Child with PCOS symptoms...like me (her mother)

by Renee
(Louisiana)

Hi Wray:

I've been reading your site all day, as I have fought with hormonal imbalance since my early childhood, even before my menstruation ever started; I am now 38 years old and am still experiencing extreme hormonal imbalance. I have been diagnosed with insulin resistance and PCOS. I have ALWAYS had irregular menstrual cycles, and when I first tried to conceive, I had extremely low, almost non-existent, progesterone levels which resulted in 2 early miscarriages. I even tried Clomid fertility treatment to no avail; my OB/GYN still could not tell if or when I ovulated, even with Clomid. I tried birth control in my early 20's but couldn't tolerate it as I experienced EXTREME mood swings, so have never taken it since. I am very anxious, as are both of my daughters, my father, and all 4 of my brothers (I have no sisters). I had saliva tests done a few years ago, after my 2nd daughter was born (2008). While I had a 'normal' diurnal cortisol pattern, my cortisol levels were consistently low throughout the day. My progesterone was 39 pg/ml, estradiol was 2.2 pg/ml at the time. My Pg/E2 ratio was only 18. I also have hypothyroidism, which I am not able to treat due to slow adrenal function, as it makes me feel worse to treat it. This is a brief summary of my issues -- I could go on but the message would be quite lengthy.

I had both of my children via C-section. My youngest daughter seems to be on the road to hormonal imbalance already, as at 3 years of age, she is overweight (50 lbs.) and has STRONG sugar/carb cravings/addiction (as do I and my oldest daughter).

I am writing not only about myself, but about my 9 year old daughter who appears to be having the same issues that I have had. She has had body odor (armpit area) since about 4 years old. She progressed to armpit and pubic hair growth by the age of about 6, and over the past few years, she has been getting acne, especially blackheads, all over her T line on her face (forehead, nose, chin). She is also developing breasts over the past year, but she has not yet started her menstrual cycle. She is extremely anxious and very apprehensive in social situations. She is very moody, and loses her temper over simple things and gets into rages at times over trivial matters. I recall doing the same thing as a child, and still struggle with those rage/anger feelings often. Her serum serotonin levels have been tested and shown low results. She has a high serum calcium level and high ionized calcium, both of which fluctuate only slightly. She also has LOW cholesterol.

I was wondering if you have any advice as to whether I should try progesterone cream on her at this early age. I am trying to help her imbalances as early as possible, in hopes of warding off the worst of symptoms later in life, as I've experienced. In addition, I am taking ProGest cream, 20mg per day (days 12-26), but stopped on day 26 and felt AWFUL after stopping. My period started about 7 days afterward, and has been heavy with clots. I want to try NatPro and would like to know what dose you think I should start with. Thanks for any advice you may have!

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Jan 14, 2012
Child with PCOS symptoms...like me (her mother)
by: Wray

Hi Renee Where do I begin?! Well firstly we do have a page on PCOS, it's caused by oxidative stress, ie a lack of antioxidants, most notable being vitamin D. It is possible to reverse naturally, but high doses of antioxidants are needed. There's a strong possibility that it has epigenetic origins, as it's prevalence has increased remarkably in recent years. Epigenetics is the study of how a lack of nutrients or toxins cause a change in gene expression, without changing the DNA. This occurs while a foetus, and has since lead to the idea of 'the foetal origin of adult disease'. It's now known that Type 1 diabetes, and possibly Type 2, heart disease, insulin resistance, obesity and more are epigenetic diseases. It appears increasingly likely that autism will fall into this category too. Much of the problem started when we were told to stay out of the sun, or use sunscreen or clothing. This blocks the action of sunlight on the skin, which is how we make vitamin D. So now most people have low to dangerously low levels. I believe this could turn out to be the reason you and your daughters, plus your father and brothers are all anxious. And the three of you have sugar cravings. A lack of vitamin D leads to most of our modern diseases, over 20 different cancers, heart disease, stroke, overweight/obese, insulin resistance, early puberty, depression and anxiety and much more. This paper on early puberty has only just been published, see here. High serum calcium can lead to depression and heart disease, see here and here. This is often due to low vitamin D, as parathyroid hormone increases, which draws calcium from the bones into the blood. Magnesium is often low, as this counters calcium levels, it's also a vital co-factor for vitamin D. Hypothyroidism is often due to low vitamin D too, see here, here and here. Please have a vitamin D test done, in fact all of you. For more info on vitamin D levels, testing etc see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth, Birmingham Hospital and Vitamin D Links websites. Continued below.

Jan 14, 2012
Child with PCOS symptoms...like me (her mother) Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Renee Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml or 175-250nmol/L and not the 30ng/ml or 75nmol/L most labs and doctors regard as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although the latest research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here. Progesterone is given to newborn infants with respiratory distress syndrome, it's vital for the lungs. And those born prematurely too, see here and here. So it's safe to use on your daughter, mine started it when she was fourteen. We've advised mothers with infants and toddlers to use it if the child is stressed, can't/wont's sleep, irritable, anxious, gets into frequent rages, etc. A pin head amount is needed for babies, about 16mg/day would be needed for toddlers. It works miracles on them. I've found 20mg/day for an adult is not normally sufficient to reduce adverse symptoms, even 40mg/day does not raise progesterone to sub-luteal phase levels, see here. I recommend 100-200mg/day, more if symptoms are severe. I feel you will get Oestrogen Dominance. Please be aware of this, as it can be unpleasant, although I have found amounts of 400mg/day or more reduce this, or can prevent it occurring. But you are hugely imbalanced, and I wouldn't want you to feel the ill effects of this by using too little. If it should occur, please do not reduce the amount, as many do blaming the progesterone. It does help, but only because it's no longer stimulating the oestrogen. It's essential to make progesterone the dominant hormone. We run Saliva Tests periodically, a naturopath does a before and after and you can see how well the progesterone is absorbed, as levels increase substantially. But we have found from these that the P:E2 ratio should be 600:1 and over to feel well. Please do not stop using the progesterone ie don't take the customary break, you can see what it does to you. It allows oestrogen to rise again which is not what you want. Use it daily, through any period you might have. These will come and go at will, and rarely when you expect them, a small price to pay I feel! It does no harm, and allows time for the progesterone to become dominant. Once you feel stable you can begin reducing the amount, very slowly by no more than 16mg each reduction. Continued below.

Jan 14, 2012
Child with PCOS symptoms...like me (her mother) Part 3
by: Wray

Hi Renee When you feel ready you can begin following your cycle again, there's info on how to do this on our page How to use progesterone cream. As your daughter has no cycle, she would follow the same route. All three of you need to take high dose antioxidants, these will help the cravings, anxiety, weight gain etc. The PCOS page lists many, we also have a page on Anxiety which lists more. Plus a page on Insulin Resistance which lists more. I feel all three of you have IR, it is possible to reverse with the nutrients, but it does take time. Please read our page on Nutrition. I think you'll find the Paleo Diet will help you, Dr Cordain has found very few problems occur in hunter/gatherers as their blood glucose is stable. It's imperative to avoid all sugars, even those hidden in grains, legumes and all starchy, sweet fruits and veggies. The carbs in these convert to glucose. Fructose, sucrose and glucose decrease SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) by 80, 50 and 40% respectively. Low SHBG allows free testosterone to rise, this gives rise to oily skin, facial and body hair, hair loss and acne. Plus it increases visceral fat, see here and here. Progesterone increases SHBG substantially, thereby reducing testosterone, see here. It will also help the mood swings. Please make sure you use sufficient, and please have a vitamin D test done. Take care Wray

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