Very Wary to Commence Using Progesterone

by Michelle
(England)

I am wary of starting Progesterone - I have severe PMDD, fibroids, out of control cravings... What I am having doubts about is that you state on first taking Progesterone you may experience Oestrogen Dominance and to combat this to either increase dosage and persevere with symptoms or reduce the dose considerably and then gradually increase the amount although you state this may take longer to resolve symptoms.

If this is the case why are people still complaining of symptoms such as weight gain, hot flushes, PMT etc who have been using the cream for a few months as if what you say is correct in the latter suggestion to decrease the cream and gradually increase then I can't see why people should then still be in a state of 'Oestrogen Dominance'. You then suggest that they increase the cream to 100 or 200mg; if they have been on the cream for a few months then I thought decreasing and slowly increasing the dosage would be sufficient to enable Progesterone to become the dominant hormone. What I am basically saying is that I am worried that I will be getting on a Progesterone Dosage rollercoaster.

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May 14, 2011
re: very wary to commence using progesterone.
by: Natasha (UK)

Hi Michelle,

I understand your concerns. I too was alarmed to read that other women felt worse when they started using this cream but I my instinct told me to find out more. So I continued to research how to use progesterone and I found Wray?s site. I?m sure she will reply soon but I thought I?d offer my understanding of how this works.

From your description of your symptoms, PMDD, food cravings, fibroids etc. your body is already in Oestrogen Dominance. Using bioidentical progesterone won't give you oestrogen dominance.

However it is noted both here and by other doctors - such as Dr Christiane Northrup (The Wisdom of the Menopause) that on initially using this cream it activates more of your oestrogen receptors, particularly in the breast, and this can aggravate symptoms already present. I understand that this is why Wray advocates starting with a high does of between 100-200mg per day to get your body back into balance more quickly. I guess that if there is already a large amount of oestrogen in your body from other sources such as food or the environment, and if the progesterone activates your own oestrogen receptors as well, then some some women will initially feel worse.

If you start with a lower dose, which could still stimulate your oestrogen receptors, the increase of bad symptoms may be less severe but it may also take you longer to achieve hormonal balance again.

I?ve had many years of dealing with candida (yeast infections) and the antifungal treatments initially made me feel worse as the excess yeast was flushed out of my system. So I?m used to coping with this type of situation. For those new to this it can be alarming.

From all my reading around the web, I suspect that the women who still have bad symptoms after using the cream for a few months have simply not used a high enough dose of progesterone to get their bad symptoms under control. Possibly they may be frightened by using more cream and that is very understandable from the accounts I have read. I guess it is up to each person to decide what is right for them.

I?ve also contributed a blog, a few pages back titled The Hormonal Roller coaster if you would like to read about my experiences of using this cream.

I wish you good luck in improving your health soon.







May 16, 2011
Wary to Commence Progesterone contd
by: Michelle

Thanks Natasha for your time and comments. I am in receipt of the cream I am just waiting for the appropriate time to start it (if I do that is). I also went to the hospital on Friday for a consultation re a large fibroid I have - they are going to remove it in the next few weeks. They asked in my consultation if I was experiencing any other problems I mentioned that I thought I was experiencing oestrogen dominance (mentioned PMDD food cravings water retention etc) and asked if it would be ok to use Progesterone cream and also if there would be an improvement in my symptoms once the fibriod was removed (I have read that fibroids produce oestrogen). The doctor looked at me blankly and said she would ask the consultant. She then came back to say I should use Vit B and Evening Primrose and that the removal of the fibroid would have no impact on my hormone level. I just get the feeling that the medical profession in general do not support this hormonal imbalance theory at all. My GP said there is no evidence at all to support it and she aswell as the consultant recommended anti-depressants for PMDD if vits didn't work. I just feel that when I have read Wray's and other sites it make so much sense and I can relate to and believe the theories of why certain symptoms occur and I feel that taking anti-depressants (which are said to curb cravings due to raising serotonin levels) would treat one of the symptoms I'm experiencing but are not actually solving the cause of my problems. That is why I want to try the cream but am on the otherhand frightened to. Another reason is hair loss (I know this may sound vain but my hair isn't the best quality as it is and I've read a few comments saying that they've lost a considerable amount of hair when starting the progesterone. I just have a lot of concerns...

