Progesterone replacement therapy is a type of hormone therapy that boosts progesterone levels to healthy ranges. Progesterone is an important hormone in your body that performs many different functions. Recent evidence suggests that progesterone may also play a role in blood pressure regulation. The risk for high blood pressure goes up after menopause, which is when progesterone is typically low. Researchers are now looking into whether progesterone may help reduce blood pressure risks, with promising results.
Some studies suggest progesterone replacement therapy may help your body regulate blood pressure.
Blood pressure is an important marker of health. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can put you at risk for many different health issues. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and even kidney disease. High blood pressure can damage arteries, blood vessels, and organs over time. Despite all these health risks, high blood pressure often causes zero symptoms on its own. Because of the many negative effects of high blood pressure, experts are exploring many ways to help people reduce their risk for hypertension.
How Progesterone Replacement Therapy Affects Blood Pressure
In the past, many believed that both the female hormones estrogen and progesterone increased blood pressure. This was because many women taking hormone-based birth control and hormone replacement therapy for menopause experienced high blood pressure as a side effect. However, recent research shows that estrogen is the likely culprit for increased blood pressure. Progesterone, by contrast, may have the opposite effect. As a natural diuretic, progesterone may actually lower blood pressure for some women.
Progesterone replacement therapy is often paired with estrogen to treat menopause symptoms. Every patient who still has a uterus is prescribed progesterone alongside estrogen. This is because progesterone helps prevent the uterine lining from becoming too thick, increasing the risk for endometrial cancer. Therefore, in the past many researchers had difficulty separating the effects of progesterone and estrogen for women taking both at the same time. However, progesterone replacement therapy on its own is getting more and more attention. For example, some studies have found progesterone-only therapy may help with menopausal hot flashes.
With more research into progesterone by itself, some have begun to look at the relationship between progesterone and blood pressure. Research is still ongoing, but many studies have found that progesterone replacement therapy either has no effect on blood pressure, or that it may help lower blood pressure. It’s important to discuss your specific circumstances with our treatment providers, but this is encouraging evidence for women who may want to take bioidentical hormone therapy with progesterone for menopause symptoms.
Progesterone May Lower Blood Pressure
Progesterone does many things in the body. It’s responsible for preparing the uterus for potential pregnancy, regulating your menstrual cycle, and keeping estrogen and other hormones in check. Progesterone also seems to help with blood pressure regulation.
Many medical professionals are interested in the relationship between progesterone and blood pressure. After all, blood pressure tends to be quite low during pregnancy, when progesterone levels are high. By contrast, post-menopausal women have a higher risk for high blood pressure, which is when the ovaries start producing significantly less progesterone. There have been several studies into the link between progesterone and blood pressure that indicate it may have a lowering effect on blood pressure.
One 2001 study found that progesterone was independently associated with vascular effects. This essentially means that, outside of estrogen, progesterone may affect the blood vessels. The researchers also found that progesterone changed the blood pressure response to norepinephrine, which typically increases blood pressure. This isn’t the only study to show a positive effect on high blood pressure from progesterone. A small study from 1985 looked at people with hypertension taking progesterone replacement therapy. Researchers looked at six men and four post-menopausal women and saw that blood pressure dropped significantly after taking progesterone. Therefore, these studies suggest progesterone may reduce the risk for hypertension.
How Progesterone Replacement Therapy May Lower Blood Pressure
The hormone progesterone can act as a natural diuretic, which is essentially something that helps your body get rid of extra salt and water through your urine. Diuretics like water pills are also a common treatment option for high blood pressure. This is because they can help reduce the amount of water in your blood, which means there’s less fluid in your veins causing excess pressure. Because of this effect of progesterone in your body, some believe that progesterone replacement therapy may also help lower blood pressure for women with low progesterone.
However, there may be other explanations. For instance, a 2021 study published in the journal Hypertension found that progesterone had three effects that may help reduce blood pressure. This study looked at short-term effects of progesterone on blood pressure. They concluded that progesterone may have a direct impact on blood vessels in the body.
