Weight Gain and 80 mg/day of Bioidentical Progesterone

by Erin
(Boise, ID, USA)

I started taking 80 mg of progesterone daily, 40 mg in the morning and 40 mg at night. I had blood work done and a saliva test. I am estrogen dominant and barely producing any progesterone. I went on Yaz a year ago and it was a nightmare. I am an ironman athlete and marathon runner and I am extremely picky about what I eat, needless to say I gained 8 pounds in less than two months on the Yaz!! So I had my hormones tested and again, estrogen dominant.

I went off the Yaz after 6 months of being on it, and gave my system 5 months off of all hormones to normalize on its own and the weight didn't and won't come off. I am also experiencing extreme PMS and water retention as well.

I have been on bioidentical hormones for two weeks now and I am gaining again, something my hormone specialist promised me would not happen. It's really starting to piss me off that all these health care providers all say you won't gain weight but EVERY woman I have talked to says they do. And I am experiencing it as well. I don't think these health care providers understand how hard it is to deal with weight gain and self esteem. Especially being an athlete I am very concerned about not gaining weight. I train 20 hours a week and cannot lose a pound, I mean how long do I have to wait for this cream to reverse these effects. I really wish someone had answers... Thanks.

Comments for Weight Gain and 80 mg/day of Bioidentical Progesterone

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Oct 21, 2010
too much progesterone?
by: Anonymous

I am amazed at how much progesterone a lot of you are taking. I was told to start on as little as possible and work up. I am taking 20 mg a day and I feel slight symptoms on that much. Some of you are taking up to 200 mg a day. If you read Dr. John Lee's book (one of the pioneers of natural progesterone therapy), he makes it clear to not take too much. That can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, I believe weight gain was one of them. I suggest you get his book "What the Doctor Won't Tell you about Perimenopause" and you will find information on natural progesterone dosing.

Oct 21, 2010
I know how you feel.
by: Anonymous

I was running like crazy and watching what I eat and could not lose a pound! Found out hormones are not right estrogen dominant, low t3 and low on testosterone as well. I am a woman. When first on the hormones they can make you more estrogen dominant at first. Are you just on progesterone cream or compounded pharmacy made? Some Dr's will even say it is bio identical when it is not, they do not know anything else. My other unbalanced were found out a couple of months later and doses have been changed several times. Finally over a couple of months and working out lighter than I have lost 20 pounds. Have to say it takes time to get things right. Still estrogen dominant last week but feeling a bit better and increased dose to double. It may be other things are going on with you too. I hope you feel better and the weight comes off asap. It is so frustrating!!!

Oct 21, 2010
Weight gain NATPRO
by: Maree

Hello there, Your comments about weight gain interest me greatly. I am one of these women who can never take HRT or any 'drug' type hormone to balance things out, due to an early thrombosis during childbirth age 23. Now 57 and battling with what was high oestrogen and low progesterone, which went ignored by doctors as they took the view 'we can't treat her, so we won't' After reading John Lees book on hormones and the menopause, I decided to put myself on NATPRO to help with the imbalance and all the many various side effects. I have been doing this since approx age 52/3 and now at 57, I can indeed vouch for weight gain, sadly. I had all hormones tested recently to see if the progesterone had helped and brought the amount up, only to find that it is still low at 2.9, oestrogen has now gone to <70. I am left wondering if indeed all the natural NATPRO and cost etc was worth it. What exactly are you taking ? My exercise also did not keep the weight off, nor did a good healthy diet. Water retention etc, still an issue. Would be interested to hear more from you.

Oct 23, 2010
Weight Gain and 80 mg/day of Bioidentical Progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Erin The Yaz can upset the system badly, in fact all contraceptives can. They stop ovarian function, ie ovulation is stopped, which means you were not making any progesterone. But you were still making a little oestrogen in your ovaries, and fat cells make it too. In spite of being a runner, you still have some fat left. Oestrogen is a mitogen, causing cells to divide and multiply, including fat cells. These are also a non-ovarian source of oestrogen, so a vicious cycle starts. The pill whether a combo or single can cause insulin resistance too, which causes weight gain. Unless this is reversed it's impossible to loose it. I've not heard of a runner having IR, but please read our page on Insulin Resistance in case it helps. Once you stop the contraceptive, the ovaries start working again, but initially they only produce oestrogen, it can be many cycles before ovulation occurs and progesterone is made. The excess oestrogen would account for the bad PMS and water retention, as oestrogen also causes this. Progesterone is an excellent diuretic, so much so, it's given via IV transfusion to brain trauma victims to prevent the oedema and inflammation that occurs. I don't believe you're not using enough progesterone, too little and it causes Oestrogen Dominance, please read our page on it. I recommend between 100-200mg/day, if symptoms are severe more will be needed. For more info please read our page on How to use progesterone cream. Take care Wray

Oct 23, 2010
too much progesterone?
by: Wray

Hi there Dr Lee was a wonderful man and helped put progesterone on the map, but I believe the amount he suggested is far too small. 20mg/day is the amount a woman makes in a normal monthly cycle, fine if there is nothing wrong, but if there is it won't have any benefit. Dr Dalton would give up to 2400mg/day to her psychotic patients, because they needed it. She was giving progesterone to her patients in the early 1950's. Her experience with younger woman was enormous, so I prefer to follow her advice. Progesterone must never be used as a 'dose' but according the symptoms presenting. In all the successful studies 100-200mg is normal, some going well over that. The symptoms you are feeling on such a low amount are due to progesterone stimulating oestrogen, to overcome this and make progesterone the dominant hormone, a great deal more is needed. For more info please see our page on Oestrogen Dominance. Once the symptoms have gone, it's easy enough to reduce to the optimum level.
Take care Wray

