My recent adventures and some advice, if possible….

by Verleen
(Seattle)

I will preface this by saying that I took BCP for 15 years, not knowing all the risks and dangers, I didn't stop until I was 39 and suffered full CHF, with PAH and a heart murmur. I'll try to include as much info as I can, so if any help/advice can be given everyone knows what they're working with…

From symptoms when I was a kid, very heavy periods with major cramping as I got older, difficulties getting pregnant and pregnancy complications, I believe I was ALWAYS progesterone deficient and just never knew it.

I started showing perimenopausal symptoms when I was 40, though I didn't recognize them at the time, mainly because just some months were bad with a heavier than normal cycle, but most months were still fine….it got slightly worse just before I turned 41 last year. (This makes sense, because I have since discovered that my mother and maternal half-sisters all went into menopause between 47 to 48 years of age, so a few years early.)

Then this year, just before I turned 42, complete chaos took over. I started getting cramps for the first few days of my cycle, which became completely erratic, sometimes 28 days, sometimes just 21, or 25 and the clotting, plus bleeding through tampons…..initially after stopping the BCP I was strict 30 days like clockwork. Then the hot flashes started, feeling emotional, feeling irritable….and you know how that goes, it eventually gets to the point that your head is so foggy and you can't control yourself, so you're afraid you're losing your mind. The insomnia was also hideous…and please think of the dangers, since I'm a heart patient.

There were even times I ended up in hypertensive crisis, with a high heart rate and palpitations and had to go to the ER.

In March things got even worse, I had hot flashes so bad they hurt, I almost ended up in the ER due to the pain and started getting horrible breast pain a few days a month and the first few days of my cycle…..my doctor blew me off saying: "We don't treat that. Try the over the counter estrogens." …anything that raises my estrogen levels made me an emotional basket case, so that was the worst advice ever!!

I Googled my symptoms and discovered estrogen dominance and progesterone cream, so I picked some up and started using it as instructed, a small amount once a day…though I never actually measured it…..as I started to feel better, I got brave and went to twice a day….of course at that rate, the 2oz Source Naturals that I was using lasted a very long time and it did help improve some symptoms…but breast pain kept happening, as well as the hot flashes though they were milder and the irritability. I hadn't read about using it straight through, so I stopped once I started my period which was in early April….big mistake, everything came back with a vengeance.

I googled some more and read a little on this site, so I started using it all the time, BUT I still wasn't measuring and being consistent. In April my cycle got more erratic, one period for a few days early in the month, then one right at the end of the month into May….and at that time I found the breast lump….turned out I have masses in both, but they are benign cysts, which even the doctor said is due to too much estrogen. I mentioned the cream and she said to take up my dose and don't take a break, some women can't and I was one of them…and I did, but I still wasn't measuring…

And I realize that's why the breast pain, irregular cycle, hot flashes, irritability and etc. all continued, I was basically not being consistent and had myself in a constant state of estrogen dominance. (I was getting about 8 days out of a 2ounce container, so only about 125mgs a day, give or take….most likely 300mgs one day, then 50 the next and etc.)

It's actually been great for my heart and blood pressure, my BP is staying at good levels, even low sometimes and the heart rate problems I used to have are gone, so my cardio is very happy about my using it. :-)

Anyway, I had finished my period on May 6th, but started spotting on the 25th and it just didn't stop….so I came back to this site and decided to follow your advice and take the dosage up higher and to actually measure. However, I didn't go to one high dose and stay there, which I know is what likely made me spot even longer….I did two days at about 400mgs, then three at 500mgs, then went to 600mgs. So from May 25th to today, I've only had one day were I wasn't bleeding/spotting….though yesterday it seems I actually just started my regular cycle, as it isn't as light as it was and it's regular red, not the light brown I'd had for the weeks before.

Anyway, I started the 600mgs on the 12th, which is the one day I had no bleeding, my flow started on the 13th….and I have stayed there consistently and plan to stay there for awhile, because I'd really like to get this bleeding to stop….

