Months of flooding

by Tere
(Minnesota)

I am 48 and have been having almost constant heavy bleeding for months now. Sometimes it slows down and almost stops for a day or two, but then starts right back up again. 1 year ago this had been going on for 3 months straight so I went to my doctor to make sure I did not have fibroids or something really serious going on. She said there were no fibroids, that I was not anemic (iron levels were barely above the anemic level) and my homone levels were in an ok range, again barely. She wanted to put me on birth control to stop the bleeding but said it was all normal menopause symptoms and would go away in time. I have never had a hot flash, so she was sure I was fine. I refuse to go on birth control. I have never been on it and don't intend to now. Obviously I am not ovulating. I don't intend to mess up already unbalanced hormones by taking more synthetic ones and making everything worse. Meanwhile a year later I am still bleeding profusly. I had a break for two months then seemed to have a normal cycle then after 2 weeks started this perpetual bleeding again. I tried progestrone cream for a while but it didn't seem to do anything at all so I quit. From what I read on this site it obviously was not enough.

I have taken evening primrose oil for years because I had breast soreness before my cycle and the evening primrose oil greatly relieved that. It has also helped my skin to stay nice. I have tried taking vitex, shepherd's purse and yarrow. I think that is why I had the break for 2 months, they seemed to help, but I didn't keep taking them when 2 months went by with no bleeding, and a seemingly normal cycle. I have read where vitex is fine to take continually and where it isn't. Too much confusing information out there. I have not had major emotional ups and downs other than being discouraged because of the bleeding. As I said, no hot flashes, and no cramps. I had a little trouble sleeping for a while but now I am usually so worn out I don't have that problem either.

When I say heavy bleeding I mean heavy. Sometimes changing largest pads every half hour for a several hours, then it will taper off to once every couple hours. About a month ago I stopped for 1 day. It is frustrating because I have taken good care of myself, exercised regularly for years, eaten healthy, have never been over weight, never used alot of products, make up etc. Now I cannot workout at all, I can barely have a normal daily routine of house cleaning shopping etc. I always have to make sure I am hydrated and eat often enough not to get too run down. I have to take iron or get headaches. I take vitamins including C and a B complex, as well as others. I am so tired of bleeding!! I just started back on progesterone today in a large dose so hope it helps. Any other suggestions would be great.

Thanks
Tere

Comments for Months of flooding

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Jan 16, 2012
some suggestions
by: Rosanne

Hi

Just wanted to respond quickly. I also began my deterioration in hormone health with heavy, heavy menstrual cycles. It was awful. I was like this about a year and half and just discounted as what we have to go through. However more and more symptoms began to come after the year and a half such as chronic fatigue, insomnia, bloating, digestive issues, cold chills, heart fluttering, water retention, migraines, low body temp, low bp, and on and on. My suggestion to you is to get this under control. My experience is that this is the first indicator of hormonal imbalance. In my experience two hormones contribute to heavy bleeding; hypothyroidism and low progesterone. I am hypothyroid and I switched from levothyroxine to dessicated thyroid and took progesterone last two weeks of cycle. Within two months my menstrual cycles returned to normal. I struggle with other on and off symptoms but heavy bleeding never returned. Have Dr. check not only TSH but free t3 and free t4 to ensure you are not hypothyroid.Then try progesterone. 60mg stopped the heavy bleeding but I have increased progesterone to 100-200mg to decrease other symptoms. In addition stress ie high or low cortisol, low progesterone, low iron, low iron stores and low b12 can interfere with Thyroid function so if you are not hypothyroid getting these up to normal levels might improve thyroid function that is not showing up in blood tests. I hope this helps. If you have other questions please ask.

Take Care
Rosanne

Jan 16, 2012
Heavy
by: Annette Canada

Hello you need to be taking a minimum of 400 milligrams but in your case I would be taking 600 milligrams a day to stop the bleeding. Use it hourly until the bleeding stops. Make sure to be taking at least 5000 iu's of vitamin d a day. I have had to use 1000 milligrams myself to stop symptoms sometimes more if they were real bad. Hope this helps until Wray responds.

Jan 17, 2012
MONTHS OF FLOODING
by: Jenny

I had a similar problem, I was bleeding for 5 months until I read this site. I used pro-gest cream and applied it every hour and within two days I stopped bleeding, but I use pro-gest cream every day now because I don't want the bleeding to start again. Wray always says to apply it according to your symptoms, so whatever amount helps you to get rid of your symptoms that's what amount you use, until you can eventually decrease the amount.

Jan 17, 2012
interested
by: Anonymous

Also very interested in responses to this post.

