Progesterone defficient little help from doctors

by Teri
(Hamptonville, NC, USA)

45 years old, sporadic cycles, miserable PMS symptoms. Have no idea when menopause will happen because mom and grandma had hysterectomy's in their 30's.

I am here because I'm tired of trying to get a doctor to help me. I once came back from the depths of all sorts of health issues because I had a great natural physician to help me. He started me right away on progesterone and thyroid medication (something doctors for 13 years told me I didn't need). It took several months but I began feeling like a human again, within a year I felt great - lots of energy, little pain, etc. The doctor I was seeing died (he was in his 80's) and I started searching AGAIN for a physician that would listen. This has gone on for about 10 years.

I found a physician about three years ago who does some natural medicine and looks at the whole person rather than blood tests but he doesn't always follow through. I told him I needed progesterone so he tested me and found that not only did I have no progesterone but I also had so little estrogen (1.0L) that it barely showed up on the chart, although he said I was still estrogen dominant at that time. He started me on natural progesterone and didn't check me again for two years. I decided to check it myself with a saliva test and found that my levels had only moved from 26L in 2010 to 44L in 2012! My estrogen/progesterone ratio went from 26L to 29L. This should be 100-500 according to my test. I asked the doctor to call me in a prescription to the compounding pharmacy again and he called in 20mg. This is the same dose I've always taken and it seems to do nothing.

On my own, I have decided to use the current cream 3 times a day to try and alleviate some of the symptoms. I have bloating, joint pain, cramps, CFS, etc. etc. You name it - I've got it. Recently started with anxiety and depression even. I am SICK of feeling like this. I'm 45 and have been dealing with this since I was about 26. Once I'm finished with the prescription cream I will definitely be trying the Natpro. Sounds like women are very satisfied with the results.

Any input on the best course of action, dosage, etc. will be greatly appreciated. I have got to get some kind of life back!

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Oct 19, 2012
Hope this helps
by: Casey

Hi Teri! I know Wray will also respond. She is an absolute God send! I just hope I can also be of some encouragement. I too was about 45 when my world suddenly fell apart. I also had about every symptom possible...anxiety, panic attacks, crying spells that wouldn't stop, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, didn't want to leave the house, low blood sugar, horrible acne, no sex drive, joint pain, breast tenderness, wt gain, cramping, back pain, you name it and I had it. I found that I had to do most of the research of my issues. I did find a naturopath that is great but I still had to do my research of my symptoms and bring them to him. I am using and have been for a few years about 300-400 mg of natural progesterone daily. I have tried to lower the dosage but my symptoms return. I think until I actually go into menopause this is the dosage for me. With this and some dietary changes all of the severe symptoms have vanished. I still have a few lingering issues...instead of no sex drive it is now low sex drive (lol) and I still get a little "down" sometimes but it is nothing I can not handle. I found cleaning up my diet which was possible once I increased my progesterone, eating more protein and several times a day, taking a really good multi-vit supplement, adding minerals especially magnesium and vit D3 helped a lot. I experimented with a lot of supplements but these were the most helpful for me. I also found if I can control my blood sugar the anxiety and panic attacks stay under control. I carry a protein bar with me at all times. I hope this helps. If I can help in any way please feel free to contact me. Take care, Casey

Oct 19, 2012
Progesterone defficient little help from doctors
by: Wray

Hi Terri I find it so sad we have to suffer like this, when there is no need. As you discovered, progesterone can help, but not at the 20mg/day level. This is the amount we make during our luteal phase. For women with bad symptoms it's obviously not enough! If it was we wouldn't have them, how simple is that! Besides even 40mg/day won't raise the progesterone to levels found in the luteal phase. I doubt 80mg/day would. I go into this on our Progesterone Misconceptions page. I'm glad you've increased it, but to my mind not enough. I normally recommend 100-200mg/day, dependant on symptoms, more is often needed initially. Thanks for considering the Natpro, we know it does work as we run Saliva Tests periodically. The naturopath who runs them for us is always pleased with the results. You might like to look through our page on Anxiety, there are a number of nutrients which can help. Please have a vitamin D test done. Anxiety and depression, see here, here, here, here, here. and here, pain, see here, here, here, here and here, fatigue, see here, are often caused by a lack of vitamin D. It seems to work synergistically with progesterone too, see our page on Progesterone and Vitamin D. Continued below.

Oct 19, 2012
Progesterone defficient little help from doctors
by: Wray

Hi Terri And for more info on vitamin D levels, test kits etc see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth and Birmingham Hospital. 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. There's more info about How to use progesterone cream on this page. And as you are in Peri-menopause please look through this page too. Take care Wray

Oct 19, 2012
starting higher dose
by: Teri

Thank you Wray for all your input. I have ordered the Natpro and look forward to receiving it. I'm going to up my dose to 100 for now but this will be LOTS of cream. The Natpro is much more concentrated.

