Progesterone and breastfeeding

by Tiffany
(Texas )

Wray,

I am curious what research you have regarding nursing and its effects on progesterone levels. I just weaned my third child and began to have many of the same symptoms I had after I weaned my last child (aches, anxiety, depression, etc). I began using progesterone cream and eventually recovered last time. I was told last time that my symptoms didnt have anything to do with ending breastfeeding. My infant is 9 months old and now that he is weaned and I have the same symptoms I did before I am concerned that it is related to the weaning. My understanding is that because breastfeeding suppression ovulation, it also suppresses progesterone production. Which is okay while nursing because of all the oxytocin and prolactin. But then those stop and I am left with low progesterone levels. I am currently supplementing my progesterone, and taking omega 3's, magnesium, vitamin d, c, b's. what do you think about this plan and what do you think about the relationship between nursing and progesterone production?

Comments for Progesterone and breastfeeding

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 25, 2012
Progesterone and breastfeeding
by: Wray

Hi Tiffany You are right, there is a huge shift in hormones after weaning. As there is after giving birth, which is when many women get post natal depression. Mine started about 2 months after having my daughter, whom I breast fed for 3 years, with tiredness, followed by extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, depression, crying, rages, the list goes on! It's the sharp drop in progesterone which causes this. It didn't occur with you it seems, but now that the oxytocin has dropped, the lack of progesterone is making itself felt. High Prolactin suppresses progesterone production, so too does oxytocin, see here, here, here, here, here, here and here. But at least this hormone does have a 'feel good' element to it. So the protocol you've given yourself is excellent. Please make sure you use enough progesterone, I recommend 100-200mg/day, more if symptoms are severe. There's more info about this on our page How to use progesterone cream. And please make sure you're taking enough vitamin D. Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml (175-250nmol/L) and not the 30ng/ml (75nmol/L) most labs and doctors regard as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although recent research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here. For more info on vitamin D levels, test kits etc see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth and Birmingham Hospital. Take care Wray

Oct 25, 2012
Thank you!
by: Tiffany

Thanks for confirming my suspicions. Interestingly, I have found lots of women online telling stories of depression, etc. after weaning but most of them resolved as soon as their cycle returned. My symptoms didn't do that in the past, however I have had to take progesterone with all three of my pregnancies to prevent miscarriage, so it seems that my cycle returning wouldn't help anything, as I don't make enough progesterone in a normal cycle. Combine that with suppressed progesterone during nursing and I am a mess! It's very interesting and unfortunate there isn't more research available to women so that they don't feel so nuts. Hope this story helps someone.

Would you recommend breaking up the progesterone dose? Twice a day?

Oct 26, 2012
Thank you!
by: Wray

Hi Tiffany Pleased it helped you. There is very little info 'out there', women's problems are generally dismissed, usually by a indifferent 'it's all in your head' or worse 'pull yourself together'. There are 4 million women in the States who suffer PMS every month. Is it really in our heads? Not to mention those going through post natal depression, or Peri-menopause and Menopause. None of them need suffer. Yes, progesterone needs to be used a minimum of twice a day, more often if symptoms are severe. Some use it hourly for help. If you're a 'mess!', you might like to look through our Anxiety page, it gives a list of nutrients which all help. Please have a vitamin D test done, this does help depression, anxiety, aches and pains and much more. It's such a vital nutrient, needed by every cell to function normally. Take care Wray

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Progesterone faq.


Search over 7,500 pages on this site...