Cortisol, Progesterone, and Hypopituitarism

by J

My story:

The pieces of my puzzle are coming together now.

I was prescribed Prednicarbate ointment at around 8 years old for chronic eczema that nothing worked for. I was too young to know what the medicine I was taking was – I had barely any supervision using it except that I had to take a break for a week for every two weeks using it. So that's good at least. But the amount used probably varied every single day. I used it for TEN YEARS until 18 years old. At the end I would only take maybe 5 days off in between - the eczema was so bad.

I went to a dermatologist who prescribed Elidel (non-steroid) which cleared up the eczema right away of course. But I still had no clue that my previous life-long ointment was CORTISOL. The dermatologist said I could QUIT it cold-turkey even after I expressed concern doing so.

I had also been put on synthetic hormones (birth control) a year and a half earlier which were not working out for me so I quit them too.

Little did I know my body was making no progesterone or cortisol. The misery that ensued (and continued to) was almost unbearable day-to-day.

Let's fast forward to today...

It's been seven years since quitting cortisol and synthetic hormones. I just recently made the connection between my cortisol ointment and why I've been deteriorating ever since.

One year ago I had my salivary progesterone levels tested. Almost non-existent. I've been using 400mg USP progesterone cream for a year. It has healed me from some symptoms (from the synthetic birth control hormones) but I continue to feel chronically low cortisol in my body.

I will have my salivary 4x diurnal cortisol test results in about a week – this will give me some information.

My questions:

1. Is my pituitary gland permanently damaged from 10 years of cortisol use? Is there any way to heal it? I believe I am suffering from elevated CRH (much adrenaline whenever I feel stress) and diminished ACTH production.

2. Is the USP Progesterone 400mg suppressing whatever cortisol production I have or is it helping me create it?

3. Do I have to supplement with cortisol forever, or will my pituitary eventually start up again and I can wean off of cortisol?

4. I have heard taking Pregnenalone along with cortisol is good and that it suppresses CRH by 60% in the brain. How much should I take?

5. I have heard taking DHEA along with cortisol alleviates any negative effects of cortisol. How much should I take?

6. How do I tell if my pituitary is failing to make other hormones? Will the DHEA and Pregnenolone help make up for the insufficiency?

I am continuing to deteriorate in my ability to handle any stress – whether it's exogenous, internal, inflammation etc. The frequency of having a crisis episode (where my mental state feels like it's going to collapse, I can feel nothing but panic and I wish I were in a coma so I wouldn't have to go through it) is happening a lot more often. I am not new to vigorous researching about my health, but I need guidance in the area of adrenals and how to proceed. Any feedback regarding my situation would be tremendously appreciated. I thank you all for your time and generosity. I am so glad to have found a support network.

Comments for Cortisol, Progesterone, and Hypopituitarism

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Sep 15, 2016
Cortisol, progesterone
by: Anonymous

Fist of all, progesterone is not suppressing your adrenal function. It in fact supports it. What are you vitamin D levels? This is extremely important for the proper absorption/function of progesterone. There are many comments on this site regarding that. There are excellent adrenal supporting supplements you can add, for example Premier Research Labs Adaptogen and Adrenal complex. Go to if you would like to investigate their supplements, which are some of the best ones out there. I would not go to Amazon for these, because they put ridiculous prices for these supplements. This is just a suggestion.
If your vitamin D level is low, you need to get this in the optimal range. I strongly urge you to do that! It is wonderful for depression!! It is a supreme antidepressant - among a million other benefits this hormone offers!
It sounds to me - and I am not a doctor, just an ordinary woman who has gone through similar things! -that you are taking too many different hormones. I personally tried pregnenolone, Dhea and estriol, you name it. But all that was simply making me more estrogen dominant. Progesterone levels must be at the point where it is dominant in order to suppress these symptoms. Since taking more progesterone only, I feel so much better. Also, your thyroid may be needing help. Progesterone supports that too. Adrenal/ Thyroid function together. I have said many times on this site that iodine is crucial for thyroid function. Please look up Dr. David Brownstein or Dr. Gabriel Cousens on the subject of iodine! Most everyone is deficient. It is in every cell of our bodies. Iodoral is a good source of iodine to add - or liquid Lugol's. Please look into that.
To recap: Vitamin D levels MUST be in optimal range. Take supplements which are designed to support adrenals. And look into starting iodine. Eat organic foods. Avoid sugar which will lead to low energy, depression , a whole host of issues. I would strongly question those other hormones other than progesterone alone. But read more information about this on this site. Wray Whyte discussed this many times. Put your question, i.e.. progesterone/adrenals into the search box.
All the best to you! Don't give up!

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