Friday, March 26, 2010

A Generous Reader Shares Her Story...

..and offers encouragement for those who may encounter difficulties at first with progesterone therapy, including possible allergies...

A dear friend of mine who is a reader of yours sent me a link to your blog "Last Word." I'm thrilled! Please allow me to share my story with you.

My husband and I were blessed with our second child early this year. I have experienced depression before - even clinical depression - but nothing like what I began to experience in my third and fourth week post-partum. Since talking about [the] nitty-gritty of post-partum depression seems to be taboo, I am going to put myself out there and write out what I experienced. The first eight were the worst for me.

  • Guilt, especially "mommy-guilt"
  • Feeling inadequate in taking care of my preschooler and my baby
  • Low or no energy
  • Becoming easily frustrated
  • An inability to handle normal, daily stress
  • Social withdrawal
  • Anger
  • "Foggy thinking" paired with difficulty in conversation and writing
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Overwhelmed
  • Lack of appetite at some times, extreme hunger other times
  • Inability to be comforted
  • Exhaustion/Fatigue - different from the normal post-partum tiredness
  • Emptiness
  • Decreased sex drive
I was in such a state that it wasn't until I was seven weeks post partum, when my NaproTechnology practitioner asked me if I was experiencing post-partum depression (PPD), that I even realized what it was that I was going through.

Thankfully, it was at about the same time that things came to a head and those close to me rallied for support. It's amazing how unaware those close you can be, through no fault of their own.

My Practitioner reminded me that in addition to progesterone treatment for cycle issues, Dr. Hilgers is known for his natural-progesterone treatment for post-partum depression. I contacted his office, which is three states away, and it was determined that I was indeed a candidate for progesterone therapy for post-partum depression.

What happened next I would also like to share for the benefit of others who may experience it, although I am told it is rare. A year prior to my post-partum depression experience, I tried to do progesterone treatment under Dr. Hilgers' care for my poly-cystic ovarian (PCOS) issues. Unfortunately, I had a worse-than-normal skin reaction to the shots. So we tried the oral capsules, but I reacted with my entire body on fire with itching, from the inside out. So, I stopped treatment and focused on a healthier lifestyle, which helped in a number of ways.

When I contacted Dr. HIlgers' office regarding progesterone treatment for my post-partum depression, we decided to try the progesterone capsules one more time. Once again, I had a massive itching attack. After hours on the phone with the compounding pharmacy, Dr. Hilgers' staff, and even family and friends, we made an educated guess that I am allergic to sustained release powder. This was confirmed when I had no reaction to all-natural retail progesterone, Prometrium (which is natural, yam-based but contains peanut oil, so it is not recommended for those with peanut or soy allergies).

Thank heavens!

Within four hours after my first dose of Prometrium, I felt amazing. It was like walking out of a black thundercloud into bright rays of sunshine. My family was astounded, in a good way, at the immediate difference. That day my three-year-old daughter kept looking at me curiously but happily. She even took a nap without argument for the first time in months! That day I ran errands, cleaned the house, made dinner, greeted my husband at the door when he came home. . . . It was a Godsend.

Guided by Dr. Hilgers and his staff, I continued on the progesterone treatment for a little over 3 weeks. My last dose was last night. We'll see how things go from here on out! If my PCOS issues return with my cycles, I will be eager to work with Dr. Hilgers and his staff to do progesterone therapy.

For the benefit of those who may read this, I would also like to point out that many depression symptoms (both "regular" and post-partum) overlap with the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and adrenal fatigue. If your symptoms persist, you may want to have those possibilities evaluated.
I'd like to add here that estrogen dominance which happens as a result of low progesterone levels does, in fact, suppress the thyroid and that is the reason these symptoms overlap.