by Marianna
(Boston MA)

I had labs done over 6 months ago. I am 53. My blood levels of Estrogens, Progesterone DHEA and Testosterone were way below normal for a women of 53. I am 10 years Menopause. My skin had become so dry and wrinkled in a year. Had severe vaginal atrophy. Medical Drs could not offer me anything but prescription patch which I refused.
I started taking DHEA 10 mg and 20 mg Progesterone Cream once a day. I started putting on weight. 8 lbs in two months... Which one is causing the Weight gain? Do I really need DHEA pill?

Also, neither one of them helped with the atrophy so I started using 1 mg of Estriol Oil Vaginally and what a HUGE
difference. and a Natural low dose of Testosterone. just within the last few weeks.

I will be having Saliva Tests in a few weeks. I think
the DHEA and Progesterone are causing the problem. Should I increase the Progesterone and drop the DHEA?



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Dec 20, 2011
by: Wray

Hi Marianna The amount of progesterone you're using is causing the problem. If you note on the other pages on the site, too many women are told to use 20mg/day, this stimulates oestrogen causing Oestrogen Dominance symptoms to get worse. One is water retention and the other is stimulation of fat cells, both of which cause weight gain, see here. I recommend 100-200mg/day, dependant on symptoms. Please drop the DHEA, it increases testosterone levels, see here, here, here and here. I would caution against the testosterone too, see here, here, here, here, here here, here, here, here and here. Estriol is the safest of oestrogens, but you could try using the cream in your vagina, it's helped women with dryness. Please increase the amount of progesterone you're using, and use it on your face too, it's excellent for the skin, see here. Continued below.

Dec 20, 2011
by: Wray

Hi Marianna Whereas oestrogen does nothing for it, see here and here. We do have more info on our Menopause page. Please increase the good fats and oils too, these help the skin; butter, olive oil and MCT oil. This last oil is wonderful for the skin, it's INCI name is caprylic/capric triglycerides. Take care Wray

Dec 21, 2011
by: Marianna

thanks for the info. The Progesterone Cream I use is 20 mg per 1/4 teaspoon. I will use a full teaspoon AM and PM.

Will it take a long time before I notice the results? Also, will this much Progesterone cream make my Estrogen & Testosterone levels bottom out again or bring it back to healthy levels?

Dec 22, 2011
by: Wray

Hi Marianna Please let me know how you get on with the higher amount of progesterone. It will keep your oestrogen and testosterone suppressed, but this is what you want. Doctors only test oestradiol, this is the major pre-menopausal oestrogen, levels should be low in menopause, the range is 0 - 30 pg/m, see here. But our fat cells continue making oestrone when in menopause, this is never tested for, the level is around 30 pg/ml, see here. Menopausal women usually suffer from excess free testosterone, see here. But free tesotosterone is not checked either, only the total testosterone is taken, which is meaningless. Because if bound to sex hormone binding globulin, it does not affect us. I can't tell how long it will take, some find immediate relief, but others find it can take a year. It really depends on symptoms. Take care Wray

Dec 29, 2011
by: Marianna

Hi there,

Okay, from my last writing. Took your advice. I was using 1/4 teaspoon (20mg) Progesterone daily and increased it to 1 teaspoon (80mg) two times a day. WHAT a difference! Weight gain is coming right off.

I dropped the DHEA tablet and Testosterone cream.

I use 1 mg of Estriol cream on my face. or 1mg of Estriol Oil vaginally. every other day.

Everything seems to be just perfect. Libido back. Sleeping well. Vaginal dryness gone. Fatigue gone in the afternoons. Due to have Saliva tests within the next week.

Thanks Wray.

Jan 03, 2012
by: Wray

Hi Marianna I'm so delighted it worked! Many thanks for letting me know. Take care Wray

Sep 30, 2012
Combined cream
by: Anonymous

Hi i m using progesterone cream , my blood level was 0.5nmol of progesterone, oestradiol 227pmol ,testost (serum) 0.5, should I be using progest and oestrogen cream combined or progest only, my skin is wrinkly and hair thinning, thnx

Oct 02, 2012
Combined cream
by: Wray

Hi there Your P:E2 ratio is 2.2:1, the lowest I've ever seen. We've found from Saliva Tests we run that the ratio should be 600:1 and over to feel well. Although your oestradiol is within normal range, albeit at the low end, your progesterone is very low. We do have a page on Hormone Testing you could look through. Looking at your ratio I don't believe you should be using any oestrogen at all. Only progesterone, and at least 100-200mg/day, possibly more. I don't know how old you are, but we do have a few pages you could look through, How to use progesterone cream, Peri-menopause and Menopause. Please also take a look at our page on Oestrogen Dominance too. Progesterone is excellent for the skin, see here. Whereas oestrogen does nothing for it, see here and here. We do have a page on Hair Loss which gives a list of nutrients which all help with growth. Take care Wray

