Am I doing this right?
Wow, this is such an AMAZING forum! Thank you all for dedicating your time to helping women like me. I am so grateful.
I will do my best to shorten up my experience, but this post may be a bit long.
I am 37 years old and have had hormonal issues since puberty. I was on birth control for about 15 years. I went off of it to try to conceive, which I was unable to do on my own. I received fertility treatment (injections & IUI) for only 1 month thankfully and got pregnant with my son who is now 19 months old. I'll go back to that shortly...
I have had acne since I was a teenager. I had been on two rounds of Accutane but it did not help. I then started Spironolactone which helped tremendously with my acne. I had to go off of it when I got pregnant and then resumed it again for a bit after my son was born. I have now been off of it after researching more about it and how it exacerbates hormone imbalance.
When I was pregnant I felt by far the best I ever had in my entire life. I had ZERO depression, anxiety or acne, which I have had since I was a teenager (more on that later.) My skin glowed, my thin lifeless hair was lustrous. I just felt happy and beautiful.
After my son was born I had terrible postpartum depression. My parents blew me off but thank goodness I had a wonderfully supportive husband. My friends told me everyone cries for a while after they have a baby but my situation didn't feel at all like "just crying." I felt immensely lonely, dark, hopeless, I would always have this feeling of impending doom. I felt like my body and head were screwed up. It went on like that for about a year.
I started seeing a postpartum counselor about 8 months after my son was born. I am still seeing her. She has been incredibly helpful but talked me into Zoloft despite my resistance for a long time. I got so desperate that I tried it. First, I was only going to take it cyclical (from ovulation to onset of period), but after meeting with the doctor, we decided it may be better to take it all the time for two reasons: 1. My periods are irregular so it would be hard to time when to start it and 2. We were headed into the winter months and I also have seasonal depression. Now, I am on 50 mg and I hate every second of it. It feels like it’s just covering up something else. Plus my water retention and bloating are worse. I have crazy vivid dreams so my sleep is disturbed even more than before.
I have PMDD – terrible PMS symptoms from ovulation to onset of period. My symptoms include depression, anxiety, acne, bad bloating, bad water retention, neck tension, muscle pain & weakness. These symptoms subside a little bit when I get my period and for a few days after. As soon as I ovulate, it starts up again and lasts until my next period.
My periods are irregular since having my son. I’m not sure how they were before that because I was on birth control for so long. Once I ovulate, it’s a guessing game as to when I will bleed but the symptoms are debilitating and affect every aspect of my life.
I have endometriosis (since my early twenties) and a Dermoid cyst. I also had a Dermoid cyst that was removed in my early twenties.
I had a Vitamin D deficiency (tested) so I supplement with 2,000 IU from November through April. I will increase that since reading the information in this forum. When I retested, the levels went back to normal so I do not take the Vitamin D during the spring and summer. I did read Wray’s advice on the levels so maybe I will stay on the Vitamin D all the time but decrease my amount in spring and summer.
I believe I had a magnesium deficiency (untested). I felt immensely better upon starting Magnesium Glycinate (400 mg.) This helped a lot in the beginning but doesn’t seem to be doing much anymore. Again, this felt like a symptom of something else, rather than the root of my problems.
A while back, I saw a doctor who practiced traditional medicine but also specialized in the natural stuff too. He had me do a saliva test which showed I had adrenal fatigue. I tried a plethora of supplements but they all made me feel worse so I got frustrated and stopped seeking treatment for it. Again, it felt like a symptom of something else than the root of the problem.
I get so tired even after getting a full night’s sleep. I wake up feeling as though I have to peel myself out of bed. I am naturally a very organized person. But I have had nasty brain fog for a while now. I forget things so easily. I will walk into a room and forget why I was going into that room in the first place. I’m not sharp.
Some other symptoms I have noticed is frequent urination, dark circles under my eyes and brittle nails and hair. My skin looks sad and I feel unattractive most of the time. I am also overly sensitive. I’ve always had all of the aforementioned – they have just gotten so bad since having my son that I can’t function anymore.
Also, I am a yoga, pilates and barre instructor so I do try to monitor my exercise and eating habits, which helps to a degree. I try to stay on top of my mental state but that only does so much. It’s like there’s some other monstrous force that won’t let me reap the benefits of my efforts.
After doing my own research because I was blown off by multiple doctors (that is a whole other post) and getting my own testing done (saliva by ZRT labs) because nobody would order the tests for me even upon begging, I got confirmation that I have estrogen dominance. My levels are as follows:
Estradiol - 1.5 (should be 1.3-3.3 pg/mL Premenopausal (Luteal)
Progesterone - 8 (should be 75-270 pg/mL Premenopausal (Luteal)
Ratio: Pg/E2 - 5 (should be: 100-500 when E2 1.3-3.3 pg/mL
Testosterone - 15 (should be 16-55 pg/mL (Age Dependent)
DHEAS - 2.3 (should be 2-23 ng/mL (Age Dependent)
Cortisol - 7.2 (should be 3.7-9.5 ng/mL (morning)
So this has been my problem all along but I have no guidance except for these forums which again, I am so grateful for. I started using Emerita Progest on 1/22/18. I started off at 40 mg and am now up to about 400 mg after reading Wray’s advice to others. My fatigue, brain fog, and acne are getting better. My terrible bloating and water retention haven’t subsided at all. The Zoloft was helping with my depression and anxiety so I’m not sure if it’s helping with that but I want to feel the effects of the progesterone cream without other things getting in the way so I have weaned down to 25 mg as of 1/30/18. If I feel okay to stop taking it after another couple weeks, I plan to stop. I am hoping the progesterone will ramp up a little more by then. Am I taking the right amount for my issues? They are pretty severe and have been for a very long time.
I may switch to Natpro but I bought 3 more tubes of Progest so I at least want to finish that first. Is Natpro sold anywhere else? I don’t like that there is no contact information in case I have a problem. I also don’t like that I have to use Paypal, as I’ve had issues with them in the past. There are so many brands, and I know I need to stay away from yam which I think Progest is made from? It’s all so confusing. I just want to feel better and be done with all of this so I can enjoy my son!
Again, I am sorry for the long post. I am in desperate need of help though! Thank you in advance for any information you have!!!!