May 16, 2011
more thoughts
by: Natasha (UK)

Hi Michelle,

Great to read your up date but sorry that you're still in a quandry about what to do. I can understand why though. Its scary going it alone.

I too have had such a poor response with the medical profession in UK over women's health. A colleague suggested 3 years ago that I might be in peri-menopause. I had never heard of this, researched it via library and felt hopeful for first time in ages. My GP wouldn't help at all because I don't have either hot flushes nor missed periods. If she had prescribed me progesterone cream 3 years ago, my life might be much better by now.

My rather jaded view is that UK GPs prescribe anti-depressants because its quick & easy. They tried to do that with me for period problems. I insisted on a blood test and discovered an iron and vitamin D defficency. I felt much better after a few months on iron supplements.

I also think they are not trained to understand why symptoms occur and they only think about how to squash them. I can't use the word cure because unless they are treating a known disease, I found my symptoms return when I stop using their medicine.

I think you have to trust your instincts when you find something that could work for you. I always back up my findings with other medical research. I'm sure you've noticed that Wray and others who are promoting this cream are doing so with medical research from other doctors. That is why I have confidence in her site.

I'm also wary of websites like askthepatient which are full of horror stories of using this cream but we have no idea if they are using it correctly. Its like the blind leading the blind. At least here we have someone with many years experience guiding us.

And I don't think you're being vain about your hair. I would feel the same as you. If this is any help to you, I have noticed that my nails are growing stronger again since I started using the cream. Nails and hair are of the same material keratin. I know we're all different of course and only you can decide what's right for you.

I hope you find the courage soon to do what you need to do for you.

Natasha

May 19, 2011
Thanks Natasha
by: Michelle

Hi there I have just read your blog and was surprised at how similar your symptoms were to mine! I hope you are feeling much better now. I just wanted to ask you Natasha - how much progesterone cream were you taking to make you feel better - as I noted in your blog that you used Pro-gest initially 'as directed' - I assume that Pro-gest hasn't got as high a Progesterone content as Natpro and would guess that you used a smallish amount (sorry for the assumptions). Also when you started using Natpro what doses did you use with this cream and did you have to increase the dose at all since using it?

Can I also ask if you had any problems with hair loss ie initial shedding etc?

I know we are all individual but I thought your symptoms sounded similar to mine and all I seem to be reading on this site are recommendations for people to take more and more progesterone. I am wary of starting the cream for my symptoms to worsen unless I use say 200mg a day which I cannot afford to do (in particular if I start losing my hair and then feel trapped into having to increase the dose). Also do you know if your body does actually stop absorbing it and if so would you're symptoms come back?

Sorry for bombarding you.


May 19, 2011
reply part 1
by: Natasha (UK)

Hi Michelle,

Happy to help if I can. Answer in two blogs as I seem unable to be brief :)

When I started with Pro Gest I used 1/4 teaspoon in morning and 1/4 at night (this is about 40 mg a day total.). Back in Oct/Nov I only noticed a reduction in my carb cravings and the few painful spots I?d been having on my face disappeared too. I stopped using it because I ran out of money and didn?t feel enough of a benefit immediately.

I started it again in April this year, using Pro Gest in the same quantity. (Why? I was feeling so lousy/desperate that I had to do something). I noticed no improvement in the 1st week but was able to cut out wheat (it gives me eczema) and cut back on carbs in general. I was also eating far more healthily too & started some gentle exercise - walking & a few stretches.

