Depo Provera and low progesterone?

by Toni Foti
(Chicago, IL)

Hi Wray, I'm 47 years old and my life has become a horrible nightmare 4 years ago. I've had depo shot from 2006 to 2008 and since September of 2007 I've been having panic attacks, awful anxiety, adrenaline rushes especially in the morning and then throughout the day for every little thing, severe reactive hypoglycemia, constant feeling of doom and of going crazy, inability to take a deep breath, always feeling overwhelmed.

I can no longer go out by myself and all of this has been affecting my personal life and my job to the point where this week I had to call in sick because of the unbearable symptoms. I've always been a very active and courageous person and this has crippled me.

I was a normal person before the shot, I had a stressful life but I've always managed to handle any situation with no problem or symptoms of any sort.
I know Depo Provera is synthetic progestin and can cause many adverse side effects, including low progesterone and also low blood sugar. It can not be just a coincidence that all this started while I was given the Depo shot.

Doctors kept telling me nothing is wrong and kept giving me antidepressants that I never took. I'm now in the compassionate hands of a naturopath and next week I'll start the saliva test to check my hormones.
Could the Depo shot have messed up my hormones? Also considering the fact that I'm 47 years old I could be perimenopausal, right? I'm so hoping that the tests will show low progesterone so I can finally start pinning down the problem and fix it.

What are your thoughts?? This would be my last resort before the madhouse...I can not take it anymore. I would really appreciate your input. Thanks much! Toni, Chicago

Comments for Depo Provera and low progesterone?

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Mar 12, 2011
Same thing here...
by: ShellyR

I have a similar situation to yours except I take Provera pills. I too believe I have extremely low progesterone. I tested 82.

I found that the worst of the axiety attacks where caused by a drastic drop in my blood pressure. My bp checked my bp while I was having them and found that I was at 81/38 during one of the really bad ones. During those times I found that dropping to the floor and putting my legs up and an ice pack on the back of my neck got me through the worst of it. I found out I have Orthostatic Hypotention becaused I failed the Tilt Table Test at 40/20 bp!!!!

I was finally diagnosed a few weeks ago with OrthoStatic Hypotention aka POTS. As long as I drink 64oz or more of fluid a day and 1 to 2 tsp of salt a day I am able to avoid these panic attacks and keep my bp up. However they are also treating me with Tenormin (Inderal is also used for this) to lower my bp slightly. Not sure exactly why lowering my bp works but it does! Guess its a happy medium thing! My heart is not having to work so hard so I am no longer feeling my heart pounding all the time!

Progesterone also appears to be playing a major part in my health issues and I think it may be causing the drop in bp but I am not sure yet. I too started having major issues at 47, all the ones you mention and more. I am now 52 this month. The depression is currently under control with Seriquel and Welbutrin, but I think it is the Seriquel that is helping the most. I only take 25mg at bedtime. It helps me sleep and keeps me from being "crazy" and if I take it only at bedtime it doesn't make me tired during the day.

I hate having to take all these medications and am working to get off of all of them. I was able to get off of all the antacids by removing gluten from my diet (wheat and gluten as well as barly and rye). I read the books which put me on the road to better health:
Fastrack to Detox by Ann Lousie Gittleman and Dr. E. Platt book on hormones. He has had some issues with the medical board over his practices but those seem to be with people who take insulin. He has been threatened many times to have his licence taken away but he is apparently winning that battle. He still has a successful practice and many happy patients! My answer to all the alogations against him are simple. Don't stop taking your medications until you know you can do better without them and before talking to your doctor.

I have tried progesterone creams twice before because over the years I have come to this thought before however they did not work. However, I think that this was likely due to the quality of the product as well as the over the counter dose not being strong enough. I wouldn't give up on progesterone cream to soon. If it doesn't work for you I would have your progesterone checked again and see if you can get something even stronger from your doctor.

