I haven't used it since January, but I did use bioidentical progesterone cream (pro-gest by emerita to be precise), for about 3 months back in Nov. - Jan. I was never tested for low progesterone, but am pretty sure I have low progesterone (my estrogen and androgen levels tested normal, and estrogenic things like flax seed oil and spearmint tea make my skin worse).
I'm curious, how did you manage to get tested for low progesterone? My doc wasn't interested in testing for it. Did you have it done through a regular MD, or an alternative medicine practitioner, or..?
Progesterone cream didn't cause any weight gain that I noticed. It seemed to improve my skin pretty dramatically at first - large, painful pimples would sort of disappear overnight! And then it seemed to make my skin worse a couple of months into using it. I'm not sure if this was because I didn't use it at the right time of the month, or if I was actually allergic to another ingredient in the cream. Toward the end my breakouts were almost like an allergic reaction: I would be fine, I would apply progesterone cream (usually to my arms or legs), and 20 minutes later would feel hot and itchy all over, especially on my face, and large cysts would form in a matter of seconds (the good news is they also went away fairly quickly when I stopped using progesterone).
My cycles were pretty irregular when I started using it (and got even more irregular after I started using it), so it was difficult to figure out how to use the cream 14 days on and 14 days off as instructed - I would start it on day 14 as instructed and end up using it for 26 days or more... so maybe I ended up overdoing the cream & this caused me to break out more. My guess is it might work fine for someone who has a regular, 28-day cycle and isn't sensitive to other ingredients in the cream.
I would be interested in hearing what your endocrinologist recommends - I still suspect I have low progesterone and am wondering if there is a more foolproof way to correct the problem!
Also wondering if you've had any good results with MSM cream? (as an acne treatment and/or scar treatment?)
I heard of an adverse reaction to progesterone cream, it's not uncommon - maybe your body didn't need it anymore after the first month? Or maybe you just applied it for too many days in a row. If your periods are not regular, you are supposed to use it for 2 weeks, then go off it for 2 weeks. It's hard to tell why you started getting a bad reaction, though. Did you also break out in the parts where you directly applied the cream? Were you rotating your areas of application? I apply it to different areas (where the skin is thin, for better absorption) to avoid dermal fatigue. I'm using kokoro balance creme, and the ingredients seem fine but I'm not sure how effective yam-derived progesterone is. At this point, though, I didn't want to go for the compounded pharmacy cream because that one is stronger and can sometimes contain progestin. I'm gonna keep trying this one for 3 months and then re-check my hormones. I must say, even if it's a placebo response, using this progesterone cream has helped with mood swings and depression.
The progesterone hormone they tested for is 17-hydroxyprogesterone - a regular MD requested it. The doctor wouldn't have even tested for that if it wasn't included in the basic hormone test of that particular hospital. When my results came back, all other hormones typically associated with acne seemed normal (depending on how reliable the blood testing is - it's debatable). So the doctor was puzzled because she couldn't prescribe spironolactone or birth control in case it screws up the other hormones. She even said she didn't think low progesterone can cause the kind of cystic acne as I have, but I researched the symptoms of low progesterone and acne is one of them along with hirsutism which I also have mildly. The only herbal treatment my skin had responded to in the past was vitex/chaste berry, which regulates excess estrogen and can boost progesterone , so I suspected I needed to go down that route instead of trying to lower testosterone (which I tried before with saw palmetto, but didn't see long term results). Why do you suspect you have low progesterone? Some of the symptoms of low progesterone are similar to high testosterone/ androgens or high estrogen, that's why it can sometimes be tricky to tell what your particular imbalance is. Even blood tests are not 100% reliable. Next time I will get the saliva testing because that seems to be more trustworthy. You may want to do a comprehensive hormone testing, including thyroid and insulin, because it could be one of those that is causing your imbalance since the usual suspects are normal.
I actually saw 2 endocrinologists, and my conclusion is that most doctors don't know how to correct acne that doesn't seem to be the result of estrogen or androgens. Unfortunately, there is no fool proof way to boost progesterone, it's one of the hardest imbalances to fix and therefore the acne caused by it is probably one of the most persistent cases of acne.
The first doctor I saw recommended looking into progesterone creams or progesterone pills, and referred me to an endocrinologist specializing in bio-identical hormone therapy. The second endocrinologist basically told me to go on a heavy course of antibiotics for months, and I immediately refused because I don't want to mess with my liver. Unfortunately, my insurance couldn't cover the visits to the bio-identical hormone specialist, so now I am using the cream on my own until I can afford to re-check my hormones in a few months. Stress plays a part in hormonal imbalances, and I am trying to find ways to reduce it including acupuncture, exercise, relaxing, etc. I also started taking a stress formula b-complex with vitamin c, but I don't think I do too well with supplements that contain B6 or B12. I started using it because it's supposed to help regulate hormonal imbalances caused by stress etc.
As for the MSM cream, I only use it topically on scars and it helps. When I apply it to large areas, though, it sometimes clogs my pores so I avoid using it on active acne and as a moisturizer. So I recommend it as a scar treatment (takes a few weeks to kick in), and I recommend calamine lotion as an acne treatment for stubborn acne.
Sorry for the long post - I had to edit it to ask if you have gluten intolerance. If so, then you may have other food intolerances as well, and that could be messing up your hormones too.
Edited by WishClean, 20 May 2013 - 12:31 AM.