Insomnia from Progesterone?

by Marie
(Michigan)

I'm 39 and blood tests on 2 occasions showed lack of ovulation, though my cycles do arrive every month. Around September I suddenly started having severe insomnia, on top of other menopausal type symptoms like dryness, lack of libido, and hair thinning. Nothing I took seemed to help me sleep.

My doctors all attributed it to anxiety, which I've struggled with my whole life. However, there was no particular event that would have triggered the sleep problems and I had actually been sleeping better than I had in 2 years when this started. Recently I started using a bit of progesterone cream hoping to sort out the imbalance, along with other methods (meditation, etc.) to help me sleep (I was going along with the doctors who told me it was anxiety). After a few days of using less than 1/8 tsp of the cream in the mornings, I started sleeping better, and actually lowered my sleeping medication. But the following month the cream was causing the insomnia to become worse almost immediately (I was using less than 10 mg a day).

I'm scared to continue the cream, not knowing if this is something that will pass. The insomnia is horrible, and severely impacts my life.

I'm grateful for any advice.

Thank you!

Comments for Insomnia from Progesterone?

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Feb 05, 2010
Low Estrogen
by: suzy-q

Sounds like you could have low estrogen. Low levels can cause anxiety and sleep problems. Progesterone while helpful to some can cause anxiety in others by raising cortisol levels (the stress hormone). I had to find this out the hard way, as I have encountered the same issues you have had. Hope this helps.

Feb 23, 2010
Insomnia from Progesterone?
by: Wray

Hi Marie. Anovulatory cycles do start at about age 35, so this is not unusual. But it does mean your progesterone levels are dropping, as it's only when we ovulate that we make progesterone. So the symptoms are not unusual either. Anxiety is caused by a lack of GABA, it's one of our most calming neurotransmitters. GABA itself is difficult to use, but as progesterone activates the GABA receptor sites, it's normally enough to stop the anxiety.
You might like to see this web page.

It would seem your progesterone has been too low all your life, and the 1/8th tsp is not enough. All the successful studies used between 100-200mg/day, some more for the severe cases. Stress does drop progesterone levels sharply, which increases adverse symptoms. If you're not ovulating regularly it would mean you have excess oestrogen, this also suppresses progesterone. Cortisol, our stress hormone, is made in the adrenals from progesterone, so any added stress would drop the level. The reason the insomnia worsened was excess oestrogen, please see this web page for more info. Take care, Wray

Jul 05, 2010
Insomnia from Progesterone
by: Marie

HI Wray.

Thanks for responding! To update on my experience, I had gone to see a Dr. who specializes in bioidentical hormones, and he put me on 100 mg progesterone capsules to take coninuously for at least 2 months. I didn't really feel anything, including any improvement in sleep (I actually had to up my sleeping pill dose just a bit). After a month, I switched over to a topical product again knowing that I really wasn't getting enough progesterone with the capsule. I did that for 3 days only, then stopped because I thought I was having side effects with my eyes. Turned out I'm just getting old :) Anyway, about 2 weeks after I stopped the cream, my sleeping actually got MUCH better. I was ALMOST to the point where I could come off my sleep medication altogether (on 25 mg vs. 150 mg when the insomnia began).

Then the next cycle rolled around around and I went full force into the progesterone (50 mg a day per Dr. recommendation). As soon as I started I had to increase my sleeping pill dose again. It never got any better over the 2 weeks on the progesterone, and it hasn't gotten any better in the almost 2 weeks I've been OFF the progesterone.

It's strange to me that the insomnia I've had since August of 2009 gets better after adding then stopping the progesterone (though it hasn't gotten better since stopping after this last cycle . . .yet), but gets worse when I start the cream again. Do you have any isight into this cycle of sleep improvement and regression??? I'm scared of permanently getting stuck in insomnia hell if I keep going with the cream. But I also need it to clear up cervical dysplasia I'm confident is related to too much estrogen. Will the insomnia eventually go away if I continue with the cream, and how long should it take???

Thanks!

Jul 08, 2010
Insomnia from Progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Marie Firstly oral progesterone is a waste of time, most of it being destroyed by the gut, the liver metabolising the remainder. Unless 300-600mg/day is taken, but that really strains the liver unnecessarily. Please see here and here. Injections, suppositories or creams are far better systems, the cream being more versatile. As I said previously, the amount should be no less than 100mg/day, so you are not going full force into progesterone with only 50mg/day. This will merely keep you in a state of oestrogen dominance as you've discovered. To overcome this quickly I would actually suggest you use 200mg/day, then once symptoms have resolved reduce it slowly till you find the optimum level. I still use about 170mg/day and that's after 14 years of using it. The insomnia is only caused by excess oestrogen, so each time you start the progesterone it will occur again and again, as each time the low dose of progesterone is merely stimulating the oestrogen receptor sites. You are right about the cervical dysplasia, oestrogen and only oestrogen can cause cells to divide and multiply, it's a mitogen, progesterone is not. In fact it reverses this affect, so I would suggest you use some of the cream in your vagina too. Please read our web page on Oestrogen Dominance again, it explains in greater detail what's happening. Please also look at our page on Anxiety again. There is a list of nutrients which help with insomnia. Progesterone does help but if it's severe you will need help from these too, rather than taking a sleeping pill. Take care Wray

Sep 16, 2010
Question for Marie or others with insomnia problem
by: Yaleigh

Hi Marie. Just wondering if you indeed increaded the dosage as was suggested and if you did, did it help with the insomnia? I'm having the exact same issues and very reluctant to continue using much less at an increased dose. Thanks!

