Looking for answers

by Kathryn Stadler
(Saginaw, Michigan)

I have had dizziness, lightheadedness, balance problems and sometimes tachycardia since delivery (I am right after delivery too) of my daughter 23 years ago. Been through many tests to find the cause. Only found I have low blood pressure found on tilt-table test. I also underwent vestibular testing and found I have also a vestibular disorder. Also could possibly have migraines. Although I am on medication for migraines (Divalproex ER), and on fludrocortisone for low blood pressure these medications do not help much. My blood pressure still runs about 80/49, sometimes a little higher.

I found on line while reading about what happens on each day of the month to a woman's body found that about 5 days before menstrual cycle is when progesterone peaks really high. Well, about 5 days before my cycle I feel almost normal but this is the only day of the month I feel this close to being normal for all day. Otherwise, every day I have dizziness, lightheadedness, balance problems off and on throughout the day.

I read on line about progesterone and if you are low in progesterone it can cause migraines, low blood pressure, anxiety, etc. So now I am wondering if maybe natural progesterone may help me. I asked my OB-GYN doctor about using natural progesterone and he said it wouldn't hurt to try it but don't get my hopes up. I am desperately looking for something to cure or help my symptoms as they are very hard to live with.

I read that progesterone is a diuretic, is this true? And, if so, since I have low blood pressure already will it lower it even more? OB-GYN doctor said only side effect is tiredness and may get bloated feeling. He said to take it at night because of the tiredness. Any suggestions or thoughts on why I feel almost normal about 5 days before my cycle starts?

Comments for Looking for answers

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Nov 01, 2009
Looking for answers
by: Wray

Hi Kathryn. Progesterone can help dizziness and can calm the heart, but it is a diuretic and so normally lowers blood pressure. Has anyone checked your sodium levels? It could be you need more as this often leads to low blood pressure. Do you crave salty foods? It's not so much low progesterone causing migraines but high oestrogen as it causes inflammation. So you could well have high oestrogen, as you only feel better when progesterone peaks. You could be deficient in taurine, it's the most important amino acid for the heart, it's very calming. But it also facilitates the entry in cells of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. A low level would mean these minerals are not getting where they are needed. But taurine also lowers blood pressure. I would suggest you try progesterone, it is excellent for migraines, anxiety etc. Please consider adding salt to your diet, and if this doesn't help, then taurine. Incidentally this is excellent for anxiety too, one of our most calming neurotransmitters. Take care, Wray

Nov 09, 2009
Progetserone and blood pressure
by: Kathryn

How much does progesterone lower blood pressure? Mine is usually around 80-90's/50's to begin with.

Nov 30, 2009
Progesterone and blood pressure
by: Wray

Hi Kathryn Unfortunately I cannot tell you, I doubt if anyone could. It depends on many other factors. Take care Wray

Nov 16, 2012
Did you ever figure out your dizziness?
by: Kate

Hi Kathryn,
I am 31 yrs old and have been suffering all of the same symptoms you have since the birth of my daughter. I just started progesterone and have noticed a change in the quality of my sleep, but I'm not yet experiencing a reduction in my heart rate or dizziness. And I'm hoping an increase in my blood pressure. (I know typically progesterone lowers bp, but my doctor thought it may help with vascular tone and stabilize my blood pressure.)
I know this post is old, but I'm wondering if the progesterone did the trick for you. I hope it did, for your sake and mine.

Nov 17, 2012
Did you ever figure out your dizziness?
by: Wray

Hi Kate Progesterone can help those symptoms, it would be good to know if it helped Kathryn. I had post natal depression after my daughter was born, lasted 4 years. If only I'd known about progesterone then. It drops sharply after birth sending about 25% of women in some form of depression, although many don't get 'depression' itself, but a host of other symptoms. Although past, we do have a page on Pregnancy and another here you could look through. Mention is made of PND on both pages. You don't say how much progesterone you're using, but if it's the normal recommendation of 20mg/day I don't believe this is anywhere near enough to help. I suggest 100-200mg/day, often more if symptoms are bad. Dizziness can be caused by excess oestrogen, as it causes water retention. The inner ear has many oestrogen receptors, progesterone too. But if progesterone is low, oestrogen becomes dominant and this can affect balance. You are right progesterone does usually lower BP, but only because it's an excellent diuretic so getting rid of any excess water causing the BP rise. It also inhibits aldosterone, which also causes water retention. Aldosterone only kicks in if salt levels drop, as it retains sodium, but at the expense of increasing water. This is an excellent article to read here. It could be you need more salt in your diet. Progesterone does help sleep too, see here, here and here. Finally it also helps the heart rate. Oestrogen causes prolongation of the QT interval, which results in palpitations, arrhythmia and Torsades de Pointes. It can also cause sudden death. Continued below

Nov 17, 2012
Did you ever figure out your dizziness? Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Kate Whereas progesterone shortens the QT interval, see here, here, here, here, here, here and here. This is why more women get these problems than men, they have very little oestrogen, whereas we have a great deal more. Please also consider taking taurine, it's essential for a stable heart, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Take care Wray

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