Does progesterone convert into cortisol?
Hello Wray and everybody on this website;
me and my husband have a question about progesterone and cortisol interaction/conversion. I have a rare illness that's not really manageable so far, it's called PRTH-(peripheral resistance to thyroid hormone) which causes me a lot of health issues like high blood pressure, potassium deficiency, constant edema, hair loss, very dry cracking skin, lethargy, vision/hearing loss, and a lot of other things. I'm completely disabled due to it, lost my teeth, can barely walk. I'm 37 and became ill with it when I was in my 20s. I take Cytomel (a thyroid hormone) in large amounts to overcome the resistance, which helps with some of the symptoms but doesn't obviously stop them all. I'm hypothyroid because of the resistance, plus I also have no thyroid gland. I have Estrogen Dominance (at least had it every time I was tested, but I haven't been tested for a year now). I have very high levels of Estrogen and very low levels of Progesterone and Testosterone in my blood. I had one failed pregnancy, if that matters, not sure. Currently, I'm on Progestin contraceptive pill, because combination pill makes all the symptoms worse.
Years ago I got diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency and was treated with Hydrocortizone, which caused even worse swelling, and made my thyroid condition worse, so they had to stop it.
We have read in many places that Progesterone can convert into Cortisol, and because of it I'm scared that it can cause the same problems Hydrocortizone did-like extreme swelling. I tried to brave it and have tried using Progesterone cream for two cycles this year. I started on 20 mg per day, and immediately felt great. Next day I felt worse, though, so I had to raise, many times like that, until I was on the highest dose I took, 150 mg a day. It caused such strange and mixed results,some bad, and some good, that it confused both of us, my hubby and me, and that's why we are seeking your advice.
The good things it did were : my hair loss slowed down, my inflamed eyes got much better, as did inflammation everywhere else, my skin wasn't dry as usual, my sinus infection and allergies were gone, my sex drive came back :-)- It was pretty much gone for years now.
The bad thing: I already have edema all over my body, and lymphatic swelling on my face, hands and feet-Progesterone cream made edema so much worse, that I couldn't fit into my clothes or shoes. My stomach was bloated very bad as well, and I had to stop the cream and get back on Heather pill. The extra swelling got a tiny bit better, but now it's back. It feels as if It's there to stay permanently. Swelling was in fact so severe that we found it hard to believe that it had something to do with Estrogen, and thought that Progesterone cream might be just converting to Cortisol, making me worse. Is it possible, or could extreme swelling like that still be a symptom of estrogen dominance? And how much Cortisol can Progesterone convert to? We couldn't find any research explaining this.
Thank you very much ; sorry if it's a confusing question-Maria and Mike