PCOS, hypothyroid, low adrenals and LOW ESTROGEN

by Karly
(Australia)

I'm 41 and have had PCOS since my early twenties, recently diagnosed with serious adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism. Problem is that I have been diagnosed since my mid 30s with low estrogen levels - very low, so low that I developed osteoporosis and osteopenia.

Last salvia tests showed high progesterone and low to normal estrogen levels. I've started on progesterone oil drops (Vit E and progesterone) and have done well with it (sleep better though now it keeps me awake)but i still have low estrogen level symptoms such as weak vaginal walls (bleeding during sex, and confirmed by gyno who said i had the driest vagina he's seen in years..how embarrassing) and bleeding during sex.

My question: is it safe to go on small doses of BIEST (ie estrogen and progesterone)? I am afraid that any high estrogen levels with inhibt Thyroid production, but I don't know what to do about the ongoing serious low estrogen levels. Every time I've tried some BIEST my skin improves, i get lubrication again and my hair begins to grow again. I've got off it due to fear on thyroid - but I seem to need it, so what can i do? I believe in the wonders of progesterone, but my body seems to desperately need it, so bad in fact that I hear my joints cracking and collagen in my face has diminished so much that i've aged terribly within one year. I'm on 200mg of pregnenolone which seems to be helping, but still not enough. What does one do, if concrete evidence has low estrogen levels?

Comments for PCOS, hypothyroid, low adrenals and LOW ESTROGEN

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Oct 08, 2011
sorry forgot to add a few things
by: Karly

I forgot to mention that I was on the contraception pill for many years during my twenties due to PCOS (hair loss) and later developed what i now believe is estrogen dominance (incredible night sweats and insomnia). I went through months of incredible stress and didn't get my periods for nearly a year as a result and was diagnosed with extremely low estrogen levels and consequently developed osteoporosis. Due to the stress i know understand that this would cause increase in cortisol levels, which would probably have forced my body to steal prognenolone and progesterone to make more cortisol. Despite this i have always been tested negative for perimenopause (which is what i thought was going on) just low estrogen and low DHEAS and now low cortisol.

Anyway, i am confused as to how i could have ended up with extremely low estrogen levels and why this still seems to be an ongoing issue. Could it be an issue that lack of cortisol/progesterone somehow has failed to down-regulate or synthesize into estrogen? or is it more accurate to say that a lack of these hormones would/could impact on the function or utilization of estrogen in the body? if so, how can i help my low estrogen levels? is progesterone a good way to proceed?ie progesterone will regulate and normalise estrogen levels and its utilization in the body?

I know i need progesterone but I remain very confused as to what to do with the very low ongoing estrogen levels. I am hoping that maybe by attending to low progesterone it will help regulate my estrogen levels - but i am guessing how it all works here. Thanks so much for any clarification you can provide.

Oct 10, 2011
PCOS, hypothyroid, low adrenals and LOW ESTROGEN
by: Wray

Hi Karly It's not so much the levels of the two hormones, but the ratio between the two. From Saliva Tests we run, we've found the ratio of progesterone to oestrogen should be 600:1 and over. To find this divide the progesterone results by the oestrogen result. Progesterone is excellent for the skin, see here. Whereas oestrogen does nothing for the skin or collagen, see here and here. The cracking joints are due to excess oestrogen, an inflammatory hormone. Ironically oestrogen stimulates progesterone hence the apparent benefits from it's use. The converse is also true, see our page on Oestrogen Dominance. I would avoid the oestrogen, see our page on HRT. But I do suggest you increase the progesterone to 100-200mg/day or more if symptoms are severe. The formula you use is excellent, but for vaginal use a cream is easier to apply, using a finger or applicator. I would recommend using it in your vagina, it's excellent for dryness and inflammation, Candida too. It does take time to heal, so please be patient. I see no point in pregnenolone, as it has to be converted into progesterone, but it is converted into DHEA too, which no woman needs more of, see here, here, here and here. I've run out of space so will start a new comment below. Take care Wray

