Bleeding or actual period?
I'm 33 years old, and I've been seeing a doctor since January 2013 regarding the following symptoms: hair loss, facial hair, irregular periods, PMS, dry skin, low libido, and acne. A number of tests were done and I found that I have some follicles on both ovaries, low progesterone levels, high cortisol levels, very high LH (10) and low FSH (1). When I began treatment with my doctor, she said that I had mostly symptoms of Estrogen Dominance as well as borderline PCOS. I began taking supplements to reduce my cortisol levels, improve liver function in order to detox from the extra estrogen in my system, improve the health of my ovaries as well as supplement with 50mg of progesterone cream from a compounding pharmacy to be taken everyday except the days of my cycle.
Upon beginning treatment, I felt much better immediately. My lab results were getting much better; there were improvements in my thyroid function, CRP had gone down, my cortisol levels went down, my LH was moving down and my FSH was moving up, and my liver function was improving dramatically. However, my progesterone levels actually went DOWN, and my periods were still kind of sensitive and I found that I was getting my cycle around days 32 or 33, and the latest 37 or 38 (because of travel). I was told by my doctor to just begin progesterone from days 7-14 of my cycle because of this. When I did that for the next cycle, I found my symptoms got worse, and I developed an extreme case of dry skin on my feet and hands, I was emotionally miserable like I'd never been before in my life, my hair was falling out, I was retaining water and couldn't fit into my clothes and sleeping horribly because of waking up from feeling hot and very sweaty. I was told by my doctor at the appointment after that, that my recent blood test taken on Day 21 showed that my progesterone levels had essentially left the building (it was at .3). She said that I should wait until my period shows up, latest until 40, and then take the progesterone from Days 14-28 after my period, and if my period does NOT show up and it's already day 40, to take progesterone for 2 weeks to force my body to make a new cycle.
With how miserable I was feeling, I didn't wait until day 40 to see if I got my period...I lasted until Day 35 and began taking progesterone once a day. My period showed up after day 41. From Day 3 of my cycle until the end of my period, I had horrible hot flashes throughout the day as well as horrible night sweats. Although my doctor said to just take the progesterone from days 14-28, as soon as my cycle finished, I started taking progesterone every day from Day 7 onwards anyway because I felt my body needed it with the hot flashes and sweats I was getting--I felt I was prematurely going into Menopause!! I started out the first two days taking it once a day, about 1/2tsp from a brand that contained 500mg of natural progesterone (I didn't bother going to get the cream from the compounding pharmacy and went with this new brand instead). Then I upped my dose to twice a day, and then finally 3x/day the next day until Day 19. Since taking progesterone cream 3x everyday until now, I have noticed an increase in my libido, no more dry skin, clear thoughts, mind, and an improvement in my hair and nails. My sleep also improved in the sense that I was no longer feeling hot and sweaty at night, and I had no hot flashes during the day. I don't know exactly how many milligrams of progesterone I was taking each day, however; again, I just applied 1/2-3/4tsp, 3 times a day.
I am at Day 20 of my cycle and since yesterday, I have been having very light bleeding. At first, it was just spotting, and I thought this was the same spotting I was experiencing for the last couple of cycles between days 18-20 and dismissed it as just that. It's just that this time, I'm noticing more bleeding, and not just spotting. Last night, I was also feeling some mild hot flashes. I'm not sure if I should push through this and keep taking my progesterone or if this is an early period and I should stop taking my progesterone. My periods usually start with some spotting, but I'm still not sure this time. I don't feel any of the symptoms of a period, like tiredness, cramping, and the bleeding is SO light that I'm honestly not sure. This morning, I applied one dose of the progesterone cream and finished the tube. I recently ordered NatPro and will be using this brand from now on.
Having said that, what would you recommend I do? Should I continue to take the progesterone cream and if so, how much/often? I'm hoping you'll shed some light on this because I can't seem to figure out what to do now, and I would appreciate any advice you might have.