Sep 11, 2012
possibly low thyroid
by: Anonymous

Has a dr ever checked your thyroid? In my late 30s i started to experience waking up after only 5-6 sleep not being able to go back to sleep. Turns out i had a low normal thyroid. Bioidentical thyroid meds did the trick after about a month. Your bioidentical dr will know specifically what to check.

Oct 08, 2012
IVF using donor eggs and insomnia
by: proctor

Hi I started taking oestrogen as part of the donor eggs program last thursday and since then i havent been able to sleep. i previously had chronic insomnia but had it under control using melatonin, magnesium and castor oil. However since they put me on oestrogen i havent slept. I had used progesterone cream in the past and that helped me sleep initially but then ended up having the opposite affect. Can you tell me if i should go back to the cream to off-set the additional oestrogen i have been put on. Many thanks.

Oct 08, 2012
IVF using donor eggs and insomnia
by: Wray

Hi Proctor Oestrogen is a problem. You use the word 'taking' so I'm assuming you were given oral oestrogen. This is not the best method of delivery, they've found topical oestrogen more effective, less dangerous and with less adverse side effects. Is there any way you could get them to change your script? Progesterone will help with insomnia, see here, here and here. But you would need more than most due to the added oestrogen. The reason it helped in the past, and then didn't, was probably because you were told to use 20mg/day, maybe 40mg/day. I've found generally the amount needs to be 100-200mg/day or more, dependant on symptoms. I feel you would need 200mg/day if not more. We do have a page on Pregnancy you could look through, and another here. Take care Wray

Oct 30, 2012
Insomnia
by: Rebecca

I've been taking 200 mg of progesterone just starting after ovulation. I normally get chronic migraines and didn't even have one during the 14 days I was taking it (amazing for me). I however did experience insomnia. I know some usually recommend a higher dose for insomnia but I'm already taking a lot. Do you think it's too much or will it even out over the next months? I stopped the progesterone in order to menstruate and again I have migraines and pretty bad cramps as usual but I am sleeping. I'd appreciate any insight.

Oct 30, 2012
help with migraines and insomnia too
by: Rebecca

For Wray- I am hoping you can provide some insight for me. I'm 36 years old and ever since the birth of my son almost 2 years ago I've had chronic migraines. They are more frequent with menstration but I get them pretty much all month off and on. I tend to always have some sort of headache of not a
Migraine. If its really bad I take imitrex and it does help. I rely on Advil most days otherwise. I started using progesterone cream this past cycle (tracked my ovulation and started it after that). I used 200 mg breaking it up 4 times a day. For the first time in years I had no migraine for 2 straight weeks and had a lot more energy. However I started having another side effect- insomnia. I'd either wake and not be able to go back to sleep, or not fall asleep until very late. I was getting between 4-6 hours of sleep a night and was not able to nap at all. But still I felt better than usual and was pleased. Now, I went off of the cream for menstruation and I am sleeping great, but the migraines are back and I have very bad cramps (they feel like early labor). Should I have used the cream continuously instead and can I still do so even though I've been off it a few days? Also any help on dosage for the insomnia? Am I still not taking enough for my particular issues or am I taking it at the wrong times? Thank you so much!

Oct 31, 2012
insomnia and taking 100 mg. progesterone
by: tina

Hey Ladies,
I have been experiencing the same problem with the progesterone. I am 55 years old and currently have vaginal atrophy so I need to be taking estriol which I insert vaginally (2.25 mg.)....which is a low dose. I have suffered with insomnia for quite a long time and it seems that while I am on the progesterone I have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up early. It seems like I only get about 4-6 hours a night. I did go off the P for almost two months (August and September) and my sleep improved, BUT the vaginal atrophy came back with a vengence. I am very thin so maybe I don't store estrogen. I had a blood spot and saliva test done back in July while I was on the 2.25 mg. estriol and 100 mg. progesterone and my Progesterone saliva and blood spot levels were high as well as the estradiol to P ratios. Couldn't understand that because I am on estriol. Anyhow, the sleep issue is killing me and I don't know if I should up my Progest dosage to 200 mg. a nigh and see if that helps. Does anyone have any advice. Also.........the 2.25 mg. of estriol is not helping with the vaginal atrophy but maybe I need more time on it. Any help would be appreciated.

Nov 01, 2012
help with migraines and insomnia too
by: Wray

Hi Rebecca I wish progesterone therapy was simple! But I am happy the Migraines were helped. Progesterone is a potent anti-inflammatory. It's also good for sleep as it enhances GABA, see here, here and here. But it does seem it's stimulating oestrogen in this respect. Oestrogen is an excitatory hormone, it enhances the glutamate response. Glutamate is our most excitatory neurotransmitter, see here, here, here and here. This last paper suggests GABA is low in insomnia, I can only assume the progesterone, by stimulating oestrogen, is then increasing glutamate. It should pass, but you could try taking GABA for a bit, and see if that helps. We have more info about GABA on our page Natural Antidepressants. If you do try it, please let me know if it helps, so others can read it, or I can pass it on. Continued below

Nov 01, 2012
help with migraines and insomnia too Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Rebecca You mention your cramps are like early labour. All uterine cramps are caused by the same inflammatory cytokines that are produced in labour. There are quite a few too! This is rather a mouthful, but these are some of them here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here here, here and here. One of the roles of progesterone is to quieten the uterus, in other words it opposes these cytokines. I always suggest rubbing the cream all over the tummy, or where ever there is pain. Even during bleeding, it won't upset the cycle. I also suggest using progesterone daily, during bleeding too, for about 2-3 months if symptoms are bad. It's a toss up between insomnia or migraines and cramps! But if you try the GABA, maybe you could stick to your cycle and see how you get on. Please let me know what you decide. Take care Wray

