How can I be sure my symptoms are due to low progesterone and not low estrogen too
I am so confused about which road to take. I've been focusing on my obvious symptoms of estrogen dominance by using progesterone cream for more than 15 years. I know for a fact it has helped me tremendously as it lengthened my increasingly short cycles, and brought me back from a terrible period of crushing anxiety. There is no doubt it has truly been a lifesaver for me. I have avoided estrogen like the plague and use DIM to try to decrease it.
I am now 53 and have been experiencing a steady increase in my symptoms, plus many more. As if my hair falling out isn't bad enough, I am now unable to sleep more than 3 hours without waking up. It has become extremely bad in the past 3 months and is greatly affecting my quality of life.
I struggle to understand how I could need so much more progesterone than my body would ever make on its own. Yes I am stressed!! I have major stressors in my life and have had for many years. My cortisol does not follow a normal pattern and is slightly high in the late afternoon/early evening. But still that does not explain to me why I would need so much progesterone.
The doctor who prescribes my bio-identical hormones, my Naturopath, and my bio-identical pharmacist, all tell me I shouldn't need so much and that I am actually causing my body to create more estrogen with the excess progesterone I am using. Oh my gosh, all I know is I feel terrible and something is not right.
I have my hormones tested every year and see that the big difference now is that my estrogen levels are fluctuating wildly, where in the past they were consistently in the normal range for my age. I think my symptoms now are more related to the loss of estrogen I am experiencing, in addition to estrogen dominance.
I went to a seminar a couple of weeks ago, by a Dr who favors bio identical estrogen patch, along with progesterone (she prefers oral because of the sleep benefits). She presented information from a new book titled; "Estrogen Matters" by Avrum Bluming. This book addresses the Women's Health Initiative studies which have had all of us fearing estrogen since the study was released. Basically she explained that estrogen studies have been flawed and presented incorrect results which resulted in scaring the wits out of us. The information presented stated that estrogen is very beneficial to us and it can help menopausal women get their life back. We also watched a very informative film titled "Hot Flash Havoc", which you can find online.
I am still very confused but now that I know what my menopause is going to be like, I am taking a closer look at the benefits of bio identical estrogen in a low dose patch. If there is something that can help to get "Me" back, I am going that way.
There is so much conflicting information it truly makes me think I am going bonkers trying to understand it all. I will read something that says my symptoms (such as hair loss, low libido, insomnia, weight gain, mood swings, sweaty head) are related to low progesterone, and other things which say these symptoms are due to low estrogen. It really is baffling and makes it difficult to know what to do. My symptoms would indicate I am progesterone deficient, estrogen deficient, very low normal DHEA, very low normal thyroid, and estrogen dominant, abnormal cortisol pattern. My lab results and lab recommendations agree.
I guess the answer I am looking for is this; If I have been using progesterone cream for over 15 years and my symptoms are worsening, what should I do? Should I start now with a loading dose to re-establish progesterone dominance? Should I use cream continuously through my cycles (I still do have periods, though every 2-3 weeks)? I am presently using about 135mg day. What about low estrogen? Shouldn't we be doing something to address this as well? It seems to me that if we are restoring progesterone levels, we should be doing the same with estrogen to keep things in balance.
Can anyone offer any insight?
Thanks so much