Oct 23, 2012
by: Anonymous

Hi u advised me not to use ostrogen as my oestradiol level was 227pmol and progest was 0.5 , I am using bio identical progesterone twice a day and weight seems better but feel very tired in pm , also my skin is looking so dull and wrinkles . I used to take a lot of soya milk and this helped my skin and hair but will it increase my oestradiol/ oestrogen levels , thnx

Oct 25, 2012
by: Wray

Hi there Please can you tell me how much progesterone you're using. I do recommend 100-200mg/day, more if symptoms are bad. I did give you that paper on how progesterone helps the skin, but it does take time, particularly after using oestrogen too, as that does not help the skin, see here and here. It could be you're not taking in enough good fats and oils like butter, olive oil and coconut oil. Soya milk is full of phytoestrogens, all these, no matter what form they come in, have an oestrogenic affect. In time they cause the same problems our own oestrogen can cause if too high. High soy intake can cause infertility, memory loss, and in men, gynecomastia, see here, here, here, here and here. The tiredness in the pm could be due to a lack of salt. Particularly if you're stressed, as the adrenals become stressed and they need sodium, which is found in salt, to function normally. Or it could be you just need to give it time, as progesterone does help tiredness. Take care Wray

Oct 20, 2014
progesterone/DHEA/testosterone combination
by: ladyc

Hi There,
I went to a DR to find out why my libido is nonexistence and I am tired all the time. After running some tests I was given a prescription for a compounding Pharmacy. The prescription is for a cream…progesterone 30 / DHEA 7.5 / testosterone 30. I have been using the cream for 1 month now and there are no changes in my libido and I am still tired all the time. I have gained 8lbs within the month. I am 42yrs old and had a partial hysterectomy 4yrs ago. Please let me know if there is any value to this combination especially since I am not seeing any results and I am gaining weight. Thank you.

Oct 29, 2014
same boat as ladyc
by: Anonymous

I'm having the same problems as ladyc. Interested in hearing your response.

Oct 29, 2014
confused as to what to do
by: feeling crazy

My proegesterone is .30, oestradiol 130.4, and free testosterone .7. Vitamin D good.

My doctor put me on topical testosterone cream 5mg/day and DHEA 25 mg/day after diagnosing me with adrenal fatigue. while the cream helped my labido, I now suffer with cystic acne, anxiety, mild depression. What else should I be doing? I still have extremely heavy periods starting on day 24. I can feel something is out of whack.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

Sep 19, 2016
Wray, drop the progesterone
by: Carol

Wray, why are you taking progesterone without estrogen?

You are squelching what little estrogen your body is creating, so your body might be collecting fat to store and generate estrogen.

DHEA is a wild card. It can stay convert to estrogen or testosterone.

The estriol cream is good, and the testosterone could help you rebuild cells. You might not need it in the future.

You could continue progesterone, but just the over the counter stuff and just a dab.

Sep 20, 2016
Wray, drop the progesterone
by: Alyce

Why on earth would anyone want to drop progesterone?? We are all battling with too much oestrogen as it is. We are given hormone replacement and birth control - drugs, then what about all the rubbish that we eat, drink, breathe and use each day?

Testosterone could rebuild cells ….. huh?? How bizarre! If anything it made me so sick! I will never use oestrogen or testosterone again. Progesterone saved me, and not just a dab either! Get real!

Mar 22, 2017
estriol cream
by: Anonymous

Feel so tired and weak.

Mar 24, 2017
Estriol Cream
by: Joy

That's probably because you are using HRT, no women should use or take it. Could I have more information though as you have given me very little to work on. Please read this thread, you will find some excellent advise.

Take care.

Apr 11, 2017
More Estroil? More Progesterone? Which way do I go?
by: Anonymous

Hi All...

Been going through hell the last 6 months.... long story short Adrenal Stress 1st stage..low sex hormones... so was prescribed 2.5 mg Bi-est and 5mg of testosterone..... sent me sky high with terrible symptoms...

Then detox to bring the levels down...

Now trying to find the right balance with Estriol and Progesterone..

Was on Progesterone (USP) 20 mg only... had bad depression, tics etc...the longer I was on the worse I got.

Started Estriol....

Now on Estroil 0.75 mg and Progesterone 20 mg per day... 5 days on 2 days off..

Still struggling with depression, hot flushes, tics...