Nov 01, 2012
insomnia and taking 100 mg. progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Tina Insomnia is a problem for so many. Maybe you could try taking the GABA as I suggested to Rebecca, and see if that helps you. Although progesterone activates the GABA receptors, without sufficient GABA it's not going to have much effect. I'm interested you say you're using the estriol for vaginal atrophy, but it's not working. And yet you say when you stopped the progesterone it "came back with a vengeance". I use progesterone in my vagina every night to prevent both dryness and atrophy occurring. Progesterone is a potent anti-inflammatory. Why don't you try applying it instead of the estriol and see if it helps you too. Progesterone is also effective against Candida, whereas oestrogen encourages it. Another nutrient you could try is tyrosine, there's more info on our page about Natural Antidepressants. I'm not sure if your thoughts are buzzing while trying to fall asleep, if so the tyrosine might help. Vitamin D is another nutrient you could try, it's low in insomnia, see here and here. I also suggest increasing the amount of progesterone you're using, I don't believe it's enough. Take care Wray

Mar 08, 2013
DOES PROGESTERONE CAUSE SLEEP PROBLEM?
by: Anonymous

I am 42 year old, i just had my blood test done this year. Everything came out good, except progesterone was low. It was <0.5. I had sleep problem for many years. Do you think low progesterone can cause my sleep? I need help, please give any suggestions.
thanks

Mar 11, 2013
DOES PROGESTERONE CAUSE SLEEP PROBLEM?
by: Wray

Hi there Both low Progesterone and Vitamin D can cause sleep problems. Please consider using about 200mg/day progesterone and have a vitamin D test done. Once you know your level you'll know how much to take, no less than 5000iu per day. For more info on vitamin D levels, test kits etc see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth and Birmingham Hospital. Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml (175-250nmol/L) and not the 30ng/ml (75nmol/L) most labs and doctors regard as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although recent research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here. There's more info on our page How to use progesterone cream, Take care Wray


Jun 04, 2013
Bio identical progesterone
by: Sleep deprived

Hi, at the age of 51 I have always had fairly consistent sleep - around 8 hours.

A few months ago I took the pill (briefly) which led to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. In desperation I started taking bio identical hormones which initially (for a few days) led to some improvement. That was shortlived and for the last few months I have difficulty getting to sleep and staying a sleep.

In desperation I turned to Stillnox as prescribed by my doctor.

My dosage of bio identical progesterone was 150mg - it has just been increased to 300mg.

I took this dose last night for the first time and had NO SLEEP AT ALL. To make matters worse I was up and down all night long with the need to empty my bladder. I should add that I also stopped taking the Stillnox last night as I am fearful of side effects

To cut a long story short - I work full time and need to sleep in order to function. Now I don't know whether to cease the progesterone also - maybe that is contributing to my insomnia.

After three months averaging around 5 hours per night of often broken sleep (if I am lucky) and now after a night of no sleep at all my brain is so fuddled I don't know what to do.

Should I just go cold turkey and clear my body of the toxins that are leading to the insomnia? Isn't progesterone supposed to help me to sleep?

My most alert time is when I go to bed at night. maybe I just have to get used to no sleep?

Jun 05, 2013
Bio identical progesterone
by: Wray

Hi there All drug based Contraceptives have the potential to cause harm. It appears you're using oral progesterone, as you talk about taking it. Funnily enough oral progesterone is meant to help sleep, but in your case evidently not. But yes you are right progesterone does help sleep, see here, here and here. So too does vitamin D, see here and here. Please have a test done, it could be your level is too low. If you are taking oral progesterone is the least effective Delivery system, "The liver and gut region removed a mean of 96 per cent of the progesterone entering these tissues", see here. I suggest you empty the contents of the capsules and add it to a small amount of skin cream. Then apply that to your skin, you will get the full benefit of the progesterone, see here. I'm not sure if you are in Peri-menopause or Menopause, but these two pages give more info on how to use progesterone. Take care Wray

Aug 04, 2013
so tired
by: Sleep deprived

Hi Wray, I was taking the progesterone by troche - dissolved under the tongue. I did stop taking it after writing my first post. I went into a period of virtually NIL sleep and extreme anxiety after this. I didn't read your response until today. I even had to take a week off work - I was teary and very anxious.

I am getting a little more sleep now with the help of naturopathic medicine - but have not been able to recover my "usual" sleep. Often waking after 4 hours and sleeping very little or lightly after that time. I have just started taking progesterone oil - few drops on my tongue. Do you think that will work? I am too scared to go back to the bio-identical hormones as it so drastically affected my sleep and my breasts were so large and sore I was in a lot of discomfort. I almost feel like my sleep "clock" is so out of sync it doesn't know when to go to sleep .... can you suggest anything to help? I have been taking a naturopathic tonic; maca root, magnesium and adenosine (all natural medicines). I would just love to be able to get back to a deep sleep after waking as I used to be able to ....

Aug 04, 2013
so tired
by: Wray

Hi there Some progesterone gets absorbed by the lining of the mouth, but much is also swallowed. So you won't be getting much via a troche. I don't understand when you say you're scared about going back to bio-identical hormones, you are on one now via the drops! The amount in the drops is so small you still won't be getting enough. I've just re-read your first query, and the last line stood out..."My most alert time is when I go to bed at night". It seems you could have adrenal stress. Please consider taking 1/2tsp salt in some warm water before you go to bed. The adrenals need sodium to function correctly, it could be you don't have enough. Salt also helps sleep if the adrenals are stressed. This is an excellent article about it here. Take care Wray

Sep 13, 2013
@Fertilitynewyork
by: Sandy Potter

Glad to know Marie, that now you are better than before after using that cream. But My suggestion for you is its a delicate problem and cant be ignored. so you must refer a well experienced doctor for everything. And you should more conscious because it may affect your Ferility. And if it will happen then you surely go to the Fertility Treatment Center. Take the best care of yourself.Be healthy, God bless.


