Progesterone Intolerance/Sensitivity

by Pat Howard
(Margaret River, Australia)

After years of using Progesterone cream and now tablets (bioidentical) I find that I am sensitive to Progesterone. Infact, I am barely able to tolerate it.

I thought perhaps I was imagining the symptoms and was putting up with them for all these years. And after much investigation, have found that not all women can tolerate progesterone. The symptoms of progesterone intolerance can be the same symptoms of progesterone deficiency!

Explaining the issue with those who sell Progesterone or treat women with HRT etc, its been difficult getting them to believe that there is an issue.

So, I decided to do some research of my own and came across many women with the same issue. And a wonderful Professor John Studd, in the UK (www.studd.co.uk), has written a great doc on the topic. I was amazed to discover that many women who have had terrible PMS, will almost likely be progesterone intolerant or have a sensitivity to progesterone.

I still use progesterone, but have a break from it regularly. This seems to help with the intolerance symptoms.

I am interested to know if other women have experienced an intolerance to progesterone too?

Comments for Progesterone Intolerance/Sensitivity

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Nov 18, 2016
Progesterone Intolerance/Sensitivity
by: Laura

I perused the website you mentioned. Mr. Studd's statement that progesterone cream is ineffective because his team spent loads of money over the last few years and found that it has "no effect whatsoever on bone density, no effect upon mood and no effect upon the symptoms of flushes, sweats and headaches which are the common symptoms of the menopause" is based on his 2009 study of 223 women between the ages of 40 and 60 years old with severe menopausal symptoms. The method he used was "progestelle progesterone cream 60, 40, 20 and 5 mg or a placebo."

His conclusion was "progesterone cream was no more effective than placebo for relief of menopausal symptoms." This is true in the low doses that he used in his study and it's also outdated knowledge. This site advocates the use of progesterone in doses of at least 100-200mg or more in severe cases along with healthy levels of major vitamins/minerals and no supplemental estrogens.

I am 54 and use 300mg of bio-identical progesterone transdermally every day without breaks and use no estrogen or testosterone supplements and every menopausal symptom I had has disappeared including hot flushes, night sweats, hair loss, heavy bleeding and clotting, fibroids, vaginal dryness, headaches, joint pain, blurry vision, brain fog, itchy skin, fatigue, acid reflux, paranoia, dry eyes, etc., etc...and because of these positive changes in my health, I'm in a good mood. I also make sure I am at the top of the range for all vitamins and minerals my body needs. This is the only thing that has worked for me after many years of suffering and many years of trying different protocols.

Please continue your research and may I suggest you not take breaks from your progesterone cream as the break may be causing estrogen dominance symptoms to appear, hence the sensitivity symptoms you are experiencing. I do hope you find what works for you and that you feel better.

Nov 19, 2016
progesterone intolerance
by: Anonymous

I have never heard of such a thing. I think you will see that the problem, time and time again, is that women do not use enough of progesterone, and/or are using synthetic forms of progesterone, as in progestins found in HRT.

There is so much misleading information out there. Wray Whyte, who established this unique site, devoted 20 years of her life into researching the importance of progesterone. It has helped thousands of women. I emphasized again for you to please study this site. Put your questions in the search bar. You will find answers to your questions. All the best to you!

Nov 21, 2016
Progesterone Intolerance/Sensitivity
by: RJ

Hello Pat!
Leave it to a man to say that. He's a quack. If women had a sensitivity to progesterone his mother never would have had him. In the last month of pregnancy we produce up to 400mg a day. If so many women had that sensitivity the human race would be obsolete. As one commentator stated, woman have issues because they do not take enough. I have used 400mg every day for almost five years now and my symptoms have also disappeared. And every time you quit taking it the body has to go through the same issues as though you were never taking it.

