42--Hair thinning, some estrogen dominance symptoms

by Anne
(N.E. USA)

I'm a single (no children) 42-year-old female. I started birth control pills when I was 19 and took them continuously until I was about 37 or 38--when I started to get what I now think was a hormonal change and estrogen dominance symptoms. My hair also started thinning.

I had a lot of thick, long hair, so I didn't think too much of it at first, but now--5 or 6 years later--it is considerably thinner and it shed a lot every day--especially in the shower. I have no bald spots or anything like that, it's just much much thinner than it used ot be. About this time, I also started getting headaches a couple of times per month (on the right side behind my eye) that'd last 1-2.5 days, sometimes preceded by a smell aura. I tried going off the pill a couple of times over 2 years or so, but 'gave up' after a couple of months as the adjustment was horrible--mainly the acne flare ups. Didn't know much of what I know now--that I was probably estrogen dominant AND taking additional estrogen in a BCP pill. Oh well. Still learning.

At 40 (in the Fall of 2009), I decided to stop taking BCPs cold turkey. I also went vegan and mainly raw. Yes, all at the same time. It wasn't pretty. I also supplemented with minerals and some herbs. But the headaches stopped that same month. Note: my periods have alwyas been like clockwork each month (28 days). However, I still have issues some months with breast tenderness, tiredness, the hair is STILL shedding today (June, 2011)--ugh! And I still battle milder acne--only now in addition to my face, I sometimes get some on my shoulders, back or buttocks. I don't have many of the other symptoms that others do--sweats, extreme mood swings, etc. It's mainly just hair shedding, acne, some breast tenderness, sleepyness at some points during the month. I think I may also be androgen heavy.

Anyway, I tried progesterone cream on and off for a couple of years but never gave it more than a month or two and only used 20mg or so twice a day. I didn't know this was too little. This past weekend, June 25, 2011, I decided to start the progesterone cream again, but this time do at least 160-180 mg per day. It's day 5, and I've had a bad headache in the spot I used to have them for nearly 3 days.

However, I am going to keep at it and push through this (just like I did when I stopped the BCPs--and it was ugly). I don't care if it takes 6 months or more. I'm hoping that using the higher dosage of progesterone (at least until I can get things somewhat 'even') will help or stop the 1) HAIR SHEDDING!! 2) acne 3) energy level and mid cycle breast tenderness and tiredness. My heart is telling me that it's totally doable and should work. My head is telling me that taking anything else is going to screw my hormones up even further. I sure hope not. I'm not taking or doing anything estrogenic, so we shall see. Does any of this make sense to anyone? I'll let you know how I feel in a few weeks/months if anyone else is in this boat. Thanks for listening.

Comments for 42--Hair thinning, some estrogen dominance symptoms

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Jun 28, 2011
BCP
by: Annette Canada

Hi Anne, yes you are not alone. I'm 39 years of age and was on bcp for 15 years and boy did it wreck my body. I have been on very high doses of progesterone for 6 months and I still have a battle not as bad as in the beginning though. I started with Natpro using 200 milligrams twice a day but found my symptoms just got worse. I kept increasing the dose until I found a livable level. I use anywhere from 600-1000 milligrams a day, sometimes more if I'm really sick. I also went on Magsmart for the magnesium, good multi- vitamin from the health store, 5000 iu's of vitamin d3, probiotics, celery and dandelion capsules to detox the liver (when I took these 2 capsules a day I found I great change in my body) and cell salts also. The cells salts were recommended to me by Eve another wonderful woman that was in the same boat as we are. I take the Hylands BIO-XII go on line and do some research on how they work, they are amazing. Bottom line you will have follow your body and it will depend on your tolerance level to the symptoms. I made a decision I'm pushing through with all my heart no matter how horrible I feel. If it means the light is at the end I'm paddling upstream till I get there. Wray also recommended calcium d-gluarate anywhere from 200-2000 milligrams a day this helps lower the estrogen dominant symptoms, read about these also.

BCP is complete evil I have never seen anything like it. You will experience many symptoms on progesterone you haven't had before, but Anne it does get better just push through girl. I had a baby at 38 who was 3 months premature due to falling progesterone levels, most horrific experience ever. I wish I would of known about this before, she could of died. By the way I take the cream all throughout the day just to keep the estrogen down, so use it as you need it. I hope this gives you some hope and encouragement until wonderful Wray can respond. Cheers

Jun 29, 2011
42--Hair thinning, some estrogen dominance symptoms
by: Wray

Hi Anne It's difficult to add to Annette's comment, she's always such a help to me. But you might like to read about Contraceptives on this page we have. You'll see why they are so dangerous. High androgens do cause acne, plus oil skin and hair, and facial and body hair too. Plus loss of scalp hair, testosterone is not something a woman needs more of! One of the main causes of an increase in the androgens is low SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). The lower it is, the more testosterone, oestrogen too, becomes available. It's the free hormone which does the damage. SHBG is made in the liver, but high levels of the sugars reduce it's level. Fructose by 80%, sucrose by 50% and glucose by 40%. It's essential to avoid them all, plus the hidden sugars in starchy veggies and fruits. Raw food is good, but do avoid too many fruit juices, plus agave syrup which is so popular with raw foodies. It's mainly fructose. We do have a page on Acne, plus one on Nutrition. This page gives links to 3 food options, one of which is raw. The Paleo Diet is also listed, Dr Cordain is an expert on acne. Progesterone does help, as it suppresses excess testosterone. It's also excellent for headaches/migraines, see here, here, here, here, here and here. Please rub it all over your neck, particularly under your ears when you feel one coming. Rub it over your breasts too when painful. I do agree with Annette though, you might need more than you're using now to find quick relief. Im running out of space so will start a new comment below. Take care Wray