Anyone any idea what I need to do to sort this


Y x

Jun 04, 2017
Progesterone, Estriol, fatigue and depression
by: Anni

I so relate to so many of you, started menopause a year ago, I struggled for 7 yrs before that with crushing fatigue, depression, lack of motivation, lack of libido etc. I read everything I could find, started progesterone, organic excellence from sprouts, and it was at first a godsend, it was amazing, within 6 months things started going bad, severe depression, fatigue.

I listened as far as upping doses of progesterone, and it got to the point where I wanted to kill myself, never been that way in my entire life. I kept at it because I believed what they said, omg my life was a mess!!

Finally stopped progesterone completely after reading how it builds up in your tissues and how too much causes every symptom I was having, oh not to mention gaining 30 lbs in a year.

Gradually the fog lifted, Now, 5 months after stopping progesterone my life is back. I've tried to take it here and there and I always end up with hot flashes fatigue and severe depression and irritability the very next day. Ladies, listen to your bodies, if something you're taking makes you feel worse, stop taking it!! Don't listen to anyone but yourself.

My blood work and saliva tests all came back showing very low progesterone and estrogen, yet the progesterone made me so sick regardless of the massive doses or small doses I took. It took me months to get off this rollercoaster with progesterone.

I'm now trying to use a small amount of bio estriol vaginally for dryness and libido and that's it. Stop listening to anyone except your own body, I had 1 yr of misery because of massive progesterone doses, just because something works for others doesn't mean it will for you.

For each study that's published, another is published to show the opposite, no one really knows exactly how hormones work, that's a fact. Don't let anyone tell u any different, especially someone who sells progesterone cream.

Jun 05, 2017
Listen to your body
by: Justine

Agreed Anni, Wray always always advocated, "Listen to your own body", no one knows whats best for you other than you.

Sadly too many don't know how to listen to their bodies anymore because the body is so confused with all the incoming effects (mental, emotional and chemical) of the environments we live in and engage with.

It seems we all need help and guidance and support, so sharing our stories for the good of all seems a good place to start.

Jun 05, 2017
Progesterone, Estriol, fatigue and depression
by: Joy

Hi Anni

I am so sorry that you have experience a torrid time with progesterone therapy. As Justine correctly said, we must all listen to our bodies. Which is exactly what I did. I listened when estrogen was making me feel so ill, I also listen when progesterone made me feel well again. Because I used progesterone correctly, it worked for me. What works for one may not necessarily work for another. There are many instances when progesterone alone can't 'cure all', it needs help as in nutrition and a good diet to help it work optimally. If progesterone is not used correctly it will not work. You do not mention what progesterone cream you used, or how much you used? There are many progesterone creams on the market today and not all have the correct progesterone concentration needed.

Time and time again ladies write in with the same complaint saying that progesterone made them feel worse, they have given virtually the same adverse symptoms that you are now describing. These symptoms are actually Estrogen Dominance symptoms, made worse because not enough progesterone was being used. When this happens it aggravates estrogen receptors making things worse. When this happens, listen to your body and increase the amount of progesterone used which has been mentioned time and again on the website. One major reason for poor results when using progesterone is low vitamin D3 levels, if levels are low it will reduce the benefits of progesterone. This is overlooked by many.

There are many misconceptions regarding progesterone and one of them is that it builds up in fatty tissue. One thing which seems to be overlooked by all, is that progesterone is broken down into metabolites. It doesn't remain as progesterone locked up in fatty tissue. It is important in it's own right, but it's metabolites are just as important. Now estrogen does cause weight gain, it is a mitogen causing fat cells to proliferate. Please read the page on Progesterone Misconceptions.

The fog would have lifted because progesterone was not stimulating estrogen, this would not have happened if enough progesterone was being used for your personal symptoms. Progesterone also can't be used 'here and there', it is a life long commitment and it needs to be used all the time, especially in Peri-Menopause and Menopause. Now you say that you 'took' progesterone, this now implies to me that it was oral progesterone. All oral progesterone is not the best delivery method as 96% gets destroyed by the gut and liver. If you actually used a cream I suspect that you were not using enough.

When in Peri-Menopause the symptoms that you described are classic and very common. It is a time when progesterone cream needs to be used every day with no breaks at all as P levels start to drop at around 35. Do you perhaps have your tests for progesterone and estradiol (E2). It's not so much the result of each individual test that is important, but the ratio between the two hormones that is vital. Please feel free to post your results so that I can work out the ratio for you, or you can compare them yourself, see the Hormone Testing page.

Scientists, professors, doctors and labs rely on study papers, it is vital to their work thereby helping us all.

I wish you well and if you feel up to it, please read these pages and the references as they are important.

