Am I doing this right?

by Krista
(New Jersey)


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!!!!


Comments for Am I doing this right?

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Feb 05, 2018
Am I doing this right?
by: Joy

Hi Krista

Your symptoms are crying out Estrogen Dominance. You were on birth control for a long time, all drug based contraceptives have a potential to cause harm. Endometriosis and cysts are also caused by excess estrogen, endo is also caused from oxidative stress. I believe that you suffered from PND after the birth of your baby.

Too much sugar in your diet and high testosterone levels can cause acne. Your progesterone:estradiol ratio is 5:1, it should be around 600:1. You need to use progesterone to get that level up.

Progest has 900mg of progesterone concentration, Natpro has 2,000mg. The amount of progesterone that you used was not enough and caused brain fog etc. I suggest that your try 400mg of Natpro once you have finished Progest, but you will need to more than double the amount of Progest used. Once you feel stable you can slowly start to reduce the amount used to an amount that suits you. Reduce by 20-25mg at a time, stay on that amount for a week, then reduce again and so on. Between 100-200mg is the correct amount to use once you feel stable enough. Progesterone therapy is not an overnight fix, it can take 2-6 months before progesterone becomes the dominant hormone, longer if symptoms are severe. It is a life long commitment.

You are also in Peri-Menopause which starts at 35 when progesterone levels start to drop. The cycle becomes irregular at this time for most women. It is best to use progesterone every day as it becomes rather difficult to use it while follow a regular cycle.

Vitamin D3 should be taken every day as we do not get enough from the sun, unless of course you are able to be in the sun for 15-20 minutes every day with virtually no clothing and at the hottest time of the day.

Unfortunately the only payment method is via the PayPal check out. Direct credit card payments where done away with a few years ago due to scams and fraud. Once in PayPal you can then use your credit card.

Please read these pages if you have not done so already.

Estrogen Dominance

How to use Progesterone Cream


Vitamin D3

Hormone Testing


Ovarian Cysts




Feb 06, 2018
by: Krista

Hi Joy,

Thank you for your very prompt response! Do you think 450 mg per day of Progesterone is enough, given my symptoms and test results?

I started 500 mg of tryptophan last night to see if it will help with my weaning off the zoloft. I have been taking 25 mg (from 50 mg) for a week. I plan to do that for another week and then stop it completely if I feel okay.

I'm trying to trust myself with this whole process. My instincts say get off the zoloft so I can fully feel the effects of the progesterone.

Thank you again for your response, Joy!


Feb 07, 2018
by: Joy

Hi Krista

Try 450mg and see how you get on. This is something that you will have to experiment with to see what suits you. Remember that it does take time to work.

If tryptophan does not help you, try taking inositol as this has helped many. If you can try to wean off zoloft but you need to give progesterone a chance to work as well as the tryptophan or inositol. I would say a month of use, then you can start to wean off.

Mar 21, 2018
by: K

Hi Joy,

I wanted to give you an update on my progress.

I started using Progest on 1/22/18 - 20 mg
I upped my dose gradually through 2/22/18 to 845 mg. I know it's preferable to increase in a jump rather than gradually but I really didn't know how much I'd need. I really didn't think I'd have to go this high. I don't want to go higher than 845 mg right now because each time I increase, I know it can aggravate things.

I have been at 845 pm for about a month now, however I had a bunch of Progest left on my transition to just Natpro so I was using a combination of both until I ran out of Progest. I have been using Natpro only since 3/13. I know switching brands can aggravate things too but I am using so much at this point.

Once I get my period and for about a week after I am okay, not great, but it's manageable. Then once I ovulate until I bleed, I can't function. I have severe anxiety, depression, irritability, weepiness, water retention, bloating, muscle tension & pain, oily skin, breakouts, and more (endometriosis, ovarian cysts, pmdd, etc). I have to work, care for my toddler, and run a household. It's so difficult.

I don't want to go higher with the cream because I want to give it time to work and each time in the past that I've increased, it stimulated estrogen again.

How much longer will it take until I get some relief? It's unbearable. It feels like I have been dealing with this forever, I just want my life back. I feel like I have zero control over my physical and emotional self.

If anyone out there has an encouraging story, please share!

A reminder of my saliva test results taken on 1/14/18.

Progesterone: 8 (range 75-270pg/mL premenopausal - luteal)

Ratio (Pg/E2): 5 (range 100-500 when E2 1.3-3.3 pg/mL)

Testosterone: 15 (range 16-55pg/mL - age dependent)

DHEAS: 2.3 (range: 2-23ng/mL - age dependent)

Cortisol: 7.2 (range: 3.7-9.5ng/mL - morning)

Thank you so much Joy!

Mar 22, 2018
by: Joy

Hi Krista

Thanks for the update. I wish progesterone therapy was easy. It can take some women a long time to adjust. Often things can get worse before they get better. Now that you have finished using Progest, I suggest that you use 400mg of Natpro. I understand that when you increase you feel terrible, but you may have to increase to get over these terrible symptoms, especially if you are still suffering from PND, I gave you the page to read. Also remember that it can take 2-6 months, sometimes longer.

As you have been using progesterone your progesterone:estrogen ratio would have changed. Please do not forget about Vitamin D3, a deficiency reduces the benefits of progesterone.

Please consider taking nutrients mentioned on the anxiety page.

I do hope that you find some relief soon.

Mar 12, 2019
by: Anonymous

Hi Joy

I am still using progesterone cream. I loved Natpro but had to switch to a 20% cream due to the amount I have been using. I increased long ago to a high amount after reading Wrays's advice to others. I feel like I've never gotten the relief I should. I'm definitely ED confirmed by a naturopath doctor, not to mention it's so obvious by the symptoms in my previous messages to you.

I'm using 825 mg of a 20% cream. I'm careful to weigh the cream so I get the right amount each time as I know fluctuations can cause trouble. I can't believe that after a year of this incredibly high amount, I wouldn't have flipped to no longer being ED. I'm still having ED symptoms.

Wray's advice was always to go high for a while then once your symptoms subside you slowly reduce to the appropriate level. This has never happened. I'm 37 and haven't gotten my period in 8 months. I'm at the end of my childbearing years and I can't get my progesterone down to the point where I can follow my period. I'm really scared and need help. I don't know where to go next. Every time I try to reduce only 1 mg my symptoms get worse. It's clear I'm absorbing it or I wouldn't be so sensitive to it. How could this be? I have been on this high amount for about a year. My vitamin D levels have been in range for a while. I've checked all the other boxes as well. Am I now dependent on P cream where I can't get down at all? This is frightening. I used Natpro for a very long time before switching with the same result. Please help!

Mar 14, 2019
by: Joy

Hi Krista

Yes you do seem to be battling with your ED symptoms. Using 825mg of a 20% cream is a lot of progesterone, even using 825mg Natpro which is a 3% cream, is a lot. I suggest that you try to slowly reduce the 20% cream, perhaps you will see benefits. Reduce by 25mg and stay on the reduced amount for a week, then reduce again by another 25mg and so on. I understand that you battle to reduce but I do feel that you need to as what you are doing now is not helping you.

Apart from advice given by Wray, I can't offer you much help but perhaps look at the things that can affect progesterone levels.

lack of or drop in Vitamin D3 levels
high estrogen
high testosterone
high LH
high FSH sugars of any kind
large meals
insulin resistance
high level of phytoestrogens in the diet

I wish you well and hope that you find relief soon.

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