Mar 16, 2011
Depo Provera and low progesterone?
by: Wray

Hi Toni You sound like I was, if it wasn't jail for murdering someone, it would have been the madhouse! My symptoms gradually crept up on me from about age 40, and I put it down to ageing. Thank heavens it was just a progesterone deficiency, so I no longer feel murderous or mad. I only found progesterone when I was 48, so yes you are definitely in Peri-menopause. But all Contraceptives have adverse side effects. By stopping ovulation, no ovarian progesterone is made, so of course levels drop. MPA is probably at the top, certainly for me, it's even used in mouse models of sexually transmitted diseases to increase infection, because progesterone doesn't have this effect! See here. Please would you read our page on Anxiety. There's a list of nutrients which help with the symptoms you currently experience, plus an explanation of why they are occurring. Your symptoms warrant progesterone, but please make sure you use sufficient. Too little merely exacerbates them. I recommend 100-200mg/day, you might in fact need the higher amount initially, or possibly more. It is trial and error to find the right amount, in fact it should be used as and when needed, and never in a fixed daily amount. Many things effect levels, stress being at the top. Please be aware Oestrogen Dominance can occur when first starting it. I've found the effect of this worse if oestrogen levels are high, but if sufficient is used, it usually passes quickly. When your results come out, divide the progesterone result by the oestrogen result. This will give you the ratio of the two hormones. We've found from Saliva Tests we run, that the ratio should be 600:1 and over to feel well. Take care Wray

Mar 16, 2011
Same thing here...
by: Wray

Hi Shelly Anxiety/panic attacks are caused by a drop in blood glucose, plus a drop in GABA levels. Blood glucose dropping also causes a drop in BP, dizziness, hot flushes, racing heart, feeling cold, etc. We do have a page on Anxiety which explains it in more detail. I can't see any point in making you drink water and salt to bring your BP up, only for you to take a drug to bring it down! Please read our page on Contraceptives, there are far safer means than taking MPA. Progesterone does lower blood pressure, but certainly doesn't cause anxiety attacks. Far from it in fact, as, together with it's metabolite allopregnanolone, it's a potent anxiolytic, see here, here and here. Seroquel causes changes in pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause high blood glucose, including diabetes, this would cause your pancreas to produce excess insulin to bring it down. This in turn would cause your blood glucose to drop too fast, too low. Exactly what's happening to you in fact. If you've been given Wellbutrin, it would indicate your dopamine is too low, this does cause depression. A far safer alternative would be to take the amino acid tyrosine, the precursor to dopamine, to raise levels. Progesterone does raise both dopamine and serotonin levels slightly, so can help with depression. I would suspect the amount of progesterone you were advised to use was too low. I recommend 100-200mg/day, too low an amount doesn't work, and often exacerbates symptoms. We know Dr Platt well, and are supporting him as best we can. The allegations against him are appalling, too many good doctors are being hounded by the FDA and medical boards. I suggested to him it was about time they formed an association to fight back, but en mass. One man alone can't do enough. I'm so pleased you mentioned this, your support is needed. Take care Wray

Mar 24, 2011
Depo Provera and low progesterone?
by: Toni Foti

Hi Wray,
thank you so much for your reply... I've started my saliva test collection last week and I should have the results by the end of next month.
Hopefully progesterone deficiency will be the answer to all my questions and the end of this nightmare!
I'll certainly keep in mind all your precious recommendations.
Thanks again, Toni

Apr 20, 2011
Depo Provera and low progesterone?
by: Wray

Hi Toni Glad the info was of help. Would be interested to hear of the results. Take care Wray

Apr 20, 2011
Thank you Wray
by: ShellyR

This nightmare for me got signifigantly worse about 1.5 years ago when one night I got up to pee in the middle of the night (all 3 times this happened over the next year, same pattern). I felt my chest tightening so I used my albuteral inhailer. I got up and walked, dizzy, but made it to the bathroom. Then I had the worst panic/terror attack ever. My husband helped me to the bedroom as my lungs felt like they were closing. Within 4 minutes I went from breating 100% to 0!!!!! I could not breath at all!!!!! I signaled to my husband that I couldn't breath and he started mouth to mouth for me (while I was awake! Within another minute or so I finally passed out. Thank God, the terror while sufficating was unbearable. Heart failure followed and full coronary arrest, 3 times before I got to the hospital by ambulance, twice the 2nd episode. I was on life support for 1.5 days that first time. They suggested it was an asmtha attack made worse by anxiety! OMG! It wasn't asthma at all! I have had asthma since age 5 and even with phnumonia my breathing never got that bad, never mind cut off completely.

