No one can tell me what is wrong

by K
(United States)

I am a 27 year old female and my body is acting like its 50. I was on the DepoProvera shot from Fall 2007 until my last shot April of 2010. I started gaining weight in December of 2010, regardless of my regular daily trip to the gym and eating like I always had. I had never been 1 ounce over 120 lbs. I gained 25+ pounds in a couple of months and fight to not gain anymore, even though I eat around 1200 cal and I continue to work out 7 days a week. My body shape has completely changed and I cannot even wear a pair of jeans anymore because my thighs are so massive. My belly looks like I'm wearing an innertube, and I miss being able to see my knee and ankle bones. I have lots of cellulite and fat all over my body which I never had until this started in December 2010. Oh and I have that wonderful 'buffalo hump' on my neck/back that Cushing's patients get (however, they will not diagnose me with such because my MRI does not show a tumor). My face also shows alot of weight, and I can't hide that with clothing.

I did not have a period until Feb 2011 when it was induced by the pill. I since have had maybe 4 periods where I only bleed for two days. I have had every single test known to man done. I have high cortisol levels (in my blood, saliva, 24 hour urine and dex supression tests) but no tumor shown on my pituitary gland MRI. I have low estrogen and high DHEA levels. I have low Vitamin D levels and I take a prescription of Vitamin D of 50,000 units twice a week. They will not give me metformin because my insulin is apparently normal. They will not give me a cortisol reducing drug either.

Nothing is changing...I can gain 5 lbs overnight which I'm guessing is water for whatever reason. I can't sleep at night but can sleep all day. I have horrible acne and facial hair now, back pain, and loss of circulation in my arms and legs ( i assume from water retention) not to mention I'm unbelievably depressed, mostly from all the weight gain, and I do not go out or do anything anymore because I'm so embarrased about how I look. I will be seeing a second endocrinologist on Jan 16th...this will be probably the 8th doctor I see...I'm tired of being brushed off with no answers. I don't know if progesterone would even make a dent in my condition.
Any thoughts?

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Jan 07, 2012
My heart goes out to you
by: Rosanne

Hi

I am so sorry for how you are feeling and although I am almost 20 years older than you I just hit this battle in the past couple of years.
You do not mention if you had a full female panel saliva test. It will test progesterone, testosterone, estrogen fsh etc. When you did your saliva cortisol test did you do the 4pt one? May I suggest you do the above saliva tests but take your symptoms at the time of testing (this way you can identify symptoms with hormone levels). You are young and there is a full month female panel you can take to get an idea of what is happening all month for hormone levels. I did this one and give 11 separate saliva samples all month. Every time you give a saliva sample whether cortisol or other log your symptoms at the time. Once you get the tests back you will see if your cortisol is high all day or is it low some of the day. Make sure you take your cortisol test on a non stressful day to get accurate results. In addition if you truly have high cortisol you will absorb less progesterone(if you are making any) and thyroid in your cells so it is very important to get cortisol levels under control. see next post

Jan 07, 2012
Continue
by: Rosanne

Hi again

I have had high and low cortisol which means I have adrenal fatigue. The best information on this is Dr. Wilson's book adrenal fatigue. This is a great place to start while you are waiting for doctors or tests to return. Also go to adrenalfatigue.org for information but pick up the book right away. It sounds like you have a couple of things going on and your cortisol levels may have had a domino affect on other hormones. Wray will speak to progesterone but it is the mother hormone and will help other horomone levels. You have symptoms of high testosterone and that may very well indicate low progesterone. My dhea and testorone were high and my prog was low. When I went on progesterone these hormones came down. Progesterone is sacrificed to make cortisol. After reading the book there is supplements that will help from dr. wilson along with life style changes. If your sex hormones are low you are in stages of adrenal fatigue. I too had the buffalo hump, tender back above the kidneys(that is where adrenal glands are, gained 15 pounds in 10days before I was referred to dr wilson program and book. In addition, have your thyroid checked. Not only TSH but free t3 and free t4. The numbness and tingly might indicate low thyroid but may just indicate that high cortisol levels are blocking the thyroid hormone from entering the cells. You, like many of us here have to figure this out with a dr. willing to listen. I research for my doctor and she supports me. I hope you can find the same working relationship so you can have your life back. While you decide on how to procede phosphatidyl serine is a supplement known to lower cortisol levels and ashwaganda balances cortisol levels. However please consider dr. wilson supplements for adrenal fatigue along with bioidentical hormones to bring your other hormone levels up and take the stress off your body. This has helped me greatly and I am glad someone told me about it.
take Care
Rosanne

Jan 09, 2012
Thank you
by: K

Thanks for your extensive reply! They did test my TSH, FH, insulin, testosterone, estrogen etc...everything I think they could pretty much test for. my DHEA and Estrogen were the only ones not normal and they were only slightly out of range (DHEA high, estrogen low) For my cortisol tests all tests (saliva, dex supression and 24 hour urine) were high but not sky high. But I don't feel even close to normal for them to be just 'slightly' off!! I'll check the adrenal fatigue website like you suggested. I have another endocrinologist appointment on the 16th, I don't know if this different doctor will take a different approach or not.

thanks again.

