Treatment of menopausal symptoms: concomitant modification of cortisol

Menopause. 2021 Oct 11;29(1):23-27. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001875.


Objectives: To evaluate whether change in menopausal symptoms is related to modification of 24-hour urinary cortisol.

Methods: Sixty-nine postmenopausal women were treated for their menopausal symptoms with either estrogen progestin therapy (0.3 mg conjugate equine estrogens and 1.5 mg medroxyprogesterone acetate; n = 25), phytoestrogens (75 mg isoflavones, twice daily; n = 21) or acupuncture (once a week; n = 23). Baseline and treatment-induced changes of total and subscale scores (vasomotor, depression, anxiety, somatization, sexuality) of the Greene's Climacteric Scale and of 24-hour urinary cortisol were evaluated.

Results: At baseline, 24-hour urinary cortisol was related to Greene's Climacteric Scale score (P < 0.0001). Independent determinants (R2 = 0.319) were the Greene's subscales scores of depression (with a mean difference of 24-h cortisol for score unit expressed as beta coefficient of regression (b) of 4.91, 95% CI 2.14-7.7; P = 0.0007), and of somatization (b 3.04 95% CI 0.69-5.4; P = 0.012). The Greene's Climacteric Scale score (-5.67 ± 6.8; P = 0.0001) and 24-hour cortisol (-23.6 ± 45.7 μg/24 h; P = 0.0001) declined after 3 months of treatment. Changes of 24-hour cortisol values were linearly related to changes of total Greene's Climacteric Scale score with a mean change for unit score (b) of 2.10, 95% CI 0.47-3.73; P = 0.012).

Conclusions: Present data indicate that greater reduction in menopausal symptoms is associated with a larger decrease in cortisol levels. Possible implication of this finding on the long-term consequences for women's health needs to be explored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Climacteric*
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Female
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone*
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • Menopause


  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • Hydrocortisone

Associated data

  • EudraCT/2008-006053-41