I didn't eat anything unusual those nights, there was nothing new in my house, I wasn't taking anything new. With the additional attacks over the next year, I have been able to rule out pretty much everything. My sanity is holding on by a string.

The things that were always consistant were that it was early morning hours, I was dehydrated, my bp dropped, I had an infection of some kind (Episode 1 bladder, 2 Mrsa, 3 a severe cold, 4 ??) Also a constant is that I had eaten something before bed that has a lot of sugar, or in the 2nd case a glass of red wine. Anothing thing that always precedes the attacks by about 2 weeks is the worstening of leg cramps (which are now under control by eating salt! 1/2 tsp a day and no leg cramps. They return if I miss a day of salt).

too be continued next message....

Apr 20, 2011
by: ShellyR


If it were an allergy to something, which I highly doubt, I should have responded to the epi and certainly would not have needed intubation for a day and a half.

My sugar was tested each time and it was high, 150, 240, 290 when I got to the hospital.

My potassium was low 3 of 4 times, but dr said that is because of the amount of saline they put in me. I was taking potassium the last 3 times just to cover that base!

I figured out the leg cramps where caused from lack of salt because I never had cramps in the hospital when I was on a saline drip!

I only start to feel like I am headed that direction again when I don't drink enough water. So far, it hasn't happened again since January 2011, but I have gone longer between other episodes.

The doctors show absolutly no interest in figuring out what is going on. My salt tests normal, my estergen tests low at 11 and my LH is 147 (hot flashes or sweating 80% of the day). I think T4 to T3 conversion and progesterone are playing a part but the doctor won't test them even though I straight out asked her to. Diagnos-me suggests cirrosis of the liver (I don't drink very often but I am willing to consider anything). Cortisol tests normal (within the general guidelines).

Haven't had even 1 panic attack since going on Tenormin in April. Feel much better since I got off provera (had to withdrawl but now ok) and started using progesterone cream using only 1/2 tsp. I think I was using to much before and thats why I never felt better. Down to 2 hotflashes yesterday and today!!!! Thinking is much clearer but has a ways to go, but I have only been using the cream again for 2 weeks. The cream is 40mg per 1/2tsp (over the counter).

I do feel better when I take Tyrosine as you suggested but only for the first couple of days. I have been taking it on and off. I'm thinking the doesage is too high (500mg). I also bought a bottle of Gaba but only want to introduce one thing at a time so I can see how each affects me.

Thank you again for caring enough to take time to write me! I feel so helpless in this horrible problem. I have read and studied everything I can get my hands on, but even when you are armed with knowledge finding someone to help you is impossible. I have offered to pay for tests myself and even fly somewhere to get treatment if necessary but still can't seem to get anyone to listen or care. I have found and called 4 doctors within 200 miles that specialize in bio-identical hormones, but none of them are taking new patients right now. One told me I can call back in June and make an appointment for Fall!!!!!

Again, many thanks.

Apr 20, 2011
Test results for low prog. 84!!!!
by: ShellyR

Forgot to mention, I tried to show my dr the printout of the test I did here, the symptoms I had checked off on this sites test and explained that my score here was 84. I held out the printout of symptoms to her and she just scoffed and wouldn't even look at them.....

I wish I could just dump this dr too but I have changed doctors so many times that no one wants to treat me because they see my bouncing from one dr to another, question it, and too insist there is nothing wrong with me. It's like no one will take me serious.