Oct 10, 2011
PCOS, hypothyroid, low adrenals and LOW ESTROGEN
by: Wray

Hi Karly It's amazing the ignorance about oesteoporosis and oesteopenia. They are not due to low oestrogen, but low vitamin D. As you live in Australia, which to my mind has the dangerous policy of covering up when in the sun with clothes or sunscreen, your level is probably very low. Please have a test done, for more info see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth Birmingham Hospital and Vitamin D Links websites. And these papers here and here. Vitamin D is vital for normal thyroid function, see here, here and here. Vitamin D specialists recommend a blood level of 70-100ng/ml, and not the 30ng/ml doctors and labs use as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day. Take care Wray

Oct 11, 2011
Spider veins, thinning skin, cellulite
by: Karly

Thanks so much! It makes sense what you say, and you are the first person that i have found to make the link between low vitamin D - i was diagnosed with that a few years ago and ignored it, as doctor said just about everyone she saw had low vitamin D due to the fact we mainly work in doors now days. I might have been low on it for years more but my doctor was the first to test for it. I've started the Vitamin D3 via drops and take around 3000IU per day at this stage.

The progest-E is definitely helping the pregnenolone work better (will wean off it, it was recommended by Dr Peat as a good start for someone with across the board low hormones- but he loves progesterone also, very much) - i feel my cortisol levels coming back slowly, as i finally have some energy during the day again, especially in the afternoon - the time i usually would crash unbearably - sure sign cortisol and thyroid are coming back. I saw a doctor where i am living and was informed that ALL my hormones (including testosterone/androgen - which i've always had high levels) are low and that i will have to go to Thailand to get properly tested (i currently live in Cambodia)- she felt sorry for me and said i must be living a nightmare everyday - which i have for years! otherwise, I will have to return to Australia if i don't keep improving.

Just further on the issue of skin/collagen - i've also suddenly developed hundreds of spider veins all over my body, along with cellulite, some varicose veins and thinning of skin - would this be mainly an estrogen dominance or low progesterone or both?

And if i don't have high testosterone levels anymore, why is hair still falling out and thinning even further? thyroid? - thyroid meds have never fixed my hair problem due to weak adrenals.

Thanks so much, will have to get onto the cream, you ship to Cambodia? :)


Nov 30, 2011
Spider veins, thinning skin, cellulite
by: Wray

Hi Karly Where to start! Firstly please increase your vitamin D. Since writing to you I've come across a study which believes we should be taking 10,000iu's per day, see here. I'm delighted you know of Dr Peat, I often give his website to people, brilliant man and very controversial which I love! Have you tried taking some salt in water for your afternoon crash? This is often all the adrenals need, it's the sodium rather than the chlorine they want. You might like to look at our page on Insulin Resistance too, as this is my problem, causing me to crash in the afternoon. I would caution the use of testosterone as a supplement, it should never be given to women, see here, here, here, here, here here, here, here, here and here. They normally only test total testosterone, and not free testosterone which is metabolically active. It's this which causes loss of scalp hair, facial hair, oily skin, acne, visceral fat, heart disease and an increased risk for cancer…..wonderful hormone! So I doubt your level is low if your hair is falling out. Vitamin D is vital for the anagen phase of hair growth, please up your dose. Progesterone too, as it suppresses excess oestrogen and testosterone. Continued below….. Take care Wray

Nov 30, 2011
Spider veins, thinning skin, cellulite
by: Wray

Hi Karli Free testosterone rises if SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) drops. Fructose, sucrose and glucose cause SHBG to drop by 80, 50 and 40% respectively, see here. If your problem is high free testosterone, it would be essential to avoid all sugars, even the hidden ones in grains, legumes and sweet starchy fruit and veggies. Cellulite is still a mystery, but I suspect oestrogen has a lot to answer for, as it's mainly only women who get it. The thin skin won't be helped by oestrogen dominance and low progesterone. But please consider taking N-acetyl cysteine, I've found this remarkable. A few years ago, in spite of large amounts of progesterone, I found my skin tearing if I brushed a rose thorn etc. So I began taking it, if I forget or run out, my skin thins again. It's a potent antioxidant too, one I try never to run out of! I take about 3000mg/day or attempt to. There's a link on the IR page, to another one giving a short blurb about it. I would hope it might help stop the vagina from bleeding, although I've no evidence of this. And it might help the spider veins, although I can't vouch for this either. And we ship anywhere in the world, so why not Cambodia! Remarkably I've just answered a query from someone else living there, a friend maybe? Take care Wray

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