Progesterone does not build up in the body as others say. Do your own self test. Take it for three months straight non-stop at a high level and then quit cold-turkey. Guaranteed you will feel horrible and a lot of issues will return. If you were taking a certain dose and still had issues, you needed to increase the dosage, not stop or decrease. Estrogen builds in our bodies for several reasons. Just because you were okay for a certain amount of time, doesn't mean that estrogen isn't building in your body due to some factor and becoming the dominant hormone. You have to make progesterone the dominant one or you will be miserable. Best of luck to you!
God Bless! RJ

Hello to you Wray and Joy! I'm still here, just super super busy. Hope all is well with you both!

Nov 23, 2016
Interesting
by: Anonymous

I am so glad you have raised this topic. I agree with what you've said about intolerance, Pat. I have been on bioidentical progesterone for almost 10 years. I've been persisting with it in the hope i would get better. Infact, i have become worse! In the 10 years i have been under the care and supervision of my dr who specializes in bioidentical hormones.

She agrees that there are some women who have a sensitivity to progesterone. Its comforting to know that there are doctors out there who are honest enough to tell the truth. Some women can tolerate a minute amount of proj, just enough to compliment oestrogen. I feel it is wrong to tell people that there is absolutely nothing wrong with prog. For some there is a problem. We are all individuals and no one is exactly the same. One size does not fit all.

On another note, to call a gynaenocologist a quack, infact anyone, is plain rude. I dont know the man but Dr Studd is trained and holds qualifications. Im wondering what qualification you hold? Dr Studd has not said prog doesnt work. He indicates that for women who have had trouble with pms and pnd, these poeople generally have a sensitivity to progesterone. To discount his findings (from qualified research) would be foolish. It would be prudent to advise women of ALL possibilities when using prog cream. Wouldnt it?

We need to be careful not to wound women further. Women who have been trying their best to find help and agonise because theyre being told that "youll be ok. Just keep using it or use more cream", when maybe,just maybe,they could be sensitive to prog.

I get that its great to promote the virtues of something which has worked for you, however, lets not discount that not everyone is the same. Empathy for those who disagree or for those whose reactions to prog cream isnt the same is important isnt it?
We are not all the same. We all have different experiences which deserve respect.

And Dr Studd has amazing reviews. He is one of a few who have a kind compassionate manner and he really has helped many women to find health and happiness too. That should be applauded, shouldn't it? Whether you like him or not, if he has helped a woman have quality of life (after all, thats why we seek out prog etc) that is fantastic.

So, thanks for raising the topic Pat. Im grateful that youve been able to talk about it. Youre not imagining it at all. Youll find thousands who also have prog sensitivity. Its a real thing. Pepole who dont have it will not understand. (ie. Hot flushes, if you dont have them youll never understand how it feels)

Thanks

Nov 24, 2016
Progesterone Intolerance/Sensitivity
by: Joy

Hi RJ

Lovely to hear from you I wondered where you disappeared too. Great advice give to Pat, but you do make me laugh.

Progesterone Misconceptions is a good page to read. https://www.progesteronetherapy.com/progesterone-misconceptions.html

Take care.

Nov 25, 2016
Progesterone Intolerance/Sensitivity
by: RJ

Hello Annon!
Yes, he is a quack. Sorry if you do not like the term and think it is rude. Its definition states: a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to skill, knowledge, or qualifications he or she does not possess.

First, he is a man, not that I have a problem with men, have been married to a wonderful one for over 30 years. It comes with men who think they know how the woman's body works, more importantly, how it works during cycles and/or menopause, i.e., our irritability, moodiness, pain, etc. They do not understand how we feel because they are biologically....a man. I could write a book on the theories this man uses. Gosh, pity for the women he tries to "help". First he uses the worse progesterone you could, then to further go on and say transdermal is ineffective. Let me tell you the FDA just took the banning of certain compounded creams off their agenda last month because they have found that there is significant proof that the skin, our biggest organ, does absorb whatever is applied to it the best. I suppose this man does not think whatever you put into your mouth is first, destroyed by the gastric acids and then more destroyed once it goes through our liver. Leaving almost nothing for our bodies to absorb. Only 10% of what we take orally is actually absorbed by our bodies. so if you are taking 60mg of progesterone, by mouth, your body is only absorbing 6%. Ridiculous! That's going to cause so many issues for that poor woman seeking help. You need to get on Pubmed and read all the studies done on progesterone and any form of added estrogen and testosterone. If you research you will find that excess testosterone is converted to estrogen. Just what we need more estrogen. A woman makes more testosterone prior to her cycle than a man does! I can understand if a woman is low in estrogen to take some to increase, but look at our population, most are overweight....estrogen. We don't need more of it. Increases in reproductive cancers in both men and women are out of this world. Think how that can be. Twenty years ago the percentages were way lower. So what has been introduced to cause the rise in those cancers? Estrogen mimics. It's not a progesterone sensitivity (women make over 400mg a day in their last trimesters...if it was a progesterone issue the human race would not exist) it's an estrogen overload. Look at the rise in miscarriages...not enough progesterone.

