by Alice

First, English is not my native language so if I make a lot of mistakes I apologize in advance. I would really like some advice because I'm getting rather desperate. And maybe, by telling my story, it will give some clarity to others too. I've been on contraceptives since I was 14 years old.

Prescribed for menstrual cramps (this contraceptive is called Diane 35, the most heavy pill there is in our country from which at least 29 woman have died due to blood clots) Since then I had a lot of health problems, worse of all cluster headaches and migraines. Also struggling with anxiety and an overall sense of not be able to get in charge of myself. I just though I was a lazy, oversensitive person... About 2 years ago my doctor decided to give me another contraceptive called Levera and I became a different person. No more pain, no more anxiety. So many problems I was struggling with for the most part of my life where gone.I was 48 years then... Didn't contribute it to the contraceptive though, gullible as I was. And it took a while before I made the connection. I already experienced hair loss but with Levara it became much worse and my eyes began to hurt quite a lot so I went back to my old contraceptive Diane. All my 'old' problems came back including the cluster headache. Finally it sunk in that they were caused by the contraceptive and, indeed, when I changed to Levera again most of those problems disappeared.

Because of its influence I tried to stop with contraceptives but not only did the headaches became worse, my period did not stop and I lost a lot of blood. I went to a gynecologist and she prescribed bio-identical estrogen patches. I had to stop after three and a half weeks because I was continuously anxious and not able to focus or have a constructive thought at all. So she gave me Levara again and I thought the worst was over. It wasn't.

Its been 7 months now and I feel ill. My symptoms (not all of them because the list will be to long) :severe headaches, severe edema.Constant jamming, squeezing feeling in my legs; I have to shower sitting down,cannot stand upright for more than a few seconds. short of breath, tinnitus, muscle cramps,,muscle weakness, trembling, joint pain in knees and hips, dizzy most of the time, disorientation. diarrhea every day. Skin burning Mouth, tongue,eyes and vagina burn while saliva keeps flowing in my mouth Gums lifting rapidly, insomnia, feelings of unreality, palpitations, hot flashes, sweating even with smallest movement. But I'm so cold, my hands and feet are blue, nails of hands and feet curl up, follical keratoses rapid weight loss above tummy and below knees. Skin ageing rapidly; skin is hanging lose; especially hands and knees (people find my hands scary, as I); wrinkles in face; sometimes they increase in one night depending on which day of cycle. Mood swings, anxiety-attacks, depressed with suicidal thoughts. Memory loss, vision blurred, obsessive thoughts, not able to concentrate etc.

Because of the severity of symptoms I have to stay seated or lie down all day and can't function anymore. Different contraceptives did'nt help. I know now, after research, that this is estrogen dominance. I want to try progesterone cream but need some answers on how best to use it. I have PMS during all days of my cycle; every day is different, depending on increase and decrease/ratio of estrogen and progesterone and despite using contraceptive. So I'm not sure on which days I have to use progesterone cream. I understand that progesterone cream can be converted into estrogen even with high dosage. Because my reaction to estrogen is so extreme and my skin is aging so rapidly in just days I'm not sure if I should very gradely increase the dosage or take a very high dosage from the start. Furthermore: I have read somewhere that 20% of women can't convert progesterone cream into progesterone; it will only be converted into estrogen. I'm wondering if that's true?

It became a longer story than I intended... I hope the long read didn't discourage to much. I would really appreciate it if someone can answer my questions. If not, than I hope that at least my story could give someone out there some clearity... To many women suffer needlessly due to lack of knowledge or rigid arrogance of physicians.

Comments for Alice

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Jan 08, 2017
by: Joy

Hi Alice

You are correct you are definitely suffering from Estrogen Dominance symptoms and quite badly based on most of your adverse symptoms. But wow, what an early age to be on contraceptives! All drug based contraceptives have a potential to cause harm. Your body is in a spin right now. On and off BCP, changing brands, this will most definitely have an affect on you. Then they gave you estrogen patches ..... ouch! HRT is the same, I would never recommend that anyone go on them as they too have a potential to cause harm if drug based as you found out. Your painful eyes sound like dry eyes to me, otherwise known as sjogren's syndrome and is an ED symptom. I am helping a woman who is also suffering with it at the moment and she is finding that progesterone has certainly helped her as well as Omega 3 fish oil caps. Headaches, painful joints, anxiety etc etc all ED symptoms. I am so sorry that you have had to go through all this pain misery.

Did they even mention that you were in Peri-Menopause. PM starts at around 35 when progesterone levels start to drop. Please read the page on it as it will explain so much to you. It's a time when progesterone cream should be used EVERY DAY with no breaks at all.

