Progestin vs Progesterone: Understanding the Differences and Uses

Dinesh Patel
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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progestin vs progesterone

There are many hormones regulating our bodies among them, Progesterone plays a crucial role.  

Progesterone, a natural hormone, has a synthetic counterpart—Progestin. 

It can be found in many medications used to treat conditions such as hormonal imbalances, menstrual disorders, and infertility. 

Though their names sound similar, their origins, functions, and uses are distinct. 

This article sheds light on Progestin vs Progesterone, its functions, safety considerations, and various treatments involving these hormones.

Quick overview

Here’s a quick overview of the difference between Progestin and Progesterone.

DefinitionNaturally occurring steroid hormoneSynthetic form of Progesterone
ProductionOvaries (and smaller amounts in adrenal glands); also produced in malesSynthetic chemical designed to mimic Progesterone
FunctionsKey role in menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and reproductive processesRegulates menstrual cycle, prevents ovulation, fertility issues
UsesFertility treatments, menopause management, gender-affirming therapyBirth control (pills, hormonal IUDs, injections), menstrual cycle regulation, PCOS treatment, menopause symptoms
SourcesNaturally produced in the body or derived from plant sourcesSynthetic 
FormsNaturally in the body or derived from plants; pills, gel, creams, injections, transdermal patches, suppositoriesPills, gel, creams, injections, transdermal patches, suppositories
TreatmentsFertility treatments, Menopause symptom management, gender-affirming therapyBirth control, menstrual cycle irregularities, PCOS treatment, Menopause symptoms
Safety considerationsPotential side effects include changes in menstrual bleeding, breast tenderness, headaches, and nausea.Potential side effects include changes in menstrual bleeding, breast tenderness, headaches, and nausea; increased risk of breast cancer with Progestin, newer Progestins may pose an increased risk of blood clots


Progesterone is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates the female reproductive system. 

It is produced in the ovaries (and in smaller amounts in the adrenal glands). 

It plays a crucial role in menstrual cycle regulation, pregnancy, and other reproductive processes. 

Progesterone prepares the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg, helps maintain pregnancy, and has various effects on the female reproductive organs. 

In males, it is also produced in small amounts in the testes and adrenal gland.


Progestin is a synthetic or artificial form of the hormone Progesterone. 

Progestins are commonly used in various forms of hormonal contraception, such as birth control pills, hormonal Intrauterine Devices (IUDs), and contraceptive implants.

These synthetic hormones mimic the effects of Progesterone in the body and are utilized to regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent ovulation. 

It’s important to note that while Progestins have similar functions to Progesterone, they are not identical, and their specific properties can vary. 

Sources of Progestin and Progesterone

Progesterone, a naturally occurring steroid hormone, is produced in varying amounts by males, females, and other genders. 

The term “natural” or “bioidentical” Progesterone can be misleading, as even these medications are made from a plant chemical called Diosgenin found in wild yams.

On the other hand, Progestin is a synthetic chemical designed to mimic the effects of Progesterone.

Diosgenin is commonly used to synthesize various steroid hormones that find applications in medications such as Cortisone, Pregnenolone, and Progesterone.

Forms of Progestin vs Progesterone

Progesterone is available naturally in the body.

Its synthetic form, Progestin, is administered in pills, gel, cream, injection, transdermal patches, or suppository forms, depending on the medical purpose.


Copper IUD devicesSource: Mariakray
Copper IUD device

Progestin is more commonly used in various forms of birth control, including hormonal IUDs, pills, and injections. 

It thickens cervical mucus, controls bleeding, and can prevent ovulation. 

Progestin is also employed in treating menstrual cycle irregularities, dysmenorrhea, endometriosis pain, and amenorrhea. 

On the contrary, Progesterone, in bioidentical forms, is used in various medical treatments. 

It is increasingly popular in fertility treatments, menopause symptom management, and gender-affirming therapy

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Safety considerations

Both Progestin and Progesterone medications come with potential side effects. 

These may include changes in menstrual bleeding, breast tenderness, headaches, and nausea. 

However, differences exist, such as an increased risk of breast cancer associated with Progestin. 

Additionally, newer Progestins may pose an increased risk of blood clots.

Contact a medical professional if you get symptoms such as persistent leg swelling, pain, sudden breathlessness, or sharp chest pain. These symptoms may indicate blood clot and, if not treated immediately, can cause death.

This emphasizes the importance of following dosage directions and reporting any new symptoms to a healthcare provider.


Progesterone, a naturally occurring hormone, plays a pivotal role in regulating the female reproductive system.  

On the other hand, Progestin is a synthetic counterpart designed to mimic the effects of Progesterone. It is widely used in various forms of hormonal contraception.

Progesterone, in both synthetic and bioidentical forms, finds applications in fertility treatments, menopause management, and gender-affirming therapy. 

Progestin, predominantly used in birth control methods, also addresses menstrual irregularities, PCOS, and Menopause symptoms.

Additionally, Progestin carries an increased risk of breast cancer and blood clots. 

In navigating hormone-based medications, the nuanced differences between Progesterone and Progestin underscore the importance of personalized medical guidance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Progestin the same as Progesterone?

No, Progestin is not the same as Progesterone. Progestin is a synthetic form of Progesterone designed to mimic its effects on the body. While they share some similarities in function, they are distinct substances with differences in their chemical structures and properties.

Is Progestin-only better for PCOS?

The choice between Progestin-only and other treatments for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) depends on individual circumstances and treatment goals. Progestin can be beneficial for regulating menstrual cycles and addressing specific symptoms of PCOS. Still, other hormonal or lifestyle interventions may also be considered.

Is Progestin safer than Progesterone?

The safety depends on the context of use and individual health factors. Both can have potential side effects, such as changes in menstrual bleeding, breast tenderness, headaches, and nausea. Progestin has been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer, while Progesterone is linked to an increased risk of tumors. 

Does Progestin cause breast growth?

Progestin, like Progesterone, can influence breast tissue, some individuals may experience breast tenderness or changes in breast size as a side effect. However, the extent of this effect can vary among individuals. It’s essential to communicate any concerns or observed changes with a healthcare provider.

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