Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Progesterone Information

After reading Mel's comment on my last post, I decided to look into progesterone creams.  I posted an answer to a question someone else asked on a message board regarding the use of progesterone creams after ovulation.  The response came from an ob/gyn doctor in New Orleans.  It's a bit disheartening to say the least.  I figured I have bad eggs but his answer to her question really hits home.  And according to him, I can't do anything about it by myself.  Nice.  Thanks for the pick me up, doc.  Below that paragraph I posted another partial bit of information I found while doing some research.  Let me tell you, this information really hits home, too.  I have thyroid dysfunction.  I also feel like I have PMS during my cycle when I shouldn't.  My leutal phase seems to be ok, actually a bit long at times, but maybe that is a defect as well?  Either way, a lot of this makes sense to me.  I might not be ovulating a good egg (pretty likely) and that is causing the low progesterone which causes a hardly noticeable temp spike, thyroid issues, moodiness like PMS and trouble conceiving.  Hmmm...sound like anyone you know?

Progesterone itself is classified as a thermogenic hormone. That is, it tends to raise your basal metabolic temperature by about one-half to one degree when it's secreted from an ovary that has successfully ovulated. It is secreted to adequate levels when there's been a decent ovulation. So treating low progesterone after a faulty ovulation is only wishful thinking. This won't help a bad egg. In the rare cases in which there's been an adequate ovulation but low progesterone, then progesterone will be useful to stabilize the implantation bed of the uterus for the fertilized egg. Repeated miscarriages may support this concern, but only a doctor trained for this can distinguish between the two.

Progesterone is the one hormone in the body of both male and female that regulates the entire endocrine system. That means that progesterone helps to keep all the other hormones in check, in balance. When there is a deficiency in progesterone the entire body can seem out of whack. Symptoms include all PMS and menopausal symptoms, thyroid dysfunction, low libido, infertility and pregnancy problems. Right now I’m going to focus on the role that progesterone plays in fertility.

Now, maybe I'm over reacting.  Maybe I can help myself with the cream.  I'm willing to give it a try and I'm thankful for the idea.  I'd like to talk to a doctor about it first, though.  Heck, I'd just like to find out if it's really the case.  I wonder if I'd be able to convince my ob/gyn to do a fertility work up on me.  I'm so done with doctors, though.  The very thought of having to go in and talk about my infertility issues makes me want to wretch.  But I'd like to know if I have low progesterone levels.  At least I would have some sort of answer to the question that has been nagging at me for a while now.  Thanks Mel for opening my mind to this possibility.  I do appreciate it.


April said...

Playing catch up again but this post jumped out at me. Email me! I have TONS of left over progest. at home. I will have to check dates to make sure it isnt expired but if you want it then it is all yours. (all are sealed individually).
-April (april . lorvick at gmail . com

someday-soon said...

It's an interesting question for sure. I had LP issues and considered the progesterone cream but never followed through. Maybe you could ask your OB if s/he would just do a blood test at 7DPO to check your progesterone level. Then if your level is low you know it's an issue of a bad egg (which can be helped with something like clomid) or if it's just a progesterone issue which is probably better helped with the suppositories rather than the cream. The cream will go through your whole body where as the suppositories will act locally in the uterus. At least that's what my RE told me. This website, http://www.fertilityplus.org/faq/hormonelevels.html, was super helpful to me with hormone level guidelines. GL!

Pie said...

Have you done a full fertility work-up before? Before you did the IVF cycle? Did they do a Clomid Challenge Test on you? That would answer some of the LP questions. And some initial Day 3 bloodwork should also give you some answers about egg quality and other hormone functioning. At your age, bad eggs most likely don't explain your problems, at least not fully. I know talking to docs about this is hard, but keep in mind they might be able to actually to help you, if you push. Or at least give you some answers. But you have to start that conversation, and keep it going.

Alex said...

I agree with Pie - even though you don't want to do more treatments, I think it would be good to talk to the doc again. See if there's more diagnostic testing to be done.


callmemama said...

You can do saliva hormone testing all on your own! I did mine through Diagnos-Techs (http://www.diagnostechs.com/tests.html), and it gave me an exact reading of all the hormones throughout my cycle. If you wanted, then you could even show it to your ob-gyn for their opinion, but most docs aren't going to recommend natural progesterone cream because they don't understand the benefits of nat'l hormones over artificial - they tend to look at anything that doesn't have a drug company label with suspicion. I had such a great reaction to the progesterone - it was easily absorbed, and ended up taking it too long and ended up with too much progesterone. My doc helped me wean off, but now she's thinking of possibly putting me back on a smaller amount. If you do take it, you'll want to do it post-ovulation, not stopping until you actually start to bleed. Unlike progestins, it won't keep your period from starting. There is a good article on progesterone how-to's (at the bottom of the page) here: http://natural-fertility-info.com/progesterone-fertility-guide

Coco said...

I have PCO and auto-immune thyroid (Hashimotos)... so low progesterone, infertility, and miscarriage are my constant reality. Yes, a "bad egg" won't be helped by the progesterone... but who knows if you "always" have bad eggs. Every little bit helps. And there are foods you can eat to naturally up your progesterone... and to lower your thyroid response. Especially if you're auto-immune thyroid like I am... (make sure the doc is checking your thyroid anti-body levels!!!!) there are things you can do to lower your antibody levels, and thereby decrease your chance for miscarriage. Things like eating fish... more iodine and selenium in your diet... adding more cinnamon and ginger to your foods.... alkalizing your diet...etc. There are always things that can help. Don't give up...especially if you get a stupid doctor that says to give up. Do you know what they call the guy who graduates LAST in his school of medicine?.... "Doctor." :)