Meaning, Symptoms, and Cognitive Benefit of Progesterone Therapy for Menopause
During menopause, your body drastically reduces its production of reproductive hormones, and your periods gradually stop. For many, the disappearance of periods is a positive thing but the side effects can be hard to handle. Hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and weight gain are just a few of the symptoms that accompany menopause.
Meaning of Progesterone
Progesterone is often called the pregnancy hormone. During the reproductive years, progesterone influences the preparation of the uterus for possible pregnancy. It also plays a role in the formation of a mucus barrier around the cervix and the availability of breast milk. This hormone also affects a wide range of other body functions, so when the ovaries don’t make as much progesterone, you may experience:
- migraine headaches
- mood changes
- changes in bone density
- irregular bleeding
Progesterone Therapy and Menopause Symptoms
The most effective way to relieve menopause symptoms is with hormone replacement therapies. If you don’t have a uterus, the most common therapy is estrogen alone. If you do have a uterus, a combination of estrogen and progesterone is often recommended because there’s evidence that estrogen on its own increases the risk of uterine cancer and other serious health problems. When estrogen and progesterone are taken together, it’s often in pill form. Progesterone on its own is also a pill that contains micronized progesterone, which is easily metabolized in the body.
Cognitive Benefits on Progesterone
During menopause, many people describe a fogginess in their thinking, along with some memory problems. There’s some evidence that progesterone may protect against cognitive decline if hormone replacement therapy starts early in the menopause process. Researchers found that progesterone improved visual and verbal memory for people in menopause. In any case, it’s important to note that there’s no evidence that progesterone harms your thinking abilities.