The Progesterone/Estrogen seesaw
by Chris VS
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.