Starting low and slow on progesterone?

by mia
(michigan)

Most of my symptoms are mental... brain fog (EXTREME), anxiety, severe depression, unreal feelings, etc. I also cannot tolerate refined sugars or caffeine as it causes reactive hypoglycemia for me.

I have noticed small benefit with taking DIM and saw palmetto, but mostly just that it has a calming effect.....the brain fog stays.

I tried progesterone cream yesterday. I applied 20mg split up in thirds over the course of probably 8 hours just to see how it affected me. within an hour of each time applying more, I felt immediate calmness, but not really any change in the brain fog. By about 9pm, the last 1/3 applied at 5pm, I started feeling dizzy and a little more anxious. I took DIM and these went away for the night, mostly.

This morning, I awoke with nausea. Usually, since I've dealt with it quite a bit in the past from anxiety, I can turn this off by calming down or distracting myself, but this time it was persistent until taking pepto and waiting about an hour. I'm also anxious, but the brain fog seems to be lifted a bit.

my question is, I know generally the answer is to take more to avoid bad side effects, but I CANNOT deal with nausea as it terrifies me. I am not comfortable with boosting my dose if there's a chance that it could make things even worse. What would be your suggestion otherwise? I know you mention somewhere on the site that the second option is to considerably lower the dose and increase it slowly over a month... with this exacerbate things? or will this actually help to avoid side effects but ALSO raise progesterone slowly? will it just keep me in a higher state of estrogen dominance until I slowly get to 100-200mg meaning that I will just put myself through months of worse symptoms? I'm feeling trapped into getting sick to my stomach from progesterone cream. what is the absolute avoidance? I've thought maybe keeping up on DIM would help since that clears some of the excess/bad estrogens. it seemed to help within 20 minutes last night (which it also did before trying the cream if I felt anxious or depressed).

Comments for Starting low and slow on progesterone?

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Sep 15, 2013
Progesterone Cream ?
by: Anonymous

So you have taken progesterone cream for one day only, is that correct?

I would say that one day of cream will cause no side effects.

I have been on progesterone cream for 3 months and never once experienced nausea as a side effect. This may be common for others, but not me.

To get the benefits of the cream you need to be on it usually 3-6 months before symptoms of hormone imbalance disappear. Sometimes longer depending on how severe your imbalance is. Being on month 3 I can tell I am still in estrogen dominance- actually it's gotten worse since starting the cream. My hope is this will balance out. I am off all refined sugars/carbs and feel much better with that alone.

Have you had your thyroid tested? Brain fog is a common symptom with that as well. I would be sure it's tied into your hormone imbalance before expecting progesterone to clear it up. (that said, my brain fog was NOT tied to thyroid and went away completely when eating low-glycemic- something to consider!)

Sep 16, 2013
progesterone
by: mia

I'm starting to think I'm too low on estrogen. I took dim and calcium d glucarate on Friday and have felt terrible ever since. mostly dizziness, nausea, and exacerbated blood sugar issues. ugh :'(

but yes I was only on the cream for one day. I've had my thyroid checked multiple times and it always comes back normal.

Sep 16, 2013
Mia you need to check your thyroid and adrenals
by: Deborah

Mia,

I think you may want to check out the website SSTM
Stop the thyroid madness by Janie Bowthorp. It is a wonderful site along with a group of people besides Janie sharing their stories. You may want to get help and guidance for a possible thyroid problem and or adrenal deficiency.

You should start out by taking your temp 3 times a day and charting the results for 5 days. The book tells you what to do along with the website. If your daily temps are less than 98.6 anytime during the day you are low on thyroid no matter what a lab test says. You treat by symptoms, not blood tests. If your temp fluctuates through out the day each day and below 98.6 then you have an adrenal and thyroid problem. The list of symptoms is long just like progesterone deficiency.

On the website there are patient stories of how bad life was before they became informed and in charge of their health. Check it out, nothing to lose. You will see how most doctors are not trained to take blood tests properly they always say your thyroid is normal when in fact it is not. Love this website for all the info too ! god bless people like Janie and Wray who help us.

Sep 18, 2013
Starting low and slow on progesterone?
by: Wray

Hi Mia I have suggested starting low and increasing very slowly, although I don't recommend it. You can't go much lower than 20mg/day, even 40mg/day won't raise levels to that found in the luteal phase, see our page on Progesterone Misconceptions for more info. Nausea can be caused by excess oestrogen, it stimulates substance P, see here. Substance P is a nociceptive, neuropeptide involved in causing pain and nausea. Substance P inhibits progesterone, see here, but if enough is used, progesterone suppresses substance P, see here. "Accumulating evidence indicates that the neuropeptide substance P is predominantly involved in neurogenic inflammation and pain perception...... Intriguingly, decreased pain sensitivity is found to be associated with high plasma progesterone levels. We hypothesize that progesterone may attenuate nociception and associated inflammatory response." Using too little progesterone will stimulate oestrogen, which in turn stimulates substance P. This occurs to many women when they first fall pregnant. If blood glucose drops too low, too quickly, it can also cause nausea. Have you checked whether any of the starchy sweet carbs also cause reactive hypoglycaemia with you? I once helped a woman who also had it badly, even eating something 'good' like quinoa would cause her to go into severe depression. Excess calcium in ratio to magnesium also upsets blood glucose and causes reactive hypoglycaemia, and depression too. It could be your magnesium is too low, as that allows substance P to rise, see here and here. Anxiety also causes blood glucose to drop too quickly, as you know. With your symptoms I feel you will need at least 400mg/day progesterone, have your vitamin D levels checked, and your magnesium too. It's also the most important co-factor for vitamin D. DIM doesn't clear the bad oestrogens, it merely converts a bad one into a weaker one.
Continued below

