Progesterone shown to be effective for severe hot flushes
2012 - Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute
In the later phases of a woman's reproductive lifecycle, 25% of perimenopausal women and 10-25% of menopausal women will experience hot flushes and night sweats. Of these women, some will experience severe
symptoms - 50 or more sweat-ridden hot flushes and night sweats a week - interrupting daily activities and sleep.
Researchers with the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) at VCH Research Institute and UBC have been studying the use of progesterone therapy, compared to estrogen therapy, for hot flushes and night sweats. In a paper published this past spring in the journal Menopause,
they demonstrated that progesterone to be effective as a treatment for hot flushes, thereby providing an alternative to estrogen therapy.
The team's latest findings published in the online journal Gynecological Endocrinology
this month, show that progesterone in the treatment of severe
cases, reduces both the number and intensity of hot flushes experienced.
Led by Drs. Jerilynn Prior and Christine Hitchcock of CeMCOR, the team also found that when treatment is stopped, women do not experience "rebound" - symptoms that are even more severe than before treatment was started, which is common of estrogen therapy. Rather, when progesterone treatments were stopped, hot flushes tended to increase gradually to pre-treatment levels over the course of a month.
"We believe that estrogen-withdrawal is what causes hot flushes in the first place," says Dr. Jerilynn Prior, founder, director, and head researcher at CemCOR. "The brain gets used to estrogen and reacts vehemently when estrogen levels drop, much like the withdrawal of a narcotic addict. With progesterone, we have seen in this study that this does not happen."
This sub-study of progesterone therapy examined 46 women with moderate to severe hot flushes of the 133 participants in their initial study published in May. For a link to the study, Progesterone for hot flush and night sweat treatment - effectiveness for severe vasomotor symptoms and lack of withdrawal rebound, click here