Now you ask what qualifications I hold. I hold several years of heavy bleeding, clotting and many other pains. Never taking progesterone to taking 400mg a day, non-stop, for almost five years now. With all those problems going away. If I have lots of stress, I take more because stress eats away at any progesterone you have. That's all the qualification ANY of us need. We do not need a doctor telling us how we feel. You were on bio progesterone. What else was in it? Was it just progesterone and no other chemicals, like Wray's product? How much were you on? This man touts 5, 20, 40 and 60mg. Oh my goodness that is laughable. No wonder all his subjects felt terrible all they were doing is exciting estrogen. If you do not make progesterone the dominant hormone you will always feel miserable and you cannot do that at levels that man used. Research Dr. Dalton, she knew what she was doing and she would prescribe upwards of 2,000mg or more a day with results. This man could never obtain any positive kind of results with his dosages. It's impossible.

Estrogen will always cause problems in all the human race. We eat it, drink it, smell it and apply it. So what will ever counter-balance it. The ratios are skewed. Thus all the increases of cancer.

People like yourself and Pat, do hit a nerve in me. This is a progesterone website. This is manned by a woman who has spent countless hours researching and helping thousands of men and women for years. Do not come on here to state progesterone doesn't work. This is a pro-progesterone site, and for all the thousands of women it has helped and saved, it's offensive to hear someone bashing something that saved us from insanity. We come to this site because these "quack" doctors have given us no relief. We are numbers, not people. If their recommendations do not offer us relief, then we are not the "norm" and are outside of the box. They have not helped or made suggestions for people like us. Thank the good Lord above for Wray. As I have told her she is God's angel sent to help we women that those men doctors said it was all in our heads and the only way you can stop it all is to have a hysterectomy...take all that junk out and your problems are solved. Yeah right!

For the nay-sayers of progesterone, I say to all of you, you obviously have not found a solution to your problems or you wouldn't be searching the internet and coming to a site as this.

Joy, good to hear from you. I have been so busy. Our daughter got married and I am dealing with declining health with my parents. It is a full-time job. Tell Wray hello for me and much love to both of you! Have a wonderful Christmas!
God Bless! RJ

Nov 26, 2016
intolerance/interesing
by: Anonymous

You say that you've been on progesterone for 10 years but you do not say how much you were taking. What other supplements were you taking? Were your vitamin D levels in optimal range, which is crucial for proper absorption of progesterone? Did you take the recommended dosages of progesterone as prescribed on this website - between 100 - 200mg., nothing less, more if symptoms are severe.

Anyone who comes to this website is seeking guidance and answers. Why, therefore , are you here on this website if you do not believe in progesterone? Many doctors have good intentions and I respect that, but truth is, in many cases, they simply do not have the answers. And when doctors don't have the answers, usually they conclude "it's not for you", or that you have an "intolerance" or something along those lines. This indicates nothing to back it up.

It's up to the individual to do the research. That is precisely why women come to this website. You will read hundreds of stories where progesterone has been life changing. I attest to that myself, and presently take 300mg daily. Wray Whyte spent 20 years of her life devoted to the study of progesterone. She researched thoroughly, with many experts in the field, including Dr. Dalton, who coined the phrase PMS and who used copious amounts of natural progesterone in her practice. Wray has helped literally thousands of women. We're here to help each other. I wish all the best to you!