Oct 11, 2014
HYPOTHYROID, MENOPAUSE, ADRENALS, HAIRLOSS AND PROGESTERONE CREAM
by: Annie

Hi Wray - I am 52 y.o. and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 37 and have been taking Thyroxine (T4) medication since then. I have always battled with tiredness and overcame this with high protein diets. As a sugar addict, sticking to protein has been a battle over the years. I have also battled with bouts of insomnia. My scalp has been itchy off and on since 2000. In 2005 I started losing a small amount of hair at my temples but found that using Nioxine helped at controlling the hairloss. In 2011 I noticed my hairline all around my head was receding slightly and overall slight thinning. I was losing a small ball of hair in the shower and on my brush daily which was alarming for me because I have always had very thick curly hair. I saw a dermatologist who told me that I had telogen effluvium. My thyroid testing during this period was TSH - 0.1 / T4 - 12. Last year I had an ovarian polyp removed along with scraping of the uterine wall (Aug 2013) followed by an endoscopy and then had my gallbladder removed (Sept 2013). In December 2013, I noticed aggressive hair shedding on a daily basis and more slight receding around the hairline especially in the forehead and temples. In January 2014 my TSH was 7 and T4 was 15. I was tired, grumpy, sleeping 12 hours and my hairloss was progressing. My general physician and several specialists believed it was my thyroid causing the hairloss. Another general physician believed the hairloss and receding hairline was hormonal. Since January 2014 to September 2014 my TSH has not come down – remaining between 5 and 7 – even though I had upped my Thyroxine from 125 to 150. In March 2013 my estrogen level was 1350. In March 2014 my estrogen level was 60. Since May 2014 the fine hair on my temples had thinned considerably and my hairline had receded by ½ an inch especially at the top of my forehead. In late July 2014, I was disturbed and physically sickened by the fact that every morning for about 3 consistent weeks I was witnessing my front hairline receding at a fast rate. It was out of control and I did not know how to stop it. After the 3 weeks it stopped receding. In August 2014 I had more female surgery for uterine scraping. Apparently my uterus has thickened with fibroids. I also have ovarian cysts which have not been removed. I was in panic stages at this point. On 24th September 2014 I saw a holistic medical doctor who put me on to a natural bio-progesterone cream and a natural T3 pill. Her advice regarding my thyroid medication – 100mcg of Thyroxine (T4) and 30mcg/per pill (1 pill in morning and 1 pill in afternoon) of Tiodothyronine (T3). She told me to take 100mg per day of the progesterone cream which I took after seeing her on that day. I did not take the T3 med until the next day. On the very next morning after using the progesterone cream for the very first time I was shocked to see more recession in my front hairline. And boy did my scalp, face and ears itch!! I took 100mg of progesterone for another day and noticed more recession the following morning, once again. I notified my holistic doctor about the fast hairline recession and she told me to take 50mg of the progesterone cream which I did. The following morning I saw more hairline disaster!! Virtually I lost ½ an inch hairline at my temples and forehead in a period of about 4 days! After much research I actually upped the progesterone cream to 400mg per day to ward of the estrogen dominance and to stop Testosterone DHT. This seemed to stop the recession. When I notified my holistic doctor I was on 400mg of progesterone cream she told me to STOP! “Way too much” she said. So I went off the cream for a few days (total 3 days off the cream). Reading for hours on the benefits of progesterone cream I have once again started on 400mg of progesterone cream today and my scalp has started itching badly again along with my face too. Since taking my first dose of progesterone cream and T3 I have had bad insomnia and I feel my adrenals are suffering!! I feel quite WIRED!!! My adrenals have suffered for a number of years actually! Since taking the cream on all the different dosages I have been getting night (and day) sweats!! My temples are now almost bald. I have lost almost 4 pounds since taking the T3 and the cream. Now on juicing and gluten free diet.
Please note other symptoms:
Foggy brain and memory fade
Lack of salt
Leaky gut
Spinal stenosis in my neck (C4) since 1998
Swelling of legs since 1998
Weight fluctuation
Continued hairloss and recession!!
Weight fluctuation for over 30 years
Heart murmur and mitral valve prolapse – skipped heart beats commencing about 4 years ago

Your prompt response would be so much appreciated as I am DESPERATE for answers and help. Can’t afford to lose more hair either.

Dec 31, 2014
Insomnia from progesterone
by: Jasmine

Hi everyone
I have been using progesteron cream for about 4 months. At the end of the fourth month I started to expirence insomnia I have never had a problem whit my sleep before does anybody know why this happens to me? Is it because I have excess progesterone or maybe I do need estrogen? I have been to the doctor and got my hormones tested and they were all normal nothing too low or high of hormones. Do you know how I can get my sleep back? and this is my first month whit stopping the cream. Maybe my body needs to adjust itself or something. I hope you guys have some advice for me:) sorry for the long post.

Aug 01, 2015
progesterone
by: Anonymous

Progesterone makes you sleep and does not cause insomnia. If you have insomnia look elsewhere for the cause...

Sep 24, 2015
Insomnia after using the cream
by: Kristi

I used progesterone cream twice and it has resulted in extreme anxiety and insomnia. From what i am hearing, progesterone cream can actually increase levels of estrogen in the body which can lead to these issues. I am afraid to take larger doses of the cream as it feels like a big risk. I am single and work full time to support myself. Additionally, i used to take Klonopin and had a horrible withdrawal reaction which persisted for two years. I am nervous to take large doses of progesterone as it is known to interact with these receptors (GABA) and can cause its own withdrawal reaction. Looking for alternative ways to overcome estrogen dominance.

