Just about a week ago Cher asked me if I had any suggestions for treating "the blues" that didn't involve drugs. Cher's daughter, Victoria, recently gave birth to a beautiful baby. She did not take any drugs during the pregnancy and also reported that she didn't think she needed them. Even after delivering, it seemed her depression episodes were in the past. In time, though, the moods began to creep back. Victoria hadn't said much but Cher saw the old signs. That's when she asked me for a suggestion that didn't require going back to the prescription drugs.Cher was astute. I had helped her more than a year ago when she wanted to stop taking some of the drugs her doctors had prescribed. I can only conclude that she had developed a trust in my judgement.
I recommended that Victoria start using progesterone according to a cycling schedule - 20mg applied daily from days 1 through 12, twice daily from 13 through 26, then stopping until her period started (the new day one) - at which time she would begin to apply once daily and follow the same routine.
Of course it worked.
Not because I'm any sort of genius or have any deep insights into Victoria's psychiatric condition. Heck, I've never even met Victoria and I only talked about her with Cher for a few minutes. Yet, what magic helped me see the problem and suggest a probably remedy? I just happen to know a small amount about physiology, pregnancy, and child birth.
Cher told me that Victoria felt fine while pregnant. What are the physiological differences between pregnant and not pregnant? For one, the mother's body is producing enormous amounts of hormones. Progesterone is present in the pregnant person in amounts hundreds or thousands of times what they are at other times. Progesterone can improve mood. After delivery, the progesterone levels fall dramatically - there is a lot of progesterone in the amniotic fluid. Mom's levels fell from a very high high to a very low bottom. Her mood fell along with the drop in hormone levels. That's basic.
New mothers don't develop a "Prozac Deficiency" just because they gave birth. Instead, their hormone levels shift so much that they begin to experience symptoms associated with low progesterone. Instead of adding a dose of antidepressant, it seems more reasonable to introduce a supplement, something that brings normal levels of hormone up to a place where the mom feels best.
Is it safe for baby? Heck, he swam in a sea of progesterone before making his entrance into the daylight. It is not only safe, but also healthy for any baby to experience better hormone balance. Babies can suffer from hormone imbalance too. They drink the same contaminated water as the rest of us - and many infants are also exposed unnecessarily to excess amounts of soy - and soy is associated with added estrogen activity. High estrogen - unbalanced with progesterone - is associated with anxiety and depression. Progesterone balances the system and helps make things right with the world.
I can't guarantee it, but it sure seems logical that Victoria will make a much better parent when her hormones are in balance. All that was needed was a small dose of progesterone, used properly.
There were other people at Cher's table - all with quizzed looks on their brows. As I passed to my table, I heard Cher begin to explain.