Progesterone but Confused

Hello All,

Thank you ahead of time for reading my story. I have had severe PMS or PMDD since puberty. My weight fluctuated a lot as a kid and cramps were so bad i couldn't work while i was at work when i was 16. I was always in such a horrible mood too. I guess parents thought this was normal because i never went to the doctors for these conditions. I went on birth control at the age 18. I switched to several different brands. I settled with Ortho-Cyclen for 8 years. My weight fluctuated when i started on birth control as well. I initially gained a lot of weight and then somehow i lost some of it. At this time i also had Galactorrhea,caused when starting the birth control, but was not able to see a doctor until 5 years later to show a pituitary microadenoma.

I started having digestive problems somewhere around 22 when dairy started to bother me. Eventually, i came back from an overseas trip with more digestive issues than what i had. I was always tired and bloated before the trip, but now the symptoms were exasperated. I went to doctors to only be told i was eating too much, IBS, or that nothing was wrong.

At the age of 23, the pituitary microadenoma was discovered. I was still on birth control and started on cabergoline (lowest dose possible because of side effects). Nothing got better. Eventually, i decided to do a gluten free diet. Removing grains was the best decision i could make. I felt a lot better, but some symptoms persisted. For about 15 months i started having breakthrough bleeding on my BCPs for 2-3 weeks a month. That's not the whole purpose of BCPs. So, i began switching pills and went though another 5 pill types. Some made me lose weight but the breakthrough bleeding continued. During this time too, i found that i had several other food allergies/intolerances of which i had to remove several foods-pretty much left me with meat, veggies, fruit and some processed foods. So, i went paleo without dairy, eggs, and nuts.

I went off BCPs in November 2012 at the age of 27. I felt better than ever being off of them, but eventually symptoms came back around. I started having pain in my pelvic area while on BCPs which doctors still ignored. I became more persistent with my complaint and also the pain became extremely painful to where intercourse was not able to be had. I had a laparoscopy in June 2013. Found small amount of lesions on the back of uterus. Was burned off, but it's still not healed yet. Currently, i have only being eating a NO carb diet since any carbs seem to make me dizzy, even when eaten with protein. I had a glucose test: Fasting: 91, 2 hours after: 68. The doctors said i was fine, though i was very dizzy. My hormone panels showed my testosterone was high, 17-hydroxyprogesterone was elevated, ACTH stim test-normal, DHEAS and SHGB-normal, Hemoglobin A1C-normal,C reactive protein-low normal, lipid panel-normal, C-peptide-low normal, cortisol-normal, low T3, T4-normal. My hormonal profile was drawn on day 22 of my cycle (supposed to be day 3)of which no ovulation has occurred yet: Estradiol-40.5 pg/ml follicular phase ND-160, day 2-3 ND-84, so not sure if it's ok or not. FSH-normal, LH-low normal, Progesterone 0.373 ng/mL follicular phase ND-1.2, mid cycle .48-1.72, TSH-normal, Prolactin 12.4 ng/mL-normal (1.9-25 ng/mL).

I guess the main symptoms from all that is that i am very emotional and cry at the drop of a hat, no ovulation or very late ovulation around day 50 on a cycle, cannot lose weight if i tried, fatigue, hair falling out, digestive issues, cannot eat carbs whatsoever. When i took all carbs out, my fatigue cleared up a lot.

I started progesterone cream about 9 days ago. I took 1 day with about 240 mg. My digestive system didn't like that and caused me some cramping with diarrhea. So, i moved it down to about 160-180 mg a day and that seemed to be ok. I felt better and i am more happy. However, after about 5 days i started getting itching all over. No rash or anything but i itch everywhere like mad. The itching has gone down some, but i still get it throughout the day. I started it on CD 8 because that's when i saw your website (which i love) and realized i had been using too little in the past (i became even more emotional), so i upped my dose to try progesterone once again. The increased dose helped.

My main concern right now, is i thought i ovulated about 4 days ago. My temperatures stayed high for 2 days and then dropped back down again, so ovulation did not occur as i thought. I am concerned with the itching and what that may mean? I am using Emerita until i run out and will switch to Natpro (i have 3 bottles). I am also concerned with i am starting to feel down again and i guess that means i should up my cream, especially when starting the cream my hair stayed in more and now it's starting to fall out more again. I also would like to know about vaginal dryness as well. I just experienced this yesterday when it's typically not a problem. I know i can put cream in the vagina at night, but what is the other cause of this or what does this mean since i am fighting estrogen dominance?

