Progesterone is a progestin, a type of female hormone. It mimics the progesterone naturally produced by your body and is prescribed to compensate for insufficient hormone levels. This medication is commonly used to restore regular menstrual cycles in women experiencing amenorrhea, a condition in which menstrual periods have ceased for several months. It is also frequently administered alongside estrogen as part of combination hormone replacement therapy to alleviate menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes. Progesterone is added to estrogen replacement therapy to lower the risk of uterine cancer.
Uses and Dosage
Progesterone is typically administered in capsule form for oral consumption. It should be taken once a day, usually in the evening or at bedtime. Treatment with progesterone typically follows a rotating schedule where it is taken for 10 to 12 consecutive days, followed by a break of 16 to 18 days without medication. Your healthcare provider will provide specific instructions regarding when and how often to take progesterone.
To ensure consistent dosing, take progesterone around the same time each evening.
Taking progesterone exactly as prescribed is essential. Do not take more or less of it or take it more frequently than prescribed by your doctor.
Even if you feel better, continue taking progesterone as directed. Do not discontinue the medication without consulting with your doctor first.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- breast tenderness or pain
- upset stomach
- muscle, joint, or bone pain
- mood swings
- excessive worrying
- runny nose
- vaginal discharge
- problems urinating
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- breast lumps
- migraine headache
- severe dizziness or faintness
- slow or difficult speech
- weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
- lack of coordination or loss of balance
- shortness of breath
- fast heartbeat
- sharp chest pain
- coughing up blood
- leg swelling or pain
- loss of vision or blurred vision
- bulging eyes
- double vision
- unexpected vaginal bleeding
- shaking hands that you cannot control
- stomach pain or swelling
- skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Prior to taking progesterone, inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any allergies you may have, including to progesterone or other substances used in the medication. This product may include inactive ingredients, such as peanut oil, which could lead to allergic reactions or other complications.
Inform your healthcare provider about your medical history, especially regarding conditions such as blood clots, liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, seizures, asthma, diabetes, strokes, lupus, and a personal or family history of cancer, particularly breast or other female organs.
Progesterone may cause drowsiness or dizziness, and using alcohol or marijuana could exacerbate these effects. Until you can perform activities safely, avoid driving or operating machinery.
Before undergoing surgery or being confined to a chair or bed for an extended period, such as during a long flight, let your doctor know in advance. Due to an increased risk of blood clots, your medication may need to be temporarily halted or special precautions may be necessary.
Avoid smoking while taking this medication, as it may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots.
Progesterone can cause discoloration of the skin and face, known as melasma. Sun exposure may worsen this effect, so limit your time outdoors, avoid tanning beds and sun lamps, and wear protective clothing and sunscreen.
If you are pregnant, progesterone should only be taken under the guidance of your doctor. Discuss the potential benefits and risks with your healthcare provider.
This medication passes into breast milk, and you should consult your doctor before breastfeeding while taking progesterone.
Form and Strength
Prometrium is available in the following forms and strengths:
What does Prometrium help with?
Prometrium can help restore your progesterone levels and restart your normal periods.
What are the benefits of Prometrium after menopause?
Progesterone helps thin the uterine lining and prevents endometrial hyperplasia (a uterine lining that’s too thick). Doing so helps reduce the risk of developing endometrial, or uterine, cancer.