Apr 21, 2011
Depo Provera and low progesterone?
by: Toni Foti

Hi Wray,
I sent the tubes to the lab last week and my doctor told me it usually takes 2 weeks to get the results, so I'm hoping by the end of next week I should know something. I'm dying to find out what's going on and I'll certainly let you know. I'm having bad days every day now, it's a struggle to survive and maintain a little sanity!! Thanks again, Toni

Jul 20, 2011
Depo Provera and low progesterone?
by: Fotina

Hi Wray,
sorry it took so long. My naturopath got the saliva test results back a couple of months ago and told me: "both estrogen and progesterone are low and they peak at the wrong time". Not sure what that means because I did not see the numbers, but he gave me 3 supplements: Chasteberry Plus to rebalance progesterone, Calcium D-Glucorate for estrogen and Stress Guard for my adrenal glands. I was so happy I finally had an answer! Well, after 30 days of pure hell (major depression to the point of feeling almost suicidal, despair, feeling of going insane) I saw him again and he told me at that point I should have felt better, not worse. We're back at trying with homeopathic remedies to relieve my panic/anxiety/mood swings. As soon as I stopped the supplements the horrible depression lifted. Did the vitex screwed me up even more? How would you interpret the fact that the supplements caused such a horrible reaction? Now I'm back to square one, I don't know whether or not I am indeed perimenopausal or have a hormonal imbalance because of the depo shot years ago, or I'm just emotionally screwed up on my own. Thanks! Toni

Jul 22, 2011
SOLVED! My Update!!!!!
by: ShellyR

As a follow-up to my previous comments regarding anxiety and my various other health issues (see previous comments above that I made months ago)...

After YEARS of severe Anxiety attacks, I am now FREE of them, other than ones that I was able to create!!! I did this to prove that the things I was doing to prevent them were actually what had caused them to stop! It is my understanding that anxiety attacks can be caused by many different things and different things help different people. This is MY story and this is what helped ME!

The cause of MY anxiety attacks was 100% caused by a quick and severe drop in my blood pressure, followed by normal or even high bp. Confirmed through months of monitoring bp both during normal times, during the attacks, and after the attacks. I also failed the "tilt table" test in which the doctors caught one of my attacks while the monitors where running and recording. This included ekg, blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, etc.

In my case the low bp has been labeled as OrthoStatic Hypotention. Once I corrected the dropping of the bp I stopped having ANY panic or anxiety attacks!!! Here are the things that I added to my diet to get rid of them.

64 plus ounces of water or zero poweraid
1/2 teaspoon of salt every day or two as needed
25mg Tenormin (1/2 of the tablet in am 1/2 in pm)
Keep sugar intake low. No sugar after 4pm

Keeping my hormones in check is also helping! I am now using natural progesterone and estrogen cream. The hot flashes have now stopped and I am not getting dehydrated as easily!

Again, there where several things happening together, causing this weird drop in bp which created the anxiety attacks. Here are the things that cause MY bp to drop.

Dehydration - This depletes my sodium and potassium. I was drinking Gatoraid but the dr said it had to much sugar so I switched to Poweraid Zero. Another friend just told me Gatoraid comes in a 0 calorie but I have not tried that. Poweraid Zero (white label) is still cheaper ranging from .69 to .99 each for 32oz. I hate water and nowadays there is so much junk in the water I avoid it. 64 oz is the magic number for me. Below it my bp starts dropping.


Jul 22, 2011
SOLVED! My Update!!!!! part 2
by: ShellyR

part 2

Lack of sodium - Although my sodium tested 140 (normal) before I started taking salt, signs of impending attacks for me are always cramps in my legs and/or feet for days or weeks before. This was corrected by taking 1/2 tsp of salt every day or two or when the cramps start again. I had already been taking Potassium but it was only when I added salt that the cramps stopped. When I stop the salt the cramps come back. Taking salt will also deplete Potassium so even though the cramps had stopped with salt alone, I also recently added Potassium.

The salt does NOT raise MY blood pressure, nor does it make ME retain fluid. In fact, after taking 1/2 tsp of salt every day or 2 for several months, my sodium level has only gone up 2 points! However, many people cannot tolerate even small amounts of salt. I would recommend talking to your doctor and monitoring your blood pressure closely if you choose to increase your salt.

Tenormin - I take 1/2 of a 25mg tablet twice a day. They started me on 25mg twice a day but after a couple of months my bp started dropping and staying low.

