Please advise if possible

by Maria
(El Dorado, AR)

Dear Wray;

I have a couple of questions; I understand that you are very busy, I'm terribly sorry to bother you again but I don't know anyone else to ask.

I am the person who contacted you with a question regarding progesterone to cortisol conversion. I have PRTH (peripheral thyroid hormone resistance). We could not afford the testing recommended-I'm disabled and my hubby the only one who works, we barely afford my medication. I decided to just plunge into it until we are able to test my cortisol, and started using progesterone cream per your recommendations. I'm on 380 mg a day now after almost a week of raising the dose, and experiencing adverse symptoms as the dose goes up, such as more and more swelling, extreme stomach bloating, blood pressure going up, but also positive results, such as hair loss almost stopping, breasts not hurting anymore, and skin getting less dry and painful.

I found my lab results from 3 years ago when I was 34 . I took DHEA, 25 mg a day back then (not anymore).

Estradiol 1016.0 pg/mL
DHEA-Sulfate 137.7 ug/dL 98.8-340.0 MB
Progesterone 0.7 ng/mL
Free Testosterone(Direct) <0.2 pg/mL 0.0-2.2 BN
Testosterone, Serum 81 High ng/dL 8-48

What would the approximate dosing be with such test results? I'm terrified that I will have to take a lot more, considering how expensive it is (I use progesta-care, and would love to eventually switch to Natpro), and also considering how bad my symptoms get as I raise the dose.

Also, is it normal to still have symptoms at such a dose, and do I raise by symptoms fast, or wait a bit?

Another question-do you by any chance have any discounts if one buys a lot of Natpro cream? I have seen something (I can't find it now) about buying 20 bottles at the same time, but maybe there are some discounts on lesser quantities-we just can't pull off so much at the same time.

Thank you very much;


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Mar 18, 2015
Please advise if possible
by: Wray

Hi Maria I'm so sorry I missed your question on the page you started here. I see it's the same as your new one here. Are you sure your oestradiol is that high?! The normal range for a pre-menopausal women is 30 - 400 pg/ml, see our page on Hormone Testing, scroll down to oestradiol. I have never seen such a high result. It means your ratio of P:E2 is 0.69:1, we've found a level of 600:1 is optimum, see our page on Saliva Tests. As I said on your other page I know nothing about PRTH, but I feel that all that oestrogen is if not causing it, it's affecting your thyroid severely. I wish I could advise you on how much progesterone you would need, but I can't, it's not a fixed 'dose' for anyone. I do know you will need much higher than most to bring that oestrogen down. And that you will experience Oestrogen Dominance. I can't even say if it will help you, although you say some symptoms have improved which is a good sign. Cost is a factor and yes we do give discounts on larger amounts. Please contact Jules our distributor who now lives in NY, she carries stock. Her email address is I will also put this reply on your first page, as it helps me if all the questions and responses are on the same page. I see I have not asked you to have a Vitamin D test done, please have one if you can. It's such a vital nutrient, a lack of it reduces the benefits of progesterone, and adversely affects the thyroid. Take care Wray

Mar 19, 2015
On 500 mg and getting worse
by: Maria

Dear Wray;

Thank you very much for your response.

I do take Vit. D., 15000 units a day, I usually test very low, 25. Unfortunately, I get worse (swelling, inflammation) if I raise Vit. D dose.

Yes, my Estrogen level is that high :-(. Those are blood test results. I have been raising Progesterone cream amount over the last few weeks and I on 500 mg now. Nowever, while I was getting better each time I raised the dose, I always got worse afterwards. Now, it feels as if I'm on nothing at all-all my symptoms have returned. Swelling, hair loss, red swollen eyes, inflammation, everything besides pain in my breasts is back. I did have a normal period on this high amount of Progesterone cream. I know I need to use much more, but we can't afford it.

I have Insulin Resistance, and was on no sugar/carbs diet for a few years, but two years ago I stopped it because I lost all my teeth, have no denture (sadly, we can nothing about it), and now glad if I can chew anything at all. I still try to avoid sugar, though.

We will e-mail Jules.
Yes, the cost is very high for us, with my other medication...even at this stage we are wiped out completely, don't know what we are going to do. I'm so scared I will need a 1000 mg a day or more and then we can't buy my Cytomel. I simply can't stop using Progesterone cream now, I get even sicker when I try to reduce the dosage.