Jan 18, 2012
Months of flooding
by: Wray

Hi Tere You are in the last stages of Peri-menopause, an awful time! Progesterone will certainly help the heavy bleeding, although it can't regulate an erratic cycle. Which normally occurs usually in the last year. I've found 400-600mg/day progesterone is needed to stop the bleeding. It depends on how bad it is, and how much oestrogen is present. MMP's are enzymes that break down protein. They play a role in the breakdown of endometrial tissues at the end of the menstrual cycle, see here. Progesterone suppresses MMP's, see here. So it's only when the corpus luteum stops making progesterone at the end of the cycle, that levels plummet and the MMP's can begin breaking down the lining. In some instances they can cause a pathological reaction if excess oestrogen is present, as oestrogen stimulates their production. This can lead to inflammation, spotting and/or excessive bleeding in the uterus. If a low level of progesterone is present, and a high level of oestrogen, the lining will continue to grow. With a high level of MMP's the lining will also continue to break down. This of course leads to heavy continual bleeding. Using high amounts of progesterone, ie about 400mg/day or more, reverses this, and the bleeding stops. Unfortunately the 20-40mg/day usually recommend does nothing to help, and often makes matters worse. Agnus castus has been used for many problems which women suffer from, PMS, mastalgia, menstrual irregularities, fibrocystic breasts, increasing lactation and more. It can also reduce prolactin levels, which in turn can cause luteal phase dysfunction, with subsequent problems in embryo implantation. But because it has a mild oestrogenic action, levels of 17 beta-oestradiol can increase. One study found mild ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome occurred in the luteal phase, see here, here, here, here, here and here. Continued below.

Jan 18, 2012
Months of flooding Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Tere If prolactin levels are high both progesterone and the amino acid tyrosine are very affective at suppressing it. Progesterone does help sore breasts, see here, here, here, here, here and here. Sore breasts can be caused by lack of iodine, see here, here, here, here, here and here. An easy way to find out if the level is low is to get a tincture of iodine. Put 3 drops anywhere on the inner arm, rubbing them in with the dropper. If the patch fades in a few hours it means there's a deficiency. Continue applying it until the patch takes days to fade. Alternatively have a blood test. I'm amazed the doctor said you were not anaemic, particularly as you respond to iron tablets. Unfortunately the ratio between progesterone and oestrogen is never checked. This is far more critical than the actual levels. We've found from Saliva Tests we run that the P:E2 ratio should be 600:1 and over to feel well. As you're using a greater amount of progesterone, please see our page on Oestrogen Dominance as this can occur. If it should, please don't reduce the amount as many do, blaming the progesterone. It can stimulate oestrogen if insufficient is used, and the only way to overcome the adverse symptoms is to increase the progesterone. Take care Wray

Jan 18, 2012
Thanks Rosanne, Annette and Jenny!
by: Wray

I seem to be getting behind again. Too many queries now, I downloaded 58 yesterday, 35 so far today. All good, but I wish there were more of me! So any input from others helps tremendously. Take care Wray

Jan 18, 2012
interested
by: Wray

Hi there I do hope all the answers help you. Take care Wray

Jan 18, 2012
Still bleeding...increasing cream...
by: Tere

Thank you for your help and comments. I have been waiting anxiously for some answers. I was checked for low thyroid when I went to the doctor. She did blood work that checked hormone levels, thyroid levels, and iron levels. If I had been low on iron she was going to push for the birth control pills. So I was glad it wasn't low that day, but I know I had taken some natural iron a couple days before that and I wasn't bleeding as heavy that day. I know I definitely do get low on iron on the heavy days and especially when it is heavy sor so many days in a row.

It does seem to cycle somewhat, slow down and almost stop, then it starts right back up again. and heavy. I had a two month break in the fall and thought maybe it was the end, but started again. I have pretty much been bleeding since the second week of December, with one day break at the end of December, but when it started again it was in full force!!

After reading your site I am wondering if a trip to AZ at the end of August was part of the reason it stopped in Sept and Oct. We went for walks outside, sunshine, vitamin D. That is the one thing I had never heard until I read your site, the connection with vitamin D. It is too cold up here in Minnesota to be outside without being 90 percent covered up. So no vitamin D that way. The vitamins I am on are low in D. So I will be uping that.

I have been using the cream about every two hours everyday for 3 days now. So far it hasn't stopped, so I will increase to every hour. Today I have had a headache all day even though I did take iron.

I do want to get this under control and fast. I want my life back. I am used to exercising regularly, I teach Martial Arts. This doesn't work in white pants!! Its hard to be motivating to others when you feel so run down. I have read everything, books, web sites etc. that I could get my hands on about this. I have tried herbs, vitamins, and like I said the cream, but in too low a dose. I sure hope this works and soon.

Thanks again for your help.

