I just turned 50. Reading through the forum i have reason to believe that i've suffered from hormonal imbalance, specifically, estrogen dominance for years. Especially, following the post-partum time after each one of my three babies where at right around the 6 week follow up exam I would start experiencing panic, feelings of anxiety, extreme weight gain, hair loss. Surprisingly, no doctor ever mentioned the possibility of estrogen dominance and my life, the depression, the anxiety at times were almost intolerable. But the years passed and at some point through regular exercise and organic eating cutting out all meat and becoming vegetarian seemed to help and even alleviate those symptoms.
I had my last baby at 37, surgically, at which time i also had my tubes tied having no idea at the time that the minute this is done it signals the ovaries to stop producing progesterone. Thus, the evil cycle began all over again. But this time, being older, it seemed like an impossible task to get the weight off. I had been insulin resistant and the weight just refused to budge. Again, not one doctor ever pointed at low progesterone as being the culprit. I was too stressed, a busy mom, I simply need to "learn to relax". Looking back I think I kind of resent that now. Our intuitive instincts are much more accurate than we think and I wish I had trusted mine a little more and insisted that something was indeed wrong instead of suffering for the past 12 years the way I have.
So I've been perimenopausal for quite sometime. Regular periods, but I never knew when to expect them, how long they would last, if they would be light, simply spotting, sometimes heavy, sometimes extremely heavy with tons of clots to the point i would have to stay close to home and close to a bathroom to prevent accidents.
For the past 4 years, my periods (usually 30-35 days apart) started coming every 45 days, sometimes 65 days, sometimes 26 days apart, very erratic and extremely heavy flow and clotting accompanied by hot flashes and night sweats.
Most recently, I feel like both my estrogen and progesterone (just after the time of ovulation) completely hit bottom because my anxiety went through the roof literally overnight plunging me into a world of hell along with loss of appetite, restless energy, several flashes (sometimes back to back)throughout the day and sometimes throughout the night making worsening the feelings of anxiety nearly to the point of panic. So I would pace, step outside, rinse my face, trying to remind myself to just breathe. The lack of sleep then created another vicious cycle.
Someone recommended progesterone cream and it, so far, has been a godsend. Very calming, fewer hot flashes, somedays I don't experience any. My period started 4 days ago and has been very light and manageable. I'm sleeping and eating better, too. And I'm back to exercising again each night to help keep any anxiety away.
I'm currently taking a 20 mg pump of progesterone as often as i feel necessary. At the first sign of anxiousness (which usually proceeds a hot flash) and I find that my symptoms quickly reverse and usually within just minutes. I'm choosing to use the progesterone continually for the first couple of months just to restore what has been depleted and then will start using it from the 7th day of my cycle (if i get one) and so forth and so on.
I'm taking a good magnesium drink supplement (twice daily), Complex B vitamin containing B12 (twice daily), a 2000 IU of Vitamin D (twice daily), 1000 mg of Vitamin C (twice daily) and MSM powder.
I eat organically and meat-free.
A few questions:
1) Is it lower estrogen or progesterone causing the anxiety?
2) At this point, would progesterone with phytoestrogens be more beneficial since I suspect that my estrogen has bottomed out.
3) Or should I start using a bioidentical estrogen cream in addition to the progesterone cream.
4) Is it true that progesterone cream in itself produces increased estrogen amounts? Will progesterone cream alone help me long-term?
5) At what point through this process do women take estrogen supplementation?
6) Why do I feel crazy in those moments? Is there anything I can do when the hot flashes occur to help ease them. I feel so helpless, sometimes embarrassed, especially when I'm the only one sweating profusely. I feel like everyone must know.
7) Any specific advice for me that I haven't touched on?
Thank you in advance!