Progesterone side effects


Hello Wray, I recently started on 100mg bioidentifical progesterone under the guidance of a very well regarded doctor. This after reacting horribly to combined prog/estrogen treatment of about a month. Question please: I'm having horrid reactions after 4 days. Blotaing, hair shedding, worsening of my phymatous rosacea, disturbed sleep...you name. it. I'm well awae that one can have initial side effects so am willing to ride things out....Well, I hope thse symptoms are temporary. I'm curious specifically about the hair loss. In a past forum, you responded the following to someone with the same issue: "unfortunately, when first using progesterone, it stimulates oestrogen production. But oestrogen first has to be converted from testosterone. So initially testosterone rises, before converting to oestrogen. The conversion occurs in the thecal cells in the ovaries. Testosterone causes hair loss, acne, oily skin and facial hair. This is the reason you experienced hair loss when starting it"

Does this still hold true for someone such as myself who at 46 is prematurely menopausal. My last period was about 2 years ago and my estrogen (and testosterone) levels are massively low. Can indeed progesterone activate enough estrogen production that may in fact set off a chain reaction you describe above?

Michelle

Comments for Progesterone side effects

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Apr 10, 2013
Progesterone side effects
by: Wray

Hi Michelle Getting your progesterone from a doctor makes me suspect it's probably oral, if it is, this is the least effective Delivery system, "The liver and gut region removed a mean of 96 per cent of the progesterone entering these tissues", see here. Maybe I'm wrong, in which case you obviously need far more to overcome those symptoms. Thanks for reading the site, testosterone does cause Hair Loss. Although they obviously checked your oestrogen and testosterone, they only check oestradiol, never oestrone the menopause oestrogen. We make this in our fat cells to the day we die. And did they check your free testosterone or only the total, it's the free which is active, and this is usually 1-4% of the total. In fact the menopausal ovary is an androgen producing organ, see here. But all your symptoms are Oestrogen Dominance. I suggest you increase the progesterone substantially, to 200mg/day, you might require more. If it is oral please switch to one which is absorbed well. 46 is not prematurely menopausal, 51 is the average age, with women in their early 40's entering it, to their late 50's. Please have a vitamin D test done, a lack reduces the benefits of progesterone. 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. We do have a page on Menopause you could look through. Take care Wray

Apr 19, 2013
Progesterone side effects
by: Michelle

Thank you for you very thoughtful and comprehensive response. I waited a bit before replying in order to share my body's response. I've upped the dosage to 200mg and the effects are really bad, much worse. I know from your site that there can be some initial negative side effects and I hope I can bear it out. It would be such a morale booster to see testimonials of women who, after a tough adjustment period, saw a happy outcome eventually. Can you point me to one or two? Thanks a lot.

Michelle

Apr 22, 2013
Progesterone side effects
by: Wray

Hi Michelle I'm pleased it was of help. You can plough on as you are on the 200mg/day, but you might consider increasing it to 400mg/day. You will still have a high oestrogen from the combo you took, plus of course your own production. It's this which is causing the symptoms. You could look through these comments here, here and here, here. You'll see it's not a quick fix, and that a few used very high amounts before coming right. It's a toss up between cost and feeling well, plus trial and error to find the right amount. Often other healing nutrients are needed too. We do have a search bar you could use to look for other comments. I can't emphasise enough how important high vitamin D levels are. In fact I believe it's pointless using progesterone unless they are high. Please have a test done. Take care Wray

Apr 23, 2013
Start high or start low?
by: Michelle

Thank you, once again, for being so responsive and helpful. In rereading your original post, I realized that capsules are "out" so to speak. And indeed, that's what I was taking. So, I went to my compounding pharmacist and back to my original prescription which I had never finished the first round, of gel. (Yes, I realize you recommend cream as optimal, which I will change to). So, here's my follow up question Wray: I started yesterday evening going in today for a total of 100mg divided pm/am. (Since my capsule intake of 200 was actually only around 40mg, I figured best to start on the lower end of the recommended 100-200 mg). So, it occurs to me in noting that I'm having negative reactions to this upped dosage, how do I know whether it's me simply adjusting OR that I need a higher dosage? Basically, your feedback suggests both scenarios are possible. So, do I 'test' 100 mg for x amount of time and determine only after a while that I need to up it? I would hate to waste weeks of waiting for the progesterone to take effect and for the stimulated estrogen to subside only to conclude that it was never enough. Or, do I work in reverse: go in at a high dosage and work backwards? Thank you so much for your help. Michelle