The researchers found that progesterone dilated blood vessels, which can reduce the amount of pressure on the vessel walls. The study also found that progesterone helped prevent an increase in blood pressure that usually comes with exposure to adrenaline-like hormones. Another effect of progesterone the researchers in the 2021 study found was that progesterone helped block calcium intake in the smooth muscle cells. This may work similarly to calcium channel blocker medications, which are also commonly used to treat high blood pressure, as calcium can cause the blood vessels to squeeze tighter and increase blood pressure.
Of course, there may be other potential ways progesterone affects blood pressure. For instance, some believe progesterone may have an indirect effect on blood pressure through BMI. Progesterone replacement therapy may reduce the risk of weight gain and high BMI, which are associated with high blood pressure.
Why Providers May Prescribe Progesterone Replacement Therapy
Our treatment providers may recommend progesterone replacement therapy for a few different reasons. It’s common to use progesterone and estrogen in combination to alleviate menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes. If you still have a uterus, our providers always prescribe progesterone with estrogen. Progesterone helps counteract the endometrial thickening properties of estrogen to reduce the risk of cancer. Therefore, if you’re taking estrogen for menopause, you will also likely be taking progesterone replacement therapy. In some cases, our medical professionals may also recommend progesterone alone to help with your menopause symptoms.
Progesterone may also serve as a hormone imbalance treatment if you’re suffering from low progesterone. If you have low progesterone levels, other hormones like estrogen and testosterone may be thrown out of balance. This can lead to many concerning symptoms, such as:
Frequent urinary tract infections
Frequent vaginal infections
Therefore, there may be many reasons why our providers may prescribe progesterone replacement therapy for you.
What to Do If You Have High Blood Pressure and Menopause Symptoms – Visit HerKare
Our providers at HerKare take a holistic approach to healthcare. If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, high blood pressure, or other conditions, make an appointment at one of our clinics. We offer personalized treatment solutions to help you feel your best. Our team works with you to find treatment solutions that work for you. For instance, if you have both high blood pressure and menopause symptoms, we may recommend a combination of lifestyle changes, bioidentical hormone therapy, blood pressure medications to address your whole health. Get in touch to learn how we can help you feel better again.
We all know exercise is important for health. Yet, many people don’t get enough exercise on a regular basis for one reason or another. Several surveys and studies have also found that women are typically much less active after menopause than before menopause. Many scientists believe this may be due to hormone changes during menopause, particularly lower estrogen levels. Researchers are still studying the relationship between estrogen and activity levels. However, some studies suggest estrogen replacement therapy may help you feel more motivated and may even increase your capacity to work out.
Why Exercise is Important During and After Menopause
Many women exercise less after menopause, but can estrogen replacement therapy help with exercising?
Before we learn more abouthow estrogen affects exercise, let’s talk about why exercise is so important as we get older and approach menopause. There are many reasons to be physically active throughout your life, including weight management, increasing muscle tone, getting stronger, and improving your overall health. Regular exercise is even more important as you reach menopause to help counteract certain health risks that increase around this time.
As hormone levels begin to decline, bone density and lean muscle mass begin to decline as well, while body fat can increase. Around this time in a woman’s life, there’s also a higher risk for many chronic diseases as well as cardiovascular disease. Engaging in an active lifestyle can help reduce these risks for many people. Regular physical activity helps promote bone health and muscle mass and can also help with body fat management. Exercise in later life can help improve and preserve flexibility and mobility and can also improve heart health. Regular exercise has also been linked to fewer instances of chronic diseases common as we get older.
In addition to physical health, exercise can also be helpful for other areas of well-being, such as mental health. Being physically active can also boost energy and mood and can even help combat some of the symptoms of menopause, such as insomnia. Overall, exercise can be an important part of maintaining quality of life as we get older.
Despite knowing that exercise is helpful for many areas of health, many women have a difficult time exercising on a regular basis, particularly after menopause. There may be many reasons for this, but some researchers believe hormonal imbalances may be a factor. Many studies are researching hormones, exercise, and whether estrogen replacement therapy after menopause can help improve activity levels for some women.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy Improves Menopause Symptoms that Make it Hard to Work Out
Menopause can cause many symptoms that can make everyday life difficult or even downright impossible. Hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue, and depression are all common symptoms of menopause that affect your quality of life. These also frequently make it difficult to exercise, which may explain why many women are more sedentary after menopause. It’s easy to understand why you might have a hard time going to the gym when you’re experiencing such troublesome symptoms. Working up a sweat can be anxiety-inducing if you’re already suffering from frequent and severe hot flashes. Insomnia and fatigue can leave you feeling worn out, making a workout sound plain exhausting. Menopause depression can zap your motivation for getting your heart pumping with a quick exercise routine. This is one theory behind why lower activity levels tend to coincide with declining estrogen levels during menopause.
