What are your thoughts on the use of natural progesterone creams to treat symptoms such mood swings, irritability, depression, loss of libido and headaches? I am 42 and am experiencing many of these symptoms. Can it be used by women not in menopause?
I have mixed feelings about this. In theory, as long as the products are safe, I have no quarrel with their use. It could be possible that some of these “natural” products are actually safer than the “pharmaceutical” hormones women have been taking.
The problem is that a natural drug can be just as potent as a factory-produced one, but many people think that being natural somehow makes its effects milder, gentler or safer. And they use it entirely too liberally in my opinion. I’ve heard of women in their 20’s and 30’s rubbing this stuff on like sunscreen. Until there are reliable long-term studies on these natural progesterone creams, I’d advise caution. Use them conservatively and only in close consultation with your health care provider.
As to your symptoms, it is true that 42 is a little young for menopause, (the permanent cessation of menstruation). But it is not too young for symptoms of peri-menopause, which means around the time of menopause. Symptoms may begin as early as age 40, but remember that many women do not experience any symptoms of menopause. The average age of menopause is between 51 and 52. Smokers sometimes enter menopause at a younger age.
Although your symptoms are normal, I’d still advise checking in with your gynecologist. Menopause is a natural phase of life, and symptoms (when they occur) don’t have to be treated unless they are bothersome. Before you try hormones, you might try making some lifestyle changes to see if they ease your symptoms. Such things as exercising more and eating lots of soy foods may prove to be all the treatment you need.