Jun 29, 2011
42--Hair thinning, some estrogen dominance symptoms
by: Wray

Hi Anne As you're heading for Peri-menopause, please read through this page on how to use progesterone. Hair loss has baffled researchers for decades, but there are a few nutrients which help. Please consider taking 5000iu's/day vitamin D, 2000mg/day N-actyl cysteine, 2000mg/day inositol, 2-3mg biotin and 100mg thiamine (B1). Please check your iron levels, and there is some evidence the amino acid lysine is beneficial too, see here. Vitamin D is vital for the anagen phase of hair growth, see here, here and here. Please consider having a test done, for more info see the Vitamin D council and GrassrootsHealth websites. Before increasing the amount of progesterone you are using, please read our page on Oestrogen Dominance first. Take care Wray

Jun 29, 2011
BCP
by: Wray

Ooo Annette You've given me tears in my eyes! Bless you! Take care Wray

Jun 29, 2011
Thanks
by: Anne

Thanks for the comments/ideas. I'll look into them. I've only been on the higher dose of cream (120mg or so a day) for less than a week. The only thing that seems much worse is BLOATING. Big time. Bloating like I'm a balloon that is going to bust at any minute. Part of me feels like I don't know what I'm doing with using progesterone and am making myself worse. Maybe I should have gotten my hormones tested first. I've just had so many doctors and GYNs tell me it's so hard to test (and they don't want to do spit, just blood), that I gave up. Anyway, the BIGGEST advice I'd give to any 18+ year old woman is not to start taking birth control pills. I really had no idea how much they affect the various systems of your body. Good lord. I did great from 19-38, but it's the invisible stuff you can't see that is worrisome. And once you get into your late 30s or early 40s and your hormones change naturally, forget about it. It'll be a mess and you'll have to go off the pill anyway. There is a reason they put on all of the pill packet instructions something to the effect of them not being for women over 40. I'll see how I do in the coming weeks with the bloating. Since I'm only using the cream from day 14-28 (till my period then starts), maybe I'll get some relief from day 1-ovulation--if I'm even ovulating any more. I don't mean to sound so upset, but this is why so many women are ... confused. My goal is to get somewhat straightened out as best I can here in my 40s before I hit menopause around 50. I'll worry about that later (ugh).

Jun 29, 2011
You know.... PS
by: Anne

I re-read your post about being on up to 1000mg a day and it still being a struggle ... after 6 months. And that the symptoms are even worse. That seems very disconcerting to me. What if....you just did nothing? What if using 20mg gave yout he same result as 200 or 800? My common sense is telling me that if something is GETTING WORSE with use, that you don't keep taking it.

Jun 30, 2011
dosage
by: annette Canada

Hi Anne, I had to up the dose until I found relief. I'm way better Anne but not balanced yet. You see when you use progesterone the estrogen fights back with symptoms because in a sense it wants to stay dominant. I guess for me, if it means feeling bad for awhile to make it right in the end it's worth it to me. Th estrogen will not go away and will just cause many other health issues as I get older. The bloating will go I had it to. The key is to make progesterone the dominant hormone. When I stop it I was very sick so that is not an option for me, I mean sick. You will have to make a decision no matter what, you will press through to have freedom in the end. I encourage you to do so. Take care Anne

Jun 30, 2011
dosage
by: Annette Canada

I tries 20 milligrams it just about put me in a crazy house. Another woman Eve that blogs here as well took bcp for 20 years and it took her 1 year at high doses to be symptom free. Unfortunately that is just how hormones work. I can't except to put years of bad estrogen in my body and think there will be no challenges.

Jun 30, 2011
Posts were deleted
by: Anonymous

Why were several posts in this topic deleted?

(note from webmaster: non have been deleted)

Jun 30, 2011
Yes...
by: Anne

Yes, I'm aware of the sugar issue. I don't eat sugars--excess fruit juice or agave.

My vitamin D level is 80. Has been for a few years. I get all of the other vitamins and minerals I need thruogh whole foods and many supplements. Yes, I take all of the others you mention--biotin, NAC, the Bs, amino acids, enzymes--it'd blow your mind if you saw my nutrition day. I've been doing this for 2 YEARS. Yes, had an iron test too. All fine. Proof--at least for me--that a 100% impeccable diet that 99.999% of the population would never stick to still doesn't fix these supposed hormone issues. Which is amazing. I'm ... done. I give up.

