Progesterone is a crucial hormone produced in women throughout the course of their lifetime. It serves a plethora of functions including helping prepare the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg, maintaining pregnancy, regulating blood pressure, and improving mood and sleep. The levels of progesterone in the body fluctuate in conjunction with estrogen to manage the menstrual cycle and maintain overall healthy anatomy.
As women begin to enter the age of menopause, these progesterone levels begin to drop significantly causing the symptoms we know all too well- hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness – to name a few. One function of progesterone that is often overlooked is its role in mental well-being. Research suggests that Progesterone has functions relevant to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) including “regulation of cognition, mood, inflammation, and neurogenesis and regeneration”. (1) These functions become evident when menopause brings with it new feelings of anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
Fortunately, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has been shown to be effective in mitigating these uncomfortable symptoms and preventing certain forms of neurodegeneration. One study found that “progesterone was associated with improved neuropsychological measures of verbal working memory and global cognition compared to placebo”. (3) Another study found that micronized progesterone was effective at “preventing the development of clinically significant depressive symptoms among initially euthymic perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women.” (2)
In addition to Progesterone’s direct impact on mental well-being, it has also been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia. Countless studies have demonstrated links between sleep quality and mental health. One study, in particular, found that participants who slept less than 6 hours a night were 2.5 times more likely to experience mental distress compared to those who slept more than 6. (4) Progesterone can therefore offer the added benefit of improving mental well-being by promoting healthier sleep cycles that support cognitive function and lower mental distress.
Progesterone and Mental Well-Being
If you feel that you are experiencing new or unusual mental distress as a product of being in menopause and want to see if progesterone is right for you, please contact Premier Health and Wellness by visiting the site or by contacting the staff at (512) 459-4405. We are more than happy to evaluate your individual needs and formulate a plan that is tailored to your individual needs.
(1) Progesterone Receptors: Form and Function in Brain
(2) Efficacy of Transdermal Estradiol and Micronized Progesterone in the Prevention of Depressive Symptoms in the Menopause Transition: A Randomized Clinical Trial
(3) Distinct cognitive effects of estrogen and progesterone in menopausal women
(4) Effect of Inadequate Sleep on Frequent Mental Distress
Progesterone and mental well-being are important. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.