2

votes

Should I start using a progesterone cream? Hormone panel results

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 11, 2012 at 7:14 PM

So I got a hormone panel done (saliva) on day 21 of my cycle (I'm not on any hormonal birth control so my menstrual cycle is natural).

Estradiol - 1.6 pg/ml [normal range 1.3 - 3.3]

Progesterone - 88 pg/ml [normal range 75 - 270]

Ratio Pg/E2 - 55 (low) [optimal 100 - 500 when E2 is 1.3 - 3.3]

Testosterone - 24 pg/ml [normal range 16 - 55]

DHEAS - 10.7 ng/ml [normal range 2 - 23]

Cortisol morning - 5.5 ng/ml [normal range 3.7 - 9.5]

This indicates estrogen dominance, which might be contributing to some irritating health conditions I've been dealing with, such as:

1) Rosacea, bane of my existence. It seems to flare up post-ovulation and not subside until my period starts.

2) I've been noticing more facial hair and more hair on my arms lately... it's light-colored so it's probably not noticeable to others but it's noticeable to me, and annoying.

3) PMS -- fatigue, anxiety, heavy bleeding, cramping that improved on paleo but is still painful

4) Depression/anxiety -- though these have improved by 80% after 3-4 months of paleo

I'm considering trying a natural progesterone cream to help alleviate some of these symptoms as my hormones continue to balance. (I know that some paleo folks will say, "Just be patient and give it time" but honestly, my rosacea can be seriously life-disrupting... my face burns and it's too difficult sometimes to go to class or even leave my apartment... I don't want to wait a year to be able to live a normal life.)

My questions are: have any premenopausal women out there used progesterone? Good reactions? Bad reactions? Is this a good idea? What are the potential bad side effects?

I'd also be interested in hearing any theories about why hormone levels might impact rosacea flares. I found some anecdotal evidence online, with women saying that they also had rosacea flares between ovulation and menstruation, but there's not a lot out there to explain the connection.

EDIT: Forget to say my age (28). 5'6" and usually between 120 and 125 pounds. Sleep is good. Diet does not include dairy because it triggers rosacea flares, but I eat beef, lamb, fish, chicken, pork, most vegetables, occasional rice, a little fruit (only a little because it also seems to trigger some rosacea flare-ups but I'm not sure). No more digestion problems after 4 months of paleo.

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism in the past, but when I had my thyroid tested a few months ago, the levels were okay. I do have slightly dry skin but no hair loss or poor memory. I was freezing all the time a month ago when I was eating low-carb but since I stopped counting my carbs, I haven't had any issues with cold. I know my thyroid is a bit touchy but I suspect it's not the root cause of my problems. I went off Synthroid years ago and haven't had too many problems with it. Thanks for all the great feedback - it's making me feel more hopeful.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:32 PM

Geez no kidding. That is crazy. The thing with Hashi's, for some people and esp. early on in the illness is that your thyroid levels can flucuate a lot. So you may feel really hypothyroid some days, but not others. Synthroid (T4) alone can be a disaster for many people with Hashi's (me) as I was not able to convert the T4 to T3 so I was still hypothyroid.Dessicated thyroid and a very small amount of Synthroid has been best. I think you are wise to have your Tpo tested as well as your Free T3 and Free T4.

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 12, 2012
at 01:08 PM

It's possible the dose was too high but it definitely made me leery of synthroid! I have not been tested for hashi's and I will look into it. Thanks!

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 12, 2012
at 04:58 AM

Clafication - the blood test for that is for the presence/level of Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodes (TpoAb).

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 12, 2012
at 04:56 AM

It made sense but thanks for the details. Wow. thats an unusual response - sorry. was the dose too high? Anyway its possible you have auto immune thyroid issues and perhaps time and your diet and other intervention have lowered your antibodies. Great! Were you ever tested for autoimmune thyroiditis (hashimotos)?

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 12, 2012
at 03:03 AM

*Sorry, I don't think that was clear... I took synthroid for a little while several years ago, and it caused all kinds of problems for me. It completely changed my personality and made me manic and very aggressive and delusional. I went off it after only a few months, got a little acupuncture, and then when they retested it the levels were okay again.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 12, 2012
at 12:13 AM

Violet9- given the severe immune response you mention above together with your concerns of PMS/fatigue Depression/anxiety, have you considered having your thyroid evaluated? do you have other issues besides these that can be low thyroid related (like cold extremities, hair loss, dry skin, poor memory etc. Just though I'd mention it as low thyroid can play a significant role in pms/pmdd, derpession and anxiety....

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 11, 2012
at 11:39 PM

Fascinating articles, thanks for the links, IfYouSaySo. If it's relevant, I have a severe immune response to gluten expsoure that I only learned about 4 months ago... I clearly have some autoimmunity issues but I don't know where they are coming from. My health problems only started last year -- I was pretty healthy till then.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82

(280)

on June 11, 2012
at 10:51 PM

Ok, Violet. As for the rosacea, the true cause of that was discovered several years ago: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070805161110.htm But for some reason most doctors don't seem to know it still. It's an inflammatory/immune disorder (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22648215). So why do you have auto-immune issues? This could point back to PCOS or even to a leaky gut. Of course, you could have endo + a leaky gut. Oh joy - NOT. Talk to your fave OB/GYN and then a good derm.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 11, 2012
at 10:15 PM

Thanks. Makes sense.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on June 11, 2012
at 10:12 PM

Crowlover~ That may be, but younger folk tend to respond more quickly to dietary interventions, which is why I don't recommend progesterone supplementation across the board.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:37 PM

I would bet that most every 28 year old (18 year old for that matter) and 38, 48 year old women is estrogen dominant (progesterone is too low). Its epidemic it seems.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:35 PM

ifYouSaySo, her hormones are great except for a bit too low progesterone so why would she need an endo or PCOS? Just curious. Also, there is nothing to suggest that long term exposure to a BIO-IDentical progesterone cream (delivered in a non-toxic base) is "problematic". I just heard Daniel Amen, MD speak to that as well as Johnathon Wright, MD in his interview by Dr. Mercola.The issues are with synthetic hormones that are structurally different than what is found in humans, like horse progestin (not the same as human progesterone at all).