Please consider using a progesterone cream, but a good one with no parabens etc. Also what is your Vitamin D3 level? A deficiency reduces the benefits of progesterone and is connected to every functioning cell in our body making it vital. Co-factors are needed especially Magnesium.

Cold hands and feet could be due to a number of things. Hormones not being balanced. Your thyroid could be playing up too. Have you had that tested? Try taking Lugol's iodine drops, an iodine deficiency can also cause tender breasts. Anxiety can also cause cold hands and feet as well as Insulin Resistance, have you been tested for that as well?

Heart palps can be a scary thing, if you are considering using a progesterone cream, please do not use anything less than 400mg per day, otherwise they could become rather severe.

I am not quite sure what you mean by progesterone cream converting into progesterone. A natural progesterone cream is progesterone, the same progesterone that our body makes naturally. Progesterone creams must state USP, otherwise they are not natural progesterone.

Progesterone does eventually converted into estrogen, it is the precursor to all the steroid hormones. Plus cortisol and aldosterone. There are three main groups of steroids, glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids and androgens.

Cholesterol → Pregnenolone → Progesterone → Corticosterone → Aldosterone

Cholesterol → Pregnenolone → Progesterone → 17-OH-Progesterone → 11-Deoxycortisol → Cortisol → Cortisone

Cholesterol → Pregnenolone → Progesterone → 17-OH-Progesterone → Androstenedione → Adrenosterone → two further hormones
Cholesterol → Pregnenolone → Progesterone → 17-OH-Progesterone → Androstenedione → Testosterone → DHT
Cholesterol → Pregnenolone → Progesterone → 17-OH-Progesterone → Androstenedione → Testosterone → Estradiol ⇄ Estrone → Estriol (also Estradiol → Estriol)

There is another steroid pathway which doesn't involve progesterone
Cholesterol → Pregnenolone → 17-OH-Pregnenolone → DHEA → Androstenediol → Testosterone → DHT

Each month women make more testosterone than estrogen, but most of it is converted to estradiol by the enzyme aromatase.

By the way your English is excellent!

Please read the following pages and use the search bar as well.

How to use Progesterone Cream

Estrogen Dominance



Vitamin D3



Headaches and Migraines

Insulin Resistance

Jan 10, 2017
Thank you!
by: Alice

Hello Joy,

Thank you very much for your answer! I'm moved by the effort you made and your understanding. I'm also reassured that symptoms like cold hands and dry eyes are also related to ED.

I'm impressed by your knowledge! I have to study a bit to fully understand the conversion of hormones but I think that what I've read about the 20% of women who can't convert the progesterone cream doesn't make much sense.

I did have my thyroid checked (TSH, T3-T4) and it's working well. A few years ago my vitamin D was very low (11 nmol/4.4 ng) I was given a high dosage (25.0000) during a few months and after that a maintenance of 800ie a day. It's been a while since I've had it checked, and I think it's a good idea to check again.

I have to stay on BCP now because of the severity of the cluster headache. And I have to take them constantly without stopping to get my period. So 21 days and than start again with the next pack. I would really like to know how to use progesterone cream together with BCP within this 21 days cycle. Which day is best to begin using the cream. Day 12 to day 21, and than stop using day 1 to day 10?

I will start using 400mg as you suggested but I'm a bit confused about how I'll know if it is the right dosage. Should some symptoms decrease after, for example, 2 days? How can you tell if it's converting to either progesterone or estrogen so you can respond by either increasing or decreasing the dosage?

Thank you again, I'm felt rather desperate and you have given me some hope!

Warm regards,

Feb 12, 2017
Thank you!
by: Joy

Hi Alice

Apologies in the delay in getting back to you. Whilst the boost of 25 000iu's would have raised your D3 level, it would slowly start to drop again on your maintenance amount. Nothing less than 5 000iu's should be taken daily. Please read the D3 page again for a better explanation. Might be a good idea to have another test if you can.

I understand the cluster headackes are the most painful, and I feel for you and those who suffer. I am however, concerned about you being on BCP. The estrogen makes things worse in the long run. You really do need to use the cream every day with no breaks at all for 2-6 months. Expect disruptions with your cycle, this will regulate as the body adjusts. Look at the list of ED symptoms which may occur while you are adjusting. You will now when to start reducing once ALL your adverse symptoms clear and you feel stable enough, reducing must be down slowly. I would be most surpised if your symptoms cleared in 2 days,if they do then you would be extremely fortunate. As you are on BCP, it stands to reason that more progesteorne is needed to counter act it. Remember that the aim is to make progesterone the dominant hormone and not estrogen. This is something that you will have to experiement with.

Progesterone therapy is not an over night fix, it takes time and patience before positive benefits are achieved. Often things get worse before they get better.

Good luck.

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