Nov 28, 2016
No Progesterone Intolerance/Sensitivity
by: Laura

I've had doctors like Mr. Studd in the past. I don't care what kind of certificates he has on his wall, he is not going to take the time to find out what is really wrong with me because it's too complicated and doesn't fit his routine. I had to find out on my own. I personally find his website disturbing. In the past 15 years, I saw my internist for dizziness and fatigue. Here's a script for an anti-anxiety drug. I saw a gastro doc for constipation and acid reflux. Here's a script for acid blockers and a mild sedative-like drug for pain. I saw my eye doc for dry eyes. Here's samples of prescription strength eye drops. Back to my internist because I can't sleep. Let's do a 12 hour sleep apnea study where you have to stay overnight in a sleep room. Next visit--dermatologist for hair loss/acne and dry skin. Here's a script for steroid cream. Now over to my one year checkup at my GYN office to complain about heavy bleeding/clotting. Let's do a procedure to remove fibroids. One specialist wanted to perform surgery to wrap my stomach around the end of my esophagus to help the acid reflux because he thought I may have a weakness in that muscle that opens/closes to let food in/out.

I always left every doctor visit with my jaw hanging wide open in disbelief. Not one of them knew how to help me. I would ask about taking certain tests or should I be taking any vitamins and they all looked at me with a clueless look and shook their heads or threw up their hands or said maybe you're just depressed. Here's another prescription. Not one of those doctors ever checked vitamin levels/thyroid levels or hormone levels. I did loads of researching and realized I was moving into peri-menopause and I threw all those scripts in the trashcan. If I had listened to those docs, I would end up like my mother on every drug out there and one foot in the grave. I got a new doctor that checked my vitamin/minerals/cortisol/thyroid/hormones, etc. I was off the charts low on magnesium (which by the way, muscles need to function properly--hence the esophagus muscle not opening/closing properly). Off the charts low in iron (had to get iron infusions every 3 months for 2 years) because of heavy bleeding. Off the charts low in Vitamin D, zinc and selenium. And guess what else had just about disappeared?

Progesterone!

I was heading into menopause and the first thing to go is progesterone and that's when all these things started happening to me. I struggled for years to get my vitamins/minerals up again and it wasn't until I started to supplement with a high amount of progesterone that I am finally able to come out on top of my vitamin/mineral levels. My breasts stopped hurting, my bloating stopped, my reflux cleared up and so did my eyes. Little by little, things were getting better. Progesterone therapy is not an overnight fix but without it, I would not be the healthy person I am today--and drug free I might add. I trust it to keep me healthy like it did when I was a fetus/baby/kid/young adult. I don't need Mr. Studd to tell me it's not going to work for me because it didn't work for a few women in his study who didn't use enough of it to even matter in the first place.

Nov 30, 2016
Progesterone Intolerance/Sensitivity
by: RJ

Amen, Laura!

God Bless!
RJ

Dec 04, 2016
WHOA!!!!!!!!!
by: Pat Howard

Hi, its Pat again,

May I say "WHOA!"

I was only asking a question and it looks like I've started a war!

I apologise for stirring up a hornets nest. I was hoping for polite discussion. But it looks more like an attack forum.

Here's to a happy and healthy Christmas and a new year of love, tolerance of everyones opinion whether we feel they might be right or wrong. This does my head in.

I'm sorry I asked. Ugh.

Jan 05, 2017
'women do not use enough progesterone'
by: Anonymous

There is such a thing as progesterone intolerance. My daughter suffered with PMDD (severe PMS) and one of the treatments was medication containing progesterone. She reacted very badly to it and stopped taking it immediately. She felt the only treatment for her was to have a hysterectomy therefore before having the operation she became pregnant as she always wanted children. Throughout the whole pregnancy she suffered severe symptoms of 'madness' and rage. During pregnancy progesterone levels are greater to ensure the baby is not aborted, plus if the baby is a boy research shows progesterone levels are even higher. As soon as she had the baby all symptoms disappeared as hormone levels drop drastically until she stopped breast feeding then they returned. This is how we found out it was an intolerance to progesterone and could not have even the smallest amount, so, no, not all women do not use enough progesterone.

