I am 48 years old and am in the perimenopause. My periods are pretty regular except when I am under more stress than normal. I usually have headaches on the first days of my period and breast tenderness from midcycle until I get my period but the breast tenderness didn't happen every month except for recently. Emotionally I'm pretty stable except I notice I am more sensitive a few days before my period arrives. New symptoms which I never had before were brain fog for a few days during my period, insomnia, more sweating and itchiness (an itching that comes from inside, out). Half an anti-histamine tablet will keep me okay for a day or two but then the itching returns. It is not due to dry skin or a food allergy though I have some food intolerances (but I avoid those foods). I do have an allergic profile and suffered a lot from Hay Fever when I lived in the US but not in Europe, where I live now. I have no hot flashes or vaginal dryness.
I have osteoporosis/osteopeneia (it is a genetic problem) and recently I did a bone density scan and my bone density had decreased (the last I did was 4 years ago and it had been stable since the first I had done 8 years ago). So this was a negative change.
Eight months ago I gave up sugar and refined foods totally. I eat mostly organic and have a varied diet. I exercise regularly. I don't take any medication except for anti-histamines at the moment.
I began using first a natural product called Progesto-Mend (from Douglas Labs) and later natural Progesterone cream (for only one cycle so far) because from the symptoms I was having I figured I was Estrogen dominant. No headaches this month, the brain fog is almost not noticeable though I do have small memory or attention lapses, I seem to be sleeping better but the itchiness remains VERY MUCH! I read that this was due to low cortisol levels because cortisol is made from Progesterone so if your Progesterone levels are low, your cortisol levels will be low and cortisol has an anti-inflammatory affect on the body. Also Estrogen dominance promotes the release of histamine and so the symptoms of allergies. This is what I read.
I started on 20mg of natural progesterone cream twice a day (3 weeks on, 1 week off (during my menses) because I am thin and I read in one of Dr John Lee's books that in this case the body needs a greater dose for 3 or 4 months to get the progesterone levels up to satisfactory levels. As I am doing this on my own because I live in Portugal and cannot find a gynecologist who has experience with BHRT, I am wondering if I am using enough cream. I'm afraid of overdosing as I've read it can create other problems because Progesterone can build up in the fat cells of the body and these problems can be difficult to resolve. Or one can develop Candida. But the itching is definitely a symptom that cries out to be treated. Should I increase the amount of cream or will this just take time? The cream I am using is from Kokoro and is one of the creams suggested in Dr Lee's book.
Is there anything else I can do for the itching besides taking anti-histamines? I know this is not a cure.
Thank you for your comments Stella. I read the info from the journal which I found very useful. In my post I said I took Prog cream 3 weeks on, 1 off but I made a mistake. It's only from about mid cycle till I get my period and I'm only just starting. I wrote the post when I had my period and my brain still plays some tricks on me during that week!
What I found interesting about the journal were the comments made on sleep, thyroid function and insulin resistance. I feel that although I sleep, I do not sleep well and in fact have a lot of bodily tension (all day, in fact) and am a nervous person. I clench my teeth while sleeping also. All these problems started gradually after having my children in my 20's. And when I recently started having noticeable hormonal problems, I felt almost what I'd call, anxiety.
In another post I mentioned my sensitivity to the cold (which my mother also has but my sister doesn't). I've had my thyroid checked on several occasions, inside & out, but they never found any problems there. My mom has no thyroid issues either. The sensitivity started after my children were born also.
I have no weight problems (yet) but before I gave up sugar and the foods I was intolerant to, I was beginning to gain weight. Don't know if this will become a problem in the future.
The problem which is most bothersome at the moment is the itching. I only take half an anti-histamine every other day but it keeps coming back and I hate taking medication when it's only treating a symptom.
The change in bone density is also a sign that something is off.
If you have/had any of these issues, were any of them helped by balancing your hormones? Did you have this kind of itching I'm talking about - that starts from the inside, out???
What does swlf stand for? I'm going to ask at ZRT but I also have what I've been told is a good lab in the UK, which is closer - Genova Diagnostics (which is a US lab actually). Have you heard of it?
I think I have found a good gynecologist and I am waiting for a consultation. I do feel that even with testing, one can never be certain if the results are accurate and I also feel that there are so many ups and downs in our hormones (especially at this time) that it must be very difficult to assess one's problems without also having a good doctor with experience and not the kind that believes in "one size fits all" solutions.
Hi, I had itching too, for me it was a sign of low estrogen. You are right about the progesterone and cortisol, however, you may also need to obtain some bioidentical estrogen cream thru your gyn. That is how I finally found relief from the itching myself. I take the estrogen cream, every morning, and I started with a very low dose, and built up with my doctor's supervision. The progesterone does help with sleep improvement and calmness, relief of anxiety and immune function improves, allergies tolerance improves and cortisol/adrenals improve, but bio estrogen (a combo of all 3 estrogen's created by a compounding pharmacy) helps with joy, and energy, voice, and the itching and lubrication, (for me anyway) the bio testosterone cream helps with energy, gumption, and some drive. I read that estrogen dominance can interfere with thyroid function, per Dr. Lee. Also from my doctor, I learned that one can be both estrogen deficient and estrogen dominant at the same time if progesterone and estrogen are low, and due to our exposure to estrogens & phyto estrogens in environment and foods. So alot of balancing is required and diary your symptoms for your doctor, and balancing your doses of the creams based on your symptoms, always start low and work up, also know that with estrogen, the symptoms of too much and not enough, are the same. Hope this helps you.
Thank you so much for the clarification. I am 47 and have low progesterone, low estrogen, and low testosterone, so I am never sure which is the culprit when I have a strong symptom. I keep searching for the difference between low estrogen symptoms and low progesterone but the only differences I have been able to ascertain so far are low estrogen= hot flashes and night sweats. Low progesterone= extreme irritability and breast tenderness. I know there is irritability with low estrogen too, but it seems much worse when my progesterone is low. Anyway, I have a lot of itching and was not sure which cream to use (with them sort of being opposites, if you use estrogen when you need progesterone, it can be really bad). Anyway, itching=low estrogen, I'll try the estrogen cream. Thanks again.
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