What to expect after low progesterone treatment

by Sha
(Texas)

I am 22 years old. I am guessing that I have been suffering from this for most of my life but in recent years it has gotten unbearably worse. I have low progesterone.

I have suffered from almost all the side effects... insomnia, terrible weight gain, no sex drive, irritability, anxiety, cysts in my breasts, horrible memory loss, water retention, tiredness, no motivation etc. I went to my gyn. not too long ago and he told me I have low progesterone and prescribed me an antidepressant called Paxil. Paxil is great for helping with some of my symptoms, but not all of them. I'm not trying to get pregnant which is why I'm guessing he didn't prescribe me any hormone replacements.

What I would like to know is if I start to take progesterone what is good to take and will it help me lose weight have a sex drive again and not retain so much water and all that other stuff Paxil doesn't fix?

Comments for What to expect after low progesterone treatment

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Jan 28, 2010
What to expect after low progesterone treatment
by: Wray

Hi Sha. Pity you weren't given progesterone, as that's what you need. You say you've had these symptoms for most of your life, they probably started at the beginning of puberty. The early stages go unnoticed by all except the sufferer, and this can be as early as 7-8 yrs old nowadays. I had a difficult puberty too, and not wanting my daughter to suffer the same, I put her on it too, she was 14 at the time. She's now 28 and still uses it. My step-neice was on anti-depressants when I first met her, she was also 14 at the time. Within a few weeks of using the progesterone, plus the amino acid tryptophan, she was off the AD's. If you wish to start the progesterone please look at this web page. I would also ask you to look at this one too, as your symptoms suggest you have excess oestrogen.

If you want to come off the AD's, we have a web page showing how to do it here.

Oral progesterone is not a good delivery system. Injections, suppositories or creams are the best methods. The cream is the easiest and most versatile, as it can be used everywhere. Progesterone is an excellent diuretic, so much so they give it via IV transfusion to brain trauma victims. Many use it to raise their libido, including men. Take care, Wray

Jun 24, 2010
I know how you feel
by: courtney

This sounds so similar to my story and I am also 22 years old. I want to try a progesterone cream. I was wondering what cream is recommended and also, if I am on the birth control YAZ will this be affected in any way? Also, if I do try the cream, how much do I use a day?

Jun 27, 2010
I know how you feel
by: Wray

Hi Courtney Progesterone won't affect the birth control, in fact it will protect you from it's adverse affects. You might like to read more about them on our web page Contraceptives Research papers. And here too. All BC's stop ovarian function, which means you are not making any progesterone in your ovaries. This would exacerbate the symptoms you are experiencing. Please see our web page on How to use progesterone. Take care Wray

Jul 27, 2010
Low Progesterone Treatments
by: Anonymous

Combination birth control will actually make your symptoms worse. If you have low progesterone, you probably also have estrogen dominance (meaning that your estrogen is disproportionately high compared to your progesterone). The two hormones need to work in balance for your body to be in synch. When taking a combination of estrogen and progestin (synthetic progesterone) such as in Yaz and most other forms of BC, you're raising your estrogen even more.

Talk to your doctor. This problem is much more common among perimenopausal and menopausal women, so most docs will brush off your symptoms unless you're proactive and clear.

I was initially diagnosed with low progesterone/estrogen dominance when I was 17. My doctor prescribed Ortho TC (probably because she was concerned about sexual activity due to my age), Initially, it masked the symptoms. In time, though, they got far worse. The estrogen in the pills just exaggerated the problem.

My current OB/GYN is evaluating the best treatment for me as we speak (I came across this board in doing my own research). I think he's leaning towards bioidentical progesterone cream. Everything I've heard points to that as the best treatment for this condition.

Jul 30, 2010
Low Progesterone Treatments
by: Wray

Hi there Thanks for your excellent comment. And you do need to be pro-acitve, many women are brushed off with "you're too young for a hormone problem". Hormone problems can start at birth, the youngest 'woman' to begin her periods was a 1 year old baby. But often puberty is the start of it all, with women struggling for years before finding help. My daughter started using progesterone when she was 14, she's now nearly 29 and still using it. It's never too young incidentally, progesterone is used for new born babies with respiratory distress syndrome, it's essential for the development of the lungs. Progesterone is the only safe way to reduce excess oestrogen and testosterone, and progesterone cream is the easiest delivery method, plus the fact it's absorbed well. You might like to look at our page Progesterone application methods. It gives a list of the various delivery routes. And if you want more info on it's use please see our page on how to use progesterone cream. When and if you do start using it, please use enough, so often the amount is too low too help. I generally recommend 100-200mg/day, dependant on symptoms. Take care Wray

Aug 03, 2010
Cream not as effective for me
by: PAG

I actually had a very different experience with the cream, patch and oral. My body only absorbed less than 50% of the progesterone in the cream and didn't relieve any of my symptoms. I then tried the patch with the same results. My doctor found out that skin cells retain a good portion of the progesterone rather than passing into the system.

I finally tried bioidentical oral progesterone (200 mg taken at night) and after 3 months had incredible results. I lost the water weight, my memory and mental acuity is back (finishing graduate school... finally!) and I have energy again - in fact I am training for a triathlon something I couldn't even think of doing 6 months ago. I had such bad fatigue that I would get chest pains walking around the block!

I believe it depends on the severity of your level of progesterone and what works best with your body. I had gone through 9 doctors over the past 7 years before I found one that didn't think had just a thyroid problem (which is now functioning normally and this was after two endocrinologists wanted to surgically remove it because it developed a nodule which we found out was due to low progesterone!! Yes, the nodule is gone, too!)