Sugar - I have reduced my total sugar and try to keep my sugar between 100 and 140 at all times. When I do sneak a candy bar I try to do it before 4pm.

The test... I stopped eating salt and within 4 days started having leg and foot cramps again.

I reduced my fluid intake to less than 32oz a day and after the 2nd day my bp started dropping and after the 3rd day I started having anxiety attacks again. During this test my bp was not dropping as low as it used to but the anxiety attacks were happening several times a day over the next 2 days.

I stopped the "test" and started drinking and taking salt again and within one day the anxiety attacks stopped.

I have tried stopping the Tenormin before and although the panic attacks don't return I find myself getting shortness of breath and dizzy, even just sitting up from bed. This is a common symptom of Orthostatic Hypotention.

So, although Anxiety attacks may be caused from different things, and different things help different people, these are the things that helped me. I continue symptom free as long as I follow these guidelines. I have my life back!!!!

Aug 18, 2011
Depo Provera and low progesterone?
by: Toni Foti

Wray, a hold of the saliva test results. The 28 day AVERAGE numbers are: Estradiol 8.5, Progesterone 326, P/E2 Ratio 38.

Testosterone is fine, so is DHEA, Cortisol and Melatonin. What do you think? Thanks much, Toni

Sep 27, 2013
depo causes serious side effects after you stop taking it
by: karen

i am 22 years old and i have been taking the depo shot for about 6 years on and off. i have not had my period for a very long time which i believe is not normal. i think the depo shot and any other contraceptives are criminal because we are putting excessive amounts of hormones in our body. since labor day i have been experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. an unexplained anxious feeling, shortness of breath all the time and dizziness, heart palpitations. everyone would ask me what i was so stressed out about but that's one question i didn't have an answer too because i didn't find myself to be stressed out about anything. in the past weeks i have hospitalized three times, given three different types of anxiety pills such as paxil, ativan and xanax. i am also taking provera so that i can get my period again. i stop getting my shot in June because i wanted my body to get back to its normal state of getting my period. along came the symptoms of breast tenderness and depression, fatigue , low libido etc. when i started having the panic attack i felt like i was going crazy, i though i was having a heart attack or internal health problems. i hated and got so frustrated every time i was sent to the emergency and everything was fine even though i was feeling terrible symptoms like if i was going to die. i saw a therapist who also was trying to finding something going on in my life that can be the cause to my panic attacks. as soon as i told her be getting off the depo and not having my period she says she had the same problem with another client that also was experiencing anxiety and panic attacks after getting off the depo shot. and she was sure that that was the cause to my anxiety. i am giving my body a rest for a long time of birth control but i do not recommend anybody to continue taking the depo anymore.

Sep 29, 2013
depo causes serious side effects after you stop taking it
by: Wray

Hi Karen All drug based Contraceptives have the potential to harm. And can cause problems when stopping them. But why on earth is your doctor giving you Provera, that is the depo shot! Both contain medroxyprogesterone acetate, a synthetic progestin. You need nutrients not drugs. Please see our page on Anxiety it gives a list of those nutrients. You are obviously very short of progesterone, the depo shot has been preventing you from ovulating each month. Unless you do you won't make any. Not only that, but you also have excess oestrogen. If you should consider progesterone, you will need at least 400mg/day to overcome those symptoms. Please read our page on How to use progesterone cream. Take care Wray

Jul 20, 2014
by: Anonymous

All of you need 4-point cortisol to check your adrenal function. Especially with history of orthostatic hypotension.
Low glycemic index foods and protein at every meal. Only 20% Carbs and only in the form of gluten-free non-processed.

Feb 05, 2016
Anyone there?
by: Anonymous

Hi Guys,

Toni, did you ever find out what the problem was? I am going through everything you mentioned after coming off depo which I used for 8 years. Please respond, I am so desperate to figure this out.


Jul 23, 2016
by: Anonymous

I been on depo for 2 years and 6 months I got off in 2015 of December I had a period in May June and July but no pregnancy. I'm having a period and not ovulating is this normal I been off depo for 7 months. I've been TTC for 7 months now no luck

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