Am I applying too LITTLE or too MUCH progesterone? I'M CONFUSED!!!

by Lori
(North East, Pennsylvania, United States)

My story? Where to start? I guess from the beginning, sorry this will be long, but I REALLY need some insight.

I'm a 45 year old women struggling with a plethora of symptoms that has lead me to think peri-menopause is the main problem. Although I have not had my estrogen or progesterone levels checked, I'm most almost 100% certain I have a progesterone deficiency, possibly even a severe deficiency. Going all the way back to my early teens, I had extremely heavy periods (7-10 days) with tons of clotting & cramps. Then in my early twenties I ran into fertility issues with no pregnancy after three solid years of trying. A specialist diagnosed me with a Luteal Phase Defect and told me I was progesterone deficient. I went on to have four children over the next 10 years, but had to take progesterone shots daily during my pregnancies in order to keep from miscarrying (the vaginal suppositories did not do enough to raise my levels). I also had 4 early stage miscarriages due to my progesterone deficiency, which supplementation did not help in time for these pregnancies.

Fast forward into my mid-thirties. I had a tubal ligation after my fourth child, so stopped even thinking about my progesterone levels from that point on. I gained a quite a bit of weight through out my twenties and thirties, so I chalked a lot of symptoms up to poor health choices. In my mid-thirties I began to struggle with skipped heart beats and some high blood pressure. I went to the doctor who did an echocardiogram, a halter monitor and a bunch of other tests... all of which came back fine. I eventually came across some information that Adrenal Deficiency can be a culprit to many of the symptoms I was having and to supplement with Magnesium & Potassium. I did and that seemed to do the trick for my heart flutters, but didn't help my heavy periods.

By the end of my thirties, I decided to take my health back. I lost 70 of the 100 pounds of extra weight I was carrying around and was exercising almost 2 hours a night. After 11 months I hit a brick wall. I completely stopped loosing weight. After 4 months of no weight loss, despite the regimented exercise and diet (no refined carbs, low fat proteins and dairy, and loaded with fruits & veggies), to try and re-start the weight loss, I went on an extreme diet of 2 liquid shakes a day and one meal at night, no snacks. I did this for 90 days without losing one single pound. I then just gave up completely. I gained 20 pounds back over the next 4 months even though I was in no way binging.

Through all of this my periods were still extremely heavy, though I had very little premenstrual symptoms. I would bleed for 7-8 days with tons of clotting. I would have to wear 2 extra-heavy tampons at one time and still would bleed through in less than 45 minutes (often in less than 15 minutes). Then in July of 2012 I started having extreme vertigo. I researched my symptoms and realized I was anemic. Off to my OB/GYN I went (who I hadn't seen in three years). I needed 2 pints of blood immediately and was found to have Adenomyosis (where your uterine lining grows into the walls of your uterus) and was given an emergency hysterectomy because my dr. didn't want me to have even one more cycle. He felt that all of my struggles with weight would clear after the surgery when my body recovered from the years of hemorrhaging . He felt the anemia was causing all of the problems. At this time, my blood pressure also became more erratic (bouncing between 130s/90s up to 160s/100s). I resisted going on medication, feeling diet and weight loss would do the trick.

Fast forward a year and a half. My weight struggles did NOT resolve. If anything they had gotten worse. I would yo-yo back and forth between trying with all my heart for 6-8 weeks without losing a pound, then back to giving up and not caring at all and gaining weight. By Thanksgiving of this past year, I had gained back 50 of the 70 pounds I had originally lost. I ended up falling on Thanksgiving day and broke my tail bone which ensued with 8 weeks of excruciating pain and swelling. During December I suffered a week long stomach virus, followed by 2 long colds, plus this constant pain in my spine (accompanied with tons of swelling) and an extremely hellacious schedule at work causing me to work 80 hour weeks. All of this brought me to a breakdown in my body on Christmas Day.

I woke up that morning with extreme vertigo again. This followed with 2 weeks of dizziness. I also seemed to be having a lot of underlying anxiety. I went to a walk in clinic and found my Blood Pressure was 190/110! They gave me something for light anxiety, but within an hour my BP was 245/145 and my HR at 165. We went straight to the ER. I spent a night with them trying everything to regulate it. Finally it was a Nitro drip that brought me back to normal. My doctor immediately put me on 2 BP meds (10MG of Norvasc & 40MG of Benicar). This regulated my BP immediately, but didn't help with the anxiety or the on and off again dizziness, plus my fluttering heart beats were back. I also had now began having panic attacks multiple times a week (never had them before). He prescribed my some Xanax and offered to put me on Zoloft. I told him I wanted to find the underlying problems (especially with my inability to budge my weight), but he felt it was just "part of aging". So, I hit the internet hard. (to be continued)

Comments for Am I applying too LITTLE or too MUCH progesterone? I'M CONFUSED!!!

