Journal / Hormone Replacement Therapy

Benefits of Progesterone After Menopause

Medically reviewed by Nancy L. Belcher Ph.D, MPA

Written by Winona Editorial Team

Last updated October 14, 2021

Menopause is a normal, but often really challenging, phase of life. While the changes in hormone levels cannot be avoided, the intense symptoms these hormone changes cause can be relieved through the benefits of progesterone or hormone replacement therapy (HRT). A variety of menopause treatments, or HRT medications, are available at Winona. Night sweats treatments, and even very effective vaginal dryness treatments are waiting for you today.

During perimenopause, your body drastically reduces its production of the hormones estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, and eventually, menstrual periods will completely stop. For many women, not having to deal with a period is a positive side effect of menopause, but there are some negative side effects too. 

Symptoms of menopause are numerous, and can often seem unconnected. Are you looking for vaginal dryness treatments? Hot flash treatments? And who isn’t looking for night sweats treatment that can finally provide you with a full night’s sleep? That can all be found in the Winona menopause therapy treatments.

By taking HRT medication, or menopause treatments, you can decrease hot flashes, vaginal dryness, anxiety, insomnia, and weight gain. The severity of menopause symptoms differs from person to person. For some women, they barely notice menopause, and for others, it is a completely debilitating time.

Progesterone, either by itself or prescribed with estrogen, is a menopause treatment that can relieve these symptoms. The challenge is to find the right therapy for you with the fewest side effects in order to improve your quality of life. The goal of hormone replacement therapy is to relieve the symptoms of hormone deficiencies so that you can live your best life.

Progesterone:

Progesterone’s main  ‘job’  is to prepare a woman’s body for possible pregnancy during her reproductive years. But that’s not all that progesterone does; it also regulates a full cascade of hormonal events in your body. So, when the ovaries don’t make as much progesterone as they used to, you may experience a wide variety of symptoms and changes including:

  • Sleep disorders

  • Hot flashes & night sweats

  • Migraine headaches

  • Mood changes, anxiety, and depression

  • Changes in bone density 

  • The decline in cognitive function & a new level of ‘fogginess’ or memory loss

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Benefits of Progesterone

Mood, Anxiety & Depression

It might surprise you to hear that progesterone acts as a natural antidepressant, and can enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. It actually stimulates the brain’s ‘feel-good,’ center. So it makes sense then that when progesterone levels drop with menopause, anxiety can become a major menopause symptom.5 Researchers have shown that progesterone appears to be the most potent anti-anxiety hormone for menopausal women.6,7 

While there are many causes of anxiety – your kids, your job, or something else  – a progesterone hormone deficiency is the main factor leading to moodiness, brain fog, and depression during menopause. Anxiety is defined as a state of uneasiness, and symptoms include terms like nervous, irritable, fearful,  panicky, ill at ease, or worry. Often the anxiety can lead to a panic attack accompanied by physical symptoms like a pounding heart, sweating, and rapid breathing. When excessive anxiety occurs daily, it becomes disabling. Menopause treatments can help.

Sometimes healthcare providers don’t correlate anxiety with menopause and the drop of progesterone. But they should. Instead, they will likely prescribe anti-anxiety drugs without correcting for the lowered progesterone. The side effects of these anti-anxiety drugs can include fatigue, memory impairment,  insomnia, decreased libido, changes in appetite, dizziness, and yes, anxiety. All of which menopausal women are already battling. Anti-anxiety medication can be effectively prescribed with HRT – one does not exclude the other and they can work well together. Always talk to your doctor before using any medications together.

When progesterone levels are restored to normal with bioidentical progesterone HRT medication, women have noticed anxiety relief, decreased irritability, and less nervous tension.5,6,7

Improved Sleep

Progesterone also helps with the sleep problems so often associated with menopause. After hot flashes, the next most troublesome symptoms of menopause is delayed or interrupted sleep. Researchers found that taking 300 milligrams (mg) of progesterone daily at bedtime improved the quality of deep sleep.9 Not only will it make you sleepy but progesterone can reduce the severity of night sweats, which can awaken women from an otherwise sound sleep.9

Anti-Aging

Who doesn’t want to live longer and age gracefully? But, if we want to live longer we should also try to look and feel good doing it! While we can’t reverse the aging process, we can slow it down. Hormone replacement therapy is regarded as a cornerstone of anti-aging efforts.10 Currently, women can expect to live about ⅓ -½ of their lives in a state of sex-hormone deficiency (not enough estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone) if they don’t take hormone replacements. That is a huge problem!

Skin aging, as well as decreases in muscle, bone density, sexual desire, and intellectual activity, can lead to mood disorders osteoporosis, cognitive decline, dementia, heart problems, and painful sex. Bio-identical hormones can give you back the many benefits of progesterone. Progesterone can directly contribute to longevity, and lead to a significant improvement in your quality of life.11

Progesterone’s effects on another hormone, insulin, can help both with weight loss and longevity. Too much insulin is known to speed up the aging process. Progesterone can reverse insulin’s effects and slow the aging that you may be noticing. By helping to control stress, progesterone can again be considered an anti-aging hormone.

Long Term Disease Prevention

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Taken on its own, or with estrogen, progesterone can improve sleep, protect memory & cognitive functions, and even reduce the incidence of breast, uterus, ovarian, cervical, & colon cancers.2,3,11 In combination, estrogen, and progesterone can also reduce the hot flashes, night sweats, and many other side effects of menopause.1

Are There Any  Progesterone Side Effects?

Rarely, women have experienced an allergic reaction to progesterone, and possibly some of  the following side effects, but at the levels prescribed by Winona healthcare professionals this would be highly unlikely:

Summary

The most effective way to relieve menopause symptoms is to try natural menopause hormone treatments like HRT that include progesterone. If a woman doesn’t have a uterus, it is common to be prescribed just estrogen therapy alone. If a woman does have a uterus, they will be prescribed a combination of estrogen and progesterone to protect the uterus, and keep the uterine lining thin. 

When estrogen and progesterone are taken together, it’s often in pill-form or a cream. Progesterone on its own can also be in the form of a pill or a cream that contains micronized progesterone, which is easily used by the body at low doses.1

Progesterone treatment should be started at the beginning of menopause if at all possible. If a woman is over 60 years old or has been menopausal for longer than 10 years it may be too late to start progesterone treatment. Ask your Winona experts if you could still be offered treatment. Additionally,  if you have a history of breast cancer progesterone treatment is not for you, but Winona’s experts can help with other very effective menopause treatments.

“This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.”

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/progesterone-for-menopause

  2. https://www.medpagetoday.org/endocrinology/generalendocrinology/43123

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245250/

  4. https://www.healthywomen.org/your-health/progesterone/facts-to-know

  5. https://www.hotzehwc.com/2018/04/anxiety-relief-with-bioidentical-progesterone/

  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6684167/

  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7663969/

  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1688192/

  9. https://www.healthline.com/health/progesterone-for-menopause

  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4116364/

  11. https://plattwellness.com/blogs/news/3-benefits-of-progesterone-for-anti-aging