But the other issues are, with some concerns of it causing PAH and the fact that it took over a year to get me to stop having it after my CHF, I am reluctant to try NAC, though I have picked up Taurine and started 1,000mgs of it yesterday.

I was taking Vitamin D, because mine was found to be low last year, but my body is very sensitive to many things and it eventually became too much, as this most recent blood test showed my level of it was 65, but my calcium was very slightly elevated, so I was told to lay off of it and my multivitamin for a few weeks.

And I apologize for even posting and asking questions, when I am not using NatPro at this time, though I do hope to switch next month, since I'm doubting the consistent dose of the one I'm using, but I can't afford to order it right now….

But, is it possible that the 600mgs will get this to stop soon?

There is a very sexy man planning to visit next month or so and I'd like the spotting chaos to stop by then.

The reason I think I had the one day break and then started my regular cycle is due to the fact that I had 2 days of irritability and anxiety, coupled with tender breasts…and unlike most people, I get hypersexual when my estrogen is really high….and that is all normal for the few days just before I start and the first day or two of flow. I also had hot flashes, though they've been relatively mild compared to the horrible painful ones I used to get….so there's been much improvement and with the helpfulness to my health, I certainly don't want to take a break from my progesterone therapy for a cycle and my doc would prefer I don't either….but I will if absolutely necessary…..I just know I'm still very estrogen dominant.

(Oh and hormonal acne has been a regular occurrence through all of this, though not severe!)

I hope this isn't too confusing, I'm just trying to be thorough, in case someone has some advice. :-)

Oh and the foggy headedness and crazy mood swings did go away almost immediately after starting it, even at the low inconsistent dosing, which is a major relief and has made life a lot easier.

Oh, skipping some symptoms to be conservative, since they may have been caused by other issues, I still scored 73 on the questionairre.

Thyroid has also been checked recently and all is normal, so is kidney, liver, blood count and a full metabolic panel.

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Jun 16, 2013
Adding to this...
by: Verleen

I thought I'd add some information about the heart rate issue that Progesterone has solved for me, just in case anyone else is curious or searching for help…

It was basically a weird tachycardia that we could never find a reason for, nor could we find a solution, in spite of trying many medications.

When I would exercise or be active, my heart rate would go up, as it should, but it wouldn't go back down in a normal time frame. I could be in my doctors office or the ER, in a resting state for an hour or more and my heart rate would still be over 100+, instead of gradually going down to a normal rate as it should.

On top of many BP/cardiac medications, I tried cutting out caffeine, smoking and virtually any stimulant of any type….but nothing made a difference, until I started using higher amounts of the Progesterone several times a day.

Now, it quickly goes back to 80 to 82bpm, which for me is excellent and my normal rate. :-)

Jun 17, 2013
My recent adventures and some advice, if possible….
by: Wray

Hi Verleen Fascinating, and thanks for all the info too, makes it all the more interesting. Firstly I'm relieved you've stopped the Contraceptive, but not that you had to have heart failure before you did. All drug based contraceptives have the potential to harm. In a long list I have collected, this paper here came through 2 days ago. I would agree from your symptoms, Pregnancy complications etc, that you were short of progesterone. I'm pleased you asked your mother and half sisters about their age at Menopause, as it does have a bearing on when daughters go into it. Peri-menopause, which you're now in, starts 5 to 10 years before menopause, and cycles can become very erratic. And a host of other unpleasant symptoms which I remember only too well! How sad, but typical of your doctor to brush you off, and with oestrogen too. From what I've been able to glean it's not oestrogen that's needed to stop Hot Flushes but progesterone. Incidentally the Breast Cysts will go too, they are caused by excess oestrogen. It doesn't surprise me it made you into an emotional basket case either. You might be interested to learn that oestrogen stimulates glutamate, our most excitatory neurotransmitter, see here. It increases free radicals, plus destroying beta-endorphin neurons in the brain, these produce endorphins which promote a feeling of well being and relaxation. Beta-endorphins also appear to boost the immune system, protecting against cancer, see here. Continued below

