Any experience with progesterone cream?
April 30, 2016 1:27 AM   Subscribe

Suffering from long-time depression and now more frequently, anxiety. I am a 48 year old female possibly going through perimenopause. OB recommended Zoloft in addition to a topical versabase progesterone cream. Some concerns because the majority of what I'm reading online (yeah, I know : / is really kind of frightening!

Some quick background:

-- 48 year old, in hetero, good relationship for 8 years. Job-wise things are ok, am starting to look around.
-- Have been treated for depression a few times since '95 (have taken Prozac twice which sort of worked, Lexapro which really didn't), in and out of therapy throughout the years.
-- Having intense emotional episodes/meltdowns a lot more frequently. Most is directed towards myself (very self-critical, self-loathing, overly apologetic, everything's my fault, etc. etc.). More social anxiety has come into the picture, regarding work and other relationships.
-- In therapy again the past few weeks; got in to finally see the doc today to see about getting meds.

I was expecting the SSRI recommendation and not at all concerned about that, but was surprised about the mention of a versabase progesterone cream (not an OTC, but one where a pharmacist actually creates). I know nothing about it. I asked questions, and of course, since she recommended it, the doc talked about it as if it was practically a magic calming potion. I was instructed to simply rub a little on my wrist twice a day. I also had blood drawn to have my hormones checked.

Naturally, when I got home, I got online to read more about the cream. I am seeing an overwhelming amount of negative comments and experiences associated with using it. Some of it comes around to "well, you just have to know how to use it correctly!" and I'm thinking "do that many women NOT know how to use a cream correctly?"

So, I guess I'm simply seeking some insight and perspective about the stuff from some Mefi ladies. Any information would be helpful! Thanks very much :)
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have no personal experience (yet), but I have read online on German forums about women using it and most of them seemed to really like it. Most of them seem to rub it onto their stomachs, though, and seem to recommend it not for depression/anxiety, but hormonal imbalances, which of course can cause depression/anxiety, but most of these women use it for estrogen dominance.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 1:46 AM on April 30, 2016

I have estrogen dominance so I used the cream to see if that would stop the flooding periods I was having.
First, it comes in a jar (the kind I bought) and I had no idea how much to use. It would have been much better if it came in some kind of pre-measured tube. (maybe yours does?) I put some on my wrists and I didn't know if it would work so I worried and started putting a bigger glob on. The payoff was a month away so it was really hard to tell if this was going to work.
I did this for about three cycles and I guess it helped but I have no idea if my cycles were going to change anyway because of so many factors.
I can't say if it changed my mood at all. Just really hard to tell. My stress factors day to day are so variable.
So, overall, a bad experience for me and I stopped using it.
I did use it on only certain days, as prescribed, (sorry I can't remember the schedule because it was several years ago). The theory being that you want the progesterone to build up to a certain point and then stop it to simulate nature. So if that is how it is supposed to be used this idea that if you feel anxiety you rub a little cream on your wrist - that seems so wrong to me.
But I have lived through many renditions of doctors telling women how to balance their hormones and ending up wrong and so I am very skeptical about the state of research of women's hormones.
For anxiety, which is considerable, I have been using a combination of fish oil, vitamin d, lemon balm infusion, and calcium/mag supplements - I take a Citracal each day and a formula that is "natural" and made from algae and herbs. This works for my anxiety.
posted by cda at 5:04 AM on April 30, 2016

I just started Progesterone cream about a month ago and I have a very similar situation (GAD and social anxiety, mild depression; I have estrogen dominance since my hysterectomy last year). I can attest to the good effects you're describing. It has helped my skin calm down and the remnants of my hot flashes disappear. My anxiety is also so much better, but who can say if that is from the progesterone/proper hormone balancing, or the SSRI, or regular exercise, etc. My script is also made at a compounding pharmacy and comes in a pump-style dispenser that automatically gives you your exact prescribed dose. I too was nervous about getting the right amount, but with this type of dispenser there is no worrying about that. I also apply the cream to my wrists/inner arms. Best of luck, I hope it works well for you.
posted by sealee at 8:23 AM on April 30, 2016

I quit all HRT when I could feel changes in my breasts. I just went through this time of change. Regardless of all the naysayers, I found that three servings of organic tofu, spaced through the week, and a switch to organic soy milk made a huge difference in how I feel.
posted by Oyéah at 9:24 AM on April 30, 2016

I don't think there is a lot of scientific evidence to support the progesterone cream as HRT, but then again there seems to be a bit of research done on it that suggests benefit, and I don't see much downside to trying it out.

I'd probably take one of two approaches:
1. Try it out for two months, if I decided I hated it at any point I'd stop, or if I decided it wasn't helping or I just didn't like it I'd stop after two months.
2. Start Zoloft only for 2 months and then consider starting the progesterone cream, if I still felt I needed it. The pros of this plan include:
- if there are side effects, I'd know they were due to Zoloft and not the HRT.
- Once the Zoloft kicks in, I'd probably be a lot less anxious about the idea of HRT

The thing about progesterone cream is that it's not a treatment for a disease, it's a treatment for symptoms, so whether you decide to use the treatment should depend on how much the symptoms are bothering you, as well. If they're really bothering you, it makes more sense to try out the treatment, but if you find the treatment is worse than what you're treating, just stop using it.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:34 PM on April 30, 2016

Note: I assumed you were having other symptoms of perimenopause as well, but I realize it may be that you are only treating the anxiety. It's a little different when you're dealing with mental health, because sometimes the anxiety or depression can cloud your impression of whether you should adhere to a treatment in an unhelpful way. Might make me more inclined to take approach 1 instead of 2 as detailed above.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:00 PM on April 30, 2016

I was going to PM you but see you're anonymous. Check out this FB page - I've followed this woman for many years and have done consults with her.

"I've been in the Natural Products Industry for 20 years and I'm super picky about ingredients and products. Feminine Balance Therapy Bio-Identical Progesterone Cream is the only progesterone I've promoted since introducing Holistic Menopause in 2004. Chemical, fragrance, gluten and GMO free, I think it's simply the best on the market.

Not all progesterone creams are good. Some are full of chemicals; some of them even endocrine disrupting chemicals. That defeats the purpose! Progesterone naturally balances all of the hormones in the body, supports healthy adrenal and thyroid function and has many other great health benefits.
Give it a try! You never know how much better you might feel."

Anyway, might be some help to you.
posted by Mysticalchick at 7:40 PM on April 30, 2016

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