This post was originally written in 2010 before I was menopausal, and still very much struggling with heavy, blood clot laden periods. It has been updated to reflect the current opinions and views of The Perimenopause Blog in 2016. Please be sure to read my current comments at the bottom of this post.
I recently turned 53. By the time many women reach my age and in some cases, even before, they are already menopausal.¹ But, unfortunately, that is not the case for me. This tiny little fact has the power to put me in one very foul mood about every 28 to 36 days. Because, that is when I get to experience extremely heavy, painful, cramping, flooding periods.
Uh huh. And the best part? Softball size blood clots. Oh yeah, bay–bee! We’re talking some serious fun!
I realize this may not be the most palatable conversation, dear readers and for that, I do apologize. But, unfortunately, the is very ugly reality of perimenopause and estrogen dominance for many women. So, let’s just say Magnolia is keeping it real. Very real.
Estrogen Dominance is Not Your Friend
For those of you who may be new to my blog and do not know, it was Dr. John R. Lee who first pioneered the research on estrogen dominance beginning in the 1970’s. Some of the symptoms of estrogen dominance are the heavy cramping, clotting, and flooding periods that I currently experience, but it also includes:
- Breast Tenderness
- Adrenal fatigue
- Loss of libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain – particularly around the midsection
- Foggy thinking (short term memory loss)
- Irritability and mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Hair loss
Dr. Lee concluded from his research that since estrogen dominance was the result of lower progesterone levels relative to estrogen levels during perimenopause, that the most logical and sensible approach to manage and eradicate the symptoms of estrogen dominance would be to introduce progesterone.
Unfortunately, the medical community has not been quite so sensible or logical regarding this matter, and for decades determined that what women needed during perimenopause was more estrogen. Particularly in the form of a synthetic product called Premarin.²
Good gawd-ah-mighty that just sets my hair on fire typing it out.
One would think that since it has been established for at least 30 years, not only by Dr. Lee’s research, but by those who have continued the work, that the primary cause of most perimenopausal symptoms is estrogen dominance, that the last thing women need is more estrogen in their bodies. Yet that is exactly what so many physicians would have us to do.
Experience is the Best Teacher
During my more symptomatic perimenopause days I tried antidepressants, some dietary changes (I didn’t take this as seriously as I do now) prescription sleep aids, hundreds of dollars of supplements every month, and some OTC progesterone products. Some of those products were okay. Most of them didn’t really help at all.
What I did not do was use bioidentical hormones. At the time, I was already stressed beyond belief. The thought of more months of tweaking this and tweaking that in order to find the right balance for my body did not appeal to me.
At this point, however, most of my symptoms are gone. With the exception of those nasty, flooding periods, of course. I’ve been of the mind that eventually all of this hormonal upheaval would stop and I would feel fine again. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that my thinking on the matter may not be entirely accurate.
One of the concerns I’ve had about using bioidentical hormones this late in the stage, was that I would only prolong actual menopause. But, I’ve since learned that it is possible to use enough of the bioidentical hormones, namely, progesterone, to achieve hormonal balance to the end that I feel better without promoting monthly cycles again. Can I hear an amen?
Bearing all of this in mind and also taking into consideration that my current monthly issue is the result of estrogen dominance, I began my search for a good bioidentical progesterone cream.
Oasis Serene Natural Progesterone
There are many good natural progesterone creams on the market. However, I ran across Oasis Serene which is put out by Oasis Advanced Wellness Center in Houston, Texas. The thing that struck me about their brand was the ingredients list and the amount of progesterone per ounce in each jar.
In one jar you get 750 mg/ounce of USP progesterone and in Oasis Serene Plus, you get 1500 mg/ounce of USP progesterone. The site also says that the Oasis Serene Plus is suggested for severe symptoms of hormonal imbalance and is recommended that you use it for three months and then switch to the regular formula.
I bought the plus formula and have been using it for about two weeks now. I will tell you that I already feel better. The real test will be when that blood clotting visitor makes its appearance in about two weeks. If I see a difference then? I will be heralding their praises from the mountain tops.
I also purchased one of Dr. Erika Schwartz’s books recently, The 30-Day Natural Hormone Plan: Look and Feel Young Again–Without Synthetic HRT. I’m also toying with the idea of doing her program to see how I feel as well.
If I decide to try it, I’ll post about it and let you all know. In the meantime though, I thought you might be interested checking out Oasis Serene progesterone cream for yourself to see what you think about it.
That Was Then, This is Now
Since this post was originally written I’ve become fully menopausal. I’m now approximately 5 years post-menopause. I’ve also had an “evolution of thought” as it were as it pertains to the use of estrogen therapy in menopause and post-menopause years.
Please note that I’m not referring to peri-menopause years. Because perimenopause is a very different experience than menopause and post-menopause years. The role of estrogen in the menopause and post-menopause years is also decidedly different.
During perimenopause estrogen and progesterone levels are fluctuating sometimes wildly. The fluctuation of these two hormones is the cause of all the whacky symptoms of perimenopause. Once we reach actual menopause, however, it’s an entirely different ball game biologically, and my opinion on the use of estrogen during this time has also changed. You can find many current posts I’ve written on the use of estrogen during menopause and post-menopause years here.
Also since this post was written, I’ve discovered a new progesterone cream that I highly recommend over Oasis Serene. I still contend that Oasis Serene is an excellent bioidentical progesterone, and if you wish to try it, you will not be disappointed.
But, if you want another recommendation for a natural and high quality OTC progesterone cream, I can’t say enough about Ona’s Natural Progesterone. I’ve done two posts on Ona’s cream which you can find here and here. In those post you will find a document which you can download, where Ona compares her cream ingredient list and the amount of progesterone in her cream to other high quality brands.
Her ingredient list and the amount of progesterone per ounce cannot be compared. She simply out-does them all. I currently use 200 mgs of bioidentical progesterone, Prometrium, which is prescribed by my physician. On top of the 200 mgs of Prometrium, I also use 125 to 200 mgs of Ona’s cream as well. I do this primarily because it helps me sleep.
I also use the Vivelle Dot Patch, 1 mg, for bioidentical estrogen. I am very judicious with my use of the patch, however, and do not change it out as often as it recommended. I do this because I do not want to overload my body with estrogen. For obvious reasons.
This works for me. Of course, I realize that none of this may be an option for many of you. I do recommend that any use of hormone therapy be under the direction of your physician. Yes, I do know that some physicians are about as helpful as a bad case of the flu sometimes, but it’s still the best place to start if you are considering hormone therapy.
If you wish to try an OTC progesterone cream, please do try Ona’s. You won’t find a cream that is better in my opinion. And don’t forget to take the 10% discount which is available to all Perimenopause Blog readers. You can input code: Perimeno10 at check out.
¹ Menopause is said to have occurred when a woman does not have a menstrual cycle for twelve consecutive months.
² If you would like to read how the drug companies go about producing Premarin, you can find some information here at Wikipedia. Based on the animal abuse alone involved in the production of Premarin, we should boycott this death-inducing product.