Thank you Wray;


Mar 21, 2015
On 500 mg and getting worse
by: Wray

Hi Maria It sounds as if you are not absorbing the vitamin D you're taking. It is absorbed readily by the skin, in fact that's the natural way we get vitamin D. So maybe you could consider adding 5000iu into a small amount of skin cream, or the Natpro and rubbing that on your skin. It should be more effective. The other comment I have is if you have swelling and inflammation when increasing the vitamin D, it could be your magnesium is too low. This is the most important co-factor for vitamin D. A lack of magnesium causes substance P to rise, see here and here. Substance P is a nociceptive, neuropeptide involved in causing pain and nausea. Substance P inhibits progesterone, see here, but if enough is used, progesterone suppresses substance P, see here. "Accumulating evidence indicates that the neuropeptide substance P is predominantly involved in neurogenic inflammation and pain perception...... Intriguingly, decreased pain sensitivity is found to be associated with high plasma progesterone levels. We hypothesize that progesterone may attenuate nociception and associated inflammatory response." Oestrogen stimulates substance P, see here. So it's essential to use enough progesterone to inhibit oestrogen. Unfortunately you are experiencing bad Oestrogen Dominance which I thought you might. I don't know another way around it, apart from stopping. I really don't want you getting worse on top of all your other troubles. So if you do want to stop please reduce very slowly. Maybe if you get your vitamin D up higher by using the skin method, and getting magnesium up too, it might help. I'm curious as to why you're taking T3 and not T4, does your body not convert the T4 into T3? If this is the case maybe you're short of selenium, as this is a necessary co-factor in it's conversion. Take care Wray

Mar 23, 2015
I started Magnesium and Omega-3 ,as well
by: Maria

Hello Wray, thank you so, so much for answering with all this information (I will have to sit down and read all your links in a minute).

On account of swelling-I'm sadly used to it. I used to have around 50 lbs swelling for years, even more so after plane flights or altitude changes, so while 20-30lbs is not pleasant, it has been worse before (not related to Progesterone at all).

I'm not sure I want to stop Progesterone Cream. I stopped it two times before. I was off Progesterone Cream those two times for a month at least, and while right after stopping it I initially got a little less swollen, within a week of stopping symptoms were worse again, and stayed this way.

I think I will have to either persevere with it, or raise the dose somehow because without it I have tremendous breast pain and lumps, and we are honestly afraid I will get cancer one day if we don't do anything about my high Estrogen. Don't know how we are going to pay for it but something needs to be done. I also had a fool's hope that maybe somehow one day if I feel a little bit better, I might be able to have a baby. It's probably never going to happen (previous attempt ended bad) but a hope always remains.

We got me Magnesium from Ancient Minerals, I don't know how much to use so I do 100ml (8 pumps) in the morning and 100 at night. I also started on strong Vit. B complex and Omega 3 (I also have no clue how much to use so I go by the directions and use 4000 (4 caps), it allows up to 5 gel caps a day).

I take T3 because nothing else helps, I get lethargic and extremely sick on T4 and have high Reverse T3 on it. To be honest, we don't know why I have resistance to thyroid hormone and if it can be treated,and barely manage it ourselves. I currently have no doctor, because the ones we need cost too much, and the ones that my insurance covers will cause more harm than good-it's the same with Thyroid disorders in the mainstream healthcare system, as it is with Progesterone in gynecology-clueless but authoritarian doctors who think all hormones are sex hormones, or that cortisol is an anabolic steroid, etc.:-), who would rather surgically remove something-thyroid gland, ovaries, etc.,-than try to prevent and save.

Thank you.

Mar 25, 2015
I started Magnesium and Omega-3 ,as well
by: Wray

Hi Maria Your last paragraph makes me sad to read, as it's so true. Although there are many wonderful doctors, they are far and few between. Plus of course the cost. I hadn't realised you'd used progesterone and stopped it twice before, of course it's up to you about continuing, we can only help as you progress. I'm pleased you got the magnesium, but you couldn't have got a more expensive brand! Magnesium is one of the cheapest of all minerals. Firstly please find a farmers co-op or similar outlet and buy yourself a large bag of magnesium sulphate which is also called Epson Salts. My bag is about 100 llbs. I put two large handfuls in the bath each night and soak in it, it does get absorbed through the skin. One advantage to using the sulphate is this also goes through the skin. Sulphur is one of the most healing of all minerals, plus a powerful antioxidant, see here. Can you let me know what magnesium you're using, they make an 'oil', bath flakes, a gel and a lotion. The oil is not an oil, it's water with magnesium dissolved in it. No mineral dissolves in an oil. They use magnesium chloride which is a good variety, but we don't really need more chloride. For instance we eat daily sodium chloride or table salt. So if you want to make your own magnesium 'oil' add 10g magnesium sulphate to 90g water, and you will get a 10% solution which you can rub on your skin. I wouldn't advise taking either of these two magnesiums as they can cause severe diarrhoea! Magnesium citrate is a better oral magnesium, at least 400mg elemental magnesium, this should be given on the bottle. It's best to go by what's on the bottle of any supplement as they have it worked out. Take care Wray

Apr 14, 2015
Is this estrogen dominance or cortisol problem?
by: Maria

Dear Wray;

Hope you are doing well.