I have taken Vitex, but have since stopped for 2 weeks since reading your site. I am also taking about 10000 iu of vitamin d orally and 10000 micrograms of vitamin d sublingually. I feel this amount has helped me trememdously. I also take calcium d glucarate- 300 mg day and DIM about 200-300 mg a day. I also take taurine, arginine, tyrosine already and get plenty from food since i eat only grass fed and wild animal meat and fat. I have a multi vitamin with extremely absorbable folate and b12 in it. I also take a 10000 microgram methyl b12 sublingual which has also helped me. I have noticed that my galactorrhea has also stopped since starting the progesterone. I would appreciate any advice on what i can possibly do next. I know things take time, but sometimes when you have been dealing with issues all your life, you just want a break and it gets tough to keep going. Doctors (been to numerous) just don't help, but hey, they are humans with biases too. Thanks for taking the time to read through my situation.

Comments for Progesterone but Confused

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Aug 12, 2013
Progesterone but Confused
by: Wray

Hi there Well you have been through the mill, as I suppose most women have, certainly those who write into this site. Thanks so much for the kind words too. Dr Dalton would describe this batting back and forth between countless doctors as visiting one 'ologist' after another, and all the woman needed was progesterone! Going down through your comments, the pill was not what you needed. Progesterone stops cramping, in fact that's one of it's roles while we're Pregnant, to stop the uterus having contractions. Sadly that and bad moods are regarded as 'normal' by the majority of people, doctors included, but it's not. We do have a page on Menstruation which explains the cycle, and what can go wrong too. The micro adenoma would cause your Prolactin levels to rise, which of course caused the galactorrhea you had. High oestrogen stimulates prolactin, progesterone and tyrosine lower it. It's explained on the link I've given you. I feel you have a vitamin D deficiency, it's vital for normal cellular function, not least for a normal gut, see here, here and here. A low level can cause susceptibility to allergens. Please have a test done. Has anyone checked for PCOS? You have a few symptoms, please read through this page to see if there are any more clues. I'm delighted you decided to do the The Paleo Diet. You might be interested in the Ketogenic Diet too. The Keto Diet reduces glucose levels to the barest minimum, and the body uses ketones for energy. It's a very high fat, moderate to low protein and very low carb diet. Only the good fats should be used, i.e. MCT oil, coconut oil, butter, olive oil or macadamia oil. The first three are saturated fats, the other two mono-unsaturated fats. The best is the MCT oil, an extract from coconut oil. The body converts the fatty acid into ketones, in fact the brain does better on these than glucose. MCT oil forms ketones more efficiently than the other oils. The diet varies from a 4:1 ratio of fat to protein/carb down to a 1:1 ratio which is the easier to follow. Continued below

Aug 12, 2013
Progesterone but Confused Part 2
by: Wray

Hi there It's also essential to eat enough protein. This is based on 0.9g to 1.0g of protein per kg per day of lean muscle mass. Contrary to what is generally believed a lack of protein leads to bone loss. A blood test should always be done peak mid-luteal phase, this is when both progesterone and oestrogen rise. This phase is in all women, 12-14 days before bleeding. So the test should be done ±7 days after ovulation or before bleeding. You cycle is exceptionally long, and it seems you're not sure when you ovulate making it difficult to judge. If I understand it correctly, your oestradiol is 40.5 pg/ml and your progesterone is 0.373 ng/mL. This makes your ratio of P:E2 9:1 which is exceptionally low. It doesn't surprise me you don't feel too good, and why you're so emotional. The reaction you had to the progesterone was caused by it initially stimulating oestrogen, there's more info on our Oestrogen Dominance page. I'm delighted the increased amount helped you. I have found if too low it makes matters worse. The itchiness could be caused by two things. One the other contents in the cream, or you have reacted to the oestrogen, which can cause itchiness, see here. Although they suggest it could be caused by progesterone, it's impossible. Oestrogen is an excitatory, inflammatory hormone, whereas progesterone is a calming, anti-inflammatory hormone. Progesterone inhibits mast cell secretions of histamine, oestrogen stimulates them, see here, here and here. Any adverse reaction you get from the progesterone is due to it stimulating oestrogen, this goes for the dry vagina too. Please apply some cream there, it should help. Delighted you're taking so much vitamin D, you should feel well with levels increasing. I would hope it begins to help your gut too. But please have a test done after you've been on the dose for a month. It's important to get the level between 70-100ng/ml, but better not to have it too much higher. Please consider taking magnesium too, no less than 250mg/day, it's low in most of us. The calcium you will be getting from the Ca-D-glucarate, and green leaves. Magnesium is the most important co-factor for vitamin D. Continued below

