Low Progesterone and IBS-D
This story is graphic and I hope not too gross, but I went through a lot and maybe my story will help someone.
At the age of 52, I started getting uncontrollable diarrhea. I'd never had this problem before. I was still menstruating. But the diarrhea was ruining my quality of life. I could no longer run outside. I could no longer take a car drive longer then 10 minutes without taking a pitt stop. Being at work was awful as I never knew if this horrible thing might happen to me at any moment and I might have an accident. I was under so much stress worrying about an accident happening. It never did, but got very close many times. I relented and finally even got Depends because I was so afraid of what might happen.
I went to a gastro entomologist and was diagnosed with IBS-D. He suggested I get a colonoscopy and endoscopy. It was very hard for me to go through the colonoscopy prep because I was basically experiencing it everyday of my life and no food would stay in me at all. In fact, eating seemed to trigger episodes of having to run to the ladies room after a few bites of any meal.
When my colonoscopy and endoscopy results turned out pretty normal with no remarkable events, my gastroenterologist flatly to go see a psychiatrist. This was his solution. I was suffering and was miserable and fearful that I was going to have to live on Immodium for the rest of the days of my life. (which wouldn't even work sometimes). It was so insulting really. I walked out of that office questioning my sanity.
All this while, I was constantly researching what could be my health problems and I saw many many different things and tried pursuing many different paths, experimented with probiotics, enzymes, and all kinds of supplements. I tried no supplements. I did the elimination diet and lost a lot of weight (too much for me, I'm small to begin with) and I ended up having to give up exercise, as I was constantly feeling weak and fatigued.
Finally I read that excessive cortisol levels might cause diarrhea so I asked my Dr to test my hormones. Figuring that I was probably entering menopause anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to see what was going on in my body. Well, turns out, my progesterone levels were quite low. She prescribed for me some natural bio-identical progesterone cream. (My cortisol levels were actually normal). What I didn't expect to happen was a cessation of my diarrhea. Almost immediately. I had to figure out the right amount of Progesterone to take and it looks like I typically need about 50-100mg per day.
Now, I'm 54 and 2 months ago, my period finally disappeared and I started getting hot flashes. I got my hormones tested again and all my hormone levels really dropped in just 3 months time. My Dr. recommended that I start using some estrogen and dhea to help with the hot flashes and get my hormone levels back up. Well, I decided against using the estrogen....as I've always been estrogen dominant and I started using evening primrose oil and that made all the hot flashes go away. But I did start the DHEA. Well, guess what started coming back after 2 weeks of use? Yup, started getting diarrhea again. I did some more research and while I was using the DHEA to raise my testosterone levels, it also raises estrogen levels. So, I've now stopped using the DHEA and am hoping that this will bring me back to "normal". I am wondering if using Pregnenolone will help me with my testosterone levels. I've also read that it might and that it might also help my progesterone levels and not necessarily affect my estrogen levels.
Do you know if thats accurate information? I have some pregnenolone, 10mg here that I could start but am waiting to speak with my Dr. and get her opinion on this but saw your website and figured I'd share my story.
So, if anyone else out there is getting bad IBS and your gastroenterologist can't find a cause and tells you that it must be because you're crazy, you're not. Get your hormones tested.