Dr. David Clark, DC - Center for Low Thyroid Solutions Durham,NC - explains how using progesterone creams, sublingual drops and supplements can trigger Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
I'm going to explain how progesterone creams can trigger Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis.
I discovered this fact about progesterone over the last year.
I've seen several women in menopausal age, actually even women as young as 40 and 30, using progesterone creams. When I see these women and they're coming in for low thyroid symptoms, so I get a complete medical history where I look at their timeline of what's happened to them over the last 10 to 30 years.
I began noticing that in many of these women--probably at least 40% of the total number of women I'm seeing--have, in their past, a bad reaction when they used progesterone creams.
Why were these women prescribed progesterone creams?
They were probably having different kinds of "female hormonal" symptoms--and a lot of doctors, I feel, write prescriptions for progesterone creams like it's aspirin.
But the first danger with progesterone is this....
If the woman has Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis, progesterone can worsen that autoimmune attack.
The second danger with progesterone is...
If the woman has the genes for Hashimoto's but isn't expressing the full Hashimoto's attack yet...that progesterone cream could be the last push that puts them over the edge into full autoimmunity.
So let me explain the first situation.
In Hashimoto's what has happened is your immune system has mistakenly targeted your thyroid gland and is killing it. It's sending T cells in and they're destroying the follicles.
In Hashimoto's your immune system is attacking one or both these two:
- thyroid peroxidase (aka TPO)
- thyroglobulin (aka TGB)
Now without going too deep..... your body uses thyroglobulin to bind the thyroid hormones before they're released into circulation.
Thyroid peroxidase is used to make T4 and T3 inside the gland.
So in Hashimoto's, you're actually attacking one or both of these. You're attacking your ability to make thyroid hormones which is why ultimately you become hypothyroid.
And why you have low thyroid symptoms like
- hair loss
- high cholesterol
- low libido
- dry skin
- mental sluggishness.
Your immune system attacks and destroys the gland and you can't make thyroid hormones.
Here's how progesterone fits in...
If you take progesterone AND you've got Hashimoto's, you're going to stimulate your thyroid gland to become more active--increase levels of TPO--and fan the flames of that autoimmune attack on TPO.
What are the signs that progesterone is worsening the Hashimoto's, or maybe even triggering it?
You could have more fatigue, more hair loss, more depression. You could have a worsening of the symptoms that you thought you were treating with the progesterone.
A lot of women go into a doctor's office, be it a acupuncturist or a medical doctor or naturopath, complaining of symptoms like depression, hair loss, low libido...and the doctor thinks that that person has a hormonal problem such as a progesterone "deficieny" or an "estrogen dominance: problem.
And the well-meaning practitioner willy-nilly give the woman these creams or oral progesterone and then---the symptoms get worse.
If your symptoms get worse with progesterone that's a good sign you probably DO NOT have a progesterone deficiency or estrogen dominance. More likely, you have a thyroid problem, and it's probably Hashimoto's.
That's the first scenario--- it's like fanning the flames.
The second scenario is triggering the EXPRESSION of Hashimoto's.
Hashimoto's is a genetic condition. You could carry and harbor the genes for 20, 30, 40 years. They don't turn on and start that attack on your thyroid gland until a certain unlucky set of circumstances happens.
The three most common times in a woman's life where Hashimoto's gets turned on are puberty, pregnancy and perimenopause. And those are three times in her life where there's surges of hormones, particularly progesterone.
Perimenopause and menopausal symptoms are what get women prescribed these progesterone creams. Those women are the most at risk for having this Hashimoto's interaction.
If your Hashimoto's is NOT expressed, taking progesterone cam stimulate the production of your your thyroid peroxidase so much that you get a triggering of Hashimoto's.
Over the last 2 years I've seen easily 20, 30 cases of this Hashimoto's-Progesterone interaction.
If you've got Hashimoto's, think twice about progesterone. And if you've taken progesterone in the past and it's made your low thyroid symptoms worse, then that's your first big clue that you probably have Hashimoto's. You need to find someone that understands exactly what I've been teaching you about today.
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© 2012 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. David Clark, DC
Diplomate College of Clinical Nutrition
Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Vestibular Rehab Specialist