I have been on Progesterone cream for over a month now, almost two months actually. I currently also take Mag. Citrate 400 mg, Vit. D 20,000 IU, Omega3 and Vit B complex, Iron 27mg twice a day separate from my meds, beta Carotene (I'm low) and Zinc. As you agreed, my Estrogen was through the roof, so I have to constantly raise the dose of Progesterone cream. I was feeling better ( reduced swelling, less inlammation, more energy) when I just started progesterone and was on 300 mg or so, but then got much worse and had to gradually raise the dosage of cream.

I'm on 900 (yes, 900) mg on Progesterone Cream currently. It's pretty scary now. My symptoms are back plus much more inflammation than I ever experienced (red inflamed eyes, etc.), swelling has increased again (face and body), and I started having tons of infections (throat infections, had a mouth ulcer/cut that's now gone thank goodness, styes, colds and something pretty intimidating happening to my fingernails that always were bad and weak, but now are pretty much separating from the nailbed. I also feel similar to how I felt when I had Adrenal Fatigue-shaky, scalp hurts (yes, it's s ymptom of Adrenal Insufficiency :-) no joke) but we can't afford the Cortisol test just yet. Oh, I also stopped having periods and started having real bona fide hot flashes I never had before!

All of this is new-I had never had such number of infections and never had nails just separate from fingers like this before,( some of them half gone, it's creepy and does get painful at times). If you remember, I'm disabled and do have a chronic thyroid disorder but I'm sure this new development correlates with Progesterone use.

My husband thinks it's Estrogen Dominance, and of course I know better than to blame Progesterone cream on this-it simply can not do such things,-but I bet it just triggered other events because I'm still far from an optimal Progesterone dose.

Dear Wray, I'm not willing to give up yet. But I do have questions-I'm terribly sorry but there really is nobody else to ask.

I know I have asked about high Cortisol in the past, but what happens if it's low? Current symptoms and number of infections I'm having make me worry a little that high amounts of Progesterone might shut down Cortisol production. Can it theoretically do that? I know Cortisol is supposed to be made out of Progesterone in times of stress, so it seems to make no sense that Cortisol will be lower now than it was before I started on cream. And should i maybe stop Zinc?

Another question is, how do you deal with an almost 10 hour break in using cream during the night?
I wake up every morning with painful breasts and feeling horrible altogether, a night break in cream use basically makes me sick. I have no idea how not to make the night break, I have to sleep:-) How do the other ladies (and gentlemen) manage this?

Thank you very much;-persevering; Maria

Apr 15, 2015
Is this estrogen dominance or cortisol problem?
by: Wray

Hi Maria You are persevering, but I don't know how much longer you can continue like this. I don't like the thought of all that suffering, but don't know what else to suggest. Maybe once your vitamin D level increases things will calm down? I don't know how to further advise you, tests would be good, but you can't afford them. Zinc does reduce cortisol, but zinc is so often too low in us that I feel you should continue with it. I wish you should have your copper tested, as this raises oestrogen. I really don't feel raising the progesterone endlessly is going to be the answer, as I've said before there is so much going on that needs addressing. But the doctors have not found what it is, and I won't be able to. It will be a try this, try that approach, which doesn't help you much! I do hear you when you ask what to do about a 10 hour break overnight, but most people only sleep for 7 hrs. I gather you need the 10 hours? I don't know what to suggest beyond setting an alarm half way through, but I'm sure this is not what you want. You mentioned in the early days that "I usually test very low, 25. Unfortunately, I get worse (swelling, inflammation) if I raise Vit. D dose." You are now adding magnesium to your supplements. This would destabilise things until it settled down. Could it be this which is aggravating your symptoms? There is a lab who deals directly with the public, no need to go through a doctor. Why not contact them and ask for advice? They are Direct Healthcare Access II Laboratory. They might be able to pinpoint what's wrong, to my mind you have a problem with detoxification. Possibly heavy metals too. The lab works with Mensah Medical and the Walsh Research Institute who have done a huge amount of work on toxicity. These establishments are not cheap, I've advised people to go to them and heard back. But the lab would be the first place to approach the problem. Take care Wray

Apr 20, 2015
thank you
by: Maria

Hello Wray, and thank you very much again for your comment;

I'm sorry i wasn't clear about sleep. I saw somewhere on your website that half life of progesterone is 12 hours, and that's why after I wake up I wait until 10 A.M. to use the first dose, and the last dose of the day is 10 P.M.
Recently I stopped counting 12 hours from the last night dose, and use Progesterone cream as soon as I wake up. It helps a bit with morning swelling.
Yes I'm aware that this illness is like s house of cards, and it's hard adding or removing a vitamin/nutrient without seeing the whole picture.

