Low Progesterone

by Claudia
(Thailand)

Hello Wray, I am 40 years old. I took birth control pills for 15 years and have stopped 2 years ago. I was sufferening from chronic stress and insomnia. I did a hormone test and the result for my progesterone was 0.33 ng/ml, Estradiol 44.6 pg/ml and DHEA 103 ug/dl.

I was given 50 - 200 mg of progesterone on and off to regulate my menstrual cycle. I would spot 3 days, bleed heavily for 3 days and spot another 2 days. The doctor had advised for me to take Vitamin c 1000mg, Vit D 4000 iu, Calcium 1200 mg, magnesium 500 mg, Vitamin E 400 iu, evening primrose oil 2000 mg, fish oil, zinc 50 mg, soy isoflavones, co q 10 120 mg, placentra and a daily coffee enema to flush out the excess estrogen from my liver....my sleeping improved, my mood was elevated, the anxiety and depression I felt during PMS alleviated. I decided to stop taking the progesterone pills because it gave me melasma. Each month 2 weeks before I have my menstruation, I would have intense cravings for sweets thus causing a bingeing cycle and I would breakout a lot around the chin. I would have one or two sleepless nights before I start spotting for 2 days, 3 - 4 hours of cramps on the 3rd day where I would bleed heavily for 3 days and spot another 2 days. Its the same ordeal every month eventhough I've been exercising regularly, eating healthily, well, healthily for only two weeks after my period ended and then the craving/bingeing starts again 1 - 2 weeks prior to my period. I don't want to take any progesterone pills because I don't think it solves the problem.

I want to take a more holistic natural approach to combat the cravings, breakouts and the SPOT, cramps and heavy bleeding, and a mild PMS which is clearly a sign of low progesterone. After reading so many stories on your website, I have decided to stop taking soy products, soy isoflavones (recommended to me by my hormone doctor) but what else can I do to increase the level of my progesterone. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Comments for Low Progesterone

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Mar 07, 2011
Coming off BCP
by: Eve

I have a similar story. I was on BCP for 20 years with only 1 break for 1 month. I came off in April 2009. I have had a battle with the low progesteron, weight gain, elevated estrogen, elevated testosterone and finding a solution. My PMS was so severe that I was suicidal. So not taking progesterone has not been an option for me personally. It sounds to me like your symptoms are still point to excess estrogen. Considering you have tried many (great) natural remedies, another thing you can consider to try is "cell" or "tissue" salts which are also all natural. The information on cell salts has been around since the 1800's, western medicine does not use them in their practice as we are a drug based society. Maybe Thailand is different? They are inexpensive and easily found on the Internet.
Good Luck to you!!

Mar 09, 2011
low progesterone
by: Claudia

Hi Eve,

Thanks for sharing your story. I've never heard of cell salt before, looks really interesting, I will definitely try it out. I was wondering, what are the foods that increases estrogen, I've been trying to eat healthily but seems like flaxseed and soy promotes estrogen, I justed to make sure that I'm eating the righ foods for hormonal balance.

Mar 09, 2011
Estrogen
by: Eve

Hi Claudia, I am in the US so it may be different for you. In the US if your beef and chicken, eggs, cheese, etc is not labled organic, no hormones added/treatment, grass fed etc. then you are likely going to have hormones in your food - estrogen as it makes the animals grow faster. I have read such controversy over soy and soy products that I personally just avoid it when possible. Also, we come in contact with fake estrogens in our environment. Pesticides, cleaners, laundry soap, body soap. While it isn't estrogen, it reacts in the body as estrogen. You can google more information. The list is pretty long and it is almost overwhelming to me. Good luck to ya!