Jan 05, 2017
Progesterone Intolerance/Sensitivity by: RJ
by: Anonymous

What an arrogant misinformed person you are. My daughter is highly progesterone intolerant and pregnancy sent her into crazed rage because the progesterone was high. She takes extremely high doses of oestrogen to keep her sane and cannot even tolerate the small amount of progesterone in the mirena coil. You would do well to research instead of just spout rubbish.

Jan 17, 2017
I am diagnosed as progesterone intolerant
by: Anonymous

Then why you put yourself on progesterone? Is it because most doctors still believe that estrogen must be supplemented together with progesterone, which may be a thought from old school.

Jan 17, 2017
Progesterone intolerance is real
by: Anonymous

It affects a very small percentage of women, like 3-5%, and I am one of them. I use low dose over-the-counter estradiol and testosterone cream. ABSOLUTELY can't tolerate any progesterone or any herb or supplement which promotes progesterone. I don't buy into estrogen must be supplemented by progesterone either, which is likely a lesson from a old school. If on estrogen cream and one can still bleed normally and regularly, I don't see the point to be on progesterone.

Now we can stop the insane fight. We are minority, we are different. I suspect at times the same person may react differently to the very same substance depending on her exact biological state.

Peace for all!

Aug 10, 2017
We're all different!
by: Anonymous

I am 61 yrs. old. I suffered from extreme pms (pmdd)for many years. (My poor husband.) When I reached menopause, I needed supplemental estrogen for genitourinary atrophy. My doctor gave me bio-identical estrogen and bio-identical progesterone.

Suddenly I was transported back to the extreme emotional problems I suffered through my 40s. (pmdd) I stopped the progesterone and returned to normal.

My doctor is a very lovely woman. She was concerned about giving me estrogen alone. So we tried again with a lower dose of progesterone. Same result. The next time we tried progesterone, she said, "It's just the teeniest amount.." Same result. At that point, my husband begged me not to take progesterone ever again.

When I saw my doctor again, she had researched and found that there are women who cannot tolerate progesterone at all. (That's me!)

I have been using 1/2 - 1mg of estrace cream about 3x weekly for 9 years with great results. I have a vaginal ultrasound annually, showing no adverse affects on my uterus.

In my case, my body needs estrogen and cannot tolerate progesterone supplementation. A dear friend told me that progesterone calms her. The female reproductive system is complex.

We are all different! Blessings to you all!

Aug 30, 2017
Progesterone intolerance is real
by: Lori

Yes. I'm intolerant of progesterone too. Estrogen replacement saved my life. If I had believed in the estrogen dominance myth I would be dead right now. Suicide attempted twice while on progesterone cream. It's not a panacea.

Aug 30, 2017
Progesterone intolerance is real
by: Alyce

Well I have to disagree Lori, the exact opposite happened to me. Progesterone saved my life, but I guess we are all different.

Sep 17, 2017
Progesterone intolerance is very real!!!!
by: Anonymous

Hello...couldn't help commenting as for the first time in my life (I'm just about 42) I have found what makes me very ill = progesterone supplementation of any type. I have tried them all apart from the coil. I'm now taking HRT and feel amazing with the oestrogen patch but as soon as I start the progesterone wham I feel sickly, tired, dizzy and very flat mood-wise.

I have always struggled with pmdd and no combination of therapy worked because they all had progesterone. I'm pleased for those who have no sign of this but I can reassure you it's a verrrrry real thing and ignorance is to assume otherwise. It took many years for me to discover why I was not able to have it medically explained and from reading some of those posts I can see why!

Nov 26, 2017
progesterone intolerance
by: Marisol

Guess I'm a bit late to this dicussion but I think I've developed progestrone intolerance too. I've suffered for 14 years from severe sinus problems. After 8 years of pure hell I started on bio-identical progesterone cream and vitamin A and started to get relief from the congestion. It wasn't gone, but life was bearable again. As I started developing other symtoms, I tried upping the progesterone until I was taking about 300mg a day. I started having severe chest pain/esophogeal spasm, diarrhea and dizziness. So I stopped the progesterone and those symptoms vanished.