The good news ishormone replacement therapy relieves many women’s menopause symptoms. Hormone therapy helps replace some of the hormones lost during menopause, which may improve your symptoms. As menopause symptoms improve, many people find it easier to take part in regular exercise for your health and well-being. This may be one explanation behind why menopausal women who use estrogen replacement therapy tend to be more active than those who don’t according to research.
Hormone Replacement Therapy with Estrogen May Act on the Brain to Increase Exercise Motivation
However, there are other theories behindhow hormones affect exercise after menopause. Some believe estrogen may have a more direct effect on exercise. A new study suggests estrogen may act on the brain to improve motivation for exercise. The study looked at estrogen levels and physical activity levels in female mice to determine if hormones play a role in exercise.
The urge to exercise begins in the brain. You feel motivated to exercise, so you act on that motivation. There are also many estrogen receptors in the brain, which may affect your impulse to work out. The study looked at how estrogen affected brain processes through a specific gene. Melanocortin-4 receptor gene (Mc4r), is a gene that plays an important role in energy regulation, food intake, body weight, and the motivation for physical activity. Estrogen binds to the Mc4r receptor and can help activate it. With higher estrogen levels, Mc4r caused increased protein production for the mice in the study. Those mice with higher estrogen levels tended to be more physically active than the mice with lower estrogen.
Researchers are still studying the effects of estrogen on the brain. However, the scientists in the study believe this may offer some evidence that estrogen is important for exercise motivation. The researchers noted that while the study involved mice, humans have similar anatomies, physiologies, and genetics. Therefore, they believe estrogen in humans may have similar effects on exercise and physical activities. They noted that their research may suggest that estrogen replacement therapy may help improve motivation levels for exercise for menopausal women.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy Can Increase Exercise Capacity
Menopause can also affect how difficult exercise is, which may explain why many women are less active after menopause. Research shows that menopause may reduce exercise tolerance and oxygen consumption during exercise. This can make it feel harder to exercise, often leading to feeling more breathless, feeling muscle weakness, and other symptoms of low exercise tolerance, which can be discouraging and lead many women to exercise less than before menopause.
One study looked at exercise capacity for women before and after menopause. The researchers looked at many different factors to determine exercise capacity, which is the maximum amount of activity you can keep up. Some of the factors included the dilation of blood vessels, maximum workload, and peak oxygen consumption. Some of the group received estrogen replacement therapy for three months. The study found thatestrogen significantly increased exercise capacity based on the factors they measured. The HRT group even achieved similar results to the pre-menopausal women in the study after just three months of hormone therapy. Therefore, this is just one other way estrogen may help with exercise after menopause.
Hormone Imbalance Treatment and Menopause Care at HerKare
Our team at HerKare is committed to providing quality healthcare for women at all stages of life. We help with everything fromhormone imbalance treatment to well woman care for patients of all ages. We believe in empowering women to take an active role in their health. Our clinic is owned and managed by women for women. We understand the need for convenient care from healthcare professionals that listen to you and take time to understand. Let us help you feel like yourself and feel good again.Book an appointment at one of our clinic locations to get started with the HerKare process.
Many women notice that their sex drive starts to decline over time, particularly after menopause. In some cases, this may be due to lower testosterone levels. Testosterone is an important hormone in your body that plays a key role in libido. Some studies suggest that testosterone replacement therapy may help women improve low sex drive due to testosterone deficiency.
Testosterone replacement therapy may help increase your sex drive if you’re suffering from testosterone deficiency.
As we age, sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone start to decline. Testosterone is mostly made in your ovaries, though your adrenal glands, fat cells, and skin cells may also produce some testosterone. While women produce a lot less testosterone compared to men (about 1/10 to 1/20 the amount), lowtestosterone levels for women can still impact your health and your sex life.
