (monthly periods)
without progesterone (anovulatory periods). The women losing
interest in sex had water retention, fibrocystic breasts, depression,
dry, wrinkling skin, and irregular sometimes heavy periods.
I gradually came to understand that these signs and symptoms
were indicative of a progesterone deficiency, not estrogen
deficiency. Women on estrogen replacement therapy coming to
me for treatment of their osteoporosis also confided in me that
they were unhappy with the fat accumulating at their hips and
abdomen, their swollen breasts, and their loss of sex drive.
Estrogen replacement had not restored their previous sex drive.
When these women used the progesterone cream supplementation I
recommended, the story changed; they were delighted to report
that their sex drive had returned. I received a Christmas
card from one woman telling me that her bones were better,
her skin more youthful, and, by the way, her husband thanked me
too! I learned to ask my progesterone using patients about
their sex drives, and uniformly their eyes brightened and they told
me their sex life was better after progesterone cream treatment
than any time during the 10-15 years before menopause. Progesterone
had restored normal sex drive.
My clinical experience with these patients was at odds with
what I had learned in medical school. I had been taught that
only estrogen and testosterone were vital to normal sex drive.
Pharmacologic (abnormally large) doses of progesterone, when
given to male rats and lizards, had been found to inhibit sexual
behavior. But a 1994 study found that physiologic (much smaller)
doses of progesterone had the opposite effect (i.e., it restored
But what about females? In another recent study, female hamsters
with their ovaries removed did not show sexual behavior unless areas
of their brains vital for sex drive were stimulated by progesterone.
When stimulated with estrogen alone, these brain areas did not stimulate
normal sexual activity. When progesterone was added, sexual activity
While I grant that hamsters are not humans, it is clear that,
in most female mammals, the rise and fall of sex hormones
coordinates sexual behavior so that mating is the most
likely to occur near the time of ovulation. This, after all,
is the primary function of sex drive. This study shows that
sex drive is a function of both estrogen and progesterone, and probably
also testosterone. The administration of estrogen in
the absence of progesterone does not accomplish stimulation
of sex drive. (I would like to see a study in where progesterone
alone was administered!) In humans, estrogen production falls
only 40 to 60 percent at menopause, whereas progesterone falls
to close to zero when ovulation no longer occurs. This explains
the loss of sex drive in my premenopausal patients with
estrogen sufficient for monthly periods (and in postmenopausal
women on ERT) but lacking in progesterone and the resumption
of normal sex drive when progesterone cream was added.
Among many researchers, testosterone is given credit for being
the hormone attached to sex drive in both males and females.
It is widely assumed that the increased sex drive in fertile
women at ovulation correlates with a timely spurt of testosterone.
In a test of this hypothesis, Drs. Ben C. Campbell and Peter T.
Ellison of Harvard University measured daily salivary testosterone
levels among regularly cycling women and did find a very small peak,
as expected. In an interesting aside, to verify that the women
were in fact ovulating, they also checked midcycle progesterone
levels. To their surprise, 7 of the 18 women in the study
(age range 24 to 42 years, average 29 years of age) did not ovulate,
although they were menstruating. This is still further
evidence that anovulatory cycles are common among relatively
young, regularly cycling women in the United States.
It is important to be reminded again of the complex interplay
and delicate balance of hormones in the human body and the difference
between taking physiologic and pharmacologic doses of hormones.
Physiologic (equivalent to normal body function) doses are meant to be replacement
doses for a specific hormone deficiency.'
Libido, or sex drive, though mediated by sex hormones, is really a brain function. Specific
areas of the brain have been identified in mice, rats, hamsters as essential for sexual
receptivity and mounting behavior. When one or another of these areas is experimentally
destroyed, sexual behavior is lost, regardless of hormone levels. In female hamsters with
their ovaries removed, estrogen alone is insufficient to restore sexual receptivity;
progesterone is required. The inference is that low doses of estrogen "prime" the brain cells but
progesterone "turns on" the sex drive.
In male rats, the pharmacologic (large) dosages of progesterone inhibit sexual behavior
but physiologic (similar to what the body would naturally produce) does appear to
have an opposite effect, stimulating male copulatory behavior. Here we learn that a
hormone usually considered to be a female hormone also works in males.
Admittedly, rats and hamsters are not human, and human sexuality is modified by numerous social,
behavioral, and other factors. However, the underlying primary sexual drive in all mammals surely
emanates from brain centers mediated by sex hormones. The effect of progesterone cream
on human libido has been largely ignored in mainstream medical research. The common "wisdom"
is that estrogen is the primary sex drive hormone in women. The experience of my progesterone
cream patients, however, does not bear this out. Their flagging libido returned only when
progesterone cream was added. Testosterone also plays a role in restoring libido.
Progesterone cream at 10 mg/day also seems to stimulate a man's
sex drive. There was one study that I saw from about 30 years ago
that gave physiologic amounts of progesterone to about 20
male college students. They reported increased sex drive. There
was some malformation of the sperm that occurred with the low dose
of progesterone. This sperm malformation reversed after
stopping the progesterone.