If you have read my earlier posts I am sure you by now know that the first hormone that decreases in perimenopause is progesterone, and not oestrogen. Maybe some of you wonder why we can’t start with a progesterone therapy before you hit the HRT train. Maybe some of you aren’t interested in hormones at all. I just want to say that I am an unbiased medical writer and I have read thousands of science papers, and I can honestly admit that I am pro-HRT. So, if you are interested in what to take or not, please continue reading. If not, I hope some of my other post might interest you.
Progesterone is one of our most important sex hormones. The oestrogen makes us a bit more ”up” in the sense that we get our energy back while the progesterone makes us calm. Both of these need to be in balance.
As all sex hormones, progesterone affects our wellbeing. It affects our serotonin and cortisole and too little progesterone makes your body stressed in a way.
One could say that progesterone is the hormone that we really need to cope with stress. So what happens when it decreases? Well the short answer is that your body gets stressed. So, how come progesterone-only is not a treatment nowadays? Some doctors in Australia prescribes progesterone-only but it is still very uncommon. And the reason is because there are no randomized studies that show that it works in the way we want it to.
But then we have something called progesterone cream that you can buy over the counter in many countries and on the internet. Let just make one thing clear. Creams on the internet are not FDA-regulated. In May 2019 the Swedish FDA said that progesterone creams can not be marketed at all in Sweden as it should be regarded as a medical product but lacks science behind it. So in Sweden it is totally prohibited. And yet a lot of ladies use it. I did too during a period in my life where I was totally freaked out. And it had a calming effect on me – it felt as I was on a drug. I didn’t like that feeling. Was I taking to much? What did it do to my body? And this is the problem – the dosage. We are all unique and the same dose for me is not the same dose for you. Which makes the progesterone cream – hype a bit scary. My Gyn/Ob said that the creme was an American PR-thing. And yet we even here in Sweden have practitioners that recommend women to use it. I can not say what is wrong or what is right. The only thing I can say is that there are NO randomized studies showing that progesterone-only therapy has a good effect on your body. And, as I am pro-science, I stick with that opinion.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is that the cream is not sufficient as a progesteron in a HRT- treatment. The role of the progesteron is to protect the uterus lining from not thickening while you take oestrogen and the cream is not sufficient for that aim. Which means that if you ever want to try it. Do it before you take estrogen, in the beginning of your perimenopause. If you started with an HRT-treatment there are other progesterone forms that are more relevant. The progesterone cream is not an option. So I want to leave you with this question. Would you buy other hormones on the internet? Other medicines? Or should you listen to your Gyn/Ob and go the prescribed way? I think you by now know where I stand.
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.