Testosterone in Women
While we commonly think of testosterone as a male hormone, women also need testosterone for many reasons. Testosterone is necessary for producing red blood cells, maintaining bone density, and also plays an important role in sex drive. When it comes to libido, the hormone testosterone can act on our brains to increase sexual thoughts and desires. It can also increase blood flow to the genitals to enhance sensitivity in the vagina and clitoris. This may also affect libido as well as sexual satisfaction.
However, testosterone levels begin to decline as we age, particularly as we reach the perimenopause state in the late 30s and 40s. During this time, the ovaries start to slow down hormone production for testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. This can cause hormone levels to fluctuate and gradually decline leading up to menopause. With lower testosterone levels in your body, you might experience symptoms like low libido. Researchers have found a connection between low testosterone in women and lower sex drive. Studies have even found that women with low testosterone may have less sex on average than those with normal testosterone levels. Because of this connection, manywomen’s hormone care programs include testosterone to help improve sex drive and overall quality of life.
How Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy Affect Sex Drive?
Low libido due to testosterone deficiency can be distressing for many women. Some people experience stress and even relationship problems because of libido changes. Therefore, decreased sex drive can affect your quality of life in many ways. Many people mistakenly believe that low sex drive is a normal part of aging, but this isn’t necessarily true. Low sex drive can be caused by treatable conditions, like hormone changes during menopause. For instance, testosterone replacement therapy may help improve your symptoms.
Researchers are still studying the effects of testosterone replacement therapy for women. However, several studies have examined the link between testosterone and sex drive in women with interesting results. Studies have found that testosterone replacement therapy can increase several factors of sex drive and sexual satisfaction for postmenopausal women with low testosterone. Research suggests that testosterone can increase sexual desire, arousal, orgasmic response, pleasure, and even self-image based on interview responses. After beginning testosterone, many study participants also feel less distressed about their sexual function. Therefore, the evidence suggests testosterone therapy may help women who experience severely low sex drive after menopause.
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) recognizes thattestosterone replacement therapy for women may help some women improve sexual function. While testosterone for women is an off-label use, doctors may prescribe it to help with sex drive and sexual function. If you begin using testosterone therapy, NAMS recommends using the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time to help with symptoms. They also recommend discussing the risks and benefits thoroughly with a medical provider. After discussing the particulars, you and our doctors may determine to usetestosterone therapy for better sex drive during and after menopause.
How Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Low Libido in Women Work?
If you’re experiencing low sex drive, there may be many different factors at play. Sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction are all very complex. Therefore, pinpointing the cause of low sex drive can be difficult. There may even be several different causes of your low libido. It’s also necessary to note that libido can change for many reasons and a lower sex drive occasionally isn’t necessarily abnormal. For instance, if you have a lower libido during a stressful project at work, but your symptoms improve after you complete the project, then you may have nothing to worry about. However, if you have persistent low libido that worries you or interferes with your quality of life, you should talk to one of our providers about your symptoms.
If you’re suffering from low libido, one of the first steps most doctors recommend is ruling out other causes. For instance, some other reasons you might experience low sex drive that aren’t related to testosterone include:
Other health problems like diabetes or hypothyroid
It’s important to identify underlying causes of low libido symptoms to find treatment solutions personalized to you. Some other treatments for severely low sex drive might include lifestyle changes, treating other health conditions, mental health treatments, or even couple’s counseling for relationship problems. For libido changes and other symptoms after menopause, our doctors may recommend beginning estrogen replacement therapy. If other treatments don’t work, or if no other explanation is found for your low sex drive, then it may be due to low testosterone levels. In these cases, you may benefit from testosterone replacement therapy.
Beginning Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Low Sex Drive
While considering potential causes of low sex drive, our providers may recommend performing a blood test to determine how much testosterone is in your blood. Normal testosterone levels for women are between 15 and 75 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). If you have low testosterone levels in your blood and you’re experiencing low sex drive that interferes with your life or causes you distress, our providers may recommend beginning testosterone replacement therapy.
