Repeat after me: I will not take medical advice from celebrities whose claim to fame is a Playboy spread. I’m not saying Jenny McCarthy isn’t funny, talented and gorgeous but the only medical tips I’m taking from her here on out are those regarding my bikini line. (Side note: as a child, I always thought “bikini line” meant hair on your belly, along the waistband of the bikini. It horrified me that puberty was apparently going to give me a furry tummy. When it didn’t I felt all superior to those poor women who had to wax their bellybutton every week just to wear short shorts. It took years and a very blunt woman with a graphic postcard in Spain before I learned the truth.)
Progesterone Cream Mega-Fail: The things I’ll try to cure my PMS [Help me?]
Now that’s a problematic bikini line!
One of the main takeaways I got from reading Jenny McCarthy’s book Love, Lust & Faking It (aff) – besides the fact that she and Chelsea Handler talk on the phone every night; don’t you wish you were a fly on that wall?! – was her total love for natural progesterone cream. She admits early and often that she’s a little wacky when it comes to health, believing in auras, crystals, and other “out there” sundries but over the years I’ve become a lot more open to alternative remedies and so I figured it was worth a shot.
My main complaint since I first hit puberty (at 16, give it up for the late bloomers!) has been wicked PMS. I spend two weeks of the month alienating everyone I love and eating everything in site and the next two weeks apologizing and eschewing sugar. I’ve tried everything short of a hysterectomy, so what’s a little cream? For the record: I did talk to my OBGYN first. I know, me consulting a medical professional before going off half-cocked; that’s got to be some kind of GFE record. And she told me to go ahead and do it. I didn’t hear any maniacal laughter but perhaps she waited until she hung up the phone.
Back on my PMS post, I got a lot of great suggestions from you guys. Everything from special diets (taking out sugar, carbs and caffeine were popular options) to supplements (calcium, magnesium, black cohosh and vitamin D all made appearances) to taking my doctor’s original advice which was a scrip for Yaz, a hormonal birth control pill. I wrote in my post that I was tired of messing around with my hormones and wanted to try something more natural. So which option did I choose to try first? Hormone cream of course!
Several of you recommended I read What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause: Balance Your Hormones and Your Life From Thirty to Fifty (aff) by Dr. Lee so I snapped that up from Amazon along with a bottle of the progesterone cream he recommends. Let me interrupt this GFE Fail to tell you that I loved this book. It has a ton of great info in it and is very well researched. The main premise is that lots of women have low progesterone levels. It’s just that I think I can safely say now that I am not one of those women.
I started the cream on day 12 of my cycle using the lowest dosage recommended. Within three days I was starving, bloated, my boobs hurt, I was wicked constipated, heartburn was waking me up at night and I was having awful menstrual cramps. In the smack dab middle of my cycle. It only took me a couple of days of feeling like this to realize that this is exactly why I hate being pregnant.
Yes, progesterone cream made me feel all the worst parts of a pregnancy without any of the fun stuff like freaking strangers out with my alien morphing stomach. I thought I was going crazy – or heaven help me, really was pregnant (I’M NOT) – until I read this great article about “The Impact of the Hormone Cycle on Energy Determinants.” It’s a bit dense but it is definitely worth reading. (Your cravings and crazy hunger right before your period are not all in your head after all!)
You know how some supplements you take but you never really know if they’re doing anything?Progesterone cream is not one of those. Boy howdy can you feel it. It definitely wasn’t a placebo! I stopped taking it after four days, yet four days was all it took to wreak total havoc on my cycle. I’m not the most regular girl to begin with but starting my period on day 22 is crazy even for me.
The one small upside is that my period’s been super light. Although maybe this isn’t really a period and I’m just spotting? If I get a monster period on day 31, screw it, I’m buying a tent. Do you think Columbia makes one in red? I’m hoping that it will have worked its way out of my system by my next cycle and I can go back to being my usual raging weepy chocoholic self because that actually seems like a pretty good deal at the moment.
While progesterone cream has worked miracles for Jenny McCarthy and quite a few of you guys, it made me feel awful. So what’s next in the PMS battle? So far the only thing that’s made any noticeable difference for me are magnesium supplements (I take 400mg and they act like a muscle relaxant). Although my sister gave me some very sensible advice when she said, “Maybe your PMS is so bad because your body is telling you you need a break. You never stop! Perhaps if you just listened to yourself and took it easy for a week every month your uterus wouldn’t have to slap you silly.” Rest? I’m considering it.
Have any of you tried progesterone cream? Any PMS remedies that have really helped you? Anyone else confused about what a “bikini line” was??
Written with love by Charlotte Hilton Andersen for The Great Fitness Experiment (c) 2011. If you enjoyed this, please check out my new book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everythingfor more of my crazy antics and uncomfortable over-shares!