Apr 24, 2013
Start high or start low?
by: Wray

Hi Michelle I always opt for the high amount, then gradually reduce. I've found starting low often causes symptoms to worsen, and possibly new ones to develop. You are definitely going through Oestrogen Dominance, so I suggest you increase to 200mg/day and see if that's better, it is trial and error, I wish it wasn't. There's more info on our page How to use progesterone cream. You can stick with the 100mg/day and see how you cope first, and then increase if not. Some women do this, some don't, it's entirely up to you. The problem is I can't tell you how long it will last, either on the 100mg/day or the 200mg/day. You might like to read these comments here and here to get a better idea. Take care Wray

May 04, 2013
General Progress with remaining issues
by: Michelle

Hi Wray-I hope I can look to your continued guidance with my use of BPC. I upped the dosage to 200, then 300, 400, 600 and now about to go to 800. Here's why in short: while there are clear improvements with skin and hair loss, the insomnia remains awful...and the night sweats too, but to a lesser degree. To refresh your memory, while I've had imsomnia and night sweats to various degrees on and off over the past several years, they were never a major issue and the phases didn't last too long. And if fact, before I went on progesterone about a month ago, I was not having these issues. The progesterone is the undeniable cause--or rather the estrogen receptors prompted by the progesterone. Another interesting thing to point out is that every time I up my dosage, there seems to be an immediate improvement on skin and bloating--and then there's a bit of worsening before getting better again. With those improvements, I would have stopped increasing my dosage a while back except for the dramatic impact on sleeping, which from my understanding and reading, is a clear indication that I'm not at the right dosage yet. Is that correct in your mind? I'm not someone who has been inflcted with severe symptoms of any kind so I'm surprised to find myself having to go to such high doses that seem reserved for women who have had tougher issues than I. So, in summary, is your suggestion that I prepare to go as high as I need to before overcoming the agitated sleep and night sweats, or should I stick to 800 (or less) for a certain amount of time before seeing progesterone dominate and help my sleep. I realize every woman is different, but I had expected from your recommendations and general profile, that the high dosage of 400 and up would have quickly prevented estrogen dominance symptoms. Thank you as always for your insights and continued support. Michelle

May 06, 2013
General Progress with remaining issues
by: Wray

Hi Michelle You are using a great deal. Please clear something up for me. You were taking oral progesterone combined with oestrogen. Then changed to a progesterone gel, are you still using this? Because it could be this which is requiring such high amounts, as it doesn't absorb as well when in gel form, see here. It appears to be only about half as effective as an emulsion. And have you had your vitamin D levels checked? I did say that if levels aren't high enough it affects the benefits of progesterone. It could be this is the problem. Vitamin D is also essential for sleep, see here and here. Adrenal stress also causes insomnia too, it could be you lack salt. Have you tried taking about 1/2tsp in warm water before bed? We do have a page on night sweats and Hot Flushes you could look through. 400mg/day does help most women, but I've only been advising on creams and not gels. It can also take 3-6 months to see major results, although usually there are improvements as time goes on. Let me know if you are still using a gel or oral, and your vitamin D level. Take care Wray

May 07, 2013
General Progress with remaining issues
by: Anonymous

Thank you very much for writing back Wray. To clarify a few of your questions: I was originally on a combined estrogen/progesterone gel treatment for less than a month in February. Reacted horribly and got off. After several weeks, the doc put me on progesterone capsules 100mg and what I was on for several days when I first posted here. I quickly moved to a cream (Progest Emerita). Yes, my D levels are low and yes I've been taking 10,000 since starting this cream regimen. In waiting for your response to this last query of mine, I decided to trust my gut and decided that I was going higher than I needed to. While I know you adamantly recommend against anything but gradual declines in dosages, I permitted myself to go back down to the 500 range since I had escalated fairly quickly in the first place. Yesterday I got my Natpro cream and this morning switched over. (Much, much better absorption than Emerita). So, unless you guide me otherwise, I'm going to stick with 500mg (1 1/2 tsp twice a day) for a bit and see how I do. I'll report back naturally. I think it's so important for all of us to share our progress and setbacks. The more testimonials and feedback, the more it will help women make informed decisions on best approach/dosages for them.

