Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is progesterone dangerous?"
I am a 61 year old woman considering taking progesterone. Are there any drawbacks?
Progesterone is a reproductive hormone that is used in many ways, especially in certain types of contraceptive pills and in assistive reproductive techniques for overcoming infertility. The uses of progesterone in older post menopausal women is much more limited. Essentially the major use would be in cases where a woman was taking estrogen hormone replacement therapy. In this setting, progesterone can also be taken, because the estrogen causes proliferation of the lining of the uterus (which could put you at risk of cancer in the long term) and the progesterone prevents this buildup. The benefits of taking progesterone to prevent this complication have to be weighed carefully against the risk. In particular in older women progesterone seems to significantly increase the risk of having serious blood clots. It also increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, as well as breast cancer, may also be increased by taking progesterone. Therefore, you should talk with your OB GYN doctor or your primary care doctor before doing this. It may be that you will conclude that the benefits do in fact outweigh the risks, but this is a decision that needs to be made carefully after knowing all the facts.
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