After being off progesterone for several months though, the sinus congestion has gotten gradually worse. But now I can only tolerate a little progesterone and if I don't also take bi-est, I have the esophageal spasm and dizziness. But I still get severe diarrhea with any amount of progesterone. So, I don't know what to do.
Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

Dec 18, 2017
Try being allergic!
by: Anonymous

I am allergic to progesterone. Live on anti histamines and have really bad reactions at peak times. Years of investigations have concluded this. Progesterone sensitivity is a thing and can lead to complications, like serious allergy to your own hormones!

Jan 02, 2018
Light buld moment
by: Anonymous

Hi, I have only recently realised that Progesterone intolerance was a thing. I have been tortured all my life with extreme PMS, it robbed me of every relationship I ever had and convinced me that I was a horrible human.

I now am perimenopausal and still suffering. I am still ovulating but have had no period for 10 months now. I however am suffering with severe breast pain and extreme bloating. I have gone from a B cup bra to an E and I hate it. I just don't know what to do as progesterone cream just makes it all a million times worse . Dr has just no interest or knowledge about this and just wants to dose out prescriptions for anti depressants.

Any advise would be gratefully received.



Mar 09, 2018
progesterone intolorant
by: Anonymous

I was diagnosed PMDD at the age of 30. Over the last 10 plus years I have been put on several forms of progesterone with debilitating results...every...single...time. Progesterone intolerance is very real. I have only been able to conceive one child mostly in part to my increased sensitivity.

For those that are able to live normal lives and not have to deal with this please know you are blessed. For those who do suffer or feel they may be effected, please do not just rely on your obgyn. Please also see an endocrinologist who can look at the whole big picture of your hormone profile and possibly give you some much needed comfort.

Jan 16, 2019
Progesterone & Testosterone Intolerance is Real:
by: Anonymous

Gs155
Gs155
Magnitude 2.5
Repute Bad
Summary CYP3A5 non-expressor
Criteria Gs155/criteria

This is common for Caucasians, but rare for African populations. As a CYP3A5 non-expressor you are unable to metabolize some common medications. This influences the synthesis of cholesterol, steroids and other lipids. The enzyme metabolizes drugs such as olanzapine, tacrolimus, nifedipine and cyclosporine as well as the steroid hormones testosterone, progesterone and androstenedione.

Jul 30, 2019
I am progesterone intolerant
by: AnonymousMegan

Estrogen is and has always been my best friend. And Progesterone has been my worst enemy (except during pregnancy).
I had terrible PMDD during my menstruating years. I realized while on Ortho Novum 777 that with each weeks increase of Progesterone I would become more sleepy, depressed, angry, bloated and hungry.

In 1996, at age 33, after my third pregnancy, I packed up the kids, went to the library, got out the physicians desk reference, studied the menstrual cycle, and realized that as my progesterone levels went up, beginning at ovulation, my PMS symptoms got worse. And each month, once I got my period and the progesterone levels went down and estrogen levels came back up, I was cured.

I studied the ingredients of every oral contraceptive and realized that Ovcon 35 had the highest dose of estrogen and a lowest dose of progesterone. I went to my doctor and ask for that birth-control pill. They wrote me a prescription and I was on it for about 20 years. It leveled out my hormone levels so I had almost no PMS symptoms.

As the years went by my sex drive was diminished somewhat and I had a few issues with acne… Not too bad. It was worth it to not have the debilitating PMS symptoms.

During Perimenopause and menopause I used estrogen cream with fair success.
Now in post menopause I have been on Vivelle dot .50 estrogen for 6 years and loved every second of it. Menopause has been nothing but great for me.
I am supposed to be taking progesterone pills as I still have a uterus but absolutely cannot tolerate it as it causes extreme tiredness, headaches, depression.

If I die of cancer because I have not been taking progesterone… So be it. Life has been great without progesterone.

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