However, we have gone all these roads before(hair analysis, heavy metal chelation sessions, etc.). none of these tests indicated anything we didn't know, and none of these things helped with my condition. I do believe Progesterone cream will help at least somewhat, because the only times I feel a little better are right after each dose, and it certainly reduced terrible breast pain I always had. I actually had a brief and clear improvement on Progesterone cream before getting worse again.

We are saving for tests and will do our best to check all we can. I didn't want to tell, but my hubby has actually been running a fundraiser for me for the last couple of years so we could afford these things and take me to a good intelligent doctor outside the hospital/insurance system, hopefully a researcher; we pretty much live and breathe trying to get me better or at least manage this illness better.

Thank you very much for your time and all the information,; it's extremely useful.-afterall, taking magnesium per your recommendation actually helped me reduce my daily Potassium dose this month, and have fewer Hypokalemic episodes, and that's something :-) -Maria

Apr 21, 2015
thank you
by: Wray

Hi Maria That 1/2 life of ±13 hours is a generalisation, it could last longer or shorter, depending on the person's metabolism. But it doesn't mean we have to use the progesterone in 12-13 hour 'doses'. For instance when stressed I use it at least three times a day. I fact at midday I would undress and apply it all over! I recommend hourly to many women who have such things as Hot Flushes, or heavy, continual bleeding. Why not try using it hourly too and see if that helps. You say you feel better after applying it. I didn't realise you have had all those tests done, I can't believe they found nothing to help you. I wish I could advise you of a doctor/researcher who could help. The only ones being those at the Walsh Institute or Mensah Medical. Have you been in touch with Jules yet, about the discounted cream? Take care Wray

Apr 29, 2015
Yes ,we have...
by: Maria

...contacted Jullienne (sp?) and now are waiting for our tax return :-) so we could buy Natpro. She is in the process of moving from the U.K. to the U.S. and it's hectic as I can imagine. There is a small discount, but it's still rough on us because looks like I might need twice the dose I'm on now, and needing a bottle of Natpro a day is more than we can pull off.

The only reason we didn't start buying Natpro right off the bat is because shipping is a lot slower/less predictable than Amazon two-day, and that is what we are stuck with in a loop of buying their version (progesta-care) weekly as soon as my husband's paycheck comes in. Sadly, we have to have enough cream on hand so I will have enough before the first order of Natpro arrives. it's not an easy situation.

The other reason why we can't wait to switch me to Natpro is that Progestacare is mixed in with shea butter, and I need a boatload of it per dose and then I have to sit , yes, naked, in the bathroom until it dries:-) After each dose:-)))I will try and break my doses up into every hour doses instead and see if it helps.

We have tried the official medical resources and hospital physicians/endocrinologists already, they are absolutely clueless and, I'm sad to say, very rude when presented with an unusual case -their treatment nearly killed me, some actually lied to us and tried to stop all of my thyroid medication knowing i had a total thyroidectomy. So far, only Dr. Hotze's medical center agreed to try to help and offered us a discount-but we still have to save to be able to collect money for the trip, multiple tests, lodging, I don't know how. We've been trying to go there for three years, and still couldn't financially make it.

Thank you very much for your advice, Wray,it's absolutely priceless and we are very grateful for it.


Apr 30, 2015
Yes ,we have...
by: Wray

Hi Maria Your description of sitting in the bathroom until the cream dries had me laughing! That is amazing, how can anyone get on with life if half of it is spent in the bathroom! That is something that delights me about the Natpro, that it goes in so readily. Although I have found people spend time 'rubbing' it in, and not using a big enough surface area to do so. So it's no wonder they have to rub it in. I find that applying it gently over a good deal of skin it goes in without any rubbing at all. I wish we could help you further, but at the moment I don't see how, beyond you getting the cream from Jules. Take care Wray

