Progesterone May Ease Hot Flashes

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 23 (UPI) — Oral, micronized progesterone may help ease hot flashes in postmenopausal women, Canadian researchers say.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver say progesterone — manufactured from a steroid found in yams — provided significant improvement in symptoms in postmenopausal women experiencing hot flashes or night sweats severe enough to disturb sleep. The only other effective treatment has been estrogen.

The researchers randomly assigned 114 healthy postmenopausal women seeking hormonal therapy for hot flashes and night sweats to take three round capsules nightly that either contained 300-milligrams of oral micronized progesterone sold under the brand name Prometrium or an inactive substance — a placebo.

Dr. Jerilynn Prior, Christine Hitchcock and colleagues found progesterone was more effective than a placebo at decreasing the intensity and number of symptoms. The 68 women taking progesterone showed a 56 percent improvement from the baseline and a 48 percent reduction in the number of symptoms. The 46 women taking placebo had 28 percent improvement and a 22 percent reduction in number.

“This is the first evidence that oral micronized progesterone, which is molecularly identical to the natural hormone, is effective for women with symptomatic hot flashes,” Prior said in a statement. “Women improve very quickly on oral micronized progesterone. The improvement is apparent within the first four weeks.”

The results were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd annual meeting in San Diego.

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