How can I be sure my symptoms are due to low progesterone and not low estrogen too

by Kelly
(California)

I am so confused about which road to take. I've been focusing on my obvious symptoms of estrogen dominance by using progesterone cream for more than 15 years. I know for a fact it has helped me tremendously as it lengthened my increasingly short cycles, and brought me back from a terrible period of crushing anxiety. There is no doubt it has truly been a lifesaver for me. I have avoided estrogen like the plague and use DIM to try to decrease it.

I am now 53 and have been experiencing a steady increase in my symptoms, plus many more. As if my hair falling out isn't bad enough, I am now unable to sleep more than 3 hours without waking up. It has become extremely bad in the past 3 months and is greatly affecting my quality of life.

I struggle to understand how I could need so much more progesterone than my body would ever make on its own. Yes I am stressed!! I have major stressors in my life and have had for many years. My cortisol does not follow a normal pattern and is slightly high in the late afternoon/early evening. But still that does not explain to me why I would need so much progesterone.

The doctor who prescribes my bio-identical hormones, my Naturopath, and my bio-identical pharmacist, all tell me I shouldn't need so much and that I am actually causing my body to create more estrogen with the excess progesterone I am using. Oh my gosh, all I know is I feel terrible and something is not right.

I have my hormones tested every year and see that the big difference now is that my estrogen levels are fluctuating wildly, where in the past they were consistently in the normal range for my age. I think my symptoms now are more related to the loss of estrogen I am experiencing, in addition to estrogen dominance.

I went to a seminar a couple of weeks ago, by a Dr who favors bio identical estrogen patch, along with progesterone (she prefers oral because of the sleep benefits). She presented information from a new book titled; "Estrogen Matters" by Avrum Bluming. This book addresses the Women's Health Initiative studies which have had all of us fearing estrogen since the study was released. Basically she explained that estrogen studies have been flawed and presented incorrect results which resulted in scaring the wits out of us. The information presented stated that estrogen is very beneficial to us and it can help menopausal women get their life back. We also watched a very informative film titled "Hot Flash Havoc", which you can find online.

I am still very confused but now that I know what my menopause is going to be like, I am taking a closer look at the benefits of bio identical estrogen in a low dose patch. If there is something that can help to get "Me" back, I am going that way.

There is so much conflicting information it truly makes me think I am going bonkers trying to understand it all. I will read something that says my symptoms (such as hair loss, low libido, insomnia, weight gain, mood swings, sweaty head) are related to low progesterone, and other things which say these symptoms are due to low estrogen. It really is baffling and makes it difficult to know what to do. My symptoms would indicate I am progesterone deficient, estrogen deficient, very low normal DHEA, very low normal thyroid, and estrogen dominant, abnormal cortisol pattern. My lab results and lab recommendations agree.

I guess the answer I am looking for is this; If I have been using progesterone cream for over 15 years and my symptoms are worsening, what should I do? Should I start now with a loading dose to re-establish progesterone dominance? Should I use cream continuously through my cycles (I still do have periods, though every 2-3 weeks)? I am presently using about 135mg day. What about low estrogen? Shouldn't we be doing something to address this as well? It seems to me that if we are restoring progesterone levels, we should be doing the same with estrogen to keep things in balance.

Can anyone offer any insight?

Thanks so much

Comments for How can I be sure my symptoms are due to low progesterone and not low estrogen too

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Nov 30, 2018
How can I be sure my symptoms are due to low progesterone and not low estrogen too
by: Joy

Hi Kelly

I am so pleased that progesterone helped you. How much progesterone are you actually using? Between 100-200mg is needed however, if symptoms are severe more is needed. Using less merely aggravates estrogen receptors.

I agree there is so much conflicting information, enough to confuse anyone. You might like to read Progesterone Misconceptions. Your adverse symptoms clearly indicate Estrogen Dominance. You are also in Peri-Menopause and often more progesterone is needed. This is something that you will have to experiment with. We don't believe that any women needs to use extra estrogen as there are well over 100 estrogen mimics in our Environment as it is. Please also read the Hair Loss page.

I suggest that you use progesterone every day from now on with no breaks and increase the amount that you are using and see if that helps you, as mentioned, you will have to experiment to see what suits you best.

Vitamin D3 is very important. Nothing less than 5,000iu's per day is needed. Magnesium and vitamin K2 with no soy are important co-factors needed when taking vitamin D3.

Nov 30, 2018
hormones
by: Rachel

Hello!
Like you, I piled on the progesterone for years thinking I was dong the right thing. I have since been confirmed as having very low estrogen which has caused me sleeplessness, unmanageable anxiety, high cortisol at night, depression and palpitations – not to mention vaginal atrophy – which only responds to estrogen. I use local estrogen for my V and it plumps up my tissues and stoos the pain.
We need estrogen. We need it in balance though.
If I were you, I'd get my levels tested and go from there. As we age, we produce very little estrogen and despite what you may read on this forum, we benefit from estrogen – it's not a complete monster hormone or we wouldn't be alive, be able to have children, have muscle tone or feel joy. We have ovaries that produce estrogen for many reasons, so as we age and produce less, it is a good idea to supplement if you are feeling awful as you describe.
This forum is great but it is also biased because it is here to sell progesterone. If you are on Facebook I suggest you join a bio identical hormone group for advice AND go see a hormone or menopause doctor for help. xx

Nov 30, 2018
This is me!!!
by: Dawn

Oh my gosh.. I could have written this:

