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Progesterone Therapy After Menopause – What You Should Know

It is well-documented that progesterone therapy during menopause can reduce the hot flashes, mental fogginess, bone loss, fatigue, night sweats, depression, weight gain, vaginal dryness, sleeplessness, low libido, and mood changes that can occur at this time, but it is also evident that there is an important need for this treatment after menopause, as well. It is that use that will be detailed in this report.

Progesterone After Menopause

The need for progesterone therapy after menopause is essential because progesterone works as a precursor to a number of other steroid hormones. In this way, it can help balance other hormonal levels in the body after menopause. In cases of progesterone deficiency, the body can overproduce cortisol, the stress hormone, which can age the skin, damage brain cells, increase fat retention by stimulating the hunger hormone Ghrelin, and lead to osteoporosis. One significant fact is its aid in stimulating bone-building functions that can protect against the onset of osteopenia and osteoporosis.

There is another reason why it is important to use progesterone treatment: menopause often creates a state of “estrogen dominance” by affecting the normal progesterone to estrogen ratio. Women typically have higher levels of progesterone in their bodies than estrogen, and a decline in progesterone can lead to excess estrogen which can lead to higher risks of breast cancer, strokes, and other concerns.

Difference between Progesterone and Progestin Therapies

When using progesterone treatment during menopause or afterward in the post-menopausal state, a woman must ensure that she is getting real progesterone and not a synthetic progestin. The risks associated with some forms of hormone replacement such as estrogen/progestin include:

  • Blood clots
  • Breast cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

These risks are not associated with the use of progesterone. Progestin does not have the same molecular structure found in progesterone that is naturally secreted in the body. Progesterone that is sourced from yams or soy is bioidentical to the actual hormone.

The side effects and risks that can occur with the use of progestin are not associated with progesterone therapy after menopause. This makes it the optimal choice of hormone replacement therapy specialists and patients alike.

Different Types of Progesterone Therapy for Post-Menopausal Women

There are several different types of progesterone treatment postmenopausal women can use. The most common are oral pills and transdermal creams. Progesterone in cream form can be ordered by prescription or found over the counter at many health food and vitamin shops, as well as at pharmacies. One concern that some hormone replacement therapy doctors have is that the over-the-counter preparations may not be properly absorbed in the level that is necessary to provide the desired benefits.

The use of oral progesterone has been shown to increase deep sleep when taken at bedtime. This is vital since sleep plays a significant role in growth hormone production, improved metabolic function reversing the effects of weight gain, stimulating bone cell development, and allowing the body to process the information of the previous day. These are just some of the reasons for the use of  progesterone treatment for menopause and afterward, as well.

For women who are prescribed the transdermal cream progesterone therapy for menopause or after, there are benefits here, as well. While the deep sleep provided by the oral pills may not be the highest priority, many women using progesterone cream at night do report positive improvements in their overall sleep patterns. Since oral preparations pass through the liver, using a transdermal progesterone may be a better option for some post-menopausal women. The prescribing doctor will determine what the best choice is for each female based on her personal needs and assessment.

Who Can Benefit from Post-Menopausal Progesterone Therapy

Progesterone and Post-Menopausal Period

When looking at who can benefit from progesterone therapy, postmenopausal women have quite a lot to gain from this treatment. In research that examined the connection between progesterone and brain functions in women who were post-menopausal, a study found that those who had the highest level of progesterone performed better in the areas of global cognition and verbal memory that women who had lower progesterone levels. This may be due to progesterone’s role as a regulator of both pituitary gland and brain functions.

Women who no longer have their ovaries due to a bilateral oophorectomy may be at an increased risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, and symptoms of stress and anxiety. Treatment with estrogen therapy after surgery did not alter these risk factors, but current studies are underway examining the benefits of progesterone replacement following the surgical removal of the ovaries.

Part of the reason that progesterone therapy for menopause and post-menopause is so vital is that progesterone helps to prevent estrogen from becoming harmful in the body. The normal hormonal balance has progesterone at a higher level than estrogen, which is important because progesterone is essential for the body’s production of:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Estrogens
  • Glucocorticoids

Any woman who is worried about osteoporosis should know that progesterone helps to promote the building of new bone cells. It inhibits the overgrowth of breast tissue to minimize the incidence of breast cancer. Progesterone improves sleep and acts as a natural diuretic. It helps to normalize blood clotting factors, enhances thyroid hormone action, maintains a healthy sex drive, promotes improved oxygen levels in cells, improves metabolism, aids in weight loss through thermogenesis, helps to balance the levels of blood sugar, and improves mood and emotional well-being.

At National HRT, our hormone replacement doctors test a variety of different blood levels to determine what type of treatment each woman dealing with menopause or the aftermath of post-menopause will need. We offer free consultations to both women and men who are concerned that some form of hormonal decline may be affecting their lives.

Medically reviewed by   Reviewers National HRT Staff - Updated on July 18, 2019

Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.


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  2. Progesterone in Peri- and Postmenopause: A Review P.-A. Regidor Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 2014 Nov; 74(11): 995–1002.
  3. Progesterone for treatment of symptomatic menopausal women. Prior JC. Climacteric. 2018 Aug;21(4)358-365. Epub 2018 Jul 2