Diagnosed with low progesterone but test were done on the 7th day of my menstrual cycle

by Jennifer
(United States)

I am really confused as to tests results and could use some help. I just turned 36 and have been trying to conceive for over 5 years. I have also had severe PMS, heavy periods, and terrible cramping for as long as I can remember. Last month my Dr ordered hormone tests but never told me there is a specific time to take the tests. I went on the 7th day of my menstrual cycle and my cycle is generally 28 days. I went to get my results and she stated that my progesterone is really low and estrogen is really high. She stated this could be the reason for not conceiving and my awful PMS/ periods. She prescribed progesterone cream which I now have in my possession. However, after doing much research I am afraid that since my tests were done during my period they may not even be accurate. I have had no luck getting in touch with my Dr yet today to clarify but from all of my research and from what I have read here, these tests should have been done 7 days PRIOR to the start of my period. As it stands, my results are as follows Estradiol: 98.3 pg/mL, Progesterone: .4 ng/mL. I am set to start the progesterone cream on day 8 of my next period and I am 21 days into this cycle. Should I go ahead and start the progesterone cream or speak to my Dr and have my tests redone? Any input would be greatly appreciated...

Comments for Diagnosed with low progesterone but test were done on the 7th day of my menstrual cycle

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Sep 13, 2013
Diagnosed with low progesterone but test were done on the 7th day of my menstrual cycle
by: Wray

Hi Jennifer You are right, it should only be done ±7 days after ovulation or before bleeding. Progesterone peaks mid-luteal phase, which in all women is 12-14 days long. The follicular phase varies in women ranging from 7 days to 21 days. Your progesterone should be low in the follicular phase and your oestrogen high, although that seems a bit too high if it was only done on day 7. Oestrogen begins rising on days 4-5, then it rises exponentially about 50 hours prior to ovulation. Which in your case would be ± day 12. Your ratio using the figures you've given me is 4:1 which is extremely low. I'm really puzzled why she's told you to start the progesterone on day 8, which is before ovulation. Progesterone can act as a contraceptive. Although on the amount she's given you probably not, I'm guessing she's given you the normal amount of 20mg/day, please confirm this. Having said that, I do recommend using progesterone daily, through any bleeding for 2-3 months, or until stable. This will suppress any excess testosterone and oestrogen. I don't think you need to have the tests redone, your symptoms speak volumes! I feel you will need about 400mg/day to help, anything less is not going to touch sides. you might like to look at these comments here, here, here and here. Your testosterone could be too high too, as that causes terrible PMS. If bound to SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) testosterone becomes inactive, progesterone raises levels of SHBG, see here, so preventing the rise of free testosterone and severe PMS. SHBG drops if sugars are eaten, even those found in all grains, legumes, processed milk and sweet starchy fruits and vegetables. Fructose, sucrose and glucose, reduce SHBG by 80, 50 and 40% respectively, see here. Thereby allowing testosterone to rise. It's best to avoid all the foods and sugars mentioned. Wine and beers contain carbs, so it's best to avoid those too. Continued below

Sep 13, 2013
Diagnosed with low progesterone but test were done on the 7th day of my menstrual cycle Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Jennifer Plus alcohol affects hormone levels in women, see here and here. It decreases progesterone levels and increases androgen levels, both the total testosterone and free testosterone become higher. Sugars and large meals also drop progesterone levels, see here. Plus insulin drops levels too, see here. This means SHBG also drops, testosterone rises, severe PMS can occur, another vicious cycle. It's essential to get well first before attempting conception. Progesterone does stop heavy bleeding and cramps, but needs help. The nutrients to take are NAC, taurine, vitamin D and the bioflavonoids. There's more info about these on our Menstruation page. Above all please have a vitamin D test done. Take care Wray

Sep 30, 2013
Diagnosed with low progesterone, continued....
by: Jennifer

Thank you so much. It has taken me some time to get back to you because I have had some serious issues with my dr. I am going to see another dr on Oct 7th. The bottle of progesterone cream she prescribed me is not even close to a one month supply so I do not have enough to get me through till then. I am going try to purchase something without a prescription ASAP and follow your advice until I get to the other dr. She prescribed the 25 mg in a click bottle. 4 clicks at bedtime days 8-15, 8 clicks twice a day days 16-25th. I have just continued the 4 clicks until I can get more and I am on day 18. If I up the dose as suggested it will be gone in 2 days. I didn't really know what else to do. I truly don't even know what dose I am getting because the bottle is not very explanatory. I am definitely concerned that progesterone can actually prevent conception and wish she had explained more to me. So you recommend stopping at 2-3 months or once hormones are balanced? My testosterone was 28 ng/ dL. My magnesium was not flagged but was on the low end of 1.7 mg/ dL. My vitamins D is low. Also, she had been concerned that my prolactin was high in my first test results ( I don't have the number to the first test ) so tested again to rule out a pituitary tumor ( if I am not mistaken ). This last time my prolactin was 16.1 ng/ mL. She said it was in normal range although a bit on the high side she no longer seemed concerned. Do you think there is anything to be concerned with as far as my prolactin or testosterone results? I am taking calcium with magnesium and zinc as well as a vitamin D supplement. I had no idea the effects sugars could have on my hormones. I am going to do my best to cut out the foods you mentioned from my diet. So you think I should be taking progesterone daily including during bleeding? I really appreciate all of your help and the time you take to answer my questions.

Sep 30, 2013
Diagnosed with low pogesterone, continued...
by: Jennifer

I forgot to ask, if I am suppose to have 400mg daily of progesterone and a complete bottle of cream has a total 2000mg am I correct in assuming a bottle will only consist of a 5 day supply? 6 bottles for a 30 day supply?

Oct 03, 2013
Diagnosed with low pogesterone, continued...
by: Wray

Hi Jennifer We do have a page on Hormone Testing you could look through. Your testosterone is fine, the range is 30 - 95 ng/dL, no harm in having it slightly lower. Your prolactin is within range too, 2 - 29 ng/mL. If you eat green veggies, which have magnesium and calcium, plus dairy which has calcium, but very little magnesium, then I suggest stopping the calcium. The vitamin D will draw this from the gut, one of it's many roles. If your vitamin D is low, that means it's very low, do you have the results? Most doctors are way behind when it comes to vitamin D levels. You need to get it up high and quickly with at least 10,000iu per day. Yes sugar is the most damaging substance we can consume, plus the grains too. I do feel you'll need progesterone daily until things have settled down. You need to stop the 'severe PMS, heavy periods, and terrible cramping' that you have. You need to take the NAC, taurine, vitamin D and the bioflavonoids. If you do need the 400mg/day, I might be wrong, then you are right about the number of tubes needed. But it's essential to get your vitamin D up, otherwise you're wasting the progesterone. Please let me have the results of the vitamin D test, then I can recommend how much you should take. Take care Wray

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