"There is so much conflicting information it truly makes me think I am going bonkers trying to understand it all. I will read something that says my symptoms (such as hair loss, low libido, insomnia, weight gain, mood swings, sweaty head) are related to low progesterone, and other things which say these symptoms are due to low estrogen. It really is baffling and makes it difficult to know what to do. My symptoms would indicate I am progesterone deficient, estrogen deficient, very low normal DHEA, very low normal thyroid, and estrogen dominant, abnormal cortisol pattern. My lab results and lab recommendations agree. "

I have low normal free t3, high reverse t3, a reverse cortisol cycle etc. I have not been taking ANYTHING at all but I figure I'm 3 years into what you posted (and I quoted) but add in BADDDDDD vestibular migraine issues that are getting worse and worse this year. I had two years of super heavy flooding, MASSIVE clot passing and even passed my entire uterine lining at one point.

This year I've been late 3 times and started with migraine vertigo on start of period with general vestibular migraine any other day of the month now triggered by weather (which living in New England makes life totally miserable).

I've run day 22 labs and my progesterone to estrogen ratio is around 83. That was on a 26 day cycle. Estrogen was 54, progesterone 4.5. In July on day 12, progesterone was 1.18, estrogen was 45.

All I know is? I am miserable. I often wish for death because living like this? Is unbearable.

Dec 03, 2018
Hormonal Balance
by: Justine

Hello Rachel, thank you for your input. I just feel the need to clarify this again...

This site is about 'Progesterone therapy', because it is about progesterone therapy, not estrogen therapy. This is because the world is flooded with xeno-estrogens and some may need to supplement with progesterone to counter-act the effects of the imbalance caused by excess estrogen, see this page on environmental toxins.

This site repeatedly points out and advocates the need for 'balance' of the hormones. Obviously Estrogen is vital to us, what is reiterated over and over throughout the site is the need for hormonal 'balance', see one quote here, "The cycle is dominated by the two hormones, estrogen and progesterone and hormone balance is essentially all about keeping these two in the right ratios." quoted from the hormone balance page.

If you feel your hormones are out of balance, get tested and see if your ratio of progesterone to estrogen is in balance or not, if not then you may choose to supplement. Please also see the hormone testing and progesterone levels pages to help with working out ratios.

I would also like to point out that this site (and it's forums) was developed long before it started selling progesterone cream. It was created by Wray because of her wanting to provide free, well informed information based on her extensive research because of her own life struggles, please read her story here.
A cream was developed as a consequence of others wanting to know how she had turned her life around so quickly and had witnessed the dramatic change in her health and wellbeing. She decided to develop a cream that was as natural and friendly as possible, (no parabens etc.) because at the time there was not one like this, and hence Natpro was born.

This site is about finding and maintaining hormonal balance. Please take the time to read through it, (and also the extensive medical reference and research papers available on it), thoroughly if you feel your hormones are in disarray. All the information you need is here for you to make your own informed decision.

Yours in health and balance.


Dec 03, 2018
progesterone therapy
by: rachel

Justine – I have had my hormones tested, numerous times, via blood, urine and saliva testing. I am 6 years post menopause.
Our environment may well be flooded with chemicals that mimic estrogens, believe me, I am very aware. However, diminishing estrogen in our own body is also a very real issue, hence why so many women feel dreadful after menopause (as well as during).
After using Natpro for years, I tested as very high progesterone. The reason I was tested is because I was suffering vaginal atrophy, crippling anxiety and depression. Without bio identical HRT (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) I would not be here today. Without topical estrogen cream, my bladder wall would still be disintegrating and I would be in agony and desperately miserable.
Progesterone dominance and estrogen dominance have similar symptoms.
I am completely respectful of Wray's work and dedication to progesterone therapy. However, women need their hormones in balance, so the general advice I see on this site to desperate women, confused about their symptoms, willing to try anything for relief, to up and up their application of progesterone, worries me hugely.
I like Natpro very much – but it is not a cure all. Every single one of us need our hormones – including cortisol, vitamin d, testosterone, progesterone and estrogen – in balance.

My own mother, who is 88 now, had vaginal atrophy so severe that she could no longer walk or sit for any length of time. Her pelvic floor muscles had collapsed and she had a prolapse. She was suicidal. The treatment? Estrogen, local cream applied internally and externally. In six months, she has been able to regain her dignity and walk outdoors without being terrified of being too far from a toilet. Should I have lectured her about the chemicals in our environment?

Dec 03, 2018
Progesterone therapy
by: Rachel

I have just read back my response - and I apologise if it sounds abrupt, it really wasn't my intention.
Basically, I agree with you. We need our hormones balanced.

Dec 03, 2018
Hormonal balance
by: Justine

Hello Rachel

I am very happy to hear that you have found success in balancing your bodies hormones and discovered what worked best for you. I see we all agree that balance is key! which is what I was talking about. I in no way intended my reference to the environment being flooded with xeno-estrogens as a lecture, merely a fact that we need to take into consideration as many people are not aware of this.

I just want to point out that vaginal atrophy also responds to progesterone, not 'only estrogen'.

I personally advocate exercise, diet and mind & emotion management over and above supplementing with anything though some people may need to experiment with supplementation and finding the information and supplements that work for you can be a daunting task with all the information and misinformation in the world.

This site has a lot of information and knowing Wray I trust her integrity and wisdom when it comes to health matters and especially hormonal balance.

Balancing all areas of life is key I believe!

Wishing you the best. x

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