Wow, I never knew this stuff about progesterone cream [other than your other posts!]. I have almost all the symptoms of progesterone dominance.....insomnia, aggression [actually anger, irritability], acne, depression [goes in cycles], weight gain [and can't lose it], energy loss & thought it was ESTROGEN dominance doing it. How would I know which it is? Also have excess facial hair since menopause, which I have to shave or join the circus! UGH!
This is one of the reasons I hate progesterone creams. Too often women mistake progesterone dominance for estrogen dominance and make the condition worse by using more of the progesterone. The anger/irritability, acne and facial hair are all indicators of high androgen levels. Progesterone and testosterone are androgen hormones. The other symptoms are most likely from hypothyroidism, which is common after menopause, although there are other possibilities. Fatigue can be from nutritional deficiencies, adrenal or thyroid dysfunction, anemia, low oxygen levels, congestive heart failure, liver problems......... Depression can be caused from low serotonin, low dopamine, low acetylcholine, low norepinephrine, high prolactin, low prostaglandins, low adrenal or thyroid function, medications..............
I've used to progesterone creams for about six years since menopause because I believed I was balancing the estrogen dominance issues. Blood work done in 2008 show progesterone level was 1.3 ng/ml and the 'normal range' is 0.0-1.4 for post menopausal women.
The estrodial level was 13 pg/ml and the normal range is stated as <46 pg/ml for post menopausal women. Perhaps blood work doesn't tell me anything anyway.
Nope, there are no accurate tests, including blood or saliva, for hormones. The hormones are in a constant state of fluctuation. They can even change drastically from minute to minute. For example getting angry raises testosterone levels very quick.
A thyroid panel showed rT3 at 22.3 ng/dl, which they said was HIGH. No clue what it means, if anything.
You are lucky that they even checked for rT3. I don't think most doctors have a clue what it is either. Even though rT3 levels are extremely important since high levels cause hypothyroidism even with normal T4 and T3. In short T3 is your most biologically active hormone. The hormone rT3 (reverse triiodothyronine) is similar in structure to T3, but rT3 is biologically inactive. When elevated rT3 locks up T3 receptors preventing T3 from latching on, thereby blocking T3's actions. In other words it causes hypothyroidism when high, even if the active thyroid hormones are within normal range.
Thyroid stimulating hormone. This is a pituitary hormone released in response to the hypothalamic hormone thyroid releasing hormone (TRH). TSH stimulates the production of thyroid hormones. It elevates in response to hypothyroidism in an attempt to stimulate the production of more thyroid hormones.
Tetrathyroiodine, commonly known as thyroxin. The less active thyroid hormone for metabolism.
Triiodothyronine, the most active thyroid hormone for metabolism. Produced from T4.
Reverse triiodothyronine/triiodothyronine ratio.
were all normal, whatever THEY are! Or just normal at the time the blood was drawn.
Normal at the time they were drawn. These tests are VERY inaccurate, and they rarely pick up cases of hypothyroidism. Two very long explanations for the reasons, and I am not going to type it all out right now. Even the stress of getting stuck with a needle to get the required blood raises thyroid hormone levels temporarily, which can lead to false normals.
Does it have to be estrogen dominance or progesterone dominance or can it be something else entirely?
A few of your symptoms definitely indicate high androgen levels. The other symptoms could be from estrogen dominance causing hypothyroidism. Although those symptoms can have other causes, the fact that you have so many fitting hypothyroidism I would say that you are likely hypothyroid. Again the high rT3 can be the cause or a false normal on your T4, T3. This can also be secondary to poor adrenal function, which can contribute to the elevated rT3 and hypothyroidism. You can do basal body temperature to determine if you really have hypothyroidism. This low tech method is a lot more accurate than lab tests in detecting hypothyroidism. You can find instructions on the web. As for adrenal function do you have symptoms of low adrenal function? Fatigue, depression, orthostatic hypotension (dizziness upon sudden standing), chronic hypoglycemia (blood sugar drops when you don't eat as opposed to after eating), hormone imbalances, chronic inflammatory problems, fly off the handle easily, and water retention to name a few.
How does the excess fat on me affect this?
The more fat you generate the more estrogen you produce. Estrogen is produced by ovaries, the adrenals and fat cells. To much fat can also contribute to insulin resistance leading to higher insulin production, which leads to more fat production as well.
Or is it the hormonal imbalance what is causing the fat to stay put?
More than likely it is your thyroid and hormones. Again basal body temperature will tell you if the thyroid is low. So this would be a good start.
What do you think about live blood analysis?
I don't care for it much. I have seen too many people use it as a misleading test t sell people on things they did not need. In the proper hands with someone that really knows what they are looking at and what the implications are it can be a useful tool though. I guess it is like a surgeon. There are those that know what they are doing and those that should be kept away from any sharp objects.
Thanks for all your help, H!