The goal of testosterone replacement therapy is to bring testosterone levels to normal ranges. Because hormones like estrogen and testosterone hold each other in balance, it’s common to pair testosterone with estrogen replacement therapy as well to help prevent testosterone dominance. Therefore, in most cases your treatment program will include both estrogen and testosteronebioidentical hormones.
While taking testosterone treatments for sex drive, our team monitors your health to help optimize your treatment. We may track your symptoms, take blood draws to evaluate your testosterone levels, and assess other health markers like blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Our team also monitors you for common side effects of testosterone replacement therapy, such as increased facial and body hair, increased LDL cholesterol, or mild acne. Our goal is to help you feel your best and find treatment solutions that work for you and your lifestyle.
Quality Women’s Hormone Care at HerKare
Our team at HerKare offers quality health care for every stage of your life. After menopause, we understand that many of the symptoms can interfere with daily life. We offer personalized hormone care to help alleviate your symptoms so you can feel your best. Our clinics are owned and managed by women for women, and we believe in empowering you to address your health. We listen to you and work with you to get to the bottom of your symptoms. If you’re suffering from low sex drive or other menopause symptoms, help is available at our clinics.Make an appointment today to start the path toward feeling better.
Low estrogen levels during menopause may put you at risk for type 2 diabetes. Hormone changes during menopause can cause a lot of worrisome and frustrating changes, from disrupting symptoms to higher risks for certain health conditions. Diabetes is a common but serious condition that can impact your overall wellbeing, and estrogen may play a role in your risk factors for this health condition. In this article, we’ll explore the connection between estrogen and diabetes.
Low Estrogen During Menopause May Affect Your Health
Low estrogen can cause many symptoms and health risks, but treatment solutions are available from our providers.
Menopause is a natural stage of life for women, but that doesn’t mean it comes without any risks. Unfortunately, declining and fluctuating hormones during menopause can lead to many symptoms and health risks.
For instance, some of the symptoms you may experience because of low estrogen and progesterone during menopause include:
Each of these symptoms can affect your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Many believe hormone levels are the cause of menopause symptoms.
Decreased estrogen can also affect your health in many different ways. After menopause, your risk increases for many health conditions. Some of these include heart disease, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes. Let’s look at how estrogen affects your risks for diabetes after menopause.
Low Estrogen May Increase Your Risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes
What many women don’t realize is that their risk for type 2 diabetes increases after menopause. Everyone’s risk for diabetes goes up with age, regardless of gender. However, women may be more at risk for diabetes after menopause. Researchers have theorized for years that hormone changes during menopause may play a role in that risk. Several studies suggest there may be a link between type 2 diabetes and low estrogen levels. There may be several factors at play in the connection between estrogen and diabetes. Research is still ongoing, but there are some potential explanations backed by scientific study.
Estrogen May Affect How Your Body Uses Insulin
Diabetes is a condition where your blood sugar is too high. With type 2 diabetes, this is typically because your body makes less insulin and because your cells become more resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells use sugar, but if your cells are more insulin resistant, glucose (sugar) may stay in the blood unused for energy instead. Recent research led by a team from Texas A&M University found thatestrogen may affect how your body responds to insulin.
Several studies have found a potential link between low estrogen and type 2 diabetes. Yet, many couldn’t explain why. The researchers found this may be due to estrogen’s effects on liver-specific FOXO1. FOXO1 is a protein that basically binds to DNA and helps turn certain genes on or off. This particular protein helps your body regulate insulin to control blood sugar. Estrogen may help reduce how much sugar your body produces by acting on this protein. As your estrogen levels decline during menopause, FOXO1 proteins may not work as effectively to control insulin levels, which may explain the increased risk for type 2 diabetes after menopause.
Estrogen & Glucagon
However, there may be other explanations behind why the risk for type 2 diabetes increases after menopause. For example, another study found thatestrogen may actually target certain cells in your body that may help reduce diabetes risks. The researchers in this study found that estrogen may act on cells in the pancreas and gut that help improve your ability to use glucose. Some of the cells studied release a hormone called glucagon. Glucagon helps increase blood sugar to help prevent it from dropping too low, such as while you sleep, to help prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). However, if your body releases too much glucagon, you may have chronically high blood sugar levels, which can lead to diabetes.