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 11, 2014
by: Lori

I first realized I must be experiencing Adrenal issues, and was probably dealing with Cortisol from the 8 solid weeks of non-stop physical and emotional stress I had just gone through, which is what probably sent me over the edge into my hypertensive crisis. I started a regimented eating program back on January 2 2014. I am eating NO preservatives, NO grains, trying to eat as much organic as I can, eating 5-7 servings of vegetables a day and 2 servings of fruit, also seeds, nuts and proteins (mainly chicken and fish). I am averaging around 1250-1500 calories a day. I started exercising again, walking at 3MPH for 30 mins 4-5x a week. I still keep that schedule, but have slowly added sprints in. I can now run 3/4 of a mile non-stop and can sprint up to 6.5 MPH for 1.5 min increments. 

After researching I realized I was most likely also suffering from peri-menopause. My years of suffering from progesterone deficiency came to mind. I realize now, it was probably the cause of my Adenomyosis & hysterectomy & years of hemorrhaging . So I started on Emerita ProGest.

This is what I've been taking:

CYCLE ONE: I started the Progest on day 1 of my cycle in February (I still have my cervix, so I have slight staining on the first day of my cycle, so I can tell when my period would've started & what day of my cycle I'm on). I took 1/8tsp 2x a day the first week. I FELT FANTASTIC!!!! My anxiety attacks diminished greatly & my dizziness all but went away. I even lost four pounds that first week! I then realized I might not be taking enough, so I upped my dose to 1/4 tsp twice a day the following week. By the third week, I started having some relapse symptoms, so I upped my dose to 1/2 tsp 2x a day. For the first time in decades, I got my "period" (my cervical staining) exactly 28 days after my previous cycle (it had been coming at day 23-25). I had lost a total of 6 pounds that month. 

Apr 11, 2014
by: Anonymous

CYCLE TWO: I dutifully stopped the progesterone cream completely for 6 days for a cycle break. I definitely started to feel the anxiety increase during that time, so I re-started the cream on day 6 instead of day 7 of my cycle. I also re-started with the full 1/2tsp dose 2x a day dosage (I didn't titrate up like the previous cycle). The first night of restarting I had a horrible time with a pounding & racing heartbeat. I also got a bad headache. This resolved a few days later. I felt myself ovulate only a few days later (about a full week early). I definitely didn't feel as good this cycle as I had the last. Started getting dizzy spells on & off again. A little more anxiety than the previous month. I started taking a dime size dose of progesterone in the afternoon trying to boost my levels. My breasts got VERY tender for all of week 2. I also seemed to retain a lot more water and I got a bad headache for a few days before I got my "period" (which came a FULL WEEK EARLY). Plus I only dropped 2 pounds this cycle.

CYCLE THREE: Because I had only been on the progesterone for 16 days when my last period started, I didn't take a cycle break with the progesterone this time, but I did at least bump it down to 1/8 tsp twice daily for first 4 days of this new cycle. I bumped back up to 1/2 tsp twice daily two days ago (which was day 6). When I did, I once again noticed racing, pounding heart beats that night, but it wasn't as bad as last time. I'm still retaining premenstrual water from the last cycle. My BP is also creeping back up the past few days. Thinking that the 80-90 mg of progesterone may not be enough, I'm now taking an additional full dose in the afternoon, but I'm also noticing a headache coming on after I do.

I'm now on day 8 of cycle three and I'm so confused and don't know what to do. The weird thing is, the first month when I started with a small dosage and worked my way up, all seemed perfect. I didn't even get the Estrogen Dominance side-effects that many people get upon starting the cream. Yet the following month when I started strong, everything seemed messed up and I had a ton of premenstrual symptoms that I don't normally have and my "period" came a full week early. Now I'm into my third cycle and really don't know what to do. I seem to be continually upping the dose, but not truly seeing the benefits of doing so, yet I'm terrified to lower it either and go back to no progress at all. I'm so confused. Am I taking too much or too little? I've read so many conflicting reports of saturating your fat and building up the progesterone in your system and becoming progesterone resistant vs not taking enough to overcome the estrogen. So, am I taking too much or too little? I really need some advice here. Can someone please help me figure this out? I just want to be healthy and whole again.

Feb 10, 2015
Hormone Test
by: M.C.

I really think you should have your hormones tested by a Functional Doctor or a Naturopath so that you know what you're working with. Just going off of your story, it sounds like you are pretty deficient in progesterone and might require a lot to "even out".

Maybe you could try staying on the same amount throughout the entire cycle for a few months in a row. Then, once your body gets use to it and the progesterone gets built up a little bit, you can try varying the dosage.

It really is wonderful that you are gluten/ grain-free and eating organic. Have you considered cutting out dairy, refined sugars, alcohol, & coffee?

Also, remember that after years and years of "damage", it can take a while for the body to restore and repair it's cells!

Hang in there and I really think you should get tested so that you know what you're working with.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Benefits of progesterone.

Share this page:
Find this page helpful? Please tell others. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Search over 8,400 pages on this site...