by Help


I am a 22 year old Caucasian female living in Canada.I had perfect, glowing skin and amazing thick hair, all throughout puberty, until the summer I turned 18. I had my first boyfriend, who wasn't the best boyfriend to say the least, and caused an unimaginable amount of stress in my life. On top of that, because I was dealing with him, I failed out of first year University. While this was happening, my skin was still perfect. It wasn't until about 6 months of this continuously going on that my skin broke out...horribly. I didn't notice it at the time, but my hair was also thinning, considerably. By the age of 19, about 1.5 yrs later, I had lost 50% of it, and noticed a visible increase in body hair. I now have probably 35% left of my original thickness on my head, with little tiny colorless vellus hairs growing in instead of thick,long black hair. My acne is still horrid - cystic, everywhere, and plus last year, I had started growing facial hair - just a few strands on my cheeks and neck, but still!

I've been to countless doctor after doctor telling me it's "genetic", but why were these genes not activated when I started puberty, with my first period, at age 13? I really do not think that it is genetic, because no one in my family has had these problems, including my two sisters. I've had blood tests done saying that I do have low progesterone, I am hypothyroid, and my testosterone is through the roof. It's been suggested that I take oral progesterone, spiro to lower testosterone, and accutane for the acne - I want to one day have children, so I'd prefer not to poison myself, especially after years of taking antibiotics to kill the acne - which have worked, until the acne comes back in full force.

What a nightmare! I have been checked by three doctors with blood tests/ultrasounds for PCOS, all have come back negative. I've even been to one of the best MD-Ph.D researchers on PCOS who has concluded that I DO NOT have PCOS.

What is going on? What can I do?

Any help would be very much appreciated!

*I should mention I have a BMI of 18, so I am nowhere near overweight - just barely at normal weight*

Comments for Heartbroken

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Dec 01, 2011
reply to heartbroken
by: Rosanne


Just read this and thought I would give a quick reply as Wray might take a bit as she is very busy answering all of your questions. I am also hypothyroid, had low progesterone and high testosterone; although much older. What I can tell you is that low progesterone leads to high testosterone which increases acne and hair loss. Therefore supplementation with topical bio identical progesterone will slowly bring down testosterone and most like the amount of acne and hair loss.

In addition you have options for thyroid medication levothyroxine or dessicated thyroid. You need adequate amounts of thyroid to stimulate ovaries to make progesterone. Also due the stress you have experienced take good amounts of vit c, b complex and 400 mg of magnesium per day. Your body is working hard right now to deal with imbalances. You can also purchase supplements for adrenal support and thyroid support at a health food store.

In canada we can get bio identical progesterone with a prescription and drug plan will pay for it. Mine does anyways.
Hope this helps a bit.

take Care


Dec 02, 2011
by: Wray

Hi there I agree with you, I don't believe it's genetic either! This is often blamed if no cause can be found. Interestingly there's a branch of science called epigenetics, which studies altered gene expression without changes in DNA sequence. This has lead researchers in the field to coin the phrase 'the foetal origin of adult disease'. Increasingly adult diseases are being linked to epigenetic changes, heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, insulin resistance and there's a strong probability autism too. I'm not suggesting your problem is epigenetic, but to point out that changes in gene expression can be altered. For instance PCOS, which you say you don't have, is treated with drugs. Whereas treating with nutrients reverses the oxidative stress which caused it in the first place. The thing which stands out above all else is stress in your life. Stress of the boyfriend, studying, failing, plus the skin problems, facial hair and hair loss on top of all that. One of those vicious cycles, where one stress leads to another. Stress starts a cascade of inflammatory cytokines, it also upsets blood glucose, it drops progesterone levels, neurotransmitters drop, I'm surprised you're not depressed too! And please don't poison yourself on those drugs, the oral progesterone might be progesterone, but it's more than likely to be a progestin, ie a Contraceptive. See here, here, here and here for spironolactone. We do have a page on Acne, it gives info on vitamin A and accutane. There are two papers not yet on the site which are worth reading. Both on oxidative stress and acne, it seems to be behind most of our disorders and diseases, see here and here. Continued below. Take care Wray

Dec 02, 2011
by: Wray

Hi there Antibiotics only kill the bacteria living in the cysts, they don't get to the route cause. This is due to high testosterone levels which increase the sebum excretion rate. But behind the rise in testosterone are low SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) levels. If levels of SHBG drop, free testosterone rises. This is the metabolically active hormone. Progesterone lowers testosterone, as it raises levels of SHBG, see here. The doses of progesterone were very high, but oral progesterone was used. This is not the best Delivery system. Fructose, sucrose and glucose reduce levels of SHBG by 80, 50 and 40% respectively, see here. This allows testosterone to rise. It's essential to avoid all sugars, even those hidden in grains, legumes and sweet, starchy fruit and veggies. Interestingly Dr Cordain who runs the The Paleo Diet website, has found no acne in tribes eating simple non-processed foods. Evidently their blood glucose is stable, which means SHBG is high. One thing he fails to mention, which I'm sure is possibly behind all the disorders we suffer from, is lack of vitamin D. This is a potent antioxidant, needed by every cell to function normally. It's vital for healthy skin, for the anagen phase in hair growth, plus low levels disturb blood glucose and cause hypothyroidism, see here, here and here. Levels are low in most Canadians, see here, here, here and here. Please have a test done, please. Continued below. Take care Wray

