Should I drastically increase my progesterone cream dose?

by Cris
(South Carolina)

I've been trying to work with natural progesterone cream for several years, with really little change... and the last 6 months I decided to really devote myself to using it 2x a day, days 12-26... while at the same time a plant-based (vegan) diet, no alcohol, only 1 coffee a day, very little sugar (try to use stevia whenever possible), I only eat organic food, drink filtered water, basically, I am doing everything right!

So you can imagine how frustrated I am that I am living this perfect healthy life- complete with daily exercise, vitamin D supplement (10,000 iu) and I eat about 1400-1600 calories a day. I am 5'7 and my ideal weight is 130-135 lbs. Last year at this time I weighed 140 lbs. Now? I have gained 25 lbs in last year. I constantly feel bloated, moody, breaking out, face is bloated and round, I have a lot of anxiety and tension (which has exacerbated my TMJ condition), fall asleep easily but sleep lightly, waking several times a night, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, feelings of panic. PMS- which I've never had in my life. Painful periods and cramping. Periods are regular but vary in flow- this month was very light and erratic- last month was heavy...

So, from everything I read here I basically am seeing that I am experiencing endless oestrogen dominance. (ratio of Pg/E2 was 12.01 (expected range was 200-600) - I have a saliva test from a few years ago that indicates this, as well as low DHEA level and suboptimal diurnal cortisol pattern consistent with evolving adrenal fatigue (hypoadrenia, adrenopause).

So, basically all signs point to the fact that I have been using far too little progesterone cream (I have been using 2-3 pea sized amounts 2x a day)

Given what I've read here, it seems like I should just drastically increase my progesterone dose? Like how much- 400? Clearly I've been using about 40-60 a day and this is far too little- and in trying to be consistent and use daily, all I've done is create even more symptoms of oestrogen dominance?

Help! I am so frustrated and tired of feeling lousy... all of my joints ache, I am only 42 and feel like a 90 year old woman. I don't even recognize myself in the mirror anymore- I only see a fat, bloated woman. I used to be good looking and even pretty- and I was a good weight, felt confident, etc... now I wear stretch pants every day and feel like a bloated whale who is totally uncomfortable 24/7.

I just want to feel better. I'm a single Mom and have a 10 year old son- it breaks my heart every day when he asks me, cautiously- "mom, do you feel good enough to do something with me today?"

Thanks!

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Apr 15, 2013
Should I drastically increase my progesterone cream dose?
by: Wray

Hi Cris I know how you feel, although it wasn't caused by using too little progesterone. I just had too little and plenty of oestrogen, so I was not good to be around. To give you some idea, an almond is about 1ml, so a pea would be about 1/2ml, possibly a bit bigger if a large pea! If you are using one of the low strength creams, i.e. 1.6% then the pea is giving you about 8mg progesterone, or 16mg/day double, 24mg trebled. So it's no wonder you are retaining so much water. Progesterone is an excellent diuretic, given to Traumatic Brain Injury victims to reduce or prevent any oedema forming. I generally recommend 100-200mg/day progesterone, it is trial and error to find the right amount. Your feelings of panic, shortness of breath etc are explained on our Anxiety page. You are right though, the small amount of progesterone you're using is keeping you in Oestrogen Dominance. Your ratio is very low, we've found from Saliva Tests we run that it's best if it's over 600:1, although I'm sure some can feel fine on a lower ratio.
Pleased you're taking 10,000iu per day vitamin D, I suggest having a test after about 6 months on that dose, to find out your level. How you can get by with only 1400-1600 calories amazes me. If you feel in need of extra energy, you could try MCT oil, it's an extract of coconut oil. It's the only oil which the body can burn for energy, much as if it was a carb, but without giving a sugar shock. It cannot be deposited as fat either. It does have a slight laxative affect, plus it's affective against many fungi and bacteria. Both Progesterone and Vitamin D help muscle weakness, see here, here and here. And here, here and here. Continued below

Apr 15, 2013
Should I drastically increase my progesterone cream dose? Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Cris This last abstract has nothing on it, so I've pasted a passage from the paper which I bought... 'Substantial relief of myopathic disability by progesterone therapy'.....
(We report about a 41-year old woman who was suffering from a general muscle weakness since her early childhood....From July 1998 until July 1999 the patient was treated with progesterone suppositorium 0.4 g once a day from the 14th to the 25th day of the menstrual cycle. In July 1999 her gait had improved significantly and she could get up from a chair more easily, even her ability to walk up and down stairs had improved....Progesterone dosage was increased from 400 mg to 600 mg. In January 2001 the patient reported enthusiastically about the improvement she had gained from progesterone-therapy. The patient reported a clear increase in strength in all affected muscle groups resulting in dramatic functional improvement.) The amount used was the one you suggested 400mg/day, so you could try that. Please be aware you could get a spike in oestrogen, but at that level it should pass relatively quickly. One other thing, magnesium is the most important co-factor for vitamin D. If your level is low it also causes pain, as it increases levels of substance P, this peptide causes pain and nausea, see here and here. Please consider taking 800mg/day for a month or two, then you could reduce to about 250mg/day. Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

