New to progesterone therapy
Hello All, I recently started with natural progesterone cream, prescribed by my doctor.
Just for a bit of history (longish), I am 52 years old and perimenopausal. When I was 28, I had a total abdominal hysterectomy because of fibroids. FWIW, when I was younger, I always had very irregular periods with heavy bleeding, clots and horrible cramping, and there were even a few months where I had NO periods; the only thing that regulated me was starting the pill).
During the hysterectomy, they removed one of the ovaries as well because it was completely engulfed by the fibroids and I was left with one ovary. I was given supplemental estrogen (Estrace) a few months later, and tolerated it well (e.g., no problems, no pains, swollen breasts, felt energetic, etc.)
Around the age of 39/40, I started on the hormonal rollercoaster. My ovaries were generating multiple follicular cysts and my estrogen levels were off the meter (+1100). My GYN put me on BCPs (Orthocyclen) to quiet things down. There were a couple of occasions after that that I went off the pills, and the cysts came back with a vengeance. I was also diagnosed in early 2004 with pre-Hashimoto's. TSH was normal, but I had elevated antibodies. I started thyroid meds immediately -- 25 mcgs T4 and then added 5 mcgs T3 a few months later. I still continue with the meds, though I'm now at 37.5 mgs of T4 and 10 mcgs of T3. But, thankfully, it hasn't progressed to full-blown Hashi's as my anti-body levels are still VERY low, and I have no "symptoms".
In 2005, I moved from the US to Europe and could not find the Orthocyclen, so I was put on Yasmin. I felt okay with it, but still, I did not feel optimal. But at least with the Yasmin, I didn't get he same bloating as with the Orthocyclen.
In 2008, I started feeling pretty lousy and started having issues sleeping and gaining weight. I had switched GYNs (again) and he took me off the Yasmin and put me on something called Angelique and I felt horrible. I went to another GYN that had been recommended to me, and he started me on Utrogestan (progesterone pearl) 100 mgs. and .50 Estradot (vivelle). My estrogen levels were again off the meter (1100+) and I was puffy and swollen. He said that the previous GYN had made a mistake by putting me on the Angelique, and put me back on the Yasmin, and things quieted down. But, I was still having sleep issues, and any blood tests revealed that my estrogen levels were pretty low.
Last year (2013), in the spring, I went to a clinic here where they practice functional integrative and anti-aging medicine. They look for root causes and treat accordingly. I was diagnosed with food intolerances and leaky gut. They did a slew of blood tests and the doctor there said I had very low progesterone (1.6). I had just had a hormone panel done a couple of months earlier and I noticed that they never bothered to test progesterone. But my Estradiol was 72, Estrone was 132. 25-OH-Vitamin D was 82 (50-150). She recommended I try wild yam cream, but I was unable to find it here.
In November, we stopped the Yasmin, and she put me ONLY on progesterone the 100 mg pearl. Initially, I felt GREAT: my sleep issues, disappeared, I had more energy and there was a massive improvement in my moods. A month later, in December, I had blood tests done,and my progesterone had increased a bit (21.6), and so did the estradiol (49). I also saw slight upticks in the testosterone and free testosterone 0.610 and and 7, respectively. SHBG was 60.
The doctor switched me to natural progesterone cream from a compounding pharmacy (College Pharmacy in the US), 100 MG/GM and also Biest (80/20) 7.5 MG. They came in this Topiclick dispenser. She told me to take 2 clicks of the progesterone and 1 click of the Biest.
After about two weeks, around Christmas, I noticed I was feeling a bit bloated, and had gained a couple of pounds, breasts were bigger, skin and hair were oily and I was wondering if there was something wrong. I found this site in the meantime and started reading like crazy, and have learned so much. I stopped the bi-est and called the pharmacy to double check on the dosage, and it turned out 2 clicks = 50 mgs, NOT 100 mgs. I started using 4 clicks, and within several days, I felt even more bloated and a bit anxious.
I was scheduled to see the doctor anyway because I was running low on the cream, and told her I think I'm estrogen dominant. I also asked her if I could try the suppositories, instead and she said she would order those. She did another round of tests, and I was shocked that my estrogen increased AGAIN (92) and my progesterone was actually down from last month (4.2). The testosterone and free testosterone were also up a bit (0.7 and 10). SHBG was a bit lower (49).
Doctor said we can adjust/up the dosage, but the shipment for my cream/suppositories hasn't arrived yet.
From reading these fora, I'm guessing I need that higher dosage, but I'm not sure what dosage I should take. I was already in DIRE need of losing weight (@ 50 lbs), even without this recent gain. I'm just worried I will gain weight and it will only get worse. From the decrease in progesterone, it's clear that the receptors that carry the progesterone to the cells aren't doing their job well. How to correct this? Could it be from all those years on Yasmin/the pill?? Or Am I destined to remain fat and in hormonal hell given my history when I was younger????
My diet is relatively low carb, and I don't eat any dairy/eggs/wheat/gluten because of the food intolerances. I also avoid beans/legumes and soy (cuz of the thyroid) and am trying to limit ALL grains now (e.g., quinoa, brown rice, GF oats). Supplementally, I'm taking (daily) 5,000 IUs of D3, Probiotics (100 billion), Calcium D-Glucarate, Fish oil (1000 mgs), Hyland's bioplasma cell salts, Magnesium 375 mgs., L-Glutamine 1000 mgs. and B complex spectrum. I'm also taking liver detox drops given to me by the clinic and a powder that's supposed to help the mitochondria. This past week I've been VERY faithful about taking my supplements, and I've actually lost 3.5 lbs, but I know it's all water.
Anyway, sorry for being so long-winded, but I figured I'd give the whole history so you can get a better picture. Any input, advice, recommendations would be most appreciated. Thanks so much!