Progesterone is Affecting My Sleep

Wray, I am using 1 tsp a day of your progesterone cream and I am waking up in the middle of the night with a tightness in my stomach/pounding.

I am not anxious about anything, rather it is a physiologic thing. It seems like the progesterone is causing my body to be in overdrive and wake up. I read that progesterone can affect your adrenals and your cortisol level. it seems like this is happening to me. Can you advise and also tell me what is going on? Thanks.

Comments for Progesterone is Affecting My Sleep

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Aug 15, 2011
pulse in head at night
by: K J from Australia

I have a similar problem with sleep & wasnt sure if the progesterone,which I have been using for 2 years now,was or is the reason.I am suffering with a constant pulse on the left side of my head at night when sleeping,or trying to!I only use quarter of a teaspoon am & pm but have decided to have a break for awhile just to see if it makes a difference.I will keep you posted.

Aug 16, 2011
Sleep
by: Anonymous

Two nights ago I woke up at 4 a.m. with the pounding and tonight I woke up at midnight and again at 2 a.m. and haven't been able to fall back asleep. Both nights I went to bed around 10:30 pm. I am using about 170 mg cream I think. It says 100 mg/g and I am using a quarter teaspoon of it twice a day. Am I damaging my body and am I using too much? Should I go down in dose and how do I do that?

Aug 16, 2011
Progesterone is Affecting My Sleep
by: Wray

Hi there Progesterone does affect the adrenals, but in a positive way. These first have to secrete progesterone before converting it into cortisol. If the adrenals are stressed, they rob other sources, notably the ovaries, which then upsets the reproductive cycle. In fact stress can stop ovulation, which stops progesterone production. Supplementing with progesterone assists the adrenals. Plus progesterone stimulates GABA, this is one of our most calming neurotransmitters. So reducing the stress response, ie less cortisol is produced, see here. The tightness in your stomach, and the pounding, which I assume is your heart, is caused by excess adrenaline. This is produced in response to a drop in blood glucose. It stimulates the liver to convert glycogen into glucose, to prevent it dropping further. Progesterone initially stimulates oestrogen, this destabilises blood glucose. It's interesting you say your Anxiety is physiologic, I've found more often than not it is. I would suggest you try increasing the amount of progesterone you're using. Progesterone itself is excellent for sleep, see here. One other thing could be causing the pounding, oestrogen causes prolongation of the QT interval. This results in palpitations, arrhythmia and Torsades de Pointes. Whereas progesterone shortens the QT interval, see here, here, here, here and here. This is also explained by progesterone stimulating oestrogen, we have more info about this on our Oestrogen Dominance page. Take care Wray

Aug 16, 2011
KJ
by: Anonymous

KJ,
I know you said you are using a quarter tsp but how much progesterone is that? Also let me know if you have any problems stopping it. I am afraid stopping it might make it worse since it is a hormone. I know you are supposed to go slowly but I am not sure what that means. What a pity to hear you have been using the cream for 14 months and things have not gotten better. Please keep me posted.

Aug 18, 2011
Thank You
by: Anonymous

Thank you Wray. That's intesresting that it could be my blood glucose spiking or that it could be estrogen dominance symptoms. I've been using the cream in this manner for about two months. I use it on the last 14 days of my cycle. I am 42. I didn't necessarily know if I had estrogen domincance symptoms but after reading your site, it sounded like I only had something to gain if I tried the progesterone cream. I do have my period for a good number of days (7) and I do have short cycles (about 19-20 days) but it is not perimenopause because it has always been this way. Does using progesterone cream hasten you into menopause?

Your antidote to my problem is to start by increasing the cream. Do you suggest I use more cream when I wake up in the middle of the night or before I go to sleep? I use 1/2 tsp right before I go to bed and 1/2 tsp in the morning.

I was saying the pounding that I get does not seem to be mental anxiety because there is not really anything I am stressing about. I mean I have stress in my life like everyone does but I don't feel so stressed to the point where I would get insomnia. Rather it seems my body is just not behaving how it should. You talk about adrenals. Does that mean maybe my adrenals are shot and the cream will help bring them back in order?

