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Progesterone does some great things. It prepares the uterus for pregnancy or menstruation, and protects its lining against cancer. The wild card is its effect on mood. It sometimes helps PMS but when taken as part of HRT it can make mood worse, sometimes much worse. The main culprit is a synthetic version called MPA (medroxyprogesterone acetate.) Brand names include Provera ® and Cycrin® and it is also contained in Prempro ®. Many women feel fine on MPA but some get PMS feelings from it: mood swings, irritability and bloating. If the HRT that was supposed to settle your moods has made them sway more, consider this as a possible cause. The forms of progesterone in FemHRT and OrthoPrefest seem less likely to affect mood although they sometimes can. Natural progesterone is now available in micronized form as Prometrium®. Previously it had to be compounded by a pharmacist. Progesterone is much less likely to cause PMS-like symptoms, and may be better in its effects on cholesterol. If you have mood problems on your HRT or are vulnerable to mood swings generally, natural progesterone often is gentler with your emotions. Most women prefer progesterone to MPA, but a small number prefer MPA. This is why I have emphasized having an HRT regimen developed for your individual needs.

Not only is the dose of progesterone important, how many days you take it is too. The current view is that women on HRT need it at least 12 days in a row at least every two months. When you take progesterone like this, you may have period-like bleeding. This tends to be light and it is predictable. Also you can control when it happens by timing when you take your progesterone – the bleeding usually starts about two days after you finish the 12 day course. In the fixed dose forms, a form of progesterone is taken every day in a smaller dose.

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What is Menopause?
When does menopause happen?
How Menopause Feels
What is HRT?
Surviving  – and thriving – during menopause
The big question: HRT
HRT and Breast Cancer
HRT and Contemporary Lifestyles
The HRT Option
How is HRT taken:
The different forms of estrogen:
Estrogen as a skin patch:
The splendors and miseries of progesterone
What are SERMs?
If you've had a hysterectomy
Deciding about YOUR Menopause
I'm on HRT but I don't feel any better

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