With the advent of menopause, women may experience a host of symptoms that can have a profound impact on both physical and emotional well-being. To address these symptoms, a growing number of women are turning to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) in order to replenish hormone levels and ease discomfort. While estrogen is often the centerpiece of these hormonal therapies, progesterone can also have a significant impact on functionality and quality of life.
During your fertile years, you experience a spike in progesterone each month after ovulation designed to support pregnancy by preparing your uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg. However, the role of progesterone goes beyond fertility; it also helps to regulate skin, mood, sleep, thyroid function, and libido. As a result, the steep drop in progesterone you experience during menopause can leave you looking and feeling differently than you’d prefer. Fortunately, bioidentical progesterone can help.
Unlike the synthetic progestin used in traditional hormone therapies, bioidentical progesterone is chemically indistinguishable from the progesterone that the body naturally produces. This means that it is ideal for supporting healthy function and reducing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances. Significantly, bioidentical progesterone also benefits women by supporting better brain health, stimulating collagen production, and minimizing the risk of uterine cancer in women using estrogen therapy.
Improving Brain Health
While many of the symptoms of menopause are physical, decreasing progesterone levels can also affect brain health. A growing body of evidence shows that progesterone has a profound impact on the central nervous system, where it plays a critical role in regulating mood, cognition, and neurogenesis. The drop in progesterone that occurs after menopause can, therefore, lead cognitive and emotional changes that some women may find to be unpleasant or unfamiliar.
To defend against these possibilities, you may want to compensate for naturally diminished progesterone levels using BHRT. With the support of bioidentical progesterone, your nerve cells can remain healthy, enhancing mood and cognition. Additionally, researchers have found that progesterone can have neuroprotective effects that may reduce the risk of dementia and improve neurological resilience.
Stimulating Collagen Production
Skin changes such as lines, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity are a natural part of the aging process and begin long before you enter menopause due to a variety of biological phenomena and environmental stressors. After menopause, however, many women experience more drastic changes. This is because progesterone plays a central role in collagen production; with reduced levels of progesterone, your skin can no longer maintain its prior level of elasticity, leading to more wrinkles and lower skin density. Your skin also tends to become thinner and drier.
Bioidentical progesterone therapy can help reverse some of these changes by promoting new collagen production, helping to plump skin, increase elasticity, and reduce wrinkles. For many women, this can be an important part of feeling your best as you age.
Balancing Estrogen to Protect Uterine Health
While bioidentical progesterone has a plethora of benefits for women after menopause, the most important is decreasing the risks associated with estrogen-only therapy, particularly the risk of endometrial cancer. Estrogen therapy is the mainstay of hormone replacement therapy for menopause, addressing a broad range of symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, diminished libido, and bone loss. However, estrogen therapy can also increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
Fortunately, the risk of endometrial cancer introduced by estrogen therapy can be mitigated by adding progesterone. Thus, bioidentical progesterone benefits women both via its specific chemical mechanisms and by enabling the safe use of estrogen therapy.
Getting the Right Support After Menopause
For women who want to ease symptoms of menopause while protecting their health, bioidentical progesterone can be an essential part of treatment. However, each woman is unique, and the treatment you choose should be guided by your individual needs and preferences. By working with a practitioner who specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, such as those in the BodyLogicMD network, you can develop a customized plan designed specifically for you. With the right support, you can ensure that you feel your best as you enter this new stage in life.
If you are considering bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, BodyLogicMD-affiliated practitioners offer the tailored care you need. Our network is comprised of top medical professionals who specialize in helping patients find wellness through hormonal therapies. By taking an integrative approach to treatment, our practitioners will work with you to achieve your health goals and give you the resources you need to thrive. Get started on a customized treatment plan designed to fit your lifestyle and allow you to reach optimal wellness. To begin your journey, contact a local practitioner within the BodyLogicMD network to schedule your first appointment, or take our Hormone Balance Quiz today.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent diseases.
Charlotte is a patient care coordinator specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She is committed to helping patients who struggle with the symptoms of hormonal change and imbalance explore their treatment options and develop effective strategies to optimize wellness.