Wondering if I have Low Progesterone

by Amber
(Fl)

Some of the symptoms fit me to a T, but some don't. I'm wondering if this could be the root of my problems. My main issue is that I have VERY severe periods. They are very heavy and painful. I can't do anything for a day or two. I have to take a lot of aleve just to function. My periods are, however very regular. I have breast pain at various points during the month. I have what seems to be hormonal breakouts. I have been diagnosed with endometriosis and ovarian cysts. I also have several fibroidenonas in my breast. I have a low libido most of the time (except around ovulation). I had a really hard time getting pregnant. I've had 2 succesful pregnancies and no miscarriages though. I am also not overweight... I'm actually really happy with my weight. Birth control pills help my cramps, but makes labido even worse and put me on an emotional roller coaster. I'm wondering if this all sounds like it could be low progesterone and if I should give the cream a shot. My GYN doesn't seem interesting in finding the root cause, just recommends birth control.

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Jul 11, 2013
Wondering if I have Low Progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Amber Yes I would say you have low progesterone, but high oestrogen too. We do have a page on Menstruation which explains your heavy periods and what to do about them. I have found about 400mg/day progesterone is needed to stop or reduce the bleeding. But in many instances it's not enough, other nutrients are needed too. These are all given on the page above. We do have a page on Breast Tenderness and another on Breast Cysts, which can also be caused by a lack of iodine. Interesting you say around ovulation your Libido is fine, there's strong evidence progesterone plays a major role is this. Sadly the response you got from your gyn is so typical. We also have a page on How to use progesterone cream you could look through. We do have a page on Pregnancy which might explain the struggles you had falling pregnant. Take care Wray

Aug 07, 2013
Do I need progesterone cream?
by: Mia

Hello! I'd appreciate some advice! I am 21 years old, and got my first period a few months before turning 12. Ever since then, I started noticing random episodes of hypoglycemia where I'd wake up in the middle of the night clammy, cold but sweating, and terribly nauseated. My periods were always fairly regular, at least I think so, coming about every 26-28 days. I had never had a time where I missed one or had one come very late or early. I always had terrible cramps on the first day, which went away after a full sleep by the second day. Dizziness, irritability, hypoglycemic episodes, and being emotional were also included symptoms.

I went on the pill (combination bcp) shortly after I turned 18, which was a terrible experience. I became very emotional and starting having crying spells which turned to panic attacks where I would hyperventilate. While on the pill, I was put on Celexa, which one dose gave me a NASTY reaction (EXTREME panic which caused me to get sick to my stomach). I took the one dose, and never took it again. I suffered from PTSD, and what seemed like some sort of imbalance (chemical or hormonal, I'm not sure)... severe anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. I went off of the pill which helped tremendously... but then I noticed I also had to give up refined sugar (simple carbs) and caffeine. I cannot tolerate them now. The anxiety and depression continued, but became manageable. I started waking up in the middle of the night at least once (around 2-4am) with trouble falling back asleep. I also noticed that I would start to get anxiety in the days before my period would start.

I started taking herbs like Maca, Fenugreek, and Wild Yam for PMS symptoms. The weird thing is, I noticed that (even though Fenugreek PROMOTOES insulin sensitivity...which is my problem, I'm insulin hypersensitive) I was actually able to tolerate simple sugars BETTER. I seemed to go months without panic attacks, depression, or anxiety while on these herbs. I stopped because I noticed lumps forming in my breasts, which went away after stopping.

Aug 07, 2013
continued
by: Mia

Several months later I tried a more balanced combination and got the same (no panic/depression) results without the breast lumps.

Now I haven't been on any herbs in months. Two months ago I had what I guess I'd call a nervous breakdown. A VERY intense panic attack that took about a month to get over. But looking back, I noticed that when I started my period, the anxiety was easier to tolerate, although it still lingers. about 10-14 days before my period (the day right before being the worst) the anxiety built up again to a much less tolerable level. Now I'm mostly suffering from brain fog. VERY thick brain fog, which is making me even more anxious/depressed.