The study actually found that estrogen affects the cells responsible for making and releasing glucagon. They saw estrogen helped reduce glucagon production and increased GCP1 levels, which help increase insulin in your body, block glucagon secretion, and can also help you feel full. This is another way estrogen may help keep blood sugar levels in check and reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes. However, since estrogen levels decline during menopause, women may lose some of this protection against high glucagon levels.
Low Estrogen May Increase Visceral Fat in Your Body
You may know that obesity is a common risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. However, many don’t realize that how fat is distributed in your body may also play a role in your risk for diabetes. For instance, some researchers believe that large amounts of visceral fat increases the risk for metabolic syndrome, which can cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Visceral fat is fat found in the abdominal cavity around your organs like the stomach, liver, and intestines. You might be wondering what this has to do with hormones and menopause. Well, lower estrogen levels after menopause can affect how fat is distributed in your body. You may have more visceral fat if you havedecreased estrogen levels, increasing the risk for diabetes and many other health conditions.
In addition, several of thesymptoms of menopause can affect your blood sugar, which may increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. For instance, many women gain weight during menopause. Being overweight or obese can raise your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, as it can make you more resistant to insulin.
Poor sleep is another symptom many women experience during menopause that may affect your diabetes risks. Sleep deprivation from issues like insomnia or sleep disturbances from night sweats can negatively affect your blood sugar levels.
Therefore, there may be several different factors that affect your diabetes risk during menopause. Some of the symptoms you might experience during menopause may indirectly affect your risks.
Can Hormone Imbalance Treatment Help Reduce Diabetes Risk?
Fortunately, evidence suggests that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause may help reduce risks for diabetes. Several studies have looked at the effects of hormone replacement on diabetes risk with positive results.
HRT is a type of treatment many women use for symptoms of menopause. This treatment helps supplement your hormone levels as they start to decline during menopause. Generally, menopausal hormone therapy includes estrogen and progesterone, though women who have had a hysterectomy may only need estrogen. The goal of hormone therapy is to keep your hormone levels in ranges that help reduce menopause symptoms.
Another potential benefit of using HRT after menopause is that it may help reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Several studies suggest that estrogen or combination therapy may actually help prevent diabetes and also help with glycemic control. While most medical professionals recommend using HRT only if you have troubling menopause symptoms, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes may be a secondary benefit for some women. Our treatment providers can help you weigh the benefits and risks and help you decide ifhormone imbalance treatment is right for you.
Quality Care and HRT Solutions for Women at HerKare
When you need holistic healthcare solutions, visit a HerKare clinic near you. We provide quality care for women at every stage of life. Whether you’re interested in discussing hormone therapy options for menopause or need preventative well woman care, our team is here to help. Our goal is to help you feel your best and help you prioritize your lifelong health.Make an appointment today to learn how our providers can help you address your health and wellness.
Hot flashes and night sweats are a serious problem for many women during perimenopause and menopause. Fortunately, there are several treatment options that may help ease your symptoms. Some new research suggests that progesterone replacement therapy may be an option to reduce the severity and number of hot flashes and night sweats for some women.
Progesterone replacement therapy can help ease hot flash symptoms so you can keep doing the things you love.
Hot flashes can cause many issues for menopausal women. They can reduce quality of life and interrupt day-to-day activities. Hot flashes at night, also known as night sweats, often make it difficult for women to get good quality sleep. Hot flashes and night sweats are some of the most common symptoms of menopause. However, there are many treatment options available! Our providers can help find personalized treatment solutions based on your symptoms and lifestyle. In some cases, this may include hormone therapy with estrogen and/or progesterone as well as lifestyle changes and other treatments.
What is Progesterone Replacement Therapy?
Progesterone replacement therapy is hormone therapy using the female hormone progesterone. There are several reasons why your hormone doctor may recommend using progesterone. Typically, progesterone and estrogen are both used for menopausal hormone therapy. This is because estrogen alone can make the lining of your uterus thicker, which can increase the risk for endometrial cancer. Of course, in some cases you might take progesterone on its own without estrogen. For instance, some women use progesterone therapy during menopause when they cannot use estrogen. Bioidentical progesterone comes from plants like soy and wild yams. It’s then made into a medication your body can metabolize.