Jan 09, 2012
Sympathizing with you
by: Anonymous

Roseanne has given you very important information. Like she suggested the phosphatydlserine is very important to block the high cortisol levels. Here is a link to one we use in our medical office http://www.lef.org/Vitamins-Supplements/Item00368/PS-Phosphatidylserine-Caps.html?source=search&key=ps. You can start with just one at the highest cortisol point your test revealed. You will know when you have take to much as you will suffer great fatigue. But depending on how long ago your cortisol levels were they may have changed significantly, you should consider redoing them, keep in mind what goes up must come down, when a patient with high cortisol crashes it isn't pretty.

Hope this helps,
Kim

Jan 10, 2012
No one can tell me what is wrong
by: Wray

Hi K Unfortunately all drug based Contraceptives have the potential to cause harm, Provera is probably one of the worst. Apart from filling us with synthetic hormones, they suppress ovulation, without which no progesterone is made. One of their adverse side effects is Insulin Resistance, this causes amongst many things, weight gain. Once the contraceptive is stopped, the ovaries can begin functioning again. But the first hormones they make are testosterone followed by oestrogen. It can be many months before ovulation begins, because excess oestrogen and testosterone suppress ovulation. The testosterone is causing the acne and facial hair, it's also notorious at causing an increase in visceral fat, see here and here. Plus it increases insulin resistance, see here. DHEA is converted into testosterone too, so this is not helping. The high cortisol doesn't surprise me with all the stress you're going through. The adrenals first secrete progesterone, which they then convert into cortisol. When a person becomes stressed the adrenals work overtime, as they also make the two other stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. But if stressed, they can't keep up with the demand for cortisol, so rob other sources of progesterone, notably the ovaries. This in turn upsets the reproductive cycle, and can cause anovulation, a miscarriage too if the woman is pregnant. So it doesn't surprise me your cycle is not functioning normally. Progesterone suppresses excess oestrogen and testosterone, it also relieves the pressure on the adrenals, as it lessens the stress response. It does this by activating the GABA receptor sites, GABA is a major calming neurotransmitter, see here. Your whole system has been thrown out of kilter by the Provera, to my mind all drug based contraceptives should be banned. You need to avoid all sugars, hidden sugars too in starchy, sweet fruit and veggies. Fructose, sucrose and glucose decrease sex hormone binding globulin by 80, 50 and 40% respectively, see here. With a decrease in SHBG free testosterone rises, hence the acne etc. Progesterone increases SHBG substantially, with a subsequent drop in testosterone and oestrogen, see here. Continued below.

Jan 10, 2012
No one can tell me what is wrong Part 2
by: Wray

Hi K Although the amounts used in the study were very high, they used oral progesterone, which is not the best Delivery system. I recommend 100-200mg/day dependant on symptoms, we have more info on our page How to use progesterone cream. If you should consider using it, please see our page on Oestrogen Dominance first as this can occur. If it should, do not decrease the amount of progesterone, although this does work, it's simply because it's no longer stimulating oestrogen. It's essential to make progesterone the dominant hormone, this can only be achieved by using more. Oestrogen is a mitogenic, excitatory, inflammatory hormone, causing among many things insulin resistance, weight gain, an increase in subcutaneous fat and water retention. Progesterone is such an excellent diuretic, over 1200mg/day is now being given via IV transfusion to TBI victims, see here, here, here and here. I'm delighted you're taking so much vitamin D, but it's best to take it daily. For more info on vitamin D levels, testing etc see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth, Birmingham Hospital and Vitamin D Links websites. Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml or 175-250nmol/L and not the 30ng/ml or 75nmol/L most labs and doctors regard as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although the latest research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here. Stress causes oxidative stress, which causes inflammation, which in turn causes water retention, it's essential to take high doses of the antioxidant amino acids, minerals and vitamins, the most important being vitamin D. Continued below.

Jan 10, 2012
No one can tell me what is wrong Part 3
by: Wray

Hi K Please increase the amount of food you eat, and don't count calories. It's essential to eat enough, too little and metabolism slows down, the result being weight gain. The Paleo Diet is an excellent eating plan, there's a link on our Nutrition page. You could consider taking MCT oil, or to give it it's correct name caprylic/capric triglycerides. It can be used for energy by cells, much as a carb is, but is not deposited as fat, and can never be. It helps build muscle, and reduces fat, see here, here and here. You don't have an easy road ahead, or a quick one, but I see no reason for you not to recover. To encourage you, please see these comments from users who've had ups and downs, see here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Take care Wray

Jan 10, 2012
My heart goes out to you
by: Wray

Hi Rosanne Wonderful encouragement, what would I do without your input! Take care Wray

Jan 10, 2012
I am happy to help
by: Rosanne

It is such a difficult struggle and it is really hitting us women. We need to continue to share information so we can help each other. Education is our best defense.

Take Care and you are very welcome Wray

Rosanne

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