I went to a holistic doctor last week who diagnosed the hypersensitivity to insulin. He put me on a five day diet (no simple carbs/sugars, protein, healthy fats... eat every 4 hours.. do NOT miss breakfast, etc.) It helped me avoid sugar crashes, which I had not much issue with after giving up sugar before, and it also helped me stay asleep through the night, but the anx/dep and brain fog are still here.

My questions are:

1) Is it weird that I see a connection between taking herbal hormones and a decrease in my hypoglycemia/insulin hyper-sensitivity? I've heard that low progesterone can cause blood sugar issues... maybe this is TOO hopeful, but I'm hoping that getting my hormones in balance will take care of this issue all together. I miss occasional sweets!! :)

2) Does this sound like low progesterone to you? What I'm confused about is whether I'm suffering from high estrogen or low estrogen...or if it's just fine?

3) If so, my fear is that I'll start taking progesterone cream and I will suffer from WORSE symptoms for a while, which I'm not sure I can handle.

I am not on any forms of HRT or birth control right now. I am also not on any prescription drugs, and I avoid over the counter medicines for ANYTHING unless I need them (the same goes for antibiotics. I do have recurrent yeast symptoms, and have constant dryness, random itching here and there that subsides in a few minutes and won't come back for days. Low libido is just starting to come up in the last few months since the 'nervous breakdown'. I am also showing signs of IBS (anxiety related, or after hypoglycemic episodes). I'm also taking magnesium (chelated), an iron-free multivitamin, and Pantethine (for adrenal health.)

Thanks,
Michelle

Aug 08, 2013
Do I need progesterone cream?
by: Wray

Hi Michelle Your symptoms speak volumes! We do have a page on Menstruation which explains what occurs, and what can go wrong too. And thanks for all the info, you have done a copious amount of research, and followed through with your findings. Yes you are very short of progesterone. Oestrogen destabilises blood glucose, see here. Whereas progesterone doesn't affect it. More to the point, by suppressing oestrogen, it will prevent it. Nothing weird about taking herbs that help blood glucose, wonderful you found that out. I would say you have a hypersensitivity to glucose, and not insulin. You seem to have a trigger happy pancreas, that panics each time it senses blood glucose going up. The reason for the hypoglycaemia is it secretes far too much insulin, so blood glucose crashes. When this happens the brain sensing you're going to go into a hypoglycaemic coma, reacts by sending a message to the adrenals to secrete adrenaline. This is a message to the liver to convert glycogen into glucose to bring it up again. But as it's an emergency, too much adrenaline is secreted which causes a panic attack etc. We do have more info about this on our Anxiety page. There is nothing more damaging to the body than the sugars, luckily you found this out. Most of the complex carbs turn into glucose, so it's best to avoid all of them. All the grains, legumes, processed dairy and sweet, starchy fruits and veggies. And of course all the sugars too, i.e. fructose, sucrose and glucose. Excess glucose causes glycation, this occurs when a sugar molecule binds to a protein or lipid molecule without the control of an enzyme. This impairs the function of the molecule, leading to advanced glycation endproducts or AGEs, see here. This results in oxidative stress, see here. Which in turn leads to inflammation, see here and here. Resulting in many of our inflammatory diseases, which are the end result of long term oxidative stress. Continued below

Aug 08, 2013
Do I need progesterone cream? Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Michelle Interesting you have recurrent yeast problems, oestrogen reduces the ability of vaginal epithelial cells to inhibit the growth of candida, and has been found to induce the conversion of candida from it's yeast form to it's mycelial form, the more virulent of the two. Plus it increases the glycogen content of the vagina which the yeast live on. There's more info on our Candida page. And we have a page on Libido too. Please have a vitamin D test done, like most of us you could be short. A lack of this reduces the benefits of progesterone, see here, here and here. It's vital for gut health too, see here, here and here. If you do consider progesterone, please use enough. The 20-40mg/day generally recommended is far too low. I usually ask people to use 100-200mg/day, often more is needed, see these comments here, here, here and here. Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

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