I had read almost all the pages already that you recommended and have them saved in my computer. Peri-menopause is such a frustrating thing to go through and having no support from the doctor is not a good time. But, as with most of my health issues, I'm confident I can get this under control with knowledgeable people such as yourself.

I started taking D some time ago on my own. When the doctor checked me he said I was still low and increased it until the levels were good. I think if I get the progesterone problem fixed I will feel much, much better. Currently I feel really bad. This is the third day of triple the dose of cream. I understand this may be an uphill battle for a while. Was considering using the cream every day as one of the pages suggested but wasn't sure if this is wise because I'm still having cycles.

Thanks for providing such an informative site!

Oct 20, 2012
Hope this helps
by: Wray

Hi Casey Bless you for the kind words! And I'm so delighted to hear that most of your troubles are over, that's a huge list! And a lot of progesterone, but if it works for you then stick to it. I find it very interesting you found progesterone helped you clean up your diet, it does help blood glucose levels. About your libido, it could be your dopamine is too low. Normally this is never checked, but prolactin often is. If prolactin is high, dopamine will be low. Dopamine drops with stress too. It appears dopamine is probably the most important factor for libido. I've just done a page on this, but it's not our our website yet. The precursor to dopamine is the amino acid tyrosine. It might be worth trying this, there's more info on our page about Natural Antidepressants. Glad to hear you're eaten more protein, it does help stabilise blood glucose, plus giving the all important aminos needed for growth and repair. So many find adding magnesium and vitamin D to their diet helps, another fascinating aspect for me. If you do try the tyrosine, let me know if it helps. Take care Wray

Oct 20, 2012
starting higher dose
by: Wray

Hi Teri Thanks for the kind words! Yes it will be lots of cream, one reason we made ours more concentrated. Many women need a great deal to get better, you might like to read this amusing page here. Interestingly one woman found it wasn't until she got her vitamin D level up very high, that her persistent symptoms resolved. And that was in spite of high amounts of progesterone. If you have your vitamin D tests, please look at them for me. It could be your 'good' levels are not. Labs and doctors go by government recommendations, i.e. 20ng/ml in the UK, and 30ng/ml in the States. Whereas specialists are saying it should be a minimum of 50ng/ml, less conservative, which I agree with, say it should be 75-100ng/ml. Mine is currently 92ng/ml. I have a test done ± every 6 months, as I intend keeping it that high! Increasing the progesterone will stimulate oestrogen, but it does eventually overcome it. Time and perseverance are needed, it's not pleasant! I do recommend using it daily, through any bleeding for about 2-3 months. The problem with stopping it when symptoms are bad, it allows oestrogen to rise again. Then symptoms come back. I found this myself, I still had regular cycles, but did they come back! I actually asked Dr Dalton if it was safe to use daily and she said yes, so I haven't looked back. This is why I suggest others do this. Let me know if it also helps you. Take care Wray

Oct 20, 2012
Continuous use
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the comments on using cream through bleeding. When I first started on the cream my current doctor didn't even tell me how to count days and use it through my cycle even if I didn't have a period. So for about a year I would only use the cream when I could count from day 1 of bleeding. Sometimes that meant there were 99 days in-between! Education from doctor to patient has gone out the window since they allot only a minute with each patient. To correct this situation it was I who called the doctor and said "How can this work if I keep stopping the cream?" Now I count days and do it proper (again because of my own research and persistence)but had wondered how it would bring my levels up high enough if I kept stopping for two weeks every month. The continuous use makes perfect sense to me.

I hate the thought of working through these issues over time but I figure if I've been putting up with this mess for years what's a few months. Too bad I'm going on vacation and have to suffer through this while trying to enjoy myself. But there will be other vacations.

The D3 I take is 2,000MG per day. I was taking 1,000MG a day when the test was done and the doctor doubled my dose. I do not have the test results for that. I'll have to get my back dated results next time I visit my doctor in December. Would be interesting to see what numbers I had then. He's not tested it again in probably 2 years. Guess I should do that myself too! If I didn't need a prescription for B12 injections and thyroid medicine I would not even go to a doctor. Will check the page about vitamin D testing.