Oct 20, 2015
SEVERE INSOMNIA!!
by: Michelle

Hi there,

I am desperate over here! I've used progesterone cream on and off over the years, because I know I have too much estrogen and too little progesterone. The problem is that I have a SUPER sensitive system - I usually have to take kids' medicine and/or not take any at all, because I'm just so sensitive and react so severely. I can't drink any type of caffeine, because it affects me so greatly. Anyway, each time I have used progesterone cream, it has made me feel so jittery, and it creates such horrific insomnia in me. Right now I'm on my 3rd day of using ProgesterAll, and I feel like I've been hit by a truck. I've been using 1/4 t. per day, and I'm beyond exhausted, weepy, jittery, AWFUL sleep {if any}, feeling super lethargic and depressed, etc. I am at such a loss of what to do. I obviously need the progesterone, but taking it causes such severe issues, too. Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Blessings.

Jul 12, 2016
adverse effect from progesterone
by: Caroline

I too tried the bio-dentical progesterone because I was going through menopause and was bleeding for 10 weeks. My blood work showed my progesterone in normal range, but my estrogen was very high, so the Dr. thought progesterone was the cure for this. The first week I took bio-dentical progesterone, I noticed I wasn't sleeping too great and the bleeding was still happening. Originally prior to going to the Dr.when I was bleeding sometimes it was heavy and sometimes it was light but it went on for the 10 weeks so this why I wanted to get help. The second week of the progesterone I started bleeding huge clots. I went back to the Dr. who said my system was clearing out and gave me some other medication to stop the bleeding as it was so heavy. I never took the prescription because the next day the bleeding stopped and now a year later hasn't come back. The Dr. said it was due to the progesterone clearing out my system. I was just happy to stop the bleeding. However this was short lived because as I continued to take the progesterone, I had the worst insomnia that I have ever experienced in my life. I totally understand when others on this post talk about when mentioning feeling wide awake at night and jittery. This was me too. I went through 3 nights with no more than 1 hour of disrupted sleep. I tried taking over the counter sleeping pills, but they didn't even work. So I went to the library and took a whole bunch of books out and read every night. I would sometimes sleep about 4 hours just out of sheer exhaustion. I kept up with the progesterone for another 6 months with most nights sleeping no more than 5 hours of interrupted sleep. I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroid disease, but for some reason my thyroid levels are very good. I do eat well and exercise and my weight is fine. After 6 months of being on the progesterone, trying different doses and never a good night sleep, I weaned myself off of it. I now feel much more like myself and have not experienced that prolonged wide awake, anxious filled insomnia that I did while on the progesterone. Also the progesterone gave me much more hot flashes. I can't really explain what it is, but I think for some women, progesterone is simply not the answer for them. There is something in it that causes a bad reaction. Years ago, when I tried taking the pill, I only lasted 2 weeks, because the same thing happened to me. I started having insomnia and feeling anxious and not like myself. I think everyone is different and if the progesterone is causing such bad insomnia something is not agreeing with your system. I was actually glad I went through the previous experience with the pill, years ago, because otherwise I think what I went through with the progesterone would have really scared me to death. Perhaps it would be beneficial if health practitioners pay attention to the fact that there is this real strong adverse affect for some women taking the progesterone. It could really have ruined my life, had I not been able to look at this experience objectively and understand the source of it. Since being off the progesterone, my hot flashes have also diminished to be much more manageable. If anyone has an explanation as to why the progesterone does this to some women, it would be really helpful. I don't think that increasing doses is really the answer either.

Sep 04, 2016
Insterrupted sleep
by: Anonymous

I am getting wonderful results since starting natural progesterone two weeks ago. I use 3ml twice a day. The only problem is I only sleep About 2 /3 hours at a time at night(so more than six hours altogether but very interrupted

Sep 21, 2016
Insomnia for me too!
by: Sherry

I'm 56 and have tried estrogen pills, then patches, and then estrogen and progesterone pills, and then added testosterone pills. I also tried pellets. I was weepy, bitchy, couldn't sleep, anxiety, no sex drive, hot flashes, night sweats, depression...life was turned up side down and these meds either didn't help or made things worse. And now I'm on estrogen and progesterone compounded for me, creams. I've been on the compounded creams for about 3 years now, and at first I didn't sleep and then I began to sleep 5-6 hrs a night. And then I stopped sleeping again for the last few months, I'm at 2-3 hrs a night. Sometimes I can't tell if I've got too much estrogen or progesterone, and what's causing the insomnia. So last night I took the progesterone only, and did NOT sleep. I'm so exhausted today. I agree with others, that sometimes that which is supposed to make us calm and help us sleep, has the opposite effect on some of us. And if we have other things going on we're not privy too within our bodies, this will also cause conflict or problems. So I'm going to stop using the progesterone and see if I sleep better. If I do, then I'm off progesterone! I NEED SLEEP!

BUT to be fair, I have to say in July I also started on Sotolol and Eliquis because I have afib, and they installed a defibrillator in my chest. And these meds may also have the side effect of insomnia, but I was having this lack of sleep problem before these new meds, and it's worse since the new meds.

Dec 30, 2016
Insomnia for me too!
by: Michelle

Hi,
I am experiencing the worst insomnia ever. I'm shaky, my heart is pounding, no appetite and I've had to be driven to work twice this week as I cant function. I've had several nights in the past 2 wks. where I got absolutely NO sleep and the most I've gotten was 5 hrs. when taking double my usual amount of melatonin/L-theanine.