Apr 15, 2013
Should I drastically increase my progesterone cream dose? Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Cris This last abstract has nothing on it, so I've pasted a passage from the paper which I bought... 'Substantial relief of myopathic disability by progesterone therapy'.....
(We report about a 41-year old woman who was suffering from a general muscle weakness since her early childhood....From July 1998 until July 1999 the patient was treated with progesterone suppositorium 0.4 g once a day from the 14th to the 25th day of the menstrual cycle. In July 1999 her gait had improved significantly and she could get up from a chair more easily, even her ability to walk up and down stairs had improved....Progesterone dosage was increased from 400 mg to 600 mg. In January 2001 the patient reported enthusiastically about the improvement she had gained from progesterone-therapy. The patient reported a clear increase in strength in all affected muscle groups resulting in dramatic functional improvement.) The amount used was the one you suggested 400mg/day, so you could try that. Please be aware you could get a spike in oestrogen, but at that level it should pass relatively quickly. One other thing, magnesium is the most important co-factor for vitamin D. If your level is low it also causes pain, as it increases levels of substance P, this peptide causes pain and nausea, see here and here. Please consider taking 800mg/day for a month or two, then you could reduce to about 250mg/day. Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

Apr 15, 2013
Re: Should I drastically increase my progesterone cream dose?
by: Cris

Thank you Wray-

I did make a drastic increase in the amount of cream the last 3 days. I have 3 tubes of NatPro and 2 tubes of Progesterall. I used the Natpro the last few days. I am not really sure how much I used- maybe the size of a Brazil nut at morning and then at night before I went to bed?

I did notice a few things- my aches/pains were not as bad, the intense headaches I have had for the last few weeks were much milder and today, gone- I slept very well the last 2 nights- slept through the whole night, actually. The swelling and achiness in my fingers/hands is gone. I am also not as thirsty? I usually am parched all the time. I have a bit more energy- some more "get up and go" as in yesterday, I washed the car and gave both dogs a bath-- usually I'd just put it off... Also, the pain and sensitivity in my breasts is gone. I haven't weighed myself, as I only do this maybe 1x a week.

I am ALWAYS starving despite trying to limit calories. I tend to average 1500 calories, and try to stay on my feet, busy/walk every day in hopes of losing weight/increasing my metabolism. Since I am vegan, I can eat a lot of fruits/veggies/grains but I still feel constantly starving and obsessed with food. Today, I forgot to eat breakfast! This is new- I usually wake up at 5 AM and I am starving, have to go eat right away.

I will keep using a large dose of the cream and update with my progress. I tried to order more natpro, but it's out of stock!

Thanks again for your help!

Apr 15, 2013
Re: Should I drastically increase my progesterone cream dose?
by: Wray

Hi Cris Well I'm pleased you went ahead and did it. A Brazil nut is probably about 5ml (1tsp), so 2 of those would be giving you about 330mg/day progesterone if Natpro, half that if Progesterall. I'm delighted things are calming down. But please keep a watch for Oestrogen Dominance, it can come out of the blue. Oestrogen causes water retention, draws water from the gut and anywhere else it can be found, and dumps it in the tissues. This is probably the reason for the thirst. Progesterone is excellent for headaches and Migraines. And of course oestrogen is an inflammatory hormone, hence your aches and pains. Progesterone does help stabilise blood glucose whereas oestrogen destabilises it, see here. Please don't limit calories, it's total rubbish the calories in, calories out theory. They haven't a clue about what causes weight gain. For instance lack of vitamin D causes it, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Oestrogen is a mitogen, causing cells to proliferate, including fat cells. But as these are also a source of oestrogen, a vicious cycle starts. Testosterone causes an increase in visceral fat, which gives middle aged women a middle aged spread. Both these cause Insulin Resistance, not that I think you have it, just an example of why people put on weight. And then there are the obesogens, man made chemicals which disrupt metabolism to the point where we put on weight. None of these are taken into account, so it's definitely not calories in, calories out. Continued below