Sep 18, 2013
Starting low and slow on progesterone? Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Mia You could try taking calcium D-glucarate. Oestrogen is metabolised in the liver by glucuronic acid, the process is known as glucuronidation. Glucuronidation is one of the major detoxification pathways of the liver. It removes carcinogens, toxins, tumour promoters, the sex hormones ie, the androgens and oestrogens, mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids, aromatic and heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, various nitrosamines, drugs, fungi etc. It's then excreted in the bile, but an enzyme in the intestine called beta-glucuronidase reverses the glucuronidation process. It breaks the glucoronide bond between a toxin and glucuronic acid, and releases carcinogens, toxins and excess steroid hormones back into circulation. There's evidence beta-glucuronidase activity is increased in breast and prostate cancer. Calcium D-glucarate inhibits beta-glucuronidase, see here, here, here and here. Incidentally this enzyme is produced by undesirable gut bacteria, supplementing with probiotics suppresses the bacteria, and subsequently the beta-glucuronidase. Silymarin from milk thistle also inhibits beta-glucuronidase, plus it helps the liver detox. For the nausea please try CarnoSoothe. It's helped several people who write in to the site. Take care Wray

Sep 18, 2013
progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Mia I have to agree with the anon comment above. It never occurred to me you had only used progesterone for one day, I thought you were still on it. I also agree about the low glycaemic diet, particularly as you have reactive hypoglycaemia. You might like to look at the Ketogenic Diet. I have yet to find someone who has low oestrogen. What you're experiencing is a detox, the calcium D-glucarate detoxes more than just testosterone and oestrogen. Oestrogen destabilises blood glucose, see here. Take care Wray

Sep 18, 2013
progesterone
by: Mia

the DIM seemed to work pretty nicely, although ill have to try calcium d glucarate again. I thought it was making me feel terribly dizzy and fatigued, but it turned out I was getting toxic levels of vitamin A from a retinol cream I was using....go figure. this doesn't explain why I felt so nauseated after progesterone though, but I will not dismiss that it could have been blood sugar related as well. I plan to give everything a second go after the vitamin a problem subsides.

Sep 19, 2013
low estrogen?
by: Anonymous

just to add, I had a blood test done for hormones, thyroid... E2 Estrodial was at 73.1 pg/ml and progesterone was at 11ng/ml. it was day 22 of my cycle.. I have an on the dot 26 day cycle.

the dizziness started after I had taken DIM and CDG, but seems to have subsided after I took a supplement with dong quai, red raspberry leaf, black cohosh, and chastetree berry last night.

my thyroid was at .77. they didn't check for T3 or T4 levels.

does that mean my estrogen could be a little low? it seemed like all of my symptoms were very much exacerbated when making efforts to lower estrogen.

Sep 19, 2013
Have you heard of myomin by Chi-health
by: Deborah

Wray have you heard of the supplement myomin? It was suggested to my daughter by her Doctor of Ostepath due to her starting her period every 14 days or so. She has just started (2 1/2 weeks) using compounded progesterone crème 100mg per day. The doctor said the myomin would help regulate her cycle.

I told her to increase the progesterone to 200mg a day for pain (headache and body)and over time this would help regulate her cycle. On her days of extreme pain she has used even more than 200mg of progesterone. It helps instantly !

She is 35 yrs old and stopped using the pill about 11 months ago. Her period would happen around the 23rd day of the month and last for 4-5 days. She would become very ill and have to stay in bed for a day or two. She had insane migraines, body pain and nausea.

Hoping the progesterone will help with the rise and fall of her hormones when it is time for her next cycle. She also has a thyroid and adrenal problem that we are now treating better to add to her misery.
Thank you for all the work you do to help people become aware of progesterone.
It is a shame that it is so hard to find a good doctor. There is no reason for people to suffer when there are natural supplements to take that really work !!

Sep 22, 2013
Have you heard of myomin by Chi-health
by: Wray

Hi Deborah No I haven't I must look into it, sounds interesting. I'm relieved she's stopped the Contraceptive, all the drug based ones have the potential to harm. And often cause worse symptoms after stopping. I've found 400mg/day is needed for Migraines. And low magnesium can cause pain too. It's the most important co-factor for vitamin D, has she had her levels of these checked? Low vitamin D is involved in migraines too. And both Progesterone and Vitamin D help the adrenals and thyroid, I suspect her level of both is too low, see here, here, here, here, here and here. Take care Wray

Sep 22, 2013
low estrogen?
by: Wray

Hi there If you have a 26 day cycle, the test should have been done ±day 19, which is your peak mid-luteal phase. As it is now your P:E2 ratio is 150:1. We've found from Saliva Tests we run it's best if it's 600:1. All those herbs you took have oestrogenic properties. I see little point in testing for TSH, which presumably is the 0.77 you give? TSH is a pituitary hormone, not a thyroid hormone, this is so typical. Take care Wray

Sep 22, 2013
Mia you need to check your thyroid and adrenals
by: Wray

Hi Deborah That is such an excellent site, thanks for mentioning it. This is the link to Stop the Thyroid Madness in case anyone wants to look at it. Interestingly enough oestrogen drops temps, whereas progesterone raises them. 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. And it is true, they usually only test TSH a pituitary hormone, and T4, the storage hormone with little activity. I liken TSH to a whip on the back of a starving donkey. Beating the thyroid into making more T3 and T4 but it can't, because it doesn't have the raw materials to do so, tyrosine, iodine and selenium, which are never tested. These are so important to thyroid health, not to mention vitamin D, without which no cell works optimally, including the thyroid, see here, here, here, here, here and here. Thanks for your support and the kind words! Take care Wray

Mar 10, 2015
Temps
by: Suzanne

Thanks for posting the normal range of temps. Do these numbers change if temp is taken under the arm? Thanks!

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