Tere

Jan 19, 2012
blood work
by: Rosanne

Hi

You had mentioned that blood work was done in all areas. Did you ask for your numbers? The reason I ask is that blood work has large ranges and if you fall in that range then the doctor says you are fine. Everyone functions at different ranges. For instance by daughter was passing out and was dizzy. She had iron checked she was a 9 on a 9-23 range. Therefore not anemic quite yet. We put her on iron and so far she has went up 3 point every 6 weeks. We pay attention to the range but more to the symptoms. This goes for thyroid testing etc. Did they do the tsh or free t3 and free t4. My sister was normal for tsh but when she pushed for free t4 she was over the range. That is how important it is to know your numbers. When it comes to hormones it is the ratio between hormones not the separate numbers that matter. It is very complex. Have your iron stores checked also because when these become depleted you will be very anemic. The main reasons for heavy bleeding are stress(take ashwaganda to balance cortisol levels) low progesterone in comparison to estrogen and fybroids.
I hope you find relief soon
Rosanne

Jan 20, 2012
Still bleeding...increasing cream...
by: Wray

Hi Tere I hope so too, as you say, teaching Martial Arts in white pants must be difficult! Extraordinary that the solution to low iron was to offer the bcp in the hopes it reduces blood flow. It's akin to knocking yourself out with a hammer to make a headache go away. Obviously you are losing iron if blood flow is heavy, it's the one reason men rarely become anaemic. I find it so interesting you went to AZ and found the bleeding stopped. Minnesota is 43-49 degrees north, Arizona is 31-37 degrees north. And of course far too cold in winter to go outside, besides which, the angle of the sun is too oblique to make any. You might like to see this amusing video by Prof Holick, see here. He's the foremost researcher in vitamin D. Please make sure you take enough. And please have a test done about 3 months after increasing it. This will give an indication as to whether it's increased sufficiently. It's best to have a test done every 6 months or so, as dark winter days reduce levels, stress drops it dramatically, as it does progesterone. I've found the two work so well in tandem, low vitamin D reduces the benefits of progesterone, see here, here and here. These are the original studies done on TBI, see here, here, here and here. Progesterone does help headaches, see here, here, here, here, here and here. It's evident yours are being caused by the initial stimulatory effect progesterone has on oestrogen. If they become too bad, please increase the amount of progesterone, it's best to rub it under the ears and all over the neck. Take care Wray

Jan 20, 2012
Slowing down...
by: Tere

Roxanne,
I am not sure which type of thyroid tests they did. It was a year ago and they would not send me the results but posted them on a web site that I had temporary access too. It was very annoying because they clinic only would say that everything was in the normal range, but would not explain anything without another visit etc. I knew their only answer was to be bcp and that I did not want that so I never went back. The iron level was barely passable and I knew it was because I had taken some a day or two before. I can feel when I am low and I have been taking it accordingly.

Wray, thanks again for all your help. I am doing the cream every hour right now. I had one day where I felt really lousy, headache and overall just blah. That day I increased from once every two hours to every hour. I feel better, bleeding has slowed, but not stopped yet, but I will continue until it does then adjust as I need to. I have also started taking the vitamin D3 about 6000mg a day.

Ashwaganda is not one I have tried before. I will look it up. I quit taking the vitex, shepherd's purse and yarrow for now. Putting a cream on every hour is easier anyway. I just need to stalk up. By the way when I first found this web site I did the questionare and my number was 27 and that was answering conservatively.

I am looking forward to this being balanced better soon.

Thanks
Tere

Jan 21, 2012
Slowing down...
by: Wray

Hi Tere It's so interesting to me that you had a blah day when increasing to every hour. Even a minor increase such as that can cause oestrogen to rear it's ugly head again. But I am delighted it's beginning to slow down, it hasn't taken long either. And I'm so pleased you've upped the vitamin D too. Incidentally this is often behind hypothyroidism, if in fact yours was low, see here, here and here. 27 is relatively high, and you say it was answered conservatively too. I prefer it if people do that, rather than get carried away with every possible minor symptom. Do let us know when it stops, or becomes normal again. Take care Wray

Feb 11, 2012
Almost a month later
by: Tere

Well, the bleeding finally stopped, it slowly tappered off, and has been stpped for about 2 weeks now. I had to adjust the cream back to every 2 hours then to 3 and finally to 4 times a day. That seems to work for now. I am also taking the vitamin D regularly. Today I notice a bit of pink, so not sure what is up. I may have to increase again by a bit until I find the right balance. I do feel better after not bleeding every day for 2 weeks now, its a nice relief, hope it lasts. I have been working out again, slowly working back up to where I should be.

Thanks for the help, hope this lasts.

