Natural Progesterone Cream and Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid.
Natural Progesterone Cream and Hypothyroidism.
Low progesterone is often misdiagnosed as thyroid deficiency.
Nevertheless, Dr. Peat acknowledges that thyroid hormone is basic to all biological functions and that sometimes both thyroid and progesterone supplements are needed, as "each has a promoting action on the other."
"Without adequate thyroid," says Dr. Peat, "we become sluggish, clumsy, cold, anemic, and subject to infections, heart disease, headaches, cancer, and many other diseases and seem to be prematurely aged.... Foods aren't assimilated well, so even on a seemingly adequate diet there is 'internal malnutrition.' Irregular periods, often leading to needless hysterectomies, are common aspects of hypothyroidism; and breast disease, he says, is another classic manifestation. In explaining this, Mark Perloe, M.D., says, "Too little thyroid production may cause... increased prolactin levels and persistent estrogen stimulation."
In a conversation, Dr. Peat told us that estrogen (which we can try to balance with supplemental progesterone) inhibits the release of thyroid hormone from the gland, whereas an adequate amount of thyroid hormone, on the other hand, raises natural progesterone production and lowers estrogen. That makes it easy to see how thyroid hormone and progesterone can complement each other. He even made the interesting observation that since estrogen and cortisone weaken the blood vessels, progesterone (along with thyroid supplements) is a good way to help prevent easy bruising.
"Thousands of women in the western world are now using natural progesterone, generally in the form of a non-prescription product that is applied to the skin. They are experiencing increased vitality, better skin tone, a renewed emotional balance, along with many other benefits.
Unfortunately, natural progesterone has been almost totally overlooked by medical science while the erroneous focus has been placed heavily on estrogen. It is important in this modern day for us to have a clearer understanding of progesterone-the important natural hormone that it is. "
The above information was taken from Raquel Martin's book,
The Estrogen Alternative.
From: "What your doctor may not tell you about Premenopause" by John R Lee M.D., Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginnia Hopkins.
A woman named Hannah wrote Dr. Lee about her experience with low thyroid and hormone imbalance:
Five years ago (I was 31 during my pregnancy, I began dealing with what I will call "hormone issues." After my son was born I figured things would level out again, but when he was seven months old the symptoms were not only still there, they were getting worse! One sobering realization really gnawed at me - no matter how much will power and determination I had, I could not lose weight. I just continued to gain. This was in spite of doing all the commonsense things we were told to do - exercise, cut calories, and fat grams. Not until I gained an additional 20 pounds in one weekend and my necked swelled to the point of causing my gold chain to almost cut off my circulation did I admit to myself, "Something is really wrong here. I need help." And by the way, I'm embarressed to admit that before this I thought PMS and other horrible hormonal complaints were an excuse to lose self-control.
Here is a list of symptoms I was ignoring: extreme fatigue, mood swings, water retention, breast swelling and tenderness, severe headaches, foggy thinking and an inability to concentrate, joint pain, dry and cracking skin, vaginal dryness and odor, heavy dark menstrual flow and clotting, bleeding gums, poor night vision, an irritability (well, wouldn't you be irritable with all these symptoms-ha!)
I was afraid my ob-gyn would tell me that I was losing it, but instead he told me that my thyroid was virtually inactive and gave me some Synthroid along with some vitamins and some nutritional advice. This took care of a lot of the symptoms and I functioned well for a couple of years except for sinus infections. Then things got really strange. All my old symptoms returned and worse. I could no longer balance the checkbook, I was driving badly, my husband had to help me complete my sentences, and I couldn't even remember simple things like my own telephone number. I had insomnia, hot flashes, severe headaches and mood swings and such extreme fatigue that I couldn't take care of my family or even my own personal hygiene. I went to my doctor and he determined that my thyroid was fine, diagnosed me with having manic depression, and prescribed me an antidepressant.
That's when I found your book, What your doctor may not tell you about Menopause, and, after reading it and recognizing myself, asked my doctor to check my hormone levels. He did and my progesterone was low. Since the night I began the cream, under his supervision, I've not had a single hot flash, I'm sleeping well again, and actually feel rested when I wake up. I'm off the antidepressant, I've lost two dress sizes and I no longer need a nap in the after noon. I'm also taking supplements to help me clear the toxins from my body, calcium and magnesium, a multivitamin, the herb dong quai and a supplement for my allergies. I finally have a life again, and this situation has caused me and my husband to take more responsibility for our health.
During the first few years that Dr. Lee recommended progesterone cream for his menopausal patients, he noticed that those who were also taking thyroid medication often needed a reduced dose of it after a few months on the cream. Quite a number of these patients eventually were able to discontinue thyroid supplementation completely. When he went back and reviewed their cases he found that many of them had been started on thyroid supplements for symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, low basal body temperature, and other signs and symptoms associated with low thyroid (hypothyroidism) in spite of normal thyroid tests.
After nearly 20 years of observing this phenomenon, Dr. Lee has come to believe that estrogen dominance interferes with or inhibits thyroid hormone activity, and progesterone facilitates thyroid hormone activity. Estrogen and thyroid do have some opposing actions. Estrogen instructs the body to store calorie intake as fat tissue, whereas thyroid increases the body's ability to metabolize fat for energy. Progesterone, on the other hand, has an anabolic action similar to that of thyroid: They both promote energy production and raise body temperature. Progesterone deficiency would lead to lower basal temperature, simulating symptoms of hypothyroidism. The most common symptoms of low thyroid (hypothyroidism) can include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Low basal body temperature (measured under the armpit first thing in the morning)
- Dry or course skin and hair
- Cold hands and feet
- Slurred or slow speech
- Poor memory
- Weight gain
There is no doubt that many premenopausal women are truly suffering from Hypothyroidism.
However, women who have symptoms of hypothyroidism but come out "normal" on a thyroid test may be progesterone deficient and can often be adequately treated by restoring normal progesterone levels using transdermal progesterone creams. This thyroid-balancing effect does not occur with the synthetic progestins such as Provera or the oral progesterone pills.
Dr Hanley saw so many women in her practice with low thyroid function that she began digging deeper to find the causes, and she discovered that even small amounts of radiation can permanently destroy the thyroid gland. She found government statistics showing that in the 1950's the amount of radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing was enough to cause thyroid problems in an average person.
Growing children were even more susceptible. Also the ranges of normal used to determine thyroid function was calculated in the 1940's on twenty-two-year-old medical students, so she believes that they don't apply to premenopausal women. The consequence, Dr Hanley believes, is an undiagnosed epidemic of low-level hypothyroidism."