Progesterone in HRT?

Progesterone or progestogen is given as part of your HRT if you have a womb, and in some women after a hysterectomy. It’s job is to keep the endometrium, lining of the womb, thin and to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. It is very important to take your progestogen. If you take higher doses of oestrogen, we will increase your dose of progesterone or progestogen.

Progesterone is the hormone made by our own body. We commonly prescribe a micronised progesterone called Utrogestan, it is derived from the yam plant and is body identical, meaning it has same structure as your own progesterone. It is taken orally in the evening with food, as it can make you sleepy. It can either be taken continuously every night, or cyclically for 12-14 days of the month. We will advise you of the best way to take it for you.

Other progestogens are synthetic and have a slightly different structure to progesterone. They protect the endometrium in the same way as progesterone. They can be taken orally, or as part of a combined HRT patch, or in a Mirena IUS, which can be fitted into the womb. Lots of women like using a Mirena IUS as it helps reduce heavy bleeding, it acts as a contraceptive and it can be used for 5 years.

Some women are intolerant of progesterone and progestogen and if that is the case please talk with us. We can try a different progestogen, or advise you how to take it differently.

Some women experience side effects when taking progesterone or progestogen, these can be felt as mood changes, bleeding, bloating, headaches and breast tenderness. These often settle with time but do speak with us if you are concerned.

These are some common ways to take the progestogen part of your HRT.

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