Jun 17, 2013
My recent adventures and some advice, if possible…. Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Verleen This paper says "Although it is widely accepted that exposure to estradiol throughout life contributes to reproductive aging.... Recent evidence ..... of chronic estradiol-mediated accelerated reproductive senescence now suggests such a hypothesis. It has been shown that chronic estradiol exposure results in the destruction of greater than 60% of all beta-endorphin neurons in the arcuate nucleus .....This loss of opioid neurons is prevented by treatment with antioxidants indicating that it results from estradiol-induced formation of free radicals", see here. Whereas progesterone protects against glutamate toxicity, it also increases BDNF (brain-derived neuroptrophic factor) in itself protective, see here and here. Excess glutamate increases levels of calcium, an excitatory mineral. Progesterone also protects against calcium induced excitotoxicity, see here. So too does taurine, see here. In fact taurine is heart protective too. The last thing you needed was oestrogen, particularly with the heart problems, which I'm sure were caused by it. I would hope in time you won't need the heart meds. Oestrogen causes prolongation of the QT interval, which results in palpitations, arrhythmia, Torsades de Pointes and sudden death. Whereas progesterone shortens the QT interval, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Continued below

Jun 17, 2013
My recent adventures and some advice, if possible…. Part 3
by: Wray

Hi Verleen And more here and here. This occurs far more frequently in women who naturally have a long QT interval, rather than men who naturally have a short QT interval. Progesterone does lower BP, it's a vasodilator. It also increase nitric oxide another vasodilator. I understand your reluctance about the NAC, although there seems to be conflicting studies. For instance this study here shows it's beneficial to vascular endothelial cells. Whereas this study here showed the opposite. This study says "The pathogenesis of PAH is multifactorial. In addition to hereditary factors (e. g., BMPR2 mutations), numerous environmental factors may trigger the onset and progression of the disease." I believe the 'environmental' factor in your case was the contraceptive pill, which would have exacerbated the already low progesterone. NAC is such an important antioxidant, I suspect the studies on mice used far higher levels than would normally be required. The typical symptoms of PAH, namely shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, etc are due to vasoconstriction in the lungs. Both Progesterone and Vitamin D are essential for the lungs. Both prevent vasoconstriction, progesterone is especially vital for respiration, increasing lung volume and oxygen. It relaxes smooth muscles. An interesting fact but women are not affected to the same extent as men with altitude sickness due to their higher progesterone levels. This benefit falls away once they reach menopause, see here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Continued below

Jun 17, 2013
My recent adventures and some advice, if possible…. Part 4
by: Wray

Hi Verleen And more here, here and here. Although you say your vitamin D became too much due to elevated calcium, I would suggest this is not due to the vitamin D but to a lack of either magnesium, it's most important co-factor, or vitamin K2, another co-factor. Please consider taking both, they are essential to the control of blood calcium. And to continue the vitamin D. Although your level was good compared to most I've seen, don't let it drop too low as a lack of it reduces the benefits of progesterone, see here, here and here. I hope you can reconsider the NAC as it inhibits the MMPs, enzymes which break down the uterine lining. In excess they cause continual bleeding. There's more info on our page about Menstruation. One last point I'd like to make. Nitric oxide (NO) is vital for blood vessel health, i.e. keeping the endothelial lining clean, for normal BP, preventing build up of arterial plaque etc. Low levels of NO are implicated in PAH. NO combines with N-acetyl cysteine to form S-nitrosothiols which is a storage facility, normally called an NO donor. If needed the S-nitrosothiols can release NO immediately, see here. Put 'S-nitrosothiols' into control/find. I think I've covered all your points. Incidentally I don't mind if people use another brand, I'm happy to answer them too, but thanks for thinking of the Natpro. Take care Wray

Jun 17, 2013
Thank you, Wray!
by: Verleen

You are so awesome and such a wealth of information.

And I'm going to trust you on this, I've picked up both magnesium and NAC today, plus I'm adding back my vitamin D.

My rationale is that the NAC study was just one study showing PAH….it was using over 20,000mgs a day in rats….I am not a rat, nor am I intending to take 20.000mgs a day.