What Does Progesterone Do?
Progesterone plays several important roles in your body. Progesterone is a steroid hormone produced in your ovaries, like estrogen. Estrogen and progesterone are kind of like partners, performing slightly different functions and balancing each other out.
For example, during your premenopausal years, estrogen helps thicken the lining of your uterus after your period, while progesterone helps thin the endometrium lining in preparation for pregnancy. Progesterone levels generally start to rise around ovulation, usually near the middle of your menstrual cycle. By contrast, estrogen levels usually rise following your period and begin to decline leading up to your period. Therefore, you can almost think of estrogen and progesterone as the yin and yang of female hormones.
Of course, while most of us know these hormones as reproductive hormones, they also do other things in your body. For instance, progesterone is a natural diuretic, which can help reduce fluid retention. Also, it may help increase the effectiveness of other hormones, like estrogen, thyroid, and testosterone. Some research even suggests that progesterone may have a calming, sedative effect on the brain. Therefore, some researchers believe it’s important for helping with good quality sleep and also improving mood.
More interestingly for women in perimenopause and menopause is that progesterone replacement therapy by itself may also help improve symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Studies Suggest Progesterone Replacement Therapy May Help Alleviate Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
While progesterone hasn’t been as extensively researched for menopause symptoms as estrogen has, many researchers are starting to consider how progesterone can play a role in menopause symptom relief. Several recent studies have looked at progesterone-only therapy for hot flashes and night flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms. For instance, one study, published in the North American Menopause Society’s journal, Menopause, found that women saw approximately a 58% improvement in their hot flash symptoms with progesterone compared to just over 23% for the group who received placebo.
Another study from 2018 saw similar results. The study, published in the journal Climacteric, mentioned that several studies have found women’s hormone care with both estrogen and progesterone have been more effective than estrogen-only options. They also reviewed evidence from progesterone-only menopause treatment and participants who used progesterone replacement therapy saw a 55% drop in their vasomotor symptoms, as well as other evidence that progesterone alone may help with hot flashes.
Therefore, several researchers have suggested that progesterone only treatments may help with hot flashes and sleep disturbances from night sweats. Some even explain that progesterone therapy may be an option for women who cannot take estrogen, though it’s important to discuss treatment options with one of our treatment providers to find treatments recommended for your individual circumstances.
Why Might Progesterone Replacement Therapy Help with Hot Flash Symptoms?
How can we explain why progesterone may help with some women’s hot flashes and night sweats? As we mentioned, research is still ongoing, so there’s no definitive evidence. However, there are some potential explanations.
Menopause symptoms are frequently considered to be the result of declining hormone levels. While estrogen is most often blamed, it may be that low levels of both estrogen and progesterone may lead to uncomfortable hot flashes and night sweats. After all, both of these hormones start to decline during perimenopause, and both play some pretty vital roles in several functions, including the menstrual cycle.
Also, in some cases women with low progesterone levels during menopause may actually have elevated estrogen levels because progesterone cannot keep estrogen in check in the body. This may result in estrogen dominance, which may also lead to vasomotor symptoms. In these cases, taking progesterone may help bring your hormones back into balance to help reduce your symptoms.
In any case, it’s important to work with a healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms, medical history, and treatment options. Help is available for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.
Get Quality Women’s Hormone Care from Our Team at HerKare
When you need high quality healthcare, our team at HerKare is here to help. We are a health clinic owned and operated by women for women. Our goal is to empower you to take control of your health. Whether you’re dealing with troubling menopause symptoms or need preventative well woman care, our providers are here to help you find personalized solutions. Book an appointment today at one of our convenient locations.
Estrogen replacement therapy is a medication commonly prescribed during menopause. For many women, the benefits of hormone replacement outweigh the risks, which is why our providers may prescribe estrogen for your symptoms. As with any medication, it’s important to understand the potential risks, side effects, and the benefits. This can help you and the doctor make an informed decision about your treatment plan. Talk to one of our treatment providers about the pros and cons of estrogen injections for you specifically. In this article, we’ll talk about some risks and benefits in a more general sense.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy for Menopause Symptoms
Estrogen replacement therapy can help relieve menopause symptoms.
