Systematic review of progesterone use by midlife and menopausal women

Maturitas. 2012 Jul;72(3):192-202. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2012.03.015. Epub 2012 Apr 25.


Progesterone treatment for menopausal symptoms is still controversial. Progesterone levels fall during menopause transition, therefore some menopausal women may benefit from progesterone therapy. A systematic review was conducted of studies published from 2001 reporting on progesterone use to treat symptoms associated with menopause or postmenopausal women. Fourteen data bases were searched using the search terms progesterone, menopause, aged, female and human; exclusions were breast cancer, animal and contraception. Thirteen studies were selected for inclusion (11 clinical trials, 1 cohort study and 1 qualitative study), evaluating progesterone effects on menopausal symptoms, bone, sleep, skin, cognition, plasma lipids and plaque progression. Most studies were of low methodological quality (GRADE low or very low). Progesterone improved vasomotor symptoms and sleep quality, with minimal risk. Large studies designed to identify confounders, such as hormone levels, menopausal status and metabolism are required to understand the place of progesterone in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Dyssomnias / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy*
  • Hot Flashes / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Menopause*
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / metabolism
  • Progesterone / therapeutic use*
  • Progestins / therapeutic use*
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Sleep / drug effects*


  • Lipids
  • Progestins
  • Progesterone