Thanks again for your help. Hope I can get all my progesterone cream through the scanner at the airport. :o)



Oct 20, 2012
Continuous use
by: Wray

Hi Teri It does make sense, doesn't it. I've found younger women, with not too many adverse symptoms, can follow their cycle. I can't believe you were not given instructions on how to use it, and had a guessing game. No wonder it didn't do much for you! I'm pleased you confronted him with the obvious. I would hope it won't be months before you are sane again, it shouldn't be if you increase the amount. But there's no telling, unfortunately, we all respond so differently. That 2000iu's per day vitamin D is not going to raise levels. It really needs to be a minimum of 5000iu's per day. Higher if very low. If you have to take thyroid meds, then your level is probably very low. Vitamin D is vital for the thyroid, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if you could stop the meds once your vitamin D is high, see here, here and here. Were your iodine, selenium and tyrosine levels measured, probably not! These three are needed by the thyroid to make T3 and T4, they can't if there's not enough. So your pituitary will continue to stimulate the poor thyroid into making the two hormones, when it actually can't! Iodine and selenium are also vital for our breasts too, see Breast Tenderness and Breast Cysts. Tyrosine is essential for any stressful situation, cold, fatigue, emotional trauma, prolonged work, sleep deprivation, it improves memory, cognition and physical performance. And you've been through a lot of stress. Although a non-essential amino acid, tyrosine is one of the most important. It's the precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine, and the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. It's also the precursor to the two thyroid hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine), plus melanin, the pigment found in hair and skin. It's part of the enkephalin peptide involved in regulating and reducing pain, and increasing pleasure. Stress depletes dopamine, leading to depression and a rise in cortisol and prolactin, tyrosine reverses this. But the rate limiting step in dopamine synthesis is the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase. Insufficient levels of vitamin D inhibit tyrosine hydroxylase, resulting in a disturbance in the dopamine pathway. It might be an idea to try some tyrosine, there's more info on our page about Natural Antidepressants. And consider the iodine and selenium too. And yes, please have that vitamin D test done. Take care Wray

Oct 24, 2012
Thanks
by: Teri

Wray,

Thanks for all this information. I have shared it with the doctor that is helping me with chiropractic, acupuncture, vitamins/supplements, and fixing my diet. He's really quite amazing and in tune with what kids of things will help balance what's going on with me. He will probably have what I need from the list of items you recommended.

I have started taking 6,000 vit. D/day (pills are 2,000 ea) I am also trying hard to remember my liquid iodine each morning. I've switched to 120 progesterone cream, applying three times a day. I can still up the dose if I need.

The biggest problem I have is remembering all of this stuff. I have started carrying the cream in my purse so I can put it on if I'm not home. Some things have to be taken in the morning, others with food, others at night. It's a pain in the neck. Any suggestions on how to remember this crazy supplement schedule would be appreciated. I know there are others who have this same issue.


Oct 24, 2012
Thanks
by: Wray

Hi Teri I'm not sure what you're taking, but it does sound complicated!! I take a complex I make up, and it doesn't matter what time of day it's taken or whether with food or not. I have found some are sensitive to the B vitamins and zinc, they can cause nausea if taken on an empty tummy. I can only suggest you leave everything by your basin so that when you get up it's all there! I always carry some cream with me. Plus I have some in the bathroom for my night application and in the morning. And by my bed in case I need it. Plus I have a tube next to the stove as it's excellent for burns. Plus I have some next to me as I work, it's everywhere! Let me know what you take and I'll see if I can help. Take care Wray

Oct 25, 2012
supplement schedule
by: Teri

I take D 3x day (bottle says with meals) Liquid iodine in water in the morning (sitting right next to the faucet and I still don't remember) Adrenamine (adrenal support) with meals, Liquid iron as I am anemic (must stay in the fridge so I don't see it at all and can't take within 4 hours of thyroid medicine) Armour Thyroid when I wake up. Progesterone 3 x day.

I keep the Progesterone by my bed and now in my purse. I used to only apply once a day at night so easy to remember. Not so much anymore. I only have one tiny bathroom in my house with zero counter space so I don't leave anything there (except iodine). Armour stays on the night stand with a glass of water. The supplements I can take with meals are on my place mat on the table. Trouble is I don't always eat at the table.

I think the trouble is I don't work outside the home so I have no real schedule - never needed one. No kids to get off to school or anything like that. I also have no appetite because of pernicious anemia so I have to work really hard to even remember to eat. Thus the trouble with supplements with meals. Although my husband gave me a watch with a timer on it so I could set it for every 2 1/2 hours to eat meals and snacks. I could go all day and never eat. This is terrible for my body I know. I'm working on it.

I used to be very regimented but that's all gone to the wayside with the problems I've been dealing with.