Dec 02, 2011
by: Wray

Hi there For more info on testing etc see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth, Birmingham Hospital and Vitamin D Links websites. Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml or 175-250nmol/L and not the 30ng/ml or 75nmol/L most labs and doctors regard as adequate. And the minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although the latest research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here. Take care Wray

Dec 03, 2011
Thank you
by: Help

Thank you both so much! Wray, I've ordered your progesterone cream - do you think it will help? I'm also just now after reading your comments investing in probiotic (12 billion) pills and a 'healthy skin, hair, nails' vitamin.

Do you think this will help?

I will also look into cod liver oil. I want to reverse my problems, and truly believe that the stress has triggered everything * I am also depressed and at time cry uncontrollably *

Thank you so very much - you've been too kind and offering hope is such a blessing.

Jan 09, 2012
continued use...
by: Help

Dear Wray,

I've been taking your progesterone compound now for almost a month. I had something weird happen. My period was on the 35th day and lasted 7 days, which is pretty normal for me, but after a week of no period, it returned! It's been 4 days now and this period has less clotting and feels like a "real period" that i haven't had in years since I was 'normal'.

I'm assuming this is the progesterone at work - should I stop taking it? Should I be concerned?

Any advice would be great! Thanks!!!

Jan 14, 2012
Thank you
by: Wray

Hi there I'm so sorry I missed your Dec 3rd query, I don't know why either! I'm delighted you're taking a good probiotic. Very remiss of me, but I forgot to give you the nutrients which help hair loss, and encourage re-growth……
5000iu's/day vitamin D
2000mg/day N-actyl cysteine
2000mg/day inositol
2-3mg biotin
100mg thiamine (B1)

Please avoid cod liver oil, it contains far too much vitamin A, this inhibits the uptake of vitamin D, see here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Ah I see you are depressed, you didn't mention this in your first query. I had uncontrollable crying too, all gone thanks to progesterone, but please use sufficient. I'm delighted you had a second period which was near to normal, don't be concerned about it coming so soon. And continue using the progesterone through it. I can't remember if I told you, but I do recommend using it daily for 2-3 months until progesterone is the dominant hormone. At present you have excess oestrogen and testosterone, this needs to be suppressed. But taking the customary break at bleeding, it allows these two hormones to rise again, not what you need. It's easy enough to get the cycle going again, we have info on how to do this on our page How to use progesterone cream. I didn't give you the page we have on Anxiety as you hadn't mentioned it before. The page gives a list of nutrients which all help, you might consider taking some. Continued below.

Jan 14, 2012
Thank you Part 2
by: Wray

Hi there Inositol is very helpful for depression etc, see here, here, here and here. It also helps to stabilise insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal, see here. It's best in powder form as about 4000mg/day is needed, although far higher doses are given in the studies above. There's always hope, the body has a remarkable ability to heal itself, but it does need the necessary nutrients. And time too! Drugs only treat the symptom, not the cause. Take care Wray

Feb 22, 2012
by: Help

Hi Wray - it's me again :) I'm now in my third month of using Natpro, and my second period has come again just like last time. It seems to be running on a 14 day schedule. Sorry to bother, but again, is this normal? I'm not sure when to stop using the progesterone. On my second period of the month now, my cystic acne has returned horrendously on my back, and a few on my face on my temples (which leads me to think it's not hormonal), and my breast size seems to have increased by half a cup -I'm thrilled to go from an A to B, don't get me wrong! I know you previously recommended taking Natpro for the full three months, then using it only after ovulation, but I just wanted to check in with you to see if everything is normal?
Sorry to bother again and thanks so much :)

Feb 24, 2012
by: Wray

Hi there Yes it can be normal! It follows different patterns in different women, it's impossible to tell how anyone will react. It does take time to settle down. I think it might be best if you use the 2-3 months daily routine I suggested to you. Your periods will come, and go often in no discernible pattern, but at least any excess testosterone and oestrogen will be suppressed. It will also ensure progesterone becomes the dominant hormone. The broken cycle is allowing these two hormones to rise again, hence the acne. You evidently have water retention too, the increased breast size suggests this. Excess oestrogen causes water retention. I don't know how much progesterone you're using but it seems not enough at this stage, please increase it. And have you had a vitamin D test done yet, and are you taking it? Please let me know. Take care Wray

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