Hi. I have been following your site for some time now. I share a similar story to many ladies that have written in but also like many am still a little confused by the fact that conventional medicine completely disagrees with using higher doses of progesterone.
My history: 50 in 2 months time; menarche age 11 but missed one complete year mid teens; very moody/ PMS; OCP first used age 18 and on and off through 20's but never tolerated well including POP (weight gain, flat mood and nausea that I can remember); used Persona (urine testing predictor method to prevent unwanted pregnancy: worked very well); 1st child age 28: nausea throughout 1st and 2nd trimesters, headaches, very painful breasts, felt dreadful until 3rd trimester but then diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. Induced at 39/40, very traumatic birth, girl 6lbs. Uterine bleeding for two weeks post delivery requiring antibiotics to settle. Failed to breast feed due to very sore breasts and very 'hungry' baby. 2nd baby age 30; nausea first trimester then a more settled pregnancy; had Elective Caesar at 39/40 due to traumatic memories of first delivery; baby boy, 7.4 lbs; good recovery from surgery but post baby blues and sore breasts so failed to breast feed again!
Periods uneventful most of 30s, minor pms (according to husband!) regular 32 days, 2 days moderate bleeding then finished by end of day 4; unplanned pregnancy age 37, miscarried? 10 or 12/40; D&C.
Always experienced Mittelschmerz but from age 40 pain increased dramatically with very uncomfortable full/bearing down feeling for 2 or 3 days; very bloated with increasing symptoms of IBS towards end of month; lumpy breasts, Mammogram showed benign fibroadenomas. Very stressful time so weight up and down; high levels of anxiety and occasional palpitations.
Periods now longer, very heavy and very painful for first 48 hours. U/S showed Adenomyosis with 12/40 Uterus and several fibroids. Stress incontinence for 2 days mid month. Had Mirena Coil inserted (under GA apparently due to previous CS!). Felt great for about a month but then weight gain and breasts increasing by 2 bra sizes and family complaining my usual cheery self had been replaced by a more aggressive version! After 3 months had it removed and went on Yasmin. Helped with bleeding but again felt flat and gained more weight so stopped after 6 months. Symptoms returned but worse plus addition of generalized joint pain, suddenly felt old!!
Libido non existent and mood very flat and black. I hate to use the word suicidal because I don't want to belittle people who truly feel like that but there were days when I couldn't believe I'd ever feel happy or optimistic about anything again, felt miserable with very low esteem, frumpy and unfeminine.
Stress at home increased with husband feeling he was walking on egg shells all the time (he is actually a Doctor and so although sympathetic felt powerless). Tried OCP again but despite different types all produced side effects including Yasmin second time round that caused extreme IBS so bad that it was impossible to leave the house on some days, and so much fluid retention on others that I became breathless climbing a flight of stairs. Stopped OCPs but symptoms increased 10 fold including sore breasts for whole month.
Then I discovered Progesterone!
I started on 30mgs and felt wonderful, felt like my 'old self'! Period by day 17 just as heavy. 2nd month upped dose to 40mgs but split between morning and night which seemed to help with initial loose stools, still felt full of energy and cheerful. 3rd month much the same but felt nauseous by day 25 so stopped cream.
Periods still very heavy with lots of clots. Very sore breasts mid 4th month. Read your various posts and upped dose to 60 for month 4 and then 80 for month 5, periods lighter with less clots. Other annoying symptoms of painful spots on scalp also settled but energy levels dipping and mood ok but not as buoyant. Sleeping better and joint pain much less on days using cream, lose about 3 kgs in fluid when going back on cream at day 12.
Have recently seen a Doctor here in Australia that believes in an holistic approach to medicine with a big emphasis on nutrition as well as bio identical hormones, thought I should be under the care of a professional (other than my hubby) to keep an eye on things. She ordered a battery of tests including serum hormones, it was day 15 but I think I was in the Luteal phase rather than mid cycle:
LH 3.0 u/L; FSH 4.8 u/L; Oestradiol 143 pmol/L; Progesterone 101.2 nmol/L; Testosterone 0.4 nmol/L; FAI 0.6 %; SHBG 71 nmol/L.
Had used 40mgs of Progesterone that morning! All other tests were fine including fasting blood sugars.
Going back to see her in a month but I don't think she agrees that using a high dose is the answer and even suggested that it would be harmful long term! I have read so many articles from here, the U.K and America that absolutely denounce anything above 40mgs per day and then I've read just as many saying the opposite including an interview that Dr Katherine Dalton given a few years before her death.
I'm so confused!!!!!! Especially about whether Progesterone can build up in the tissues and reach toxic levels. My husband is extremely supportive of me using an alternative to conventional HRT for perimenopause symptoms but feels just as confused as me as to whether it's the right way to go if there's any doubt about long term side effects.....i.e, upsetting the Adrenal glands and causing more problems.
And lastly! Just over a month ago I went on a course of Clarithromycin for a post cold bout of infected sinusitis. Two weeks later I started noticing a hive like rash coming and going, just odd small patches that resolved after a couple of hours, non itchy but then I take Zirtec for Hayfever (just going into spring here and I'm allergic to a lot of the early tree pollens), apparently a side effect of these antibiotics can be hives. The Doctor I saw thought it was the beginning of Histamine Intolerance, never had a problem beyond seasonal hayfever before and no other obvious allergies other than shellfish and Latex. She mentioned a link between oestrogen and histamine and from what I have read Progesterone should settle things!?
This month I started on 100mgs and am thinking I should stay on it every day for at least 3 months as I definitely have a rebound of symptoms on the days off, especially the joint pains.
I know a lot of this has been covered in previous posts but I guess I still need some reassurance.....and maybe some ammo before I go back to the Doctor in a months time!!!!!!!