Oct 25, 2012
supplement schedule
by: Wray

Hi Teri Yes you do have a huge amount of remembering to do, it would drive me batty! I take vitamin D once a day, there's really no need to take it more times. They say with meals because it's a fat based vitamin, so gets absorbed better with fats or oils. As there's usually some in the gut, I don't really think it's vital to have it with meals. I rub the iodine on my inner arm, it does stain it of course. That way I can monitor whether I need it or not. Currently I'm very short as the stain goes in a day. It should take days to go. I have no idea why you have to take the adrenal support with a meal, unless it can cause nausea. Maybe you could check on the container, and also why you have to take it 3 times a day. I'm sure many do this as it sounds all the more like a drug, i.e. something you really mustn't forget to take! Why liquid iron, don't you absorb the other kinds? I find the amino acid chelates the best for absorption, and that does not need to be kept in the fridge. Do you use any face creams, body lotions etc? If so use progesterone instead, that way you will remember and it won't be a chore. It's very good for the face anyway, see here. You sound rather like me, working at home. I forget to have breakfast, the most important meal. I must confess to never forgetting coffee! You have two 'autoimmune' diseases, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and pernicious anaemia, usually two or more are found together. I believe it's because your vitamin D is too low. I gave you the papers on the thyroid, well I've found another fascinating paper, see here. It concludes with "It is also proposed that deprivation of sunlight and vitamin D at higher latitudes facilitates the development of autoimmune diseases by aggravating the CD8+ T-cell deficiency" I strongly believe this is why 'autoimmune' diseases occur, that something has gone awry in the cell. And that something is probably a lack of vitamin D. It's low in every autoimmune or inflammatory disease. I know you have increased your vitamin D intake, but I would really like to know what your level was. And if you could have it done again soon. Take care Wray

Nov 05, 2012
Iodine / D / energy!
by: Teri

Just have time to comment since returning from our trip yesterday. Cruising into hurricane Sandy to Bermuda was interesting to say the least.

I too do the iodine test once in a while. I have had it not even stay on my skin for one hour before. I need to check it again.

I have been taking 6,000 of the vitamin D and continuing 120 mg of progesterone daily. Will get the D tested again soon.

I was surprised at how good I felt on our trip despite it being over my PMS week. Usually day 14 until I start bleeding is absolutely miserable with pain, aches, bloating, fatigue, etc. I was able to run around NYC for two full days, sleep very little, get on a cruise and sleep for one good night (part of day because of sea sickness too) and feel good the rest of the time. Just returned home yesterday evening and am up and running. Used to be I would take a week to recover from any additional stuff I did.

My cycle this month was 31 days. I will see how it works out the next couple months but will probably need to change when I apply cream when I stop using every day. I used to go off a 28 day cycle so that could have been part of my problem.

Thanks for providing such great information and a great product. If I feel this much better in one cycle I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Nov 06, 2012
Iodine / D / energy!
by: Wray

Hi Teri I'm so delighted you responded so quickly! When following our cycle, it is important to actually follow our own cycle. And not an arbitrary one created by the manufacturers of Contraceptives. The range of normal cycles varies between 21 and 35 days, which makes 28 the average only, so the pill is packaged in 28 day lots. So everyone believes every woman has a 28 day cycle, which is simply not true. I'm amazed at the energy you had, and cruising into Sandy?! That must have been an extraordinary experience. Please don't forget that stress drops progesterone levels, so Oestrogen Dominance symptoms can occur. To overcome this, simply increase the progesterone over the stressful days. And please do the iodine check again, one hour is far too short a time, indicating your level is too low. Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

Nov 06, 2012
Iodine / D / energy!
by: Teri

Wray, your comments are good and I agree. Unfortunately my cycles range from 24 days to 99 days over the past year. I skip at least four months out of the year and have been doing this for the past three years. I keep all the yearly charts to look for patterns. There aren't any. So having a set date to use the cream may be impossible for me. We'll see if it levels out. I actually like missing months at a time. No complaints at all on that but applying the cream may be a guessing game. I figured if my cycles don't even out over the next few months I will follow the information for erratic cycles.

I will continue to drink iodine drops until I get the iodine to stay on my skin for 24 hours. I really don't understand, and no doctor can tell me, why my body is so low on everything. I have low levels of all the hormones I was checked for - including thyroid, low iron count, low b12, low iodine, low D, adrenal fatigue and I could probably think of more. Seems like I take loads of supplements and nothing works. I'm hoping getting my progesterone levels up where they should be will help some of these other things. I've felt like a rag doll for way too long!


Nov 07, 2012
Iodine / D / energy!
by: Wray

Hi Teri I had no idea your cycle was quite so erratic, in which case don't even bother to try to follow any system. Use it daily till you feel stable, time enough to get the cycle going again. The most important thing is to get you well. Stress, emotional or physical, lowers everything, toxins affect us, lack of vitamin D, lack of progesterone, processed or GM food, gut dysbiosis plays a major role too. As this prevents nutrients from being absorbed. Parasites in the gut or blood are rarely checked for, these deplete us no end. I feel it could be a lack of vitamin D which has played the biggest role. We'll only know that once your level rises. It affects every cell, low levels causing them to malfunction. As I've probably said to you, I think they'll find 'autoimmune' diseases are caused by nothing more than a lack of vitamin D. When you have time, let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

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