Mar 14, 2011
Low Progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Claudia Your progesterone to oestrogen ratio is 7.4:1, very low. We run Saliva Tests and from these we've found that the ratio is best if it's 600:1 and over. Your DHEA is within normal range, see here. Oral progesterone is the least effective Delivery system. Interesting you developed melasma, this is an indication of Oestrogen Dominance. It's caused by excess oestrogen stimulating melanocytes, these make melanin, the pigmentation in all skin types. Please see here and here. It's often a sign of adrenal fatigue too. Progesterone does resolve the problem, as it suppresses the excess oestrogen and it takes the strain off the adrenals. These make progesterone before they can convert it into cortisol, one of our stress hormones. Stress drops progesterone levels, thereby allowing oestrogen to dominate. It appears you are either not ovulating or making very little progesterone in your luteal phase. Progesterone should peak during this phase, oestrogen does too. But if the ratio of progesterone to oestrogen becomes skewed the symptoms you mention would occur. Oestrogen disturbs blood glucose, hence the cravings. I suspect the Contraceptives are the cause of the disturbed cycle and blood glucose. This occurs in so many women who write to me who've taken them. I'm pleased you've stopped the soy, unless fermented, soy shouldn't be used. You do need more progesterone, but in a form that's well absorbed, ie injections, suppositories or a cream. The amount needs to be high, I recommend 100-200mg/day. As you have such severe symptoms I would suggest the higher amount to begin with. But please be aware oestrogen dominance can occur. I've found the higher the oestrogen present beforehand, the worse the symptoms, if enough is used it normally passes quickly. Please see our page on How to use progesterone. The supps you are taking are good, I would avoid the calcium, it's usually magnesium we are short of, this is a co-factor for vitamin D. Please increase this to 5000iu's/day. For more info see the Vitamin D council and GrassrootsHealth websites. Take care Wray

Mar 14, 2011
Coming off BCP
by: Wray

Hi Eve Contraceptives are the bane of my life. Countless women have major problems with them. The damage they do is insidious, so many don't notice it until they stop them. They do cause Insulin Resistance too, one reason for the weight gain. Tissue salts are a gentle way to re-balance the body. Although I've taken them before I don't know enough about them. Like you I can't do without progesterone. Take care Wray

Mar 14, 2011
low progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Claudia It's impossible to avoid all foods which contain phytoestrogens. Due to their similarity to an oestrogen molecule, phytoestrogens are able to bind to oestrogen receptors. The similarity arises because both oestrogen and the phytoestrogens have a phenolic or triple bonded A-ring. This enables the phytoestrogens to exert an oestrogenic effect on the cell it binds to. There are over 300 foods which contain phytoestrogens, some of them are legumes, which contain the highest amount, ie soybeans and all soy products such as tofu, miso, tempeh and soy milk. Also lentils, alfalfa, mung beans, fenugreek, peanut, chick pea, kudzu, lupine, broad bean, red clover. Grains ie wheat, oats, barley, rice, wheat germ, rice bran, including breads and cereals. Nuts and oilseeds including flax seed, sesame seeds. Yams, ginseng, hops and beer, plus fennel, caraway and anise. All legumes contain high levels of phytoestrogens, plus trypsin inhibitors, phytates and goitrogens too. It's best to aim for a balance. I avoid the bulk foods, ie the grains and legumes, but still eat nuts, seeds and sprouts. We do have a page on Nutrition you might like to look at. Take care Wray

Mar 14, 2011
Estrogen
by: Wray

Hi Eve There is controversy surrounding soy, many studies finding a benefit, but many not. I would prefer to avoid it like you. You might like to see these papers here, here, here and here. And an excellent site for more info on the oestrogen mimics is Our Stolen Future. Take care Wray

Mar 21, 2011
Cell/Tissue Salts
by: Eve

This is fairly new to me, but I strongly believe there is something to be said about the theory and the results I have experienced myself. Schueller's theory: In order to have dis-ease or illness present there MUST already be a cellualar deficiency within the body. We are comprised of 12 differnt cell salts or minerals if you prefer. The body is equipped (if no deficiency exists) to correct and rid itself of harmful toxins and disease causing agents. So, for instance if one knowingly has magnesium deficiency and decides to take magnesium but the symptoms persists, Schueller's theory would suggest there is a cellular (mineral) deficiency that needs to be corrected before the body to utilize the supplement that it needs. In my case, until I started the cell salts my thyroid condition remained the same although I was taking Armour, iodine and vit D (5000 mg/day) for a year. I believe the cell salts gave the delicate balance for my body to use the supplements that I was taking to "naturally" bring back balance. I have also used them when I feel a slight cold coming on (which ironically I was being a little lazy about taking all my supplements - including cell salts). My experience has been it has knocked out of my body within 24 hours or less. I have also noticed I need less progesterone to feel balanced since I started the cell salts. Keep seeking for the answers.... Peace - Eve

Mar 22, 2011
Cell/Tissue Salts
by: Wray

Hi Eve This is such good advice. I do believe it's the environment which brings dis-ease. All bacteria, viruses and fungi are opportunist pathogens, if the body is weak they will take advantage of us. Obviously once they take hold it has a bearing on how we feel. Bernard Shaw wrote ?? the characteristic microbe of a disease might be a symptom instead of a cause.? Take care Wray

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