By the way, low progestrone has the same symptoms of hypothyroidism. To rule this out have your TSH, Free T3 and T4 tested through a simple blood test (not necessary to have the expensive iodine uptake scan done).

Good Luck to all with this!

Aug 05, 2010
Cream not as effective for me
by: Wray

Hi there It sounds as if you were on the standard amount recommended for creams, ie 20-40mg/day. I've found this a waste of time for most women, unless their symptoms are very mild. The amount should be between 100-200mg/day, dependant on symptoms. I'm glad the oral helped you, although of all the delivery systems it's the most ineffective. As much of it gets destroyed as it passes through the gut. The liver has to metabolise the rest, which puts an unnecessary strain on it. For more info on delivery systems please see our web page Progesterone application methods. You are right, too many women are given thyroid meds when in fact they need progesterone. Vitamin D is vital for the thyroid too, this is low in most of us, plus a low level reduces the benefits of progesterone. Take care Wray

Aug 16, 2010
Frustrated!
by: Anonymous

For over two years now I have had heavy symptoms of low progesterone/hormonal imbalance. I have seen three doctors and everything is the same. I am 32 and the one Doctor eventually put me back on the pill (Melodene). My worst and most frustrating symptom is a heavy copper smell and a white milky vaginal discharge the whole day. I have to wear a panty liner every single day. I was on Melodene for a good couple of months and I am now on Triphasil. Nothing has changed at all and i am at my wits end. Should I change pills again or get a Dr to put me on progesterone treatment? I would appreciate your comments so much.

Aug 20, 2010
Frustrated!
by: Wray

Hi there Has no one checked your oestrogen and progesterone levels? I don't know what symptoms you have to suggest you have low progesterone, but obviously you've done some research into it to come to your conclusion. You might like to do the questionnaire we have to confirm your findings, please see the link here. Has anyone checked for candida too, as the smell and milky discharge makes me suspect you could have it. Please see our page on Candida. If you do have a progesterone deficiency the last thing you should be taking is a contraceptive. This stops ovarian function, which prevents ovulation. It's not until we ovulate that we make progesterone, so if your level is already low, this will only lower it further. Please see our page on Contraceptives. If you should consider progesterone I recommend between 100-200mg/day, it is trial and error to find the correct amount. Please note stress drops progesterone levels too. For more info please see our page on How to use progesterone cream. But before starting please read this page on Oestrogen Dominance. If your oestrogen is to high in ratio to progesterone, you could experience this, it's most disconcerting if it occurs. Take care Wray

Aug 20, 2010
Frustrated
by:

Hi Wray, thanks so much for getting back to me. I was told after a blood test over a year ago that my progesterone levels are low. I was told to take a multi vitamin :). I then went to a another gynae when everything was still the same a few months later that did more blood tests and put me on the pill. Since starting the pill I still have the discharge, odor and irregular cycles. Shall I stop the pill for a few weeks and get my levels checked again by a gynae? I have no sex drive anymore whatsoever as well. I am desperate for help and advice.

Aug 26, 2010
Frustrated
by: Wray

Hi there Well I've not heard of vitamins getting progesterone levels up! How they would is beyond me. As I said the pill stops ovulation, which means you are not making progesterone. So how the pill would increase your levels is beyond me too! If you are using the pill as a contraceptive, please consider using the copper T IUD, it's the safest there is and doesn't leak any hormone into the body. I don't think any woman should be on any synthetic hormone, the pill, implant, injection, or HRT for that matter. You could get your levels checked, but they will come back low progesterone. I take it you have had it checked that it's not candida? If it's not then the progesterone can help, but the amount should be between 100-200mg/day. We have found progesterone does help sex drive, we have many men using it for that. The jury is still out on testosterone raising it, in fact recent research indicates progesterone is responsible for increased libido. Take care Wray

Aug 30, 2011
Help me!
by: Anonymous

Hi all! I went in BC two years back and my body has been completely messed up since! I told my doctor who said she isn't quite sure about what it could be (by the way, my symptoms are weight gain, hair loss, irregular cycles, no memory/concentration, horrible water retention and insomnia). And it all started as soon as I came off the BC. My doctor told me to ask my gyno who checked my thyroid function (it was normal) and then decided that maybe I'm just "naturally like this." Uhh... NOOO!!! I am most definitely NOT naturally like this. I went back on the BC hoping it would regulate my periods but it just made things worse. I did my research and found out why... I think I have estrogen dominanace. But neither of my doctors believed me. So, I switched doctors and I told her about all this. She said it probably isn't a hormone imbalance because I'm only 21 and those are very rare for girls my age. I pushed for her to test my hormone levels and she finally agreed. But they came back normal! Could it be possible that the test would shoe normal levels even though all factors point to estrogen dominance??
Please help!
-Shaili

Nov 17, 2011
finally a doc listened
by: Anonymous

Thought i was losing my mind, my doc treated me for pain symptoms and put me on paxil, i had anemia , depression, anxiety, tingling skin, crashing fatigue, dirupted my entire life, my relationships, loss of interest, had to even stop working because i felt horrible 3 weeks out of the month, that is 75 percent of my life for 3 years i lost to hormonal imbalance. Had my levels checked today, by my new doctor, who listened to me and knew exactly what i was talking about. Guess what i am not going crazy, its perimenopause. You are not alone. Why do so many women have to suffer because of this? Going on progesterone treatment 10 days each month, and our goal is to get me off the couch and off the antidepressant. there is hope and docs out there that will listen.

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