Oct 23, 2010
I know how you feel.
by: Wray

Hi there You are right, initially progesterone does stimulate oestrogen, which would cause weight gain, as oestrogen stimulates fat cells and causes water retention. And it does take time to settle down and find the right amount too. This is critical, too little progesterone and you remain in a state of permanent oestrogen dominance. Stress drops progesterone levels too, so more should be used. Many don't know this and wonder why symptoms come back as they haven't changed anything. I'm pleased you've lost weight, as so many complain they put on. Oestrogen and only oestrogen stimulates fat cells and causes water retention, not progesterone. In fact progesterone is thermogenic, it raises temperature and speeds up metabolism slightly, and is an excellent diuretic too. Take care Wray

Oct 23, 2010
Weight gain NATPRO
by: Wray

Hi Maree You've been using the Natpro for a long time now. I hope in spite of the weight gain, your other symptoms have been helped, otherwise it would be a waste of money! You don't say how much you are using, but it seems not enough if your level is still so low and you've put on weight. A naturopath runs saliva tests for us, and we've found from these that the progesterone reaches over 3000pg/ml. Your ratio of progesterone to oestrogen is too low at 41:1, it needs to be over 600:1 to feel well and prevent oestrogen dominance. Oestrogen not only stimulates fat cells, which in turn make oestrogen, but it causes water retention and IR too. For more on this please see our page on Insulin Resistance. Please consider using more progesterone, I recommend between 100-200mg/day. As you are now in menopause please read through our page for more info on Menopause. Take care Wray

Nov 14, 2010
Does it not make sense?
by: Anonymous

Does it not make sense that during pregnancy, when our progesterone levels are higher... up to 400mg per day in the 3rd trimester... we gain plenty of weight? So of course when you are adding massive amounts of it,y ou are going to gain weight. I believe your body thinks it's pregnant.

You should start with a tiny amount, if you start feeling pms symptoms you are not getting enough, so increase by a tiny amount in increments, until you feel better. When you gain weight, are sleepy or feel drunk or nauseous (like pregnancy)... decrease until you feel right. Dr.'s don't know your body like you do, despite lab work (which is not fool proof). Sometimes we have to trust ourselves more than anyone else. It's much easier to work it out yourself than to throw it away and just live with the misery imo.

Nov 15, 2010
Does it not make sense?
by: Wray

Hi there The weight gained in pregnancy doesn't have any bearing on using large amounts of progesterone. This is due to the progesterone initially stimulating oestrogen. Oestrogen is a mitogen, it stimulates cells to divide and multiply, including fat cells. These are also a non-ovarian source of oestrogen, so a vicious cycle starts up. Progesterone is thermogenic, which means it stimulates the metabolism slightly. Please see the page on Oestrogen Dominance for more info on why and how progesterone affects oestrogen. The following shows how the weight gain in pregnancy is distributed......
Baby 8 pounds
Placenta 2-3 pounds
Amniotic fluid 2-3 pounds
Breast tissue 2-3 pounds
Blood supply 4 pounds
Fat stores for delivery and breast feeding 5-9 pounds
Uterus increase 2-5 pounds
Total 25 to 35 pounds
See here. Starting with a small amount of progesterone merely stimulates oestrogen all the more, and can often keep women in a permanent state of oestrogen dominance. It's always advisable to start high to avoid this. Please see here. Nausea is directly related to a lack of progesterone, an increase in oestrogen. Dr Dalton would give 6 x 400mg/day (2400mg) progesterone suppositories to her patients with hyperemesis. I've found the minimum required to stop it once started is 330mg/day, but this low level takes 2 months before the nausea goes. Take care Wray

Feb 19, 2011
Progestrone 40 mg Bioidentical
by: Lynn

I too am frustrated as a avid health minded person. I was put on 40mg of bioidentical cream 1 week ago. I have had horrible symptoms along with weight gain. I had blood work done and awaiting the saliva test results. In Suzanne Somer's book she indicates along with Dr. Lee that too much progestrone will cause weight gain/water retention. I am wondering if 40mg is too much for me? Are there any success stories out there?

Mar 04, 2011
Progestrone 40 mg Bioidentical
by: Wray

Hi Lynn Yes there are plenty of success stories, but they all relate to using far more progesterone than you are currently using. Progesterone cannot cause weight gain, it's thermogenic, which means it speeds metabolism. Unlike oestrogen, which is a mitogen causing cellular proliferation, progesterone is not, in fact it stops mitosis and causes differentiation. Progesterone cannot cause water retention, as it blocks the action of aldosterone. This hormone is responsible for sodium retention which in turn causes water retention. In fact progesterone is such an excellent diuretic it's now given via IV transfusion to brain trauma victims to prevent oedema, see here, here, here and here. 40 mg/day only gives sub-luteal levels of progesterone, ie less than we normally make, see here. If symptoms are present this will do nothing to help, and in most cases merely ramps up oestrogen making matters worse. Please see our page on Oestrogen Dominance for an explanation. I recommend 100-200mg/day, dependant on symptoms. If a high level of oestrogen is present, or symptoms are severe, I recommend using levels found in pregnancy, ie 400mg/day and over. From Saliva Tests we run, we've found to feel well the ratio of progesterone to oestrogen should be 600:1 and over. For success stories please see here, here, and here. This is a very long page, but it shows what a low amount does, and how a high amount helps, please see here. For more info on progesterone please see our page on How to use progesterone cream. Take care Wray

Sep 08, 2011
too much progesterone
by: Lucy

I have been using serenity for some time now. I had a hysterectomy due to polycystic ovaries, but now a saliva test reveals that my progesterone is too high and my oestrogens are too low with high testosterone. Can someone explain this to me as I am going crazy?

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