Aug 12, 2013
Progesterone but Confused Part 3
by: Wray

Hi there If your stomach, which is so sensitive now can't take the dose, then put a few handfuls in your bath, it is absorbed through the skin, see here. Using Epson Salts mean you also get the benefit of the sulphur too. It's cheaper to buy this in bulk from a farmer's co-op. Make sure your multi vitamin doesn't have excess vitamin A, it inhibits the uptake of vitamin D, see here, here and here. You're doing everything you can to help yourself, particularly the grass fed and wild animal meat and fat. I see you've read up on the so called dangers of saturated fat, what a lie we've been fed. Except for the cost of it, you could increase the progesterone. Although once you get your vitamin D level up it should help enormously, as a lack of this prevents progesterone from working as well as it could, see here, here and here. You might like to read these comments here, here, here and here for encouragement. Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

Aug 12, 2013
Thank you so much
by: Brenna

Wray,

THank you so much for your understanding and informative response. I do believe the itchiness is from the oestrogen. It seems to becoming less and less every day. Very unique how the body responds to things. I have also taken the steps to change hair care and makeup to all natural products. I eat mostly saturated fat with olive oil occassionally. I have tried the coconut oil, but my insides release all they have with even a miniscule amount. Otherwise, i use it for my skin care and whatnot. I don't have much to choose from for eating. My multivitamin does not have any vitamin A in it. I chose Dr. Ron's Multi for this reason and plus it has no fillers and is best absorbable vitamins/minerals. I only take 3 a day, not 6. I had one doctor tell me i have PCOS and then another R.E. tell me i wasn't. I was getting cysts while on BCPs and that wasn't fun. I get none right now. I am going to keep on with the progesterone. It can only get better. I also just recently stopped taking DIM since i feel it was working against me after a month or so of taking it. Just sticking with the Calcium D Glucarate. I tried some popcorn a day ago and my body reacted very poorly to that as well. I am very carb intolerant i suppose. I will get my vitamin levels checked after a month or so to see where i am at. I also know, that with my gut situation, that high amounts of B vitamins are required especially Methyl B12. That sublingual has done wonders for me as well. As well as B5. Thanks again Wray for your time and knowledge. Hugs

Aug 12, 2013
Thank You
by: Brenna

Wray,
Thank you for taking the time to answer my post. You message was very understanding and informational. I am currently on a ketogenic diet and i figured this was the best way to regain my health. So far i am feeling great on it. I seem to have an extreme carb intolerance, even though i don't believe we need them to survive. There are essential fatty acids and essential amino acids. No where have i found anything about essential carbs except on the government's food pyramid. I think they government knows what they are doing and they do it so slow that no one notices.
My vitamin D intake is fairly high right now and plan to get tested in a month or so.
About the PCOS, one doctor told me i had it, and another told me i don't fit the criteria, even though i do. I just assume i have it, but when my body gets back to par, i shouldn't have it anymore or any of the symptoms.
I also figure with some of the malabsorption problems i am going through, that high amounts of methylcobalamine B-12 is also best. I take Superior Source No Shot 10000mcg a day; plus also in multivitamin. My multivitamin is Dr. Ron's. All natural and no fillers plus with the most absorbable forms of vitamins. It does not contain vitamin A. I also take protomorphagens and glandulars for my adrenals, ovaries, pituitary. I plan to start weening off of those soon. I get extra amino acids and also plenty of protein and fat. I eat fat by itself if i crave it. One thing i have learned is to listen to the body. It will tell you what you need to heal itself.
Thanks again Wray. Great information and thank you also for having this site and to keep moving forward with what you believe in, even if people say different. That's an admirable characteristic.

Aug 14, 2013
Thank you so much
by: Wray

Hi Brenna Bless you for the kind words. I'm now fully convinced about the Keto Diet or Paleo with more fat, having experimented myself and seen others benefit too. I react to carbs, but not to the extent you do. I have found I have insulin resistance, but feel much better following either of those two diets, avoiding the carbs, and taking the aminos. I loved your comment about the food pyramid and 'essential carbs', the corn lobby is very powerful, with it's own pyramid of corn to get rid of. Thank you for introducing me to Dr. Ron's vitamins, I hadn't heard of it before. A quick look at his site and I'll be back to look through it, looks good. Interesting about the affect coconut oil has on you, MCT is even more laxative, pity as it's such a good oil. I use it for all my cooking, salads, smoothies etc as it has no taste. One thing I didn't mention as I had already given so much info was the high testosterone. This could account for the 'PCOS' like symptoms, it also causes severe PMS. If bound to SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) testosterone becomes inactive, progesterone raises levels of SHBG, see here, so preventing the rise of free testosterone and severe PMS. SHBG drops if sugars are eaten, even those found in all grains, legumes, processed milk and sweet starchy fruits and vegetables. Fructose, sucrose and glucose, reduce SHBG by 80, 50 and 40% respectively, see here. Thereby allowing testosterone to rise. It's best to avoid all the foods and sugars mentioned which luckily you do. Low SHBG is a marker for Insulin Resistance. Wine and beers contain carbs, so it's best to avoid those too. Plus alcohol affects hormone levels in women, see here and here. It decreases progesterone levels and increases androgen levels, both the total testosterone and free testosterone become higher. Sugars and large meals also drop progesterone levels, see here. Plus insulin drops levels too, see here. This means SHBG also drops, testosterone rises, another vicious cycle. Continued below