I'm 56 yrs. old and have been struggling with extremely low levels of estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone along with cortisol issues due to much stress which in turn is causing fatigue issues, foggy brain, dizziness. I've been seeing a Naturopath Dr. for over a yr. to try and balance my hormones with supplements but that did not work as my hormone levels actually gotten worse. I started to see a new Naturopath Dr. last month in the same practice who prescribed natural bioidentical estrogen, progesterone & testosterone and bioidentical adrenal cream. I stopped taking the creams a few days ago due to the insomnia but I'm stilling experiencing severe insomnia. I'm not sure if it takes a few days to get out of your system but I hope things get better soon as I can't keep going like this.

Jan 09, 2017
Progesterone cream causing insomnia and anxiety
by: Anonymous

I too have this issue with the progesterone cream. I know I need it but cannot get past these issues of insomnia and anxious/nervous feel when I use the cream. I do get testosterone pellets and do fine with those. I am still menstruating so no estrogen but do have heavy periods and fibroids that I know would get better if I could tolerate the progesterone.

Feb 02, 2017
insomnia
by: Cheryl

I first started taking the Natpro to see if it would help with severe insomnia. My progesterone/estrogen ratio was 44:1 ( blood work). I had no other symptoms. Within a few hours of starting the Natpro my face was burning hot and anxiety started in my stomach and I became increasingly anxious through the night. I took it again at 4 am and again at 6 am ( total of 150 mg so far). I noticed a calming effect when I took it at 4 am but I wasn't able to sleep. So I took it again at 6 am to see if it would help me sleep. I slept about 2 hours. At 11 am I was very anxious again so I applied another 50 mg and it did not help at all. I poured over all the information on the website to make sure I was applying it correctly but was so anxious and emailed Joy for some answers. I re applied another pumpful at 4 pm and felt even more anxious and my face was so hot! I had to go to a meeting that night and I was one of the leaders so I decided not to take any more because I could barely function I was having panic attacks. I even had to take something to relax me before I went to the meeting so I could function. So I took a total of 250 mg in 16 hours and then stopped completely. Those symptoms lasted 5-6 days without taking any more Natpro. My face is still red 8 days later and became very dry. I am in perimenapause. Joy told me that it may take 3 to 6 months for the progesterone to dominate the estrogen and that I could apply more to see if it would cut down on the oestrogen symptoms. The anxiety/ panic attacks were so bad I could not even function and I had none of that before. I know I could not function for 3 months with that amount of anxiety/ it was debilitating. I will say that I slept for 2 nights through the night 2 days after discontinuing the progesterone. I used 1 mg Xanax both nights but now 1mg of Xanax does not put me to sleep at all. I have emailed Joy a week ago but she hasn't emailed me back. I almost wonder if I slept those 2 nights because I had so much anxiety during the day I was completely worn out and the Xanax worked because it was working against the anxiety and not on the insomnia. My GP just prescribed a low dose of Zoloft to see if that will help. I really wanted it to work but I was afraid if I kept taking more and more it would make the anxiety even worse and then it would take even longer to be excreted from my body. Does anyone have a similar story and has gotten good results from the Natpro?

Feb 06, 2017
Help
by: V :-)

Hello,
I was wondering if I could get some advice from you?

I've had a hysterectomy over 20 years ago. I've tried a few kinds of hrt. I have candida, hypothyroidism and have a bacteria over growth in my small intestines. The doctor that is trying to help me has tried me on hormone creams. She starts me out on a very small amount and evertime the estrogen and or the testosterone causes me insomnia, flares up the candida and in the past it makes my breast sore. I've had a few bladder infections and she thinks that low estrogen is causing them so she's having me use estradiol twice a week in my vaginal area but I have to use it in the mornings otherwise I'm wide awake all night. Lately I feel like I've been using to much progesterone 50mg at night cause I feel it's causing me insomnia. I just had my saliva Cortisol Levels checked and my afternoon and night time are very high. I've read progesterone could cause this. Should women take a brake from progesterone once a month after having a hysterectomy so it doesn't build up in your system?

These are my blood test results...
Total Estradiol <10pg/ml postmenopausal <10
Progesterone 2.7ng/ml
Post menopausal <0.20ng/ml

I think this is high and my doctor says it's good for it to be high like this to help out with my fatigue. I don't agree with her and think I need to take a brake from it once a month and maybe lower my dose.

Total testosterone 15ng/dl 8-60
Free testosterone 0.08ng/dl 0.06-0.95

I'm a few weeks away from 50. Maybe my body doesn't like estrogen cause of the candida or maybe there's another reason. I also take naturethroid and am having trouble with that too if you need more information. I'm just hoping to get a few more answers before I go to see my doctor on the 13 of February. Thank you! V

Feb 21, 2017
Progesterone DEFINITELY causes insomnia for some
by: J

Ladies, for some of us progesterone DEFINITELY causes insomnia, and for me, add low blood sugar and food cravings. Because many in the health community have used Dr. Lee's book as the Gospel on female hormones, it has done many of us a disservice. I was on bioidentical hormones (troche then cream)for 7 years trying to control hot flashes, and for seven years have had severe insomnia. I recently gave up bio-identical and am on an estrogen patch. Whenever I add the 10 days of progesterone, I absolutely cannot go to sleep without a sleeping pill, and still wake prematurely with the pill. I have tried daily progesterone prior to the 10 day thing, and then I couldn't sleep all month long. On estrogen alone I sleep well, feel calmer, don't have blood sugar issues, or cravings. I wouldn't take progesterone at all if it weren't for the cancer risks of estrogen alone. The health community needs to tune into the fact that Dr. Lee's "therapy" is not a one-size-fits-all protocol.

