Can progesterone cream help women in menopause?

Menopause. This one word can make women shudder and men run for the hills. It is a sometimes despised period for women, thanks to many symptoms as the body changes. Especially perhaps the most hated--hot flashes.

One minute you are soaking from sweat. The next you are shivering. All while tossing and turning and getting little if no sleep as your body shifts from the Sahara to the North Pole.

But aside from the seismic temperature shifts, there are other menopause-related woes. Psychological effects for one. Vaginal dryness for another.

Given all these changes and maladies, is it any wonder that menopausal women can be distressed, emotional and moody? And is it shocking that any woman experiencing these problems would spend time searching for products that might offer some respite?

Enter progesterone. With menopause comes a decrease in hormones like progesterone. And that can set off a chain reaction in the body. But not every woman wants to take pills that may have undesirable side effects. Progesterone cream might be a good alternative. And the source of this cream? An extract found in the Mexican wild yam. Whole Earth MD, which supports the use of progesterone therapy, says effective creams have at least 400 mg of progesterone per ounce.
Wendy Warner, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Early in the menopause transition, some women will feel really unbalanced--"PMS all month long"--irregular periods, breast discomfort and the like. These symptoms are a reflection of normal amounts of estrogen that are not being matched by adequate progesterone. Unreliable progesterone levels are usually the first phase of the menopause transition and tend to be more common in women with a history of PMS. Although some women find relief using over the counter progesterone cream, some folks don't do a good job absorbing it, so the results are variable.

Progesterone cream usually won't help much with symptoms of hot flashes and vaginal dryness, since those come from lack of estrogen. A portion of the progesterone can be converted in the body to estrogen, but this usually isn't in large enough amounts to really help reliably.

If progesterone cream isn't sufficient, you should find a practitioner who has expertise in compounded bioidentical hormones, so that the appropriate amounts of estrogens, progesterone, and possibly testosterone and adrenal hormones can be fashioned into a form that is easily absorbed, such as sublingual drops or troches (small lozenges that get absorbed between the inner cheek and gum).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.