May 07, 2013
General Progress with remaining issues (additional comments)
by: Anonymous

Just to give you a complete and accurate picture: I forgot to mention that the highest I went was 640 and for 2 days. As I wrote in my previous post I decided not to up my dosage after all and am now at 500. Secondly, I was indeed on progesterone gel for about 5 days after being on capsule and then transitioned to cream. All this in a relatively short time.

May 08, 2013
General Progress with remaining issues
by: Wray

Hi Michelle Thanks for clearing things up for me. I'm relieved you're using 500mg/day and not higher, although I'm in favour of using high amounts, I do know vitamin D is essential too. And if levels of that are high, far less progesterone is needed, which makes it more cost effective too. Thanks for letting me know about the better absorption. We've tried to make the cream as simple and as effective as possible, without compromising on quality. It helps that I use it daily too, as I would be the first to complain! It's so important to me getting feedback, even if negative. It helps too that many of the women who write in are using other brands too, as you were. At least we all get to know that no matter what the brand, progesterone is progesterone, and there will be ups and downs finding the right amount to suit the symptoms. I'm interested you reduced very quickly, evidently with no adverse side effects, that always concerns me. I've just answered someone who is using another brand, but each time she felt well she reduced the amount she used. Her query was why did she have times when she felt well and times when her anxiety hit the roof. I explained it was the erratic way she was using the progesterone and she must use the same amount each day. Her poor body must have wondered what on earth was happening! Take care Wray

May 10, 2013
More questions
by: Anonymous

Hello again Wray. Well, in reply to your comment about me not having side effects in dropping back down dramatically my dosage, I wrote you within a day or two of doing that and wasn't yet apparent. While I was only on the 640mg dosage for a couple of days, I guess dropping down to 500 is impacting me because I'm experiencing setbacks which I'm attributing to this. If indeed that is the case, my body should recalibrate fairly quickly, yes? But aside this point, I find myself with some additional questions which would be grateful for your insights Wray. When I wrote that I was up to 600+ and going to 800, you found that high. And when I wrote I went down to 500mg, you replied that you were relieved I did. As I think this through though, your writings encourage high dosages--as much as is needed to override estrogen dominance. I clearly never got to that stage. And in fact, the weird thing in my case is that while certain symptoms appeared and then fell by the wayside and in fact improved from before therapy (i.e. skin) the night sweats and disturbed sleep are the direct outcome of starting the therapy. As I said in my previous post, I went down purely based on gut instincts of not increasing my dosage and against your general guideline about increasing dosage until estrogen dominance symptoms are overriden. My decision was I guess based based both on gut instinct and reading about women who required similar high doses yet seemed to have much more problems than I. My second question is regarding altering dosages. While on one hand I know that one must be careful about dramatic changes in dosages, it suddenly occurs to me that I've read multiple instances--including from you--about people upping dosages dramatically on a need be basis depending on stress levels. Is this approach reserved for women who have been on progesterone for a while and have found their correct baseline? Ah, the never ending stream of questions you get Wray! Thank you, AGAIN, for your time and interest.

May 12, 2013
More questions
by: Wray

Hi Michelle I did suspect this would happen, and I can only hope you do recover quickly! I do advise high amounts, far higher than others, and would always encourage it. But for cost. Plus the fact if vitamin D is not high enough it's almost pointless using progesterone. I did mention this but see I didn't give you the studies, see here, here and here. If vitamin D levels are high, less progesterone is needed, hence my preference for 400-500mg/day for severe symptoms. 800mg/day is very costly! There are women who've felt it necessary to go very high, see here and here. Or they've decided cost is immaterial as they want to get better fast. I do advise upping the amount quickly when starting it or when under stress, increasing slowly usually makes matters worse. For instance if in a car crash, or having lost someone dear to them suddenly, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a great deal. And to stay on that amount until stable. But it's normally essential to reduce slowly. A friend of mine and a distributor of Natpro doesn't hesitate to use it on a complete stranger who's never used it, never mind heard of it! Once she was in a dentist's waiting room, when she heard a cell phone ring, then heard sobbing. The man on the phone had heard his best friend had just been killed in a plane crash. She grabbed her tube, squeezed a copious amount into his hands and told him to rub it on. Within seconds he looked at her saying "S..., what's this stuff"! He'd calmed right down. He'd never used it and probably never will, but this once off helped him. I hope this helps! Take care Wray

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