Feb 21, 2017
Progesterone DEFINITELY causes insomnia for some
by: J

Ladies, for some of us progesterone DEFINITELY causes insomnia, and for me, add low blood sugar,and food cravings. Because many in the health community have used Dr. Lee's book as the Gospel on female hormones, it has done many of us a disservice. I was on bioidentical hormones (troche then cream)for 7 years trying to control hot flashes, and for seven years have had severe insomnia. I recently gave up bio-identical and am on an estrogen patch. Whenever I add the 10 days of progesterone, I absolutely cannot go to sleep without a sleeping pill, and still wake prematurely with the pill. I have tried daily progesterone prior to the 10 day thing, and then I couldn't sleep all month long. On estrogen alone I sleep well, feel calmer, don't have blood sugar issues, or cravings. I wouldn't take progesterone at all if it weren't for the cancer risks of estrogen alone. The health community needs to tune into the fact that Dr. Lee's "therapy" is not a one-size-fits-all protocol.

Apr 07, 2017
insomnia and anxiety
by: Anonymous

I'm on bioidentical hormones BIEST cream AND progesterone. I also take levothyroxine.

My doctor recently increased my progesterone (pill) to 200 in hopes that I could get some sleep. Well, it's not working and seems to be getting worse and I'm dealing with anxiety.

I've taken Advil PM, benedryl and I'm about to try a natural sleep aid even though the clerk said it gave her weird dreams... I just want to sleep and stay asleep.

I'm wondering what's worse, hot flushes or the constant waking? I can't seem to shut my brain off once I'm awake for the zillionth time.

I'm calling my doc tomorrow. I rather liked NOT having a period but if this is the consolation prize then NO THANKS.

Aug 21, 2017
Why Progesterone CAN *CAUSE* insomnia!
by: Anonymous

I am one of those "special" few who also gets severe insomnia from progesterone (oral, transdermal, and vaginal). And I finally found out WHY. (Or at least one reason why)

I don't understand why this isn't better known but progesterone CAN cause insomnia because it has *glucocorticoid* effects.

This means it can and DOES interact with cortisols' receptors (and activates them).

Why this is more pronounced in some vs. others is probably just a matter of idiosyncratic differences.

Sadly I'm one of the few who knows I need the GABA effects of progesterone but instead (or in addition), gets the Glucocorticoid effects. (And horrible insomnia and anxiety)

Just thought I'd share so others would know a) you're not alone, and b) there's actually a scientific reason


Nov 21, 2017
Agree progesterone causes insomnia
by: Anonymous

I too have found that progesterone causes insomnia. (I have tried oral compounded and progesterone cream.) No idea what to do about this because I am taking estrogen by patch to help with severe postmenopausal insomnia and I still have a uterus. On estrogen alone I sleep fine.

Nov 21, 2017
re: what to do (previous post)
by: Anonymous

unfortunately, if you have a uterus, and you are on estradiol, you NEED a progestin and a bleed periodically or you risk uterine cancer. So it's synthetic oral/patch/IUD or a hysterectomy. No choice :(.

Dec 01, 2017
High Progesterone
by: Anonymous

I read the recent posts about progesterone and insomnia with great interest. I am peri menopausal (40 years old) and since having a child 4 years ago I developed naturally high levels of progesterone after having low levels since my early 30s. My progesterone during the luteal phase (day 21 of my cycle) is 25% higher than the medical recommended upper limit. My estrogen is normal and based on the lab results for lutenizing hormone I'm not showing signs of menopause yet. As a result, before my period starts, for 10 days I experience insomnia, anxiety, elevated body temperature, sweating, severe heart burn, nausea, and mood disturbances. I am also 30lbs overweight and can not seem to lose body fat even with exercise and sound nutrition.

My hormone specialist MD didn't believe progesterone could be causing the problem and prescribed 70mg/day transdermal progesterone cream to help my "PMS". Stupidly I agreed to this hairbrained idea and I've now had the worst 3 months ever. Every woman is different. What works for one won't work for all. There is a subset of us out there who are clearly sensitive to progesterone, and for whom the "estrogen dominance" paradigm is garbage.

Check out the work of Dr. John Stubbs in the U.K. He theorizes that PMS is caused by progesterone, not estrogen. I'm starting to wonder if for some women progesterone is the issue, not the solution.

Dec 07, 2017
One more confirmation that progesterone causes insomnia
by: Anonymous

I do not know why more doctors and pharmacists are unaware that progesterone can cause insomnia. It appears from this blog to be very common. It has certainly been my experience.

The cream and the compounded micronized natural progesterone seem, for me, to cause the worst insomnia and to take the longest to clear from my system. (I am on week two since discontinuing 10-20 mg of oral natural progesterone and still cannot sleep.

Question: Have any of you tried Prometrium? I got raised cortisol and insomnia from taking 100 mg Prometrium for two months or so, but when I take 50mg or less 3 times a week I haven't had insomnia. However, Prometrium makes me very drowsy during the day, no matter what time of day I take it.

Dec 08, 2017
Generic Progesterone Can Definitely Cause Insomnnia
by: Petra

Generic micronized progesterone (in either cream or pill form) CAN DEFINITELY cause severe insomnia, as I discovered from trying both and as I see from my online research.

My insomnia from generic progesterone has been so bad it does not respond to strong prescription sleeping pills, which usually knock me out. It also does not respond to increased estradiol. (I am still suffering jitteriness and severe insomnia two weeks after discontinuing the generic progesterone.)

Prometrium must be a different formulation because it does not cause insomnia unless I take too high a dose. (For me 100mg is too high.) However, Prometrium for many, including me, has the problem of causing daytime drowsiness no matter the time of day or night it is taken. But I will take the daytime drowsiness over this horrible insomnia.

Once the generic progesterone it is out of my system, I plan to resume HRT with Prometrium at 10-20 mgs every day or two. (I either cut the 100 capsule or pin prick the capsule and squeeze out the estimated amount.)

