Helping Your Provider Help You

The information in this article is not intended to suggest treatment, medical advice or medical diagnosis in any way, as it is simply information. We strongly recommend that you discuss all health matters and concerns with your health provider before beginning a new treatment approach.

Dear Dr. Jane,

I am 19 and a Type 1 Diabetic, and about two and a half years ago my menstrual cycle changed from being very regular to very irregular, and then I ceased having periods altogether.  I think this was largely due to stress and over-exercise.  Though ultrasound scans were normal, blood tests revealed that my progesterone was very low.  I was prescribed Yasmin® to regulate my cycle and have been taking it for the last 6 months.  However, I think it has caused me to become very moody, anxious, irritable and sensitive.  (The smallest thing can bother me!)  I have heard that it is very bad to take Yasmin® if your progesterone is low. Now that my weight is up to normal, I am going to stop the Yasmin® and wondered if you have any advice on how I could get my menstrual cycle regulated again.

Thank you,

Dear Joan,

With a low progesterone level it is very common to have irregular cycles, or even no menstrual cycle, as in your case.  Taking any cyclic birth control pill will often help make cycles regular, as they have for you, but they do nothing to normalize your actual hormone balance.  If you had a need for birth control, the pill would be a good choice, but since you did not mention this as a current need, supporting your low progesterone would seem a more logical approach.

It might very well get your cycles going if you use a high-quality progesterone cream two weeks per month, which is sold over the counter.  If you choose this route, be sure to find one that contains USP and has no parabens or other harmful ingredients.

Also, prescription progesterone medications are available as oral capsules, a vaginal gel, or compounded into creams.  Your doctor can work with you on prescribing this option, but be sure to get an actual PROGESTERONE product, not a synthetic progestin.  These two substances have very different biological actions, and what it sounds like you need is real progesterone.

Balancing hormone cycles also requires adequate estrogen production to actually build the lining of the uterus – you did not mention if estrogen levels had been checked.  This is an integral part of the cycle that needs attention as well.

Many best wishes in your quest for hormone balance.

Dr. Jane