The 2nd week I woke up a different woman, calm, energised and craving free and was great until I got my period. I stopped the cream because of the instructions from Pro Gest and felt bad again after 5 days of no cream. All my discipline fell apart & my eating went to pot.

I?ve started on the Natpro this month 7 days ago at 166 mg per day. ie 1/2 teaspoon AM & 1/2 teaspoon PM. & my period started today, a few days earlier than expected. I had wondered if I?d need to stop the cream for a few days when it was due to start to make it start but it came anyway. I?ve been wondering about what this means but no concrete answers. Maybe I am so low in progesterone that this amount isn?t enough to prevent me having a period.

I haven?t felt as good on the higher dose yet, I?ll be honest about that. But I also ate so much bread/sugar/cheese in the 2 weeks before. Bread/wheat has been bad for me all my life but my body craved it like a drug addict when I stopped using the cream. (I suffer too from candida & this could have caused my cravings) That must have aggravated my symptoms and possibly it has been harder for the cream to work.

Since using the higher dose, I have been able to cut back on carbs and felt less tearful but still felt fragile and very water retentive. There is a ring I wear that feels very tight at the moment & my fingers feel puffy.

Today, now my period has come, the tearfulness and fragility has vanished completely. I still have painful cramps but that will be due to all the cheese/dairy/sugar I?ve also eaten recently and lack of exercise.

Has the higher dose made me feel worse? No but this time its taking a bit longer to get symptoms under control. I am going to continue with this level of dosage without a break for a couple of months so that when I do go back to following my cycle, I won?t have the terrible dip I had in April. Every time I have used the cream I have felt some benefit, even if it was only small. For my body progesterone definitely has a calming effect. Cont/ in part 2


May 19, 2011
reply part 2
by: Natasha (UK)

Also using the cream helps with my will power to control my diet and take exercise which I know from past experience also help with some of the symptoms. I don?t need to go to the gym. Simply a brisk 30 min walk most days helps and some yoga stretches.

No problems with hair loss at all. & my nails which were very brittle and splitting are getting stronger. Both hair and nails are made of the same stuff, so I?d be surprised if you lost hair from using this.

I?ve found that Natpro and Pro Gest cost me about the same for a 2 oz tube but Natpro contains a lot more progesterone. Pro Gest contains approx. 80 mg per teaspoon and Natpro approx. 166 mg. So even if you only use a 1/4 teaspoon x 2 ie AM & PM (83 mg per day) it will be more than Pro Gest and not far off 100 mg per day. From what Wray says, you will still get a benefit but it could take you more months to get back in balance. I?m very hard up too but I?m finding the money for a couple of months of Natpro as I?m finding it so hard to do anything in my life at the moment and think it could be a false economy in the long run. Again, only you can make that call about your situation but I do sympathise.

Not sure what you mean by does my body stop absorbing the cream? From Wray?s comments I?m reassured that saturation doesn?t occur and lead to symptoms returning as Dr Mercola suggests.

What I am sure is that I either have so much oestrogen or very, very low progesterone and until my balance is restored, my symptoms will recur when I stop the cream.

May 23, 2011
Too low a dose
by: Wray

Hi Michelle The people who complain of the symptoms you mention, are all using a very much lower amount than I suggest. The majority of the people who come to this site are using another brand of cream, and the amount the manufacturers suggest. Or that their doctors suggest, this is invariably 20-40mg/day. In most cases this is far too low, it merely exacerbates the Oestrogen Dominance symptoms. This is the reason I suggest 100-200mg/day, dependant on symptoms. It's never dependant on 'dose'. The more severe the symptom the more is needed. Fro instance, Dr Dalton would give 2400mg/day to her patients with severe post natal psychosis, they needed it. Brain trauma victims are given over 1200mg/day, via IV transfusion. Over 70% of these are men too. Some women find the adverse symptoms which can occur too much, which is why I suggest they start very low and work up slowly. Normally I would never advocate this, as it merely prolongs things. The amount of progesterone is dependant on many things. The dark days of winter, large meals, a lack of vitamin D, high stress levels, high levels of oestrogen to progesterone the few days before a period, so more is needed. Some women find using the cream hourly helps, particularly if the symptoms are bad. The amount needed will vary day to day, hour to hour in some cases. So yes the amount does have to be adjusted to suit needs, you could call this a roller coaster. You might like to read this page here. Karenina was using the recommended 20mg/day and having a very hard time. It took much persuasion on my part to get her to increase it, but once she did she benefited greatly. We do have more info on our page How to use progesterone cream. As you live in the UK, please have a vitamin D test done, levels are low in most people living there, see here, here, here, here, here and here. For more info see the Vitamin D council and GrassrootsHealth websites. Take care Wray

