Utrogestan - Body Identical Progesterone Facts - Stella
4 mins

Utrogestan – body identical progesterone facts

byDr. Lucy Wilkinson

Utrogestan is a type of progesterone used for HRT. It has become increasingly popular over recent years because of its structure, which is identical to the progesterone produced by our bodies. Dr Lucy Wilkinson, Stella’s clinical advisor, explains more about this commonly prescribed medication.

What is hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?

As the name suggests, HRT is a kind of medication that replaces the hormones that your body no longer produces during perimenopause and postmenopause. This is usually oestrogen, which may be combined with a progesterone (like Utrogestan).

You can take HRT as pills, patches, gels and vaginal preparations. HRT is the most effective treatment available for menopause symptoms, although it is not suitable for everyone. Your own doctor will be able to advise you on the best options for you personally. You can also take Stella’s free online assessment to see which treatment options are suitable for you.

What is Utrogestan?

Utrogestan, also known as ‘micronised progesterone’, is a form of HRT containing the hormone progesterone. It is structurally identical to the progesterone produced by the human body. 

When used for HRT, Utrogestan is prescribed as oral capsules. It is derived from plants, yams and root vegetables.

Recently, many people have reported struggling to get hold of their prescribed Utrogestan. Find out the latest on the shortage.

Why take Utrogestan?

Utrogestan can be used as the progesterone component of HRT. This is an essential part of your treatment if you still have your womb.

While oestrogen is the hormone needed to treat your menopause symptoms, it can cause problems if used alone. Using oestrogen without progesterone can make the womb lining thicken abnormally and even lead to cancer.

Thankfully, using progesterone alongside the oestrogen removes this risk. Many different types of progesterone are available – Utrogestan is one of them.

An advantage of taking Utrogestan over other, synthetic progesterones is that it seems to be lower risk in some respects. We know that taking progesterone as part of HRT is associated with a small increase in your risk of breast cancer. But a 2018 study found that Utrogestan is not associated with this risk when taken for up to five years. While this apparent benefit is still being researched, it’s worth considering when choosing your HRT medications.

Start your free online menopause assessment to see if HRT is right for you

How to take Utrogestan

Utrogestan is a capsule that is taken orally. Your doctor will prescribe Utrogestan to be taken either every day (if you need continuous combined HRT) or for selected days of the month (if you need sequential HRT). Always read the prescription label, and the instructions of medication before you start. 

Your doctor may advise taking Utrogestan vaginally. Although this is an off-label recommendation for HRT, it can be a suitable approach in some cases.

If used for HRT, you will also be taking an oestrogen alongside Utrogestan. This can be taken as a patch, pill, spray or gel.

Read more about the different types of HRT.

Side effects of using Utrogestan

It is common for Utrogestan to make you feel sleepy or a bit dizzy. It’s therefore usually best to take this medication just before bedtime to minimise these side effects.

Like all types of progesterone, Utrogestan comes with certain side effects. These include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Acne
  • Vaginal bleeding

These are most common within the first few weeks or months of starting HRT. If they have not settled by the 3-6 month mark, check in with your doctor.

Seek help sooner if you have any new symptoms which are worrying you or which you think may be unrelated to your new prescription. This is especially important if you have: 

  • Other breast symptoms, including lumps, skin changes, discharge or nipple changes
  • Severe headaches, headaches which wake you from sleep, or headaches with any other associated symptoms (including vision changes, balance problems and weakness)
  • Depression with thoughts about harming yourself or others
  • Heavy bleeding, bleeding after sex, bleeding with abdominal pain or changes to your bowels or bladder

Final word

Utrogestan is a popular choice of product if you need a progesterone to go alongside your oestrogen-only patch, pill, spray or gel. Together, this combination can be very helpful in treating menopause symptoms.

However, HRT is not suitable or even necessary for everyone. Speak to your own doctor or take Stella’s free online menopause assessment to find out your own personal treatment options.

Find out more about menopause on our blog or in our symptoms library.

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