Wouldn't the irritability, weight gain, and low libido be symptoms for excess estrogen, too?
Excess estrogen does not cause irritability. Androgens do this, and estrogen is not an androgen. Estrogen can also cause weight gain, but without the other androgen side effects. And one of the primary reasons for weight gain with estrogen is thyroid suppression, which progesterone does not do. Estrogen can increase libido is some aspects such as treating depression and vaginal dryness. On the other hand high levels can interfere with testosterone levels by increasing sex hormone binding globulin. But again by decreasing testosterone the adverse effects of the androgen testosterone is also decreased. Therefore, looking at the whole picture rather than one piece of the puzzle can help to figure out causes.
Are those the similar symptoms to which you referred? Does anything really stand out to differentiate?
Irritability, increased facial hair, lack of hypothyroidism in some cases and acne in particular.
And what makes the excess progesterone cause weight gain?
When estrogen levels are elevated for a period of time the estrogen receptors become less sensitive to the estrogen in the body. This is important for a number of reasons including the fact that estrogen enlarges fat cells and fat cells also generate estrogen. If the receptors were not down regulated then the estrogen produced by the fat cells would enlarge the fat cells leading to more estrogen production leading to more fat cell enlargement........ The problem here with progesterone is that progesterone re-sensitizes the estrogen receptors. So the estrogens produced by the body and external estrogens from foods like meats and dairy and xenoestrogens all of a sudden have full effect on the body. This means weight gain, water retention, thyroid suppression, cancers, etc.
I know estrogen increases fat and water retention, but always though progesterone did the opposite.
Progesterone itself can help reduce water retention and even help the thyroid. What we have to keep in mind though is HORMONAL BALANCE. Trading progesterone dominance for estrogen dominance is not balancing the hormones, it is just trading one set of problems for another. Especially when the body already has an excess of estrogen, although the receptors are desensitized, and all of a sudden you sensitize them with progesterone creams. This is why I really do not think that people should be fooling with their hormones with things like DHEA and progesterone creams. Most people don't have a clue what the symptoms of hormone deficiencies or excesses are especially since so many of the symptoms overlap. So these people read somewhere that _______ is a symptom of (estrogen/progesterone) (deficiency/excess) and start taking hormones in an attempt to balance their hormone issues based on what they think is happening. Instead they end up screwing up their hormonal system even more by 1. Creating new imbalances. 2. By suddenly increasing estrogen sensitivity when estrogen may already be high. 3. And by atrophying the glands that are the source of their hormones. It is no different when woman take birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) for a length of time. This shuts down their own production of these hormones. If they try going off cold turkey you don't want to be anywhere near them for your own safety as the hormones go swinging all over the place trying to restore balance. Using progesterone creams are substituting for the body's own progesterone production, which will lead to a shut down of the body's own progesterone production. To make matters worse what the progesterone peddlers are failing to tell people that the progesterone builds up in the fat tissues creating a progesterone overload. It is not out of the body in 24 hours as some people have claimed. The reason they tell you to apply it to the fatty areas of the body is so as the progesterone travels through the skin it will trap in the fat cells and build up. From there it is slowly released from the fat. As progesterone creams are used more frequently than the body can eliminate it a condition called progesterone dominance forms.
And progesterone can cause cancers through another mechanism. Progesterone, and I am not talking progestins, activate human papilloma viruses (HPVs). HPVs have been linked to cervical, breast, prostate, nasopharyngeal and skin cancers so far and are suspected in others.
As far as I am concerned progesterone creams should not be available without a prescription or banned outright due to the dangers. And if they do remain on the market the sellers of these creams need to be more open about the dangers rather so secretive about the many risks of progesterone creams.