The Progesterone/Estrogen seesaw

by Chris VS
(Southern California)

The short version of a long story: 68 yrs old, probably 15 years since my last menstrual period, generally healthy but diagnosed in 2012 with two conditions (vulvar lichen sclerosis and a caruncle on my urethra) that are usually attributed to low estrogen levels (although recently the research I read seems to be adding the possibility of an autoimmune connection, which makes sense due to severe chronic stress most of my life).

Information derived from a good website/forum like this one but specifically about lichen sclerosis indicated some good success with topical estrogen (specifically Estrace, bioidentical) to improve side effects of lichen sclerosis especially the labial fusion I'm noticing. Decided to try that approach but used "natural" Estriol instead, I always start low. In a week or so of applying topical Estriol my joints (fingers/knuckles/knees, even my neck) began to hurt. Oddly, I'm sleeping better though.

If the topical estrogen use for lichen sclerosis has put me further into estrogen dominance and caused the sudden joint pain, I'm really confused, because the condition I'm treating is supposedly caused by low estrogen levels! I read here that topical progesterone creme is useful for joint pain, so I'm going to try it. (I supplemented with natural progesterone during menopause but stopped after the main meno symptoms subsided. I had no joint pain back then.) For now I will stop using the Estriol creme and see what happens.

If anyone else has had experience with lichen sclerosis or urethral caruncle and has had related success with natural progesterone, feel free to contact me and share. Thank you for this website and your advice. It's astonishing how many women are suffering so much.

Comments for The Progesterone/Estrogen seesaw

Click here to add your own comments

Nov 17, 2016
The Progesterone/Estrogen seesaw
by: Joy

HI Chris

Both LS and urethral caruncle, both of which seems to appear around Peri-Menopause and Menopause appears to be a common thing. What is your Vitamin D3 level? Not only is it vital for our healthy functioning cells, but a deficiency reduces the benefits of progesterone. D3 is a potent anti-inflammatory, plus it stops hyperkeratosis, it is vital that you have a test done.

We do not believe that any women needs to take or use extra estrogen as there are well over 100 estrogen mimics in our environment at is it. Many women who suffer with LS have found relief by rubbing Natpro Progesterone Cream on the affected area. You may find that it will help you too as well as Vitamin D3 and the co-factors. Stress of course doesn't help either, it reduces the benefits of progesterone and Vitamin D3, not to mention other vital nutrients that our body needs to function well.

Please read the following pages and the references:

How to use Progesterone Cream
Estrogen Dominance
Vitamin D3
Environmental Toxins

Nov 18, 2016
Seesaw / Estriol for LS Labial Fusion
by: ChrisVS

Hello Joy, thanks for your comments.

The reason I tried the Estriol (natural estrogen) application is specifically for one of the side effects of LS, namely the fusion of the labia which eventually reduces the vaginal/urinal opening, a scary idea to be sure. This side effect was never mentioned to me by the gyn/MD who diagnosed both LS and caruncle, so I was shocked when I noticed it happening. She only said LS was chronic and would not be cured, only prescribed clobetasol (a steroid cream) as needed.The steroid seems effective and I use a minimal amount for maintenance.

I wanted to find out if the labial fusing was caused by the LS itself or perhaps by the steroid use. Once I started researching, I read that topical application of Estrace had helped the labial fusion to separate again in many cases. I want to avoid any need for surgery if possible, otherwise I would not risk messing about with my hormone levels, I assure you. I chose Estriol rather than Estrace even though reports of results with Estrace on LS were generally positive. I wonder how so many women have had good results with Estrace for LS if they are already high in estrogen?

(I also have to say that my LS symptoms seem fairly mild when compared to the stories of so many people who report on LS websites. That's one blessing!)

As you say, there are so many estrogen-mimicking chemicals floating around in our bodies in today's world that any "low estrogen level" idea is hard to swallow. Yet this is what most MDs say is the cause of LS and urethral caruncle - so what are we to believe?

I will look again at all the links you provided - thank you. I've been reading many of the pages of this excellent website but there is a lot to absorb. I had good results with natural progesterone during my menopause "passage" but did not continue to take it afterwards, perhaps a mistake, so my poor body has been "on its own" for 15+ years. I used Emerita Pro-Gest back then since it was readily available to me and I had read Dr. John Lee's eye-opening book. So that's what I bought recently as well. If Natpro is superior I certainly would consider trying it but I must also watch my budget.

I don't currently have a GP or gyn, having moved to a new area in Southern California. Will need to source a way to get D3 levels tested since most doctors won't order a test if you just march in and ask. I supplement D3 each day and have for many years, 2000-4000 units, but I will increase that dose based upon what I read here.

Since I started using the Pro-Gest on my sore knuckles, I do see improvement. Swelling has gone down. That's encouraging. I'm using more than the product recommended dose 2x per day but probably not as much as I've read here (200 mg?). My further reading may change that.

Thanks again for the welcome thoughts.

Nov 20, 2016
Seesaw / Estriol for LS Labial Fusion
by: Joy

Hi ChrisVS

I have no idea if the fusing was caused by the LS, only an expert in that field can advise. I do know that they both seem to happen around Peri-Menopause and Menopause which indicates a hormonal cause. Those supplementing with extra estrogen will battle. If not supplementing with 5000iu's Vitamin D3 daily, you will most certainly be deficient in D3, increasing is advised and please take the co-factors mentioned. Progesterone is an excellent anti-inflammatory, so too is D3, so I am not surprised that your are finding some relief with your knuckles. The cream that you are using could be a problem, it does not have the correct progesterone concentration and will aggravate estrogen receptors. The 200mg per day recommended is based on Natpro Progesterone cream, the cream that you are using has 900mg of progesterone concentration, Natpro has 2000mg, you need to use more.

Nov 22, 2016
Progesterone Dosing
by: Laura

Hi Joy--By just reading the comment above, I'm am now a bit confused. I have been using the same cream mentioned above by Emerita and the tube says 450mg of USP progesterone per ounce. My tube is 4 ounces and 1/4 tsp equals 20 mg. If I apply one and one quarter tsp that equals 100mg of progesterone (I'm assuming?). The concentration amount mentioned above (900mg vs. 2000mg) is what is confusing me. Can you please explain? I've been reading this site for months and have found a treasure of very helpful information but now I'm confused about this concentration aspect.

Nov 25, 2016
Labial fusion
by: JoAnn

I was so interested to come upon this thread. I am 59 and have been menopausal for the last 5 years. I have used natural progesterone faithfully for the last 17 years. I realize I was not using a strong enough concentration, according to the info on this excellent site. About 3 years ago, I became aware that I had Lichen Sclerosis. It seemed to progress to a miserable stage rather quickly. My vaginal opening shrunk somewhat, making sex painful at first, and penetration eventually impossible. I also lost part of my labia. The idea of your vaginal/urinal opening shrinking is indeed scary. Anyone who has studied hormonal issues is scared of using estrogen...but the idea of being forced to use a catheter, some time in the future, is scary too. I also use natural estriol in a base of evening primrose oil, topically. My labia lips grew back, but the vaginal opening has not widened any.

Incidently, I have used 5000 IU of vitamin D daily for a number of years...even as much as 40,000 a day when I have been sick. I have regularly had a few mild hot flashes at night since going into menopause. Otherwise, I think I am pretty healthy. I am very interested in anything I can learn about LS. Thanks so much for the opportunity to discuss this.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Progesterone faq.

Share this page:
Find this page helpful? Please tell others. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Search over 8,400 pages on this site...