How to use Progesterone Cream -

Estrogen Dominance -

Peri-Menopause -

Menopause -

Vitamin D3 -

Magnesium -

Delivery Methods -

Progesterone Misconceptions -

Anxiety -

Hormone Testing -

Jun 06, 2017
Dear Joy
by: Anni

Dear Joy...I wanted to clear up some things in regards to my progesterone use.

It was a compounded progesterone cream from a well-known hormone doctor here in Las Vegas. I was on it for well over a year so no, it was not a pill and also I followed the guidelines for massive doses, meaning eventually getting up to 200 mg per day.

Again this went on for about a year, I spent that year gaining massive amounts of weight, having crashing fatigue, extreme irritability and severe depression, I felt my life was falling apart. I had several tests, both blood and saliva, both showed low estrogen and low progesterone. These tests were taken before I started my progesterone cream. Tests taken after and during progesterone showed off-the-charts progesterone and low estrogen so no, it was not estrogen dominance in any shape or form. Like I said in my previous text, we women need to listen to our bodies more than doctors, just because something works for one does not mean it will work for you.

My life fell apart during that year and when I stopped I literally felt better day by day and am now feeling fantastic. My blood work is back to showing low progesterone and low estrogen, but apparently the two hormones must be in balance since I feel so good, it's not a matter of how much progesterone we have but if these two hormones are balanced. Apparently my body created its own balance little by little after I stopped they're progesterone disaster. I hear some people saying listen to your own bodies but take a ton of progesterone cream and that's not listening to your own body. Progesterone made me feel fantastic for about 3 months and with the directions I kept upping my dosage until I was on 200 a day, and every single day of those High dosages is an utter disaster.

All I'm saying is we should not listen to any doctors, listen to your body. If something you're taking makes you feel bad and you do as the doctor says and you feel progressively worse, continuously, then stop, obviously something is wrong. I'm so glad I stopped, I hate to imagine my life the way it was only 5 months ago and I'm finally losing weight and actually the symptoms I had were of too much progesterone, not estrogen.

There are subtle differences, these high doses may work for some, but for a lot of us they don't.

Jun 06, 2017
by: Anni

I forgot to mention that I do take vitamin D3 every single day and also magnesium. I also take a very good, completely natural, not synthetic multi-vitamin from Garden of Life. I work out everyday, at least I'm back to it now, whereas when all this took place I barely had energy to walk my dog.

Jun 07, 2017
Dear Joy
by: Joy

Hi Anni

Well I am relieved that it was not in pill form. Sadly many compounded creams come mixed with parabens, chemicals, estrogen and or testosterone. Not what any woman needs. They often do not have the correct amount of progesterone concentration. Many have switched and found far better results. 200mg is not massive in the grand scheme of things. Up to 2400mg per day was prescribed by the late Kittie Dalton for those suffering from severe PND and psychotic symptoms. 1400mg is given to those who suffer from TBI and 800mg for PMS. Now if that compounded cream did not have the correct progesterone, less than what is required, you would have experienced adverse symptoms. Weight gain is most certainly one of those adverse symptoms sadly, all because not enough was being used initially.

As you know our hormones change drastically during the month as well as in menopause. Stress destroys progesterone too. It is not so much the result from each individual test, but rather the ratio between P and E2 that is vital as mentioned.

It's sad really because had you been given the correct advice on how to use progesterone I sincerely believe that you would have achieved better results. I agree with you about doctors, most are pretty uninformed when it comes to progesterone therapy.

Again I agree with you, what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another, and this is where your original comment comes into play, "Listen to your body", it will tell you what is needed.

I am pleased that you are taking Vit D3 and Magnesium, they are both vital.

Take care.

Jul 26, 2017
So Confused
by: Kelly

I found this page last night. I am 55, post-menopausal for 4 years.

At first my only struggle was with hot flashes. Over the past 3 years I have also been struggling with fatigue, low energy, low motivation, depression, and very low libido. (Since late 20's I have had low energy and low grade depression. From age 28 - 46 I also had 4 children and 7 miscarriages. Took anti-depressants a few times, but am wondering if this was hormonal imbalance??).

Anyhow - I am tired of feeling this way, so have been looking into BHRT. There are quite a few BHRT docs in my area. Some do creams, some do pellets, but most of them are very expensive. I don't mind paying if it works, but I haven't been able to take the plunge yet - they all have a bit different philosophy and prices, so haven't been able to make a decision.

I have not had any hormone tests done. I am most interested in the DUTCH test as it seems to give the most information on hormones, even adrenals. Not all practioners use it, but you can order it without a doc. Wondering if I should order that, wait for results, and then try progesterone, since it seems to be the simplest thing to try instead of plunging into full BHRT with the pellets.


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