In the course of treating migraine headaches, PMS, depression, post-partum depression, uterine fibroids, menopausal symptoms and many other health problems, we use bio-identical or natural hormones as a major part of the program. Of course, each problem is treated slightly differently with differing natural hormones, schedules, dosages and supplementary items.
Nevertheless, there is a common theme to treating women’s health problems and that theme is hormones - or more precisely, natural hormones. For a variety of reasons, we prefer oral medications over creams as outlined in the websites migraine-headaches-information.com and www.DitchThePill.org .
One prescription medication keeps coming up in various emails and letters from women who have heard about Prometrium. Prometrium is a prescription-only medication that is 100mg of unaltered progesterone. Many women have complained about an endless list of side effects from Prometrium. Here is why:
The problems with Prometrium are as follows:
- Dosage - 100mg is a big dose for one pill
- Schedule - Once daily dosages leads to peaks and valleys of blood levels
- Bundled with bad pills- Mainstream doctors typical bundle it with other inappropriate prescriptions
Taking a large dose of Prometrium one time a day is like getting shot with a cannon when all that is needed is a popgun. The big doses jolt your body with large amounts of progesterone that circulate in the bloodstream for several hours and then it goes down to zero again. The peaks and valleys of this dosage schedule is too hard for your body to handle.
Also, Prometrium is almost always prescribed by doctors who don’t have any experience with natural hormones. It is frequently prescribed because of blood tests showing hormone levels to be “low”. Typically, when labs are involved, multiple low levels are noted and multiple prescriptions are made.
This shotgun effect of prescribing Prometrium with some other prescription hormone (like Premarin or Climara) adds another variable of a second chemical that is bombarding your body. We generally frown upon supplementing with any estrogen unless there are overt menopausal symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats.
At the Women’s Health Institute of Texas, we prefer smaller dosages administered more frequently (twice daily is much better) to smooth out the blood levels of whatever natural hormone we are supplementing.
We also prefer the simplicity theory to advocate just one hormone at at time and change nothing else. If we do adjust multiple hormones, then we strictly use bio-identical hormones and stay away from synthetic, chemicall altered prescription hormones like Premarin.
The conclusion is that don’t let a bad experience with Prometrium discolor your opinion of natural hormones or of natural progesterone. Dosages, schedules and competing prescriptions do matter very much in what you feel.
Andrew Jones, M.D.
Medical Director, Women’s Health Institute of Texas