Dec 09, 2017
Progesterone & Insomina
by: Anonymous

Generic Progesterone and Prometrium are both micronized progesterone - they are not different. If progesterone is taken orally, most is broken down by the liver so the amount of actual progesterone you get is maybe 15 mg (depends on the person). If you open the capsule and put it on your skin - you will get the whole 100 mg. If you take it orally, it's broken down into metabolites - one called allopregnenalone (not sure of spelling) is like a benzodiazepine and causes drowsiness. Best to take oral progesterone (including prometrium) at night.

Also, excess estrogen won't help with excess progesterone - it will actually make the insomnia worse. Excess estrogen will cause insomnia too (as will too little estrogen), it's more of a wired type of insomnia. So to the last poster - maybe consider lowering your estrogen (might help with the ongoing insomnia)

I have no answers. Seems some of us are just "different" :(.
I can't tolerate any progesterone. Even small amounts cause me insomnia that sleeping pills can't cure either.

Dec 09, 2017
Take Prometrium at Night
by: Anonymous

To the poster above who finds Prometrium sedating.

Prometrium can help with sleep because it causes sedation/drowsiness. So take it at night.

And it seems all of us are getting increased cortisol from progesterone/prometrium.

I wish there were a reason why. I have searched and can find none.

If anyone finds a way around this, please come back and share!

I would love to tolerate progesterone but for now sadly, I can not. ;(

Dec 11, 2017
Re taking only 10-20 mg by pricking the Promtrium
by: Anonymous

If you're on HRT with estradiol, 10-20 mg of progesterone isn't enough to protect your uterus from hyperplasia and cancer.
Talk to your doctor. You'll need something else.

Dec 11, 2017
Prometrium
by: Petra

Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately when I take Prometrium before bed it makes me drowsy the next day. I seem to remember when I first went on HRT for menopausal symptoms and was taking 100 mg of Prometrium it took a couple of months to cause insomnia. I read on another blog that someone's doctor told her that the latest thinking is to take 100mg of Prometrium for 10 days every three months. Has anyone heard of this method?

Dec 12, 2017
Promètrium
by: Anonymous

Officially -by the studies done showing protection from endometrial cancer, you need to take 200 mg for 14 days.
I think it's called long cycling.

I've heard some doctors will offer ten days, but the studies showed a higher risk with ten days vs twelve. (How much higher? not sure but not much don't think. But still statistically significant I believe.)

If you can tolerate 200 mg for 10-14 days..go for it! I wish I could :( (After a few days I'm wired and exhausted and can't sleep even with pills)

And to the person who was sleepy the next morning after taking prometrium at night. I heard one person say their doctor recommended taking it at dinner to avoid the hangover sedation.

Best of luck ladies. I'm still hoping for a magic solution ...there has to be a way around this!! :(


Dec 15, 2017
Thank you
by: Anonymous

The above comments are very helpful. I appreciate them.

Jan 07, 2018
Has anyone sleeping better ?
by: Eileen

To anyone who has posted here commenting that they got severe insomnia after stopping the progesterone cream, I'm wondering if your insomnia has gotten better after some time. Can someone pls let me know roughly how long it takes, I know everyone is different, I just need to find some hope in this.

I was applying a VERY minimal amount of progesterone cream (5mg) daily for 2 cycles, and was starting to get a wired feeling at bedtime, so I stopped using it. But now I cannot sleep at all, even with prescription sleep meds.

Anyone slowly recovering from insomnia after stopping the cream ?

Thx in advance !

Feb 04, 2018
Significant insomnia with progesterone
by: CindyCRNA

Hi All. I have been on HRT for about 9 years. I was on the cream, then oral then the troches. We changed compounding pharmacys to one in Wichita because my levels were too low with whatever they used in our local compounding pharmacy. My levels shot up and we adjusted the dose to acceptable blood levels.

I have fought insomina since starting menopause but it had progressively started to get worse in the last 6 months. I was waking up at 3am wide awake and a bit jittery despite taking ambien sr 12.5 mg, trazadone 50 mg and melatonin/magnesium. I was having to redose the ambian at 3am just to go back to sleep.

When I would forget to take my troche, I had some oral progesterone left over so would take that and noticed I slept better so now (we are only 1 day into this experiment) I took 200mg last night and am thinking of not taking any tonight. I have an appointment in a week with my BHRT doc who specializes in menopause. I think the progesterone has never helped me sleep although I will say, my hair has NEVER been thicker in my entire life as it is now! I am wondering maybe I could take the progesterone in the morning as it sure as heck doesn't make me sleepy!

I will report back as this is a rough way to live, sleep deprived.

Feb 05, 2018
Significant insomnia with progesterone
by: Joy

Hi CindyCRNA

Progesterone does help with mild insomnia, magnesium glycinate also helps. Vitamin D3 is also very important as a deficiency reduces the benefits of progesterone.

Please read the post by Wray further up on this thread, she explains things there.


Feb 05, 2018
Thank you Joy
by: CindyCRNA

Hi Joy, thank you so much for your response.
I take 5000/day of D3 and my levels were checked. My doc says I'm one of the few in his practice with normal D3 levels.

Feb 06, 2018
Prometrium vs generic progesterone
by: Anonymous

Hi Cindy

I found that generic bio-identical progesterone caused me severe insomnia. P is a precursor to cortisol and I am guessing the generic converts to cortisol more quickly than Prometrium. Many other people in this thread report severe insomnia and jitteriness with generic P.

For me, Prometrium, at 50 mg and under, does not cause insomnia. Right now I am taking approx 20 mg of Prometrium (obtained by pin pricking a 100mg capsule) and it is curing my long lasting post menopausal insomnia. I have stopped estrogen as 20 mg is not enough to oppose it and am sleeping fine without E.

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