Jun 30, 2011
to wray
by: annette Canada

You are precious Wray, to see your dedication to this cause brings tears to my eyes as well. I'm thankful so much for Eve's story, it encouraged me to press on. It is what I needed to hear at the time and know she came through it. What better advice to heed to, someone that has been there and come through. I know it hasn't been easy for me but I know this is the right thing. I have seen so many improvements and I'm so excited to see myself BALANCED. If I have to crawl to my knees to get there I will. So many women do not understand estrogen dominance and it's power. Take care Wray. PS
I will try not to take over your job but I just can't help myself sometimes Wray!! lol

Jul 06, 2011
to wray
by: Wray

Bless you Annette! I often give your story to other readers, as it's as encouraging as Eve's. Two others who struggled and often make comments are Natasha and CamperKat. You might not have seen them, see here and here. The more people who give sound, compassionate advice the better! So lol to you too! Take care Wray

Jul 06, 2011
Yes...
by: Wray

Hi Anne I'm so delighted you are taking all those supps, and eating correctly too. All that remains now is to make progesterone the dominant hormone. As Annette says it does take time, unfortunately there's no way of telling how long, each of us is different. The Pill does take it's toll, and of all the drugs on the market place, I wish it had never been produced. Annette mentions Eve, her story is worth reading too, as she was on the Pill for years, and is now struggling to come right, see here. Take care Wray

Jul 20, 2011
Making Progesterone the Dominant Hormone
by: Joy

Hi Ann - I agree totally with Wray and Annette, you HAVE to make progesterone and dominant hormone, only then will your symptoms start to improve. Once it becomes the dominant hormone it HAS to remain dominant, which means continual use of progesterone. It is a long process particularly in your case having been on BCP for so long. If the 200mg does not work, then you will need to up the amount you use until you start to feel an improvement.

As explained, stress is a major factor in destroying progesterone, so the more stress one experiences the more progesterone is needed.

I urge you to persevere with this. Yes, there will be times when you will feel that it's not working but it will if used correctly. You must remember that you have been taking BCP for so many years, you need to give progesterone a chance.

Hope this helps.

Jul 20, 2011
Click Here Link
by: Joy

Hi Wray - not sure if you are away, but sometimes when your suggest 'click here' there is no link. This seems to be happening on a few of your posts. Just thought you should know.

Aug 03, 2011
Click Here Link
by: Wray

Hi Joy Thanks for your continual support! And you are quite right, somehow the coding for entering a web link got corrupted, heaven knows how. I've now altered it to the correct code. Thanks for pointing it out. Take care Wray

Mar 11, 2012
How are you now?
by: Anonymous

i wonder how Annette ever faired. It would help some of the rest of us if people posted results after trying a bit longer. I don't know if she gave up or had success. I feel like giving up the progesterone myself.

Mar 12, 2012
How I'm doing....
by: Annette Hromek

Hello yes I'm doing much better still on high doses but each month symptoms are going. Don't give up, I really don't know your back ground to try to help you. How long have you been using progesterone and how much. Were you on bcp and I find women that have been on it, struggle much more. Please share more so we can encourage one another. There are days I want to quit to, but I know this is the right thing to do. I see myself getting better and so does my husband. My husband has had to use higher doses as well 400-600mg. He would always joke and say I better not grow a vagina!!! lol Estrogen dominance is a very real thing in men and women but thank goodness we have an answer to correct it, it just takes time. So I'm pressing on and winning this race because I REFUSE to spend the rest of my life sick. xox May I also add my husband just gave a tube to one of his male employers who definitely struggling. These men are all in their very early 30's...

Mar 13, 2012
How are you now?
by: Wray

Hi there They do post results on how they feel, some of the threads are over a year long. There are over 3000 pages on the site, mostly made up of other peoples comments. It's a question of looking through them. Annette is always so active on the site, giving so many women lots of encouragement. As she says in her reply to you, it's difficult to know a person's background, this can make a world of difference. For instance do you eat foods high in phytoestrogens? These would counter the effect of the progesterone. All grains and legumes should be avoided as these are high in them. No sugar, fructose or glucose should be eaten/drunk either, this upsets our balance greatly. Large meals drop progesterone levels, winter and dark gloomy days too. So if you live in an area which has just passed through winter, or still in it, you would need to use more. A lack of vitamin D reduces the benefits of progesterone. Many women have found only when they get their vitamin D levels up, do their symptoms go. And that's in spite of high levels of progesterone. You might like to see this page here. Annette has made a comment about high amounts, so has another woman. Take care Wray

Mar 13, 2012
How I'm doing....
by: Wray

Hi Annette Thanks for replying to her, I believe Joy got hold of you about it! You're amazing the way you keep encouraging others, bless you for this. And if your husband develops a vagina, do tell me, I will give up what I do and go and live in a cave high in the Himalayas! I'm so intrigued your husband gave one of the men at work a tube, how kind of him to recognise someone struggling and offer help. Give him a hug from me! I would love to know if it helps him. Take care Wray

Jan 16, 2015
Annette
by: Susie

So Annette, it's been a couple of years. Do you have any progress reports on your husband's vagina growth?

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