Progestin and estrogen reduce sleep-disordered breathing in postmenopausal women

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1989 Apr;66(4):1656-61. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1989.66.4.1656.


Women exhibit sleep-disordered breathing syndromes less commonly than men before but not after the age of menopause, suggesting that female hormones may exert a protective effect. We sought to determine whether combined progestin and estrogen treatment decreased sleep-disordered breathing in healthy postmenopausal women. Nine ovarihysterectomized women [50 +/- 2 (SE) yr of age] were studied after 1 wk of treatment with placebo (lactose) or combined progestin and estrogen (medroxyprogesterone acetate, 20 mg tid, and Premarin, 1.25 mg bid). Subjects showed few respiratory disturbances during placebo treatment. Despite this, combined progestin and estrogen administration reduced the number of sleep-disordered breathing episodes in every subject, decreasing the average number of episodes per subject from 15 +/- 4 to 3 +/- 1. The duration of hypopneas also decreased with hormone treatment. Thus the presence of progestin and estrogen may be involved in protecting premenopausal women against sleep-disordered breathing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Combinations
  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP) / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medroxyprogesterone / therapeutic use*
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiration Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / drug therapy
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP)
  • Medroxyprogesterone