Aug 14, 2013
Thank you so much Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Brenna You are so very sensitive to carbs, it doesn't surprise me your testosterone was high. Would be interesting to see what it is now having followed the Keto Diet. There's a book you might be interested in getting, "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" by Gary Taubes, see here. It's a fascinating explanation of carbs and what they can do to us, apart from making us gain weight. How dangerous they are except for the 'green' ones, how dangerous high blood glucose and insulin are too. He goes into the history of weight loss, and the insidious hold the high carbs/low fat diet now has. Would be interested to hear how you get on. Take care Wray

Aug 19, 2013
Question
by: Brenna

I was looking into your PCO formula and thought it would be good for me;however, i have taken d-chiro inositol in the past and it has made me dizzy. I wasn't completely keto adapted yet, but quit taking it and the dizziness went away. I am sure your formula contains the myo-inositol or plain inositol. I was concerned on how do you think this would effect me? Does inositol have effects on prolactin levels?

Also, an update on my first four weeks on progesterone cream: Sleeping better, little less emotional, better able to handle jokes, some fat loss (wasn't losing any on ketogenic even though on for 2 months and none on paleo no matter what i did (paleo for about 1-1.5 years)), less acne, and period came one week early but same heavier flow with clots as normal (some light cramping though). Otherwise now with my period here, there is some bloating/water retention. I also know i ran out of my probiotic and that could also cause some bloating. I am also tired too. I am taking about 200-250 mg progesterone a day depending on symptoms and stress. It could be more with stress. My eating is going well with this diet and is the only way of eating that has relieved me of my constant dizziness. Since starting the progesterone cream, my hunger and appetite is less as well. Very strange for someone like me who has a bottomless pit, but i do enjoy the less hunger and appetite. THanks again for your wonderful site and great information. I plan to keep you updated on how everything turns out. Thanks again.

Aug 21, 2013
Question
by: Wray

Hi Brenna Thanks for the update. Delighted you're responding so quickly to the progesterone, it can take months. The Paleo is good, but I don't believe it has enough fat/oil in it. The Keto Diet does take time to get into, the first week certainly a detox reaction occurs. Plus the change over from burning glucose to ketones can really set us back! Oestrogen also causes bloating/water retention, so it's probably that which has caused your current symptoms. Progesterone withdrawal at the end of the cycle allows oestrogen to dominate. Tiredness is also normal, the keto change over, plus the progesterone/oestrogen change over will cause it. I'm not sure how long you've been using progesterone, but it seems about 2 months? This is still early days before you'll see any lasting benefit. It took 6 months before all my symptoms went. I'm delighted your hunger has decreased, the progesterone should have helped, it's oestrogen which destabilises blood glucose, see here. The PCOS complex has helped many women, but yes it does contain inositol. It's one of the most important nutrients to initiate ovulation. It helps sensitise the body to insulin too, so less insulin is required. The dizziness could have been a blood glucose related issue because of this. I've not heard it affects prolactin levels, are yours high? If so progesterone helps reduce it, so too does the amino acid tyrosine. We do have a page on Prolactin you could look through. Thanks for the kind words about the site and info, and feedback is so important to me, thanks! Take care Wray

Aug 27, 2013
Detox symptoms
by: Brenna

Hi Wray, Thank you for your reply. ALways great information and helpful. As from above, i started my period a week earlier than from what is considered normal (mine don't happen until for about 2 months) which was a great change. It has been a week and a half and my period has started again. But here is something that may have attributed: I have started taking N-acetyl cysteine about 5 days ago at 1800mg a day. I recently bought N-acetyl cysteine, milk thistle, arginine, tyrosine, glycine, glutamine in bulk to make my own powder without the inositol in it but with the ratios of the others similar to your PCO formula. I also take 2000 mg taurine, 30 mg zinc, and b complex with this as well. I took my first dose this morning. Later on that morning i started experiencing cramping and then began to bleed. I am pretty sure this is my liver detoxing itself considering a congested liver can cause all the estrogen dominance and all other symptoms i have if it's not working correctly, which i do believe it never has since being a kid (maybe i should get that checked?). Do you think this is my liver detoxing or something else? I have also started taking reservatrol. I still do about 220mg progesterone cream a day. Thank you again for reading my post.

