Am I applying too LITTLE or too MUCH progesterone? I'M CONFUSED!!!
(North East, Pennsylvania, United States)
My story? Where to start? I guess from the beginning, sorry this will be long, but I REALLY need some insight.
I'm a 45 year old women struggling with a plethora of symptoms that has lead me to think peri-menopause is the main problem. Although I have not had my estrogen or progesterone levels checked, I'm most almost 100% certain I have a progesterone deficiency, possibly even a severe deficiency. Going all the way back to my early teens, I had extremely heavy periods (7-10 days) with tons of clotting & cramps. Then in my early twenties I ran into fertility issues with no pregnancy after three solid years of trying. A specialist diagnosed me with a Luteal Phase Defect and told me I was progesterone deficient. I went on to have four children over the next 10 years, but had to take progesterone shots daily during my pregnancies in order to keep from miscarrying (the vaginal suppositories did not do enough to raise my levels). I also had 4 early stage miscarriages due to my progesterone deficiency, which supplementation did not help in time for these pregnancies.
Fast forward into my mid-thirties. I had a tubal ligation after my fourth child, so stopped even thinking about my progesterone levels from that point on. I gained a quite a bit of weight through out my twenties and thirties, so I chalked a lot of symptoms up to poor health choices. In my mid-thirties I began to struggle with skipped heart beats and some high blood pressure. I went to the doctor who did an echocardiogram, a halter monitor and a bunch of other tests... all of which came back fine. I eventually came across some information that Adrenal Deficiency can be a culprit to many of the symptoms I was having and to supplement with Magnesium & Potassium. I did and that seemed to do the trick for my heart flutters, but didn't help my heavy periods.
By the end of my thirties, I decided to take my health back. I lost 70 of the 100 pounds of extra weight I was carrying around and was exercising almost 2 hours a night. After 11 months I hit a brick wall. I completely stopped loosing weight. After 4 months of no weight loss, despite the regimented exercise and diet (no refined carbs, low fat proteins and dairy, and loaded with fruits & veggies), to try and re-start the weight loss, I went on an extreme diet of 2 liquid shakes a day and one meal at night, no snacks. I did this for 90 days without losing one single pound. I then just gave up completely. I gained 20 pounds back over the next 4 months even though I was in no way binging.
Through all of this my periods were still extremely heavy, though I had very little premenstrual symptoms. I would bleed for 7-8 days with tons of clotting. I would have to wear 2 extra-heavy tampons at one time and still would bleed through in less than 45 minutes (often in less than 15 minutes). Then in July of 2012 I started having extreme vertigo. I researched my symptoms and realized I was anemic. Off to my OB/GYN I went (who I hadn't seen in three years). I needed 2 pints of blood immediately and was found to have Adenomyosis (where your uterine lining grows into the walls of your uterus) and was given an emergency hysterectomy because my dr. didn't want me to have even one more cycle. He felt that all of my struggles with weight would clear after the surgery when my body recovered from the years of hemorrhaging . He felt the anemia was causing all of the problems. At this time, my blood pressure also became more erratic (bouncing between 130s/90s up to 160s/100s). I resisted going on medication, feeling diet and weight loss would do the trick.
Fast forward a year and a half. My weight struggles did NOT resolve. If anything they had gotten worse. I would yo-yo back and forth between trying with all my heart for 6-8 weeks without losing a pound, then back to giving up and not caring at all and gaining weight. By Thanksgiving of this past year, I had gained back 50 of the 70 pounds I had originally lost. I ended up falling on Thanksgiving day and broke my tail bone which ensued with 8 weeks of excruciating pain and swelling. During December I suffered a week long stomach virus, followed by 2 long colds, plus this constant pain in my spine (accompanied with tons of swelling) and an extremely hellacious schedule at work causing me to work 80 hour weeks. All of this brought me to a breakdown in my body on Christmas Day.
I woke up that morning with extreme vertigo again. This followed with 2 weeks of dizziness. I also seemed to be having a lot of underlying anxiety. I went to a walk in clinic and found my Blood Pressure was 190/110! They gave me something for light anxiety, but within an hour my BP was 245/145 and my HR at 165. We went straight to the ER. I spent a night with them trying everything to regulate it. Finally it was a Nitro drip that brought me back to normal. My doctor immediately put me on 2 BP meds (10MG of Norvasc & 40MG of Benicar). This regulated my BP immediately, but didn't help with the anxiety or the on and off again dizziness, plus my fluttering heart beats were back. I also had now began having panic attacks multiple times a week (never had them before). He prescribed my some Xanax and offered to put me on Zoloft. I told him I wanted to find the underlying problems (especially with my inability to budge my weight), but he felt it was just "part of aging". So, I hit the internet hard. (to be continued)