My own little experiment
Over the last year I started experiencing a host of strange symptoms - weight gain, heart palpitations, chronic heartburn, pitting edema (MAJOR swelling) in my lower legs, high blood pressure, pre-menstrual breast tenderness, slight urinary incontinence, occasional hot flashes, weepiness, migraines before my period, a week of spotting before my period, long and heavy periods - to name a few! My doctor ran a bunch of tests and ruled out cardiac, gastrointestinal issues, etc. That seemed to be the extent of what he was able to do. So, I was reassured that nothing horrible was going on, but still suffering from all these symptoms.
When I noticed that the ankle swelling improved greatly when I actually got my period, I wondered if it could be hormone related and started to do some research. It sounded like estrogen dominance to me, so I asked my doctor to test my hormone levels. The blood serum tests came back showing slightly low estrogen and very low progesterone (I don't have the numbers, unfortunately).
We agreed to do an experiment... For the past 3 months, I've been taking 50 mg of oral progesterone in the morning, and 100 mg at night. (I'll have my bloodwork done again this month at the same point in my cycle as last time.) Next month, I'm switching to progesterone cream - 10 mg in the morning, 20 mg at night. I'll use that for 3 months and test again.
I realize that the saliva test would be better, but the blood test is free, and it would be close to $1000 for me to do this using the saliva tests. Really, I'm thinking symptom changes should speak louder than anything!
Since taking the oral supplement, I've noticed a partial resolution of symptoms. I still have some slight edema (though it's MUCH better), breast tenderness hasn't changed, occasional heart palpitations, etc. I was surprised that the daily heartburn completely cleared up! I don't think I have it sorted out quite yet, but I know I'm on the right track. I would love any pointers!