Even though progesterone is another prescribed component of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), not much is known about the implications of medicating women with bioidentical progesterone.
Continue reading through the following sections to learn more about bioidentical progesterone and bioidentical progesterone replacement therapy, including what they are, products available on the market, potential benefits, and much more.
What Is Bioidentical Progesterone?
Similar to bioidentical estrogen, natural bioidentical progesterone is a plant-derived hormone that is chemically identical to that of human ovarian origin. It is commonly created from diosgenin from Mexican wild yams or stigmasterol from soybeans.
Although commonly referred to as more natural, bioidentical progesterone hormones are still artificial as the plant precursors are chemically modified to be molecularly identical to endogenous progesterone.
What Is Bioidentical Progesterone Replacement Therapy?
Accordingly, bioidentical progesterone replacement therapy refers to a hormone treatment that uses bioidentical progesterone in place of synthetic progestins normally used in traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Bioidentical progesterone replacement therapy is commonly used by perimenopausal and postmenopausal women whose shifting hormone levels severely affect their well-being, causing symptoms such as irritability, hot flashes, difficulty concentrating, loss of libido, and more.
However, women of reproductive age may also choose to take bioidentical progesterone as a means to battle symptoms of hormonal disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and more.
Bioidentical Progesterone Products
Bioidentical progesterone is available in a few routes of administration, including:
- Transvaginal route, like gels
- Oral route, including capsules
- Transdermal route, such as creams and patches
Depending upon the product used, progesterone can be combined with other hormones - such as estrogen - to maximize treatment effectiveness. However, in these instances, the progesterone used is generally not derived from plants.
Keep in mind that while undergoing bioidentical progesterone replacement therapy, it is important to work alongside your doctor to decide which product is best for you and your specific requirements. You may be encouraged to try more than one method.
Potential Benefits of Bioidentical Progesterone Replacement Therapy
Below is a list of hormonal imbalance symptoms that could be improved by taking bioidentical progesterone:
- Hot flashes
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight gain
- Night sweats
- Mood changes
- Memory problems
- Low libido
- Hair loss
- And more
Also, some women take bioidentical progesterone as an osteoporosis co-treatment with therapy to prevent bone loss because progesterone helps stimulate the formation of new bone.
Nevertheless, to fully understand the complications involved with taking bioidentical progesterone, continue reading about bioidentical progesterone side effects before deciding if it's right for you.
- The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research. (2014). Progesterone Therapy for Menopause. Retrieved May 6, 2019, from https://www.cemcor.ubc.ca/resources/progesterone-therapy-menopause
- Fugh-Berman, A. & Bythrow, J. (2007). Bioidentical Hormones for Menopausal Hormone Therapy: Variation on a Theme. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22(7), 1030-1034. doi: 10.1007/s11606-007-0141-4
- Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). FDA-approved bioidentical hormones for menopausal symptoms. Retrieved May 6, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/fda-approved-bioidentical-hormones-for-menopausal-symptoms
- Women in Balance Institute: National University of Natural Medicine. Bioidentical Progesterone vs. Synthetic Progestins. Retrieved May 6, 2019, from https://womeninbalance.org/resources-research/bioidentical-progesterone-vs-synthetic-progestins/