autoimmune diseases and progesterone
by Tina Kelly
(King City, California)
I am hoping someone can help me. I don't want to bore anyone with my story but I am hoping that someone can perhaps give me some advice or insight. I am a 58 year old woman and I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. It is an autoimmune disease that affects the spine and joints. I have had my hips replaced and my spine is partially fused due to years of inflammation. I also suffer with gastrointestinal inflammation with accompanying diarrhea and a severe lack of appetite. I am on humira injections every two weeks and at times I have had to take them once a week. I have been on the biologics on and off for about 15 years and am scared to death of all the possible side effects. When I was 44 years old I had an ovary removed and it threw me into early menopause. My GYN explained that I probably would experience early menopause because my remaining ovary was so small that it was virtually nonexistent. So--since then I have been using (on and off) progesterone cream in small amounts and estradiol. I use about one push of ESTROGEL--sometimes 1/2 of a push from the 1st of the month until the 25th of the month. Then I am off of it for about one week. Last month after reading that progesterone can help reduce the inflammation of an autoimmune disease, I decided to give prometrium a try. I started out by taking 200 mg. at night and I took the prometrium for two weeks instead of the 50 mg. of progesterone cream. To my surprise, after about 6 days, I started to have an appetite and it was unbelievable--it lasted about 3 weeks. It was wonderful. I actually gained 10 pounds. Keeping weight on has been a struggle so it was a blessing to pack on some pounds. Unfortunately, my symptoms returned. This month on on January 11th, I started taking the 200 mg. of progesterone again and by the 17th I was able to have an appetite. I don't know if it is the progesterone helping or not. The 200 mg. also seems to help with sleep which is a blessing because I suffer with insomnia. Anyhow, I was wondering if it is okay to take the prometrium EVERY DAY without a break. I have read that the cream is better for absorption and less of a burden on the liver-- but is there a cream that will deliver 200 mg. a day without breaking the bank. I do notice that the progesterone does tend to make my stools much looser than they already are and I seem to have an emotional roller coaster ride after I stop the progesterone and am off the estradiol for 7 days. I just want to be able to have a desire to eat and not suffer so much with pain. Is it just in my head or does the progesterone help with autoimmune diseases. Has anyone else had positive results with progesterone and autoimmune diseases. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.