Aug 28, 2013
Detox symptoms
by: Wray

Hi Brenna Pity about the inositol, maybe you could try it again one day once the detox has cleared. Delighted you had the initiative to get the supps in bulk and make up your own. It's so much cheaper which is why we do it. The detox is something we warn about on our label, to start off on a low dose as a detox can occur. I suggest seeing how things go, and if not happy have your liver checked. I feel with all your now taking it will certainly help it, the milk thistle specially. Your body is reacting to the progesterone, it does upset the cycle in the beginning, making it earlier or later than normal. It will settle in time, and hopefully your normal cycle length will appear. You've been through so much since childhood, it could take time. So please don't worry about having odd periods when you're not expecting it! You've only been using it for about 2 weeks now, it can take 3 or more months to settle down. It's having to correct so much since childhood. Suppressing the excess oestrogen, testosterone, prolactin, correcting the imbalance you have in your ovaries and stabilising blood glucose and mood swings, and more. Do let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

Sep 15, 2013
Another Update
by: Brenna

Wray,

How are you? I am doing ok. I just wanted to give you and update and see what you think. I have been on progesterone almost 2 months now at 220 mg a day. I have been taking the amino acid (own version of your pcos formula) for about 3 weeks now. Before i started that formula my BBT were 97.6 or higher. When i started the formula they dropped back down to 97.2 area and it seems that the progesterone isn't helping me anymore since i started this stuff. I also had my vitamin D tested and it was above 96 ng/ml, so i am good there. My b12 was above 1500 (not sure the units but is good). I am still on the ketogenic diet and have been for about 3 or so months. I occasionally have some popcorn or wine, but not both at the same time. I have noticed that the formula taken after drinking wine also doesn't leave me feeling like crap in the morning and that is great.
I guess i am just concerned with the formula and the changes that have happened. My temperature has dropped and is also more up and down (before the progesterone kept it about the same), progesterone doesn't have an effect much anymore, i have had 3 cycles of bleeding as such: 5 days of bleeding, 6 days none, 5 days bleeding, 6 days none, 5 days bleeding, 6 days none. It's very strange to me but each time the bleeding looks better (color, clots) than the last. I feel that i am on the right path, but just wanted to get your input on what to do. I feel that the progesterone cream isn't giving an effect and maybe my body is using the formula to detox everything out of me including progesterone. I just think the progesterone isn't working quite the same because i feel so giddy, warm, and all that that comes with it anymore (only close to 2 months with it). What do you think?
Thanks again for your wisdom.

Sep 18, 2013
Another Update
by: Wray

Hi Brenna All's well thanks! I've found our formulas, which you are following closely, do have a detox reaction. In fact one man taking our Energy Boost, given to him by his sister, had a severe Herxheimer reaction. Flu like symptoms, headache, runny tummy, thought he was going to die! I've not heard of any of them causing a reduction in temps, but oestrogen does. Normal oral body temperature in adult men and women ranges between 33.2–38.2 °C (92–101 °F). Typical average temperatures are 37.0 °C (98.6 °F). In women it varies between the follicular and the luteal phase. During the follicular phase, i.e. from the first day of menstruation to ovulation, it ranges from 36.45 to 36.7 °C (97.6 to 98.1 °F). During the 12-14 day luteal phase, i.e. after ovulation to menstruation, temperature increases by 0.15 - 0.45 °C (0.2 - 0.9 °F) due to the increased metabolic rate caused by rapidly rising levels of progesterone. Temperature ranges between 36.7 - 37.3°C (98.1 - 99.2°F) during the luteal phase, but drops down to follicular levels within a few days of bleeding. So it sounds as if your oestrogen is rising again, particularly as you are having that continual on/off bleeding pattern. Oestrogen causes the lining of the uterus to build up, progesterone stops this. There's more info on our Menstruation page. You could consider taking NAC, taurine, and the bioflavonoids, the page goes into details. Vitamin D is another must, but your level is now wonderfully high. You might have to increase the progesterone to 400mg/day, the amount I've found which stops heavy and/or continual bleeding. But try adding the nutrients first and see if those help, before increasing it. Let me low how you get on. Take care Wray

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