Several years ago I was talking with my bestie about how lucky I was to have short periods. She, who was getting her Masters in Nutrition at the time, showed me a different side to that thinking.
She said if my periods were short (meaning under 5 to 7 days), then my body may not have enough progesterone. At the time I didn’t care. I mean, 2 to 3 day periods!? Hells to the YEEEEESSSSSSS please!
Au Contraire! Turns out not having enough progesterone can affect more than just Aunt Flo. According to the book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause” by Dr. John R. Lee, Estrogen Dominance can cause a whole bunch of health issues such as:
Allergies Anxiety Breast Cancer Low Libido Depression Weight Gain Fatigue Fibrocystic Breasts Headaches Irritability Insomnia Miscarriage Migraines Thyroid Uterine Fibroids PMS Hair Loss Strokes Infertility Cold Hands and Feet
So you can see when you have more estrogen in relation to progesterone or when estrogen is not balanced BY progesterone, a while bunch of hurt can happen.
Let’s talk about progesterone for a minute. Progesterone is one of the primary hormones made in the ovaries. It’s necessary for the survival of a fertilized egg. Progesterone is a precursor to so many other hormones. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why being Progesterone Deficient/Estrogen Dominant can really mess with a girl!
While I am by NO MEANS an authority on this stuff, I do know enough to be mildly dangerous. Let me put some of this in layman’s (ahhhhh, layWOMAN’s) terms for you. For me, being Progesterone Deficient meant that for the two weeks following ovulation, I couldn’t concentrate, sleep or make decisions. I was irritable and unbelievably physically fatigued (well beyond what happens with a night or two of insomnia) as well as headaches that increased in intensity as I neared my period.
I can remember planning my first wedding and trying to decide when I’d be ovulating and when I’d have my period. I knew our wedding had to be during the first two weeks of my cycle as I would be a mess the last two weeks. This was back in 1996! I don’t even know how long I had been feeling like that prior to ‘96.
Fast forward to circa 2003 and cue my girl, Charmaine. At the time she was my personal trainer and as personal trainers do, they often help you with so many other things than building muscle. A deep and profound friendship grew from our personal training sessions. Eventually, I confided in her how I’d been feeling and she thought I might benefit from being on a progesterone cream. She said this might help level out my hormones and it might help my body prepare for a baby.
Step back for a second. Remember what I said earlier? About how progesterone is critical to the survival of a fertilized egg?? Uh huh… Maybe this part should have been included in my “Miracle” blog as I KNOW it helped.
So, let’s see…how old was I….41, 42 maybe? Yeah. I’ll try this progesterone cream. I mean, what did I have to loose besides gripping headaches and overwhelming fatigue?
Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. I felt better. Maybe not the first month or the second month, but by the third month of applying the cream, I felt semi-human after ovulation. My symptoms were diminishing and I could actually function. I was sleeping better, had less severe headaches and I handled conflict more easily than before.
Flash forward to 2011. Pregnant. No need to be on progesterone cream as my body was hormonally balanced. In fact, I felt better pregnant than at any other point in my life (hormonally speaking, that is). I didn’t have mood swings or food cravings (although I tried to pass off my increased process sugar eating as an intense craving!) and I was sooooooo calm. I felt really, really good.
How do I know this progesterone thing isn’t bunk? You know, something made up by pharmaceutical companies to sell a product to us aging women? I know because I was not able to use my cream for five months after I gave birth. My intense Estrogen Dominant/Progesterone Deficient symptoms came back after two months. I was a little slow on the uptake and didn’t realize what was going on until month four. After confirming it was safe to start using my progesterone cream, I began again and viola! My symptoms diminished.
If you think you might have issues with progesterone/estrogen and you don’t have a bestie like Charmaine in your life, she suggested you check with your doctor and/or In Health Pharmacy (http://www.inhealthcompounding.com/). They do hormone level checks. Now, granted, your hormones can change hourly (sometimes by the minute!?!) so their test will only be a snapshot of your levels. But it’s a starting point, right?
For me, I still use and love what Charmaine recommended all those years ago. It’s “Serenity Bio-Identical Progesterone Cream” in original formula. I get it on-line from: http://progesterone.com/store/serenity-progesterone-creams/serenity-progesterone-creams/
Ladies, I’m not saying that when you get a headache or feel extreme fatigue or experience any of the above listed symptoms, the ONLY cause is low progesterone/high estrogen. No way! I’m not a doctor and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, either. What I’m saying is maybe by me writing this blog, I’ve opened up another (hormonal) avenue for you to explore towards better health. Who knows! Maybe you’ll find the help you may not have known you needed.