Feb 13, 2012
Almost a month later
by: Wray

Hi Tere I'm delighted the bleeding has stopped. You might have to use the progesterone 5 times a day, if you've noticed a bit of pink. Quite possibly you reduced the amount too quickly, it is as you say, finding your own balance. I'm sure it's a relief not bleeding every day! I also hope it continues, although I see no reason why it shouldn't. Please remember stress drops progesterone levels, stress also drops vitamin D levels, as does winter. So please continue with the vitamin D, even during summer 5000iu's should still be taken. Take care Wray

Mar 04, 2012
Or not!
by: Tere

Well bleeding stopped for about 1 week, then started again. Same old thing as always. I have increased again. Up to every hour and a half now, still not stopping. I don't drink caffeine, don't have a stressful life, don't eat a lot of junk food and sugar etc. This is crazy and annoying. I can't be constantly stopping what I am doing to put cream on.

Mar 05, 2012
Or not!
by: Wray

Hi Tere How much progesterone are you using now? Is it still the 400mg/day? And have you been using this amount since you first increased it? It would help to know this. You say you used to have to change pads every half hour when bad, so it is better, but not fully healed. It can take time too, you've only been using the high amount for about 6 weeks I think. You could try N-acetyl cysteine, this is a potent antioxidant which suppresses the MMP's causing the bleeding, see here. I suggest taking 2000mg/day, it is very, very sour, and tastes and smells of sulphur. I'm used to it now, it goes into my water bottle, along with glutamine. Please start off on a low dose, maybe 250-500mg/day, and increase gradually. Cysteine is such a vital antioxidant, in fact one study asks if ageing is a cysteine deficiency, see here, here and here. And please have a vitamin D test done, it could be your level is still too low. Take care Wray

Mar 05, 2012
Update
by: Tere

The cream I am using has 500mg per ounce. I am using it every hour and a half at present, all day long and even put it on again if I wake up at night. I am taking iodine supplements now as well and vitamin D, B complex, C, E, and when I bleed heavy I take iron as well. I take the iron at a different time of day than the vitamin E as I know that the iron won't let the vitamin E be absorbed, although the iron I take is natural, not sythetic. I have not had more than a 2 week break from bleeding since the end of December. I usually bleed a couple weeks at a time then have 1-2 weeks break then start again. The bleeding most days is not as heavy as it has been in the past, not as many clots either, but it varies and will suddenly be heavy again when I think it is slowing down, though not for as long as it once was. There is not a spot of skin on my body where I have not put the cream. I rotate around where I put it starting at the bottom of my feet one day and working up with each application until I am at the top, then I start at the bottom again. If I am in an inconvenient location and can't get alone then I just put it on my hands, wrist, forearm, neck etc. I am cutting out more and more foods that are Phytoestrogenic, but after a while that gets hard because I have to eat something and it is not always possible to be so picky. We have a very busy active lifestyle.

Mar 06, 2012
Update
by: Wray

Hi Tere Can you tell me if you use the full ounce of cream each day, as that's how much you need. Or almost the whole ounce. I've found 400mg/day usually does it, although some have to go higher to 500mg or 600mg/day. Please try this as it usually works. There's no need to rotate the cream either. I've done a page on this, as so many feel they have to, see our page on Progesterone Misconceptions. I am pleased it's helping you slightly, but it doesn't appear as if you are using enough. It's impossible to cut out phytoestrogens. Oestrogen, the phytoestrogens, and many oestrogen mimics, have a triple bonded or phenolic A-ring. But the phytosterols don't have the triple bonded A-ring, one reason labs use the phytosterols to make progesterone from. The following paper lists in descending order the phytoestrogen content of foods, with nuts and oilseeds having the highest content, see here. All oilseeds contain phytoestrogens. The USDA Food Composition site is an excellent resource. It's best to get the full report, see here. It doesn't list any in soy oil, only the phytosterols stigmasterol, campesterol and beta-sitosterol. But it's highly likely it contains some if the above oils do. This paper gives a comprehensive list, see here. Phytoestrogens are impossible to avoid, even in animal products, see here. Even olive oil contains lignans, see here. This is another on lignans here. Although these are regarded as potent antioxidants, they are still phenolic substances. Coconuts have the lowest level of phytoestrogen content of all nuts, but they still contain some, ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid. Although I'm against soy in particular, all legumes contain high levels of phytoestrogens, plus trypsin inhibitors, phytates and goitrogens, see here. Continued below.

Mar 06, 2012
Update Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Tere Grains are just as bad, see here. I'm not convinced by the favourable studies, as there are just as many unfavourable, see here. So all grains and legumes should be avoided. One of the most potent oestrogen mimics is zearalenone, produced by some moulds such as Giberella and Fusarium. Zearalenone is a mycotoxin causing infertility and abortion in animals, especially pigs. It is heat-stable and found worldwide in grains such as maize, barley, oats, wheat, rice, sorghum and bread. All of which we eat too, it's not just animal food. So where does one draw the line?! For me it's to avoid all grains and legumes. Another thing you could try for the heavy bleeding is N-acetyl cysteine, it suppresses the MMPs which cause the uterine lining to breakdown, see here. You might like to read this page here. Take care Wray

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