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:33 PM

I have thought about potential PCOS in the past, because of skin issues and hair growth, but I'm thin and my periods are regular (though heavy) so I have always kind of ruled it out. Haven't looked into endo much but I will.

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:31 PM

Thank you very much. I haven't had my D level tested but have been taking supplements. I was eating a lot of liver but found out it's a vasodilator and can make rosacea worse, so I'm kind of afraid of overdoing it, but occasionally I can eat some.

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:29 PM

IfYouSaySo, no I haven't been tested for either. No medical insurance for a while but I just got covered again, so I can look into those tests. Thanks.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82

(280)

on June 11, 2012
at 08:58 PM

At 28 you're too young for this peri-menopause stuff. Something else is probably going on - endo, PCOS maybe. The issue with taking hormones when you're young is that long exposure to them can be problematic for some people. Have you been tested for both?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 11, 2012
at 08:40 PM

You can use ProgestE Complex by Kenogen, it's probably the best progesterone cream out there.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 11, 2012
at 07:57 PM

My friend's rosacea improved a ton when she started taking 10mg of Astaxanthin, twice a day. She was already taking 200mg of Ubiqionol twice a day and some other supplements and already on BioID creams - she feels the astaxanthin really helped her rosacea. Might be worth a try, its a great antioxidant anyway.

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 11, 2012
at 07:30 PM

Did you use it for estrogen dominance?

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on June 11, 2012
at 07:18 PM

When I used it, I gained 15 pounds in a couple of months and went into a very deep depression. Both are common side effects. Works wonders for some -- not for everyone. Use with caution.

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3 Answers

4
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on June 11, 2012
at 08:38 PM

First, I would get your 25(OH)D level checked, if you haven't already.

Vitamin D is a hormone precursor & by getting in the optimal range (50-60 ng/ml for most folk or 60-80 if you have an auto-immune/inflammatory condition) you will give your body what it needs to create its own progesterone.

It may also help your rosacea.

Progesterone rises after ovulation (if indeed you are ovulating!) and so it is a bit confusing to me that you would have a rosacea flare at that time.

Using progesterone cream can be helpful for some of the other symptoms (and I have used it successfully at age 49 for perimenopausal symptoms), but at your age, I would suggest doing more dietary & environmental tweaking.

If you do want to try it, I recommend Pro-gest, which is free of parabens. Use it as directed & don't be surprised if your symptoms flare up for a few weeks. It's normal as shut-down estrogen receptors get activated.

Great resource here: http://www.johnleemd.com/

Personally, I would avoid anything written by Suzanne Somers or T.S Wiley, since they are recommending non-physiological levels of hormones that have caused a lot of problems for many women.

Due to previous digestive problems pre-Paleo you are likely deficient in zinc, magnesium and possibly selenium, so getting replete with oysters, a magnesium supplement and a few Brazil nuts could be really helpful.

Also liver, other organ meats, gelatin & bone broth will fill in the micronutrient gaps.

Krill oil can help with cramping for some women.

Here are a couple of blog posts I wrote on fertility/hormone balance that may be helpful:

http://www.sondrarose.com/optimum-fertility-nutrition

http://www.sondrarose.com/optimum-fertility-environment

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 11, 2012
at 10:15 PM

Thanks. Makes sense.

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:31 PM

Thank you very much. I haven't had my D level tested but have been taking supplements. I was eating a lot of liver but found out it's a vasodilator and can make rosacea worse, so I'm kind of afraid of overdoing it, but occasionally I can eat some.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:37 PM

I would bet that most every 28 year old (18 year old for that matter) and 38, 48 year old women is estrogen dominant (progesterone is too low). Its epidemic it seems.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on June 11, 2012
at 10:12 PM

Crowlover~ That may be, but younger folk tend to respond more quickly to dietary interventions, which is why I don't recommend progesterone supplementation across the board.

1
7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:14 PM

plus one for www.johnleemd.com I've used natural progesterone for pmt, perimenopause and post menopause. I don't intend to stop using it. It has transformed my life. Here's another resource www.npis.info the natural progesterone information service.

0
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on June 11, 2012
at 07:52 PM

I absolutely would (and still do for severe pms/pmdd) use bio-identical hormone cream for the symptoms you describe. Of course it should be prescribed by a doctor who knows and uses bio-identical hormones. My cream is from a compounding pharmacy.
Cramps are very typically caused by low progesterone. Proper dosing is everything. I don't know about for Rosacea but the cream could definitely help with number 3&4 on your list.

This book is very good: Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement: The Science Explained by Jonathan V. Wright, Lane Lenard and Suzanne Somers (Dec 16, 2009)

Best of luck

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