Hormone replacement treatment is typically prescribed to women who are experiencing symptoms of menopause. As we enter perimenopause, our bodies produce less and less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Hormones can also start to fluctuate more during this time. Eventually, our ovaries begin to produce only low levels of estrogen and progesterone, which causes the menstrual cycle to stop, also known as menopause.
Unfortunately, many women experience serious symptoms during perimenopause (before the end of menstruation), menopause (12 months after your last period), and post-menopause (the period after menstruation stops). Some of these symptoms include:
These symptoms can occur because of fluctuating and declining hormone levels that come with menopause. Most believe low estrogen levels are mainly to blame for these often uncomfortable symptoms.
For some women, these symptoms can be so severe that they interfere with normal life. Symptoms typically begin around perimenopause and can last well into post-menopause. However, estrogen replacement therapy may help relieve menopause symptoms.
Generally, there are two basic options for menopausal HRT: estrogen-only and combination (estrogen and progesterone) therapy. Estrogen-only medications are used for women who have had a hysterectomy and therefore don’t have a uterus. If you still have a uterus, the doctor may recommend combination hormone therapy. This is because progesterone can help balance out the estrogen to help reduce the risk of thickening of the uterine walls and the potential risk of uterine cancer.
There are also several different options for the type of medication you use, such as pills, lotions, patches, and injections. Estrogen injections can help with dosage control and provide hormones to your whole body. These are injected into the muscle by one of our treatment providers, and the medication then enters your bloodstream. This may help reduce or alleviate bothersome symptoms of menopause. For most menopause treatment plans, you will need regular injections to help with your symptoms.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy Offers Many Benefits
As you may have guessed, estrogen replacement therapy can offer many benefits for a lot of women. In many cases, the benefits outweigh the risks of taking estrogen replacement treatment. Several studies have found that this is the case for most healthy women who start estrogen at age 59 or younger or who are within 10 years of menopause.
Estrogen during menopause can help with some common symptoms like hot flashes that can be frustrating, uncomfortable, and even interfere with day-to-day life. Hormone replacement treatment can help improve quality of life for many women during menopause. This is one of the main benefits of starting an HRT regimen. If you are experiencing menopause symptoms, talk to one of our treatment providers to see if estrogen injections may be a treatment option for you.
Potential Side Effects of Hormone Replacement Treatment
Just like any other medication, hormones for menopause can also cause side effects for some women. Fortunately, for most women that experience side effects, they notice they go away after a short period of time once they “get used to” the medicine. However, if you notice side effects that are severe or don’t go away, then it’s usually a good idea to check in with the doctor to see if you’re still a good candidate for HRT.
In addition to potential side effects that may go away with time, estrogen replacement therapy can also increase your risk for some health conditions. Your risks are based on many different factors, like your medical history, genetics, and other factors. However, there are a few things to be aware of.
Estrogen-only therapy for women who still have their uterus can increase the risk for endometrial cancer.
Hormone imbalance treatment during menopause may increase the risk for stroke, though some studies suggest the risk is lower if you begin HRT within 5 years of menopause.
Hormone therapy also increases the risk for breast cancer. For women taking estrogen-only therapy, the risk increases after 7 years. Those on combination therapy have an increased risk after 3 to 5 years.
Therefore, it’s important to talk to the doctor about your individual risk factors to help you decide if estrogen is right for you.
Potential Estrogen Injection Interactions
Also, just like other medicines, estrogen injections can interact with other things, such as medicines, herbs, and even foods you eat. That’s why it’s important to talk to our provider about everything you take, including non-prescription herbs and supplements.
Therefore, keep in mind that estrogen replacement therapy may interact with foods, drugs, and other substances which can cause health issues, increased risks, or side effects.
Get High Quality Care from HerKare Women’s Clinics
Our team at HerKare believes women should be empowered to take care of their health. We are a women’s health clinic by women for women to help you feel your best. We listen and understand to help create personalized treatment plans for your symptoms. Our treatment providers can discuss different treatment options and provide support to help you make informed decisions about your wellness. Whether you’re dealing with uncomfortable menopause symptoms or need to talk about other health concerns, we are here for you. Make an appointment today!