My own little experiment

by Michele

Over the last year I started experiencing a host of strange symptoms - weight gain, heart palpitations, chronic heartburn, pitting edema (MAJOR swelling) in my lower legs, high blood pressure, pre-menstrual breast tenderness, slight urinary incontinence, occasional hot flashes, weepiness, migraines before my period, a week of spotting before my period, long and heavy periods - to name a few! My doctor ran a bunch of tests and ruled out cardiac, gastrointestinal issues, etc. That seemed to be the extent of what he was able to do. So, I was reassured that nothing horrible was going on, but still suffering from all these symptoms.

When I noticed that the ankle swelling improved greatly when I actually got my period, I wondered if it could be hormone related and started to do some research. It sounded like estrogen dominance to me, so I asked my doctor to test my hormone levels. The blood serum tests came back showing slightly low estrogen and very low progesterone (I don't have the numbers, unfortunately).

We agreed to do an experiment... For the past 3 months, I've been taking 50 mg of oral progesterone in the morning, and 100 mg at night. (I'll have my bloodwork done again this month at the same point in my cycle as last time.) Next month, I'm switching to progesterone cream - 10 mg in the morning, 20 mg at night. I'll use that for 3 months and test again.

I realize that the saliva test would be better, but the blood test is free, and it would be close to $1000 for me to do this using the saliva tests. Really, I'm thinking symptom changes should speak louder than anything!

Since taking the oral supplement, I've noticed a partial resolution of symptoms. I still have some slight edema (though it's MUCH better), breast tenderness hasn't changed, occasional heart palpitations, etc. I was surprised that the daily heartburn completely cleared up! I don't think I have it sorted out quite yet, but I know I'm on the right track. I would love any pointers!

Comments for My own little experiment

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Apr 02, 2010
My own little experiment
by: Wray

Hi Michele. Well you are on the right track! The symptoms are glaringly obvious, such a pity so little is still known about hormone imbalance in women. You might like to read more about oestrogen dominance here.

Oestrogen is an excitatory hormone, causing vasoconstriction, inflammation, water retention. Progesterone is calming, as it activates the GABA receptor sites, GABA is an amino acid and one of our most calming neurotransmitters. Another excellent amino is taurine, this is vital for the heart, so if you find the progesterone doesn't calm it enough please try 1000mg/day taurine, safe to go up to 5000mg/day. It also helps lower blood pressure. Progesterone is also an anti-inflammatory and vasodilator. Saliva testing is more accurate, you can read more here.

But at that cost I understand why you're opting for a blood test. Tests are interesting, but cannot tell how we're feeling, so I prefer to follow symptoms. Yours are sufficient to warrant trying progesterone. But oral progesterone is not the best route, most of it is destroyed in the gut and liver, which explains why your symptoms haven't fully resolved. Please see these papers...
Paper 1
Paper 2
Paper 3

Injections, suppositories, creams and gels are the better route, see these pages...
Page 1
Page 2

I don't believe the amount you intend using will benefit greatly, it will certainly take a long time to resolve your symptoms! Most of the successful studies used between 100-200mg/day, and I've found this to be the case too. Unless symptoms are very severe, in which case 400-600mg/day is needed. Incidentally rub the cream when you get it on to your sore breasts, under your ears and on your neck for migraines, anywhere you have pain in fact, it can help. Take care, Wray

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