The following was a question submitted via comment on a previous blog post. To read that post, clickhere.

Ask Larry:

Question: I am going through perimenopause and started compounded armour thyroid (15 mg); topical creme form of estradiol/testosterone and progesterone about 3 years ago and had problems with itching and rashes from the get go. The physicians assistant and then my doctor said it was just my hormones and adjusted the dosage a couple of times but the itching got worse and was spreading from my face/neck area and then to my chest, arms and legs. I slowly weaned myself off the hormones over the last few months and the itching went away. But I am having mild/moderate hot flashes and fuzzy thinking now (absentminded) so I thought I could use just the progesterone (1/2 teaspoon) to help. but now the itching is back… Wondering if there is an alternative…
Could allergy testing help to identify what might be in the creme that is bothering me? Or will all progesterone cause this itching issue?

Larry’s Response: It seems highly unlikely that progesterone itself would cause you to itch. It’s a natural hormone that is identical in every way to what a person makes in her own body. As I mentioned, the offending substance might be one of the additives – in the case of oral capsules it is often an issue related to the peanut oil in the capsules.

I am not a strong proponent for using estrogen supplements – before, during, or after menopause – or even after a hysterectomy. The imbalances we hear about are commonly related to a deficiency of progesterone. In addition to real human estrogen, there are a myriad of substances in our environment and diet that get into our bodies and ACT like estrogens. They are not detected during hormone testing, yet they exert a significant influence on the body.

I’m not certain what you mean by a half teaspoon of progesterone. We’ve been making preservative free progesterone creams for many years and we always suggest specific dosing in milligrams. For example;

  • Apply 20mg once daily for days 1 through 12.
  • Apply 20mg twice daily for days 13 through 26.
  • Stop.
  • Start again on day one.

If having cycles, day one is the first day of the period. If NOT having cycles, day one is the first of the month – according to a calendar.
Our preparation is dispensed in a pump device (100 ml) that delivers 20 mg of progesterone, USP with each pump. Each pumper lasts for about 72 days.

Take a careful look at the ingredients in the progesterone you’re using. It is possible that one or more of them can be causing your itching (parabens, petroleum derivatives, detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate, etc.). Also be certain your container is delivering progesterone, USP – and not something like wild yam extract. Wild yams are sometimes used to start the production of progesterone in a lab, but they cannot be converted to progesterone in the human body.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me again.