Apr 15, 2013
Re: Should I drastically increase my progesterone cream dose? Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Cris You would be starving because you're limiting calories! And by doing so you are telling your body to slow it's metabolism down, as there isn't enough food. That is exactly what starvation is. The body begins at first to break down muscle, but as protein is only slowly converted to glucose, we begin to produce ketones, which is the breakdown product of fatty acids from our fat stores. The body can burn these efficiently, in fact the brain does better on ketones. Once all the fat stores are used up, we begin breaking down muscle again, until death results if we don't get any food. So to loose weight, fat weight not muscle, the idea is to give the body fats to burn instead of glucose, i.e. a ketogenic diet. Unfortunately nothing could be worse than all that fruit and grain you eat, it's full of carbs, which gets converted to glucose very quickly. So glucose spikes, pancreas panics, out pours insulin, glucose plunges and then we feel so hungry. Modern fruit is just a bag of sugar water. And grains, well we've only been eating them for about 5000 years and haven't developed a means of handling them. The same goes for legumes too. They are also very high in phytoestrogens. I'm not going to try to persuade you to eat protein which I know you need, but please consider the MCT oil I told you about, use that and only eat veggies, all the green ones. It not only kills all hunger pangs, I've tried experimenting and I take 2 tsp of the oil straight and the hunger goes, but it supplies the energy you need. You might like to look at the Basic Ketogenic Diet. You'll have to pick out the bits of it you can eat, but I feel you really do need to give your self far more calories. The MCT oil will provide this, but as it's never stored as fat, it can only get burnt up, you won't put on weight but will loose it. You might like to read this book here. Take care Wray

Apr 15, 2013
My findings
by: Jessica

Hi, I've been using your cream for almost a year now, what a god send. I've got chronic fatigue and definitely lots of symptoms of estrogen dominance (well I did have!). It is one of the challenges of our hormones that we have to use trial and error on dosage to find out what works for ourselves. I used 200mg a day continuously for about four months until my periods settled down and I felt that my symptoms were under getting under control. I'm on a benefit so don't have much funds but needed to keep on with the cream so reduced my dose down to 33mg a day, on day's 12 - 26. This seems to have worked fine, I notice that in periods of high stress my pms symptoms and also my periods go back to being awful and I realise that I need to increase my dose, I generally start using 33mg night and morning. I've done that several time but actually have found that over the past 10days my nipples are so incredibly sensitive (to the point of being extremely painful) that I tried reducing my dose for a few days, wondering if I was overdosing and when that didn't work I have for the last two days increased my dose 33mg in the morning and 66mg in the evening. Finally I'm starting to feel better, and last night had the best sleep for a week or two. So guess that shows my body still needs me to keep my dose up higher than the 33mg daily. I wish you good luck, please persevere with the cream, you will feel so much better soon

Apr 17, 2013
My findings
by: Wray

Hi Jessica It is a balance between what is affordable and getting rid of symptoms. I'm pleased you managed to last out for 4 months on the 200mg/day. Although I feel 33mg/day is too low, the combo 33mg in the morning, plus 66mg at night seems to be working for you. This means you're now getting 99mg/day which is more in keeping with the 100-200mg/day I usually recommend. If you can I suggest sticking to this. Do you have a 26 day cycle? I was wondering why you're using it like that, from day 12 to 26. It should be used from ovulation for the next 14 days. I'm delighted you're experimenting with it though, it's how it should be used. I hope you continue to get better. Take care Wray

Apr 17, 2013
re: My Findings
by: Jessica

Hi Wray, thanks for your reply. I’m on a 28 day cycle. I thought I was taking it at the right time, when should I be taking it please? I read a number of books about progresterone and their dosage was quite a bit less, and even that was twice as much as my doctor prescribed. I’ve realised that I’m not helping myself, making my recovery longer than necessary by using a small dose. I would love to be able to use more but I can’t afford to go higher at the moment. I want to thank you for your wonderful cream, it’s extremely expensive in New Zealand and this website it brilliant. Love and Light Jessica

Apr 18, 2013
re: My Findings
by: Wray

Hi Jessica Progesterone should be used to supplement the amount we make during the luteal phase. A normal luteal phase is always 12-14 days in all women, irrespective of their cycle length. Beginning from ovulation to bleeding. You are using it 2 days before you would normally ovulate. This is not dangerous, but can disrupt the cycle. I generally prefer women to use it the full 14 days, and from ovulation, ending when bleeding begins. Principally because PMS symptoms are worst the few days before bleeding, so if cutting it short, i.e. as you are doing 2 days before, it could cause symptoms to occur. But if all is well then continue as you are. Bless you for the kind words about the cream! I don't know if it's an option, but we do have a 30% discount on 20 tubes. It does mean a bigger outlay initially, but in the long run much cheaper. Love and light to you too, take care Wray

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