I had a similar experience with progesterone cream. It worked for about a year and a half and the hot flashes returned with a vengeance. And here is likely why.
The first hormonal disruption in perimenopause is lowered progesterone. And can usually be remedies with progesterone cream. Later in perimenopause, estrogen levels drop as well. And yes, the hot flashes, mood swings, night terrors, and the"flulike" feeling start. (This doesn't happen for every woman luckily - however you and I seem to have been "chosen".)
So the next step with this degree of symptoms and daily life disruption is to try supplementing with estrogen. (Without stopping the progesterone cream.) Plant estrogens such as soy can help although not without side effects for some women - see blog on soy
"Oh Soy or Soy Vey" for more info. There are also non-soy preparations such as Emerita's Menopause Plus formulation. Black Cohosh, primrose oil, maca root, and cod liver oil are a few of the preparations that have worked for our greater Menopause Goddess Community.
If you should decide to try these, try only one at a time and give it at least two weeks to work.
My experience - soy worked but I have a food sensitivity to it, so had to stop. Black Cohosh made me feel "weird". The others didn't really work too well.
So I ended up finding a physician who was knowledgable in prescribing bioidentical hormones, had my hormones tested, and went on a bioidentical estrogen designed for me by a compounding pharmacy. And the hot flashes went away. And they've stayed away.
Until I tried to go off my bioidentical hormones this summer. No go. They came back with a vengeance. I'll be trying again in a few weeks when I try the prototype for a special bedtime fan with sensor that cools without waking and turns off by itself. It is supposed to stop the night flash before it gets going.
The latest research says three years of hormones before risk of reproductive and other cancer starts to go up (for those of us who are already low risk, that is.) I've just hit the magic three year mark, so am motivated to try. But honestly, if it comes back as bad as it was? I'll stay on them for awhile.
The good news is - after starting on the estrogen, I felt great! And continue to as of now! Hope this helps! Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Lynette Sheppard RN Health Maven
Menopause Goddess Blog