Note: This is an update to Please hack my doctor appointment FAIL
I just got some interesting news. I ordered a saliva hormone panel (that my doctor refused to do) and got my results yesterday. According to the lab chart, a normal, pre-menopausal woman (I'm 33) should have progesterone levels of 127-446 pg/ml. A post-menopausal woman tends to have levels between 18-126. I'm clocking in at 20.44. Rock bottom, even for a person who is no longer menstruating. I do have a (somewhat) regular monthly cycle, but according to the lab, the test results mean that my cycles are anovulatory, meaning that I never ovulate. So interesting, given my husband's and my life choices, that in my current condition, I couldn't have a baby if I wanted to! Apparently, my ratio of progesterone levels to estradiol suggest estrogen dominance. If you look up "low progesterone symptoms" or "estrogen dominance" on the internet, it's everything that I've been complaining about. No energy, foggy thinking, NO libido, insomnia, cold hands and feet, thyroid disfunction mimicking hypothyroidism, inability to lose weight, weight gain... check, check, check... the list goes on.
Still waiting on my TSH blood test results. I think my old doc is taking his sweet time on purpose because of our less-than-jovial last appointment - the lab that drew the blood says that their results are returned to the doc 24 hours after the sample is taken - it's been over two weeks! In the meantime, I think I've found a new doctor that I want to try. The online reviews say that he's "open minded" and open to using compounding pharmacies, which I think is very encouraging.
I gotta say, I've never been so happy to learn something was wrong with me. It's nice to have proof that I'm not crazy after all, and there's something I can do about it. I should send the test results to my old doctor with a rude remark or two. Grrr.
I've read a lot about bio-idential hormone replacement and many people (and Suzanne Sommers) will tell you that bio-identical is the only way to go. Supposedly, the synthetic stuff like Provera has a long list of dangerous side effects (not really surprising to me) and may be linked with breast cancer, etc. Trouble is, it sounds like it's pretty difficult to find a doctor willing to use bio-identical hormones and insurance companies don't often cover them. Naturopaths will do it, of course, but you have to pay out of pocket for everything. Does anyone have any knowledge/opinions/recommendations about hormone replacement?
Futhermore, does anyone have any thoughts on WHY this severe hormone imbalance may have occurred in the first place? A quick internet search brings up the following possible reasons:
- High Estrogen Levels - According to the lab tests, my estrogen levels were normal. I'm considered "estrogen dominant" because of the super-low progesterone
- Chronic Stress - I just don't have a lot of stress. I get 8 hours of sleep a night, I don't have kids, my husband and I have a great relationship, I love my job, no serious hardships to speak of - life is good. :)
- Lack of Proper Exercise - Yes, I stopped exercising for a good 6 months, but my symptoms appeared before I did (in fact, the fatigue was the reason I stopped).
- Resistance to Insulin - I don't think I'm insulin resistant. I've eaten low carb for about 3 years. Isn't low carb supposed to make you insulin sensitive? I don't have issues with hypoglycemia - I can eat a sweet potato without incident.
- Lack of Proper Nutrition - I eat pretty strictly primal/paleo, but on the lowish carb side (<20g for nearly 3 years; <75g the past three months)
- Medication Interaction - Not on any medications
- Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome - As far as I know, I do not have PCOS.
Any help is sincerely appreciated. I really want to get to the bottom of this!