May 23, 2011
Thanks Natasha
by: Wray

Hi Natasha Thanks for your input! You are spot on, initially progesterone does increase oestrogen levels, hence the high amount of progesterone I recommend. This will make progesterone dominant far quicker than one too low. Many women are frightened to use a high amount. Mainly because of warnings from their doctors who don't know that the various hormones activate many other receptor sites, besides their own. And deduce from this that the 'bad' symptoms are due to progesterone. Plus of course reading blogs where women have been advised the wrong amount, and then suffered such bad oestrogen dominance they feel compelled to warn others. It's such a pity this, as it just gives progesterone a bad name. If only they had been warned about the effects of excess oestrogen, but I find they rarely are. It's the one thing I make a point of telling to any newcomer to progesterone. Take care Wray

May 23, 2011
Understand your concerns
by: Wray

Hi Michelle I do understand your concerns, specially as the doctors don't believe hormonal imbalances exist. Other than to dish out HRT! Why they think we only need oestrogen, I'll never understand. We have so much as it is, there are now over 100 oestrogen mimics, in our food, air, water, in the skin and body 'care' we use and more. See this excellent website Our Stolen Future for more info. There's only one safe way to counter these mimics, and that's progesterone. Fibroids are caused by oxidative stress. Often nothing more than a lack of vitamin D. Oestrogen being a mitogen and inflammatory hormone, exacerbates them. Excess oestrogen also causes cravings and water retention. I mentioned TBI victims in my previous reply, well they are given progesterone because it's such a potent diuretic and anti-inflammatory, see here and here. Low tryptophan in the diet leads to low serotonin, this in turn causes many things, two being cravings and Anxiety. Progesterone raises serotonin levels, much as the SSRI's do, but with only beneficial side effects, unlike the SSRI's. It's not vain to want lovely hair, it means it's healthy. There are a number of nutrients which help hair growth, please consider taking 5000iu's/day vitamin D, 2000mg/day N-actyl cysteine, 2000mg/day inositol, 2-3mg biotin and 100mg thiamine (B1). Please check your iron levels, and there is some evidence the amino acid lysine is beneficial too, see here. Vitamin D is vital for the anagen phase of hair growth, see here, here and here. Take care Wray

May 28, 2011
Thanks Natasha
by: Michelle

Hi thanks so much for your comments - I really hope you continue to feel better and that your symptoms subside - you will have to let me know how it goes. I'm a bit confused though as I would have probaby started out on the dose you used before (low one) rather than high one (that's just me though). Please keep me updated. I've just read another blog re delayed period and swelling which has kind of put me off again - I am just waiting for Wray to respond as she is using quite a high amount - I suppose that is the reason why I am wary of starting progesterone. I would have thought what she is taking is high enough??? Unless she is using too much??? If you wanted to email me direct this is my email address: BLANKED. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care.

[note from webmaster: sorry Michelle, our policy is to never publish email addresses as this invites spambots]

Jun 09, 2011
Thanks Natasha
by: Wray

Hi Michelle I hope my answer has reassured you. I've also just answered Lindsay about the delayed period etc. You might like to look at this comment for encouragement, see here. Take care Wray

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