Oct 06, 2015
sad update
by: Maria

Hello Wray, this is Maria (the lady with thyroid hormone resistance). I hope you are doing well. You helped me figure out how to use progesterone cream a few months ago, like you help so many-we thank you for it. Me and my husband spent thousands of dollars on supplements and progesterone cream this year, but unfortunately I was never able to find the right dose. I went up to 1500 mg a day in split doses, and achieved nothing but constant daily hot flashes that I never had before, pelvic and constant breast pain, zero periods, and a huge mass in my pelvic area that feels like my old fibroid returning with a vengeance (we are going to the doctor this week but whatever it is, it is causing a lot of pain and I'm honestly afraid to find out the reason.)I never had children because of my disability and ustablee living conditions, and now I feel like I worked myself into a trap because we live in the deep South, where local doctors do hysterectomies left and right no matter what the problem, and afraid that I will never get my previous hormone levels back now=will never have a child, and will have everything cut out instead. We simply have no money for higher doses, we were and still are starving ourselves because of the costs of the cream. Sadly, Natpro discount was not very significant either and wherever we went, we couldn't find a way to afford the cream, every brand costs about the same. I'm pretty much in tears that we spent so much money -a year worth of it-only to find out that no matter what we do, I will continue producing more and more estrogen and will make myself sicker and sicker.


Oct 06, 2015
sad update
by: Wray

Hi Maria I'm so dismayed to hear you're struggling still. One thing I didn't mention to you is food. I do know starchy carbs found in fruit and veggies are of no benefit to us. Please consider eating a ketogenic diet. This is a high fat, moderate protein to low carb diet, these are a few websites with info about it here, here, here, here and here. Many people have found their problems resolving when switching to a high fat diet. Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

May 17, 2016
Please help if possible
by: Maria

Dear Wray, I hope you are doing well!

I know you are retiring and might not be able to respond. If you do see this, maybe something will jump out at you/you would notice something that is not right about all this. We are out of ideas at this point. This is Maria (the one with Thyroid Hormone Resistance), I'm not sure you will remember me as you have so many of us:-) that you have helped.

Last time I checked in was quite a few months ago.I had to have two surgeries as a large fibroid has been found on my left ovary, it's been two months and I'm still recovering from it.

I'm still having serious trouble with progesterone. I can not stop using the cream, sadly, because when I stop the hot flashes hit me like a ton of bricks, I even develop a fever, and cry non stop, and break out in a major cold sore rash. I'm on a very high dose (Extremely high dose), my periods have pretty much stopped for good, and now I have very high testosterone which is causing severe hair loss, facial hair growth that I never had in my entire life, stomach bloating, plus all this affects my thyroid somehow and I swell a lot -which also was not an issue for a few years, only before my periods.

The dose I take should stop the testosterone production but it doesn't, and I have no idea why I'm still making all these hormones that are so bad for me. I do take vitamin D, up to 10000 units a day (2 pills of Doctor's Best), and even Vitamin D make me swell really bad. I also take Magnesium in the spray oil form (as much as I can as it seems to help with pelvic pains), NAC per your advice , Taurine, Vit C to tolerance, MSM, Vitamins B 6 and B12, Biotin also per your advice, DIM, Iron (at night not with other medications), my K Dur (potassium), my thyroid medication (Cytomel), and Lysine because of severe oral herpes outbreaks (we actually had to postpone my surgery because I was covered in sores, this is something I haven't developed since I was a child unfortunately).

Supplements I had to stop include Vit A, and Calrson's Fish oil. I crave it terribly but it seems to make me swell.

I'm not sure if this helps but I have tests that indicate HYPERthyroidism, but symptoms of HYPOthyroidism (very low body temperature, edema in the face and extremities, forgetfulness, etc.) and have to take high doses of Liothyronine to overcome the resistance and function at all. I also have major electrolyte dysfunction (low Potassium, low Phosphorus, low Magnesium, high blood Calcium) and if that helps , fairly high PTH (parathyroid hormone) at 51.

I always had Vitamin D deficiency, below or at 25 (forget the measurement unit), mild Iron deficiency, Vit B12 deficiency that has been corrected, and Beta Carotene deficiency. Besides Vit B12 that turned up above range, we currently do not know whether I still have those deficiencies.
I also have Insulin Resistance (diagnosed by a doctor), and problems with my stomach and periodically take Probiotics which help. I try to avoid all sugar.

I'm sorry for bothering you again Wray, but sometimes when you go over everything like this, another person especially knowledgeable person like you, can see the pattern we cannot see up close. As I mentioned probably, I have lost all my teeth due to this horrible thing, and live without a denture at the age of 38 (doctors told us that I have "too little bone mass" in my jaw AFTER they pulled out all my teeth , and that they can't make me a denture without bone grafts, which we could never afford. And now I need a wig because I'm almost entirely bald. We are just....desperate. Maybe you'll notice something in all this mess.

Thank you very much.


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