And comparatively, according to what I know about synthetic hormones, it is a lot less risky for me to try than the medical interventions that would be offered by a doctor if they were to help.

Going by the ARNP that I see for my cardiology appointments, the only thing I can really do with natural stuff is try it and monitor my blood pressure and symptoms. If it starts to go up from something, or if I experience a problem, I stop taking it and seek medical help, if necessary.

I really just need this bleeding to stop and to feel better.

I've long suspected that I needed to add magnesium, due to the incredible irritability I was getting, especially each time I took vitamin D.

I also used medscape to check all this stuff against my medications to make sure there are no conflicts, before taking anything.

If I told everything I've been through due to doctors, most would not believe me. However, they messed me up more than once in my life and I am reluctant to trust them.

I'd rather get this under control naturally, if I can, before resorting to anything else. I had some spotting last night, then it stopped this morning seeming to taper off to nothing, only for a full flow to start back up a little before 4pm U.S. Pacific time.

Do you think the 600mgs of Progesterone cream is enough, or should I try a higher amount?

I was thinking of trying to take it up to 800mgs.




Jun 17, 2013
My plan....
by: Verleen

I'm going to try the supplements and higher dose the rest of this week, if there's no improvement... IE: If the bleeding doesn't stop, I'm going to take a break from it or drastically drop my dose the last week of the month to see if a normal period will occur.

I'm pretty frustrated.

Even after 5 days at 600, I'm still bleeding and my breast occasionally get tender.

Jun 18, 2013
Thank you, Wray!
by: Wray

Hi Verleen Thanks for the kind words! Well I didn't like to say are you a rat, now you've said it! Studies are good, although I'm not in favour of those done on animals. But they do often go overboard on the amounts used. I'm glad you check medscape for any clashes with what you're taking. There's only so much I can advise, and of course I have no clue what other factors might be involved when giving it. I would suggest you increase the taurine when you feel up to it, as I believe 2000mg/day is a better dose. I'm not sure if you saw that paper on the menstruation page, but this is it here. I gave you so many papers I couldn't fit in the ones on taurine and the heart, but see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. I'm delighted you're taking the magnesium, and back on the vitamin D, but please check your D levels in about 3 months. Continued below

Jun 18, 2013
Thank you, Wray! Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Verleen There's no harm in going higher with the progesterone, but for the cost. It's safety is without question, see here. I know you're frustrated now, but you haven't been using it very long at the high amount. Can you stick it out and see if adding those other nutrients help? 1000mg/day bioflavonoids are a good addition too, they help strengthen capillaries, see here and here. The first paper has no abstract, but the second gives a resume of it. Upping the amount prior to bleeding and then stopping it is a suggestion I have made to others. You could try it and see if it works. Whether it does or not I suggest you start back on the progesterone immediately otherwise your symptoms will come back. Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

Jun 18, 2013
Thanks! :-)
by: Verleen

Thanks, Wray!

Oh, I didn't stop my progesterone cream yet, I said I was going to give it a little more time and I am.

I had great improvement today, only a tiny bit of spotting, mainly a slightly bloody watery discharge, which from what I've researched is also pretty typical of a hormonal imbalance.

I already had my pap smear earlier this year and it was normal, so I'm not worried about something more serious being involved….especially not with all the hormonal symptoms I've been showing for most of my life and the great explosion I had of them this year.

The only other discharge I had was the usual stuff I get after I finish my cycle, just a bit of mucous and brown stringy clean out.

I realize I may not be out of the woods with this spotting and bleeding yet, but it is definitely better than it was.

I did up the Taurine to 2,000mgs and taking it and the other supplements I still woke up with great blood pressure and heart rate this morning.

I've went to a higher dose of cream last night and other than some mild breast tenderness, I felt really good today for the first time in several weeks.

I really just want this to clear up and be back to normal! I like the easy going, laid back person I've found in myself since starting Progesterone and I intend to keep her around. :-)

I'll keep you updated and if you have any other advice, please feel free to share!

Thanks!

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