Aug 19, 2011
pulse in head at night
by: Wray

Hi KJ I would have to know the strength of the cream you are using. But 1/2 tsp of any cream, unless it's 10% in strength, would be giving you too little. I recommend 100-200mg/day, more if symptoms are severe. The break will probably make you feel better, as the progesterone is not stimulating oestrogen, see our page on Oestrogen Dominance for more info. If you have other symptoms you were using the progesterone for, they will probably come back if you stop. It would help to know what these are. I hope the info I gave above this comment helps too. Take care Wray


Aug 19, 2011
Sleep
by: Wray

Hi there 1/4 tsp twice a day (ie 2.5ml) of a 10% cream would give you 250mg progesterone. This is a very good amount and shouldn't be giving you any problems, unless you've only just started it. Maybe you could let me know. Take care Wray

Aug 19, 2011
KJ
by: Wray

Hi there Stopping progesterone suddenly can cause symptoms to come back. It's always best to reduce slowly, over a few weeks. I don't know how much you are using, but reduce by no more than 1/8 tsp each time. Stay on that amount until stable, then reduce again. We have more info on our page How to use progesterone cream. Take care Wray


Aug 28, 2011
TY
by: Anonymous

Thank you Wray. I am sleeping much better now with the 1/2 tsp of progesterone at night. If this is working can I start reducing the amount I use in the morning?

Aug 30, 2011
Thank You
by: Wray

Hi there I seem to have missed your query, apologies! As you've only been using progesterone for 2 months, it's definitely Oestrogen Dominance causing your problems. I've found the only way to overcome this is to use more. You are using a good amount, about 170mg/day, but evidently it's not enough to stop the symptoms. I suggest you increase to about 200mgday, ie 6 ml of cream and see if that helps you, ie 3ml am and pm. If you continue waking, I would recommend rubbing some on then too. Your cycle is short, between 21 to 35 days are generally regarded as normal, making 28 days the average. I'm relieved you're using the progesterone as I recommend, for the last 14 days. And no it doesn't hasten menopause, nothing can stop the ovaries running out of steam! But it does stop the adverse symptoms that can occur in Peri-menopause and Menopause. I wish I'd found it when I was 42, as that's when all my symptoms gradually began. I can't tell if your adrenals are shot, the only way would be to have a cortisol test done. But you say you don't have any more stress than we normally do, so I would think they are working overtime, but not in such a state they are exhausted. Another suggestion about the waking and pounding, try taking 4000-8000mg glutamine at night. It's an amino acid which the body can convert to glucose, but it's converted very slowly so doesn't give a sugar shock. This helps to keep blood glucose stable. See if it helps, no harm done if not. I take it every day to help mine. Take care Wray

Aug 30, 2011
TY
by: Wray

Hi there I'm pleased the extra progesterone is helping you. I'd stay on the full amount you are using until you feel stable, and only then start reducing. You'll soon know if you're doing it too fast or too soon, as symptoms come back. If this occurs increase back up to the amount you were using, stay on this amount for a week or two, and then start reducing again. Progesterone should be used as and when needed. For instance stress drops levels, so use more over any stressful time, as symptoms can come back. I find there are days when I use a little and others much more. Take care Wray

Sep 09, 2011
Pounding
by: Anonymous

Wray, could the pounding be my thyroid out of whack? I went to a chiropractor who did muscle testing and he said its my thyroid but i haven't gotten my tsh, t3 and t4 test and its been fine. i have to get this to go away. its even during the day or even if ive had food.

Sep 09, 2011
ty
by: Anonymous

thank you so much!

Sep 14, 2011
Pounding
by: Wray

Hi there If only I knew where the pounding was coming from, is it your heart? As I can't think what else would cause pounding. If it is your heart, I've given two possible reasons, one a drop in blood glucose, two excess oestrogen. The glutamine will help the first, progesterone the second, but it does take time. A third possible cause which I overlooked is a lack of taurine. This amino acid is vital for the heart, in fact there's more taurine in the heart than all other aminos combined. It's a very calming amino, calming the heart and the brain too, see here and here. The last paper mentions iron overload as an increasing problem, and the effect it has on the heart. I have no idea if this pertains to you, but it might be worth looking into. Taurine is the antidote if it is the case. A high level of cortisol affects the heart adversely, have you had your levels checked? Taurine is again the antidote. If your thyroid is suspected of being the problem, which did the chiropractor suggest, hyper or hypothyroidism? Hypothyroidism causes the heart rate to slow by 10-20 beats per minute, but ironically blood pressure goes up. This is because hypothyroidism reduces the amount of nitric oxide produced which causes stiffening of the blood vessels. Progesterone increases the production of nitric oxide. I wish I could help further, maybe the thyroid tests will reveal additional info. Finally please have a vitamin D test done, a lack of this affects both the heart and the thyroid, see here, here and here. Plus a lack reduces the benefits of progesterone. For more info on testing etc, please see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth and Birmingham Hospital websites. Take care Wray

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