Progesterone turns to cortisol in those with low cortisol/adrenal exhaustion

by Susan
(San Francisco)

Hi all,

I'm 48 and post menopausal on estrogen and testorene cream and was on progesterone orally 100mg and started gaining weight, bloated belly after I added P in. I then found the site here that I may need to increase P because it just stimulates estrogen at lower levels.

I deal with CFS/ME, chronic fatigue syndrome (the true condition - not just process of elimination) and we tend to always have atypical responses to things others respond to in a normal way. For instance, with CFS we are depleted in cortisol and Progesterone will turn into cortisol (pregnelone steal), (and then turn to belly fat) so there is that possibility that is often overlooked and that is what I'm worried is happening with me. I'm wondering if anyone has any insight into this?

I eat very well, exercise often so this weight gain has nothing to do with my lifestyle. To note as well: I have a pristine and clean lifestyle with no estrogen mimickers for many years now (bodycare, food, etc. totally totally green and healthy lifestyle)


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Aug 01, 2018
Progesterone turns to cortisol in those with low cortisol/adrenal
by: Joy

Hi Susan

Progesterone, if used correctly does not cause belly fat, also known as visceral fat, but testosterone and estrogen does. Please read the Estrogen Dominance page and this on Testosterone. Any form of oral progesterone is not the best Delivery Method as 96% gets destroyed by the gut and liver. This means that the very little that you are getting will aggravate estrogen receptors causing weight gain. Please consider switching to a good organic progesterone cream such as Natpro. Between 100-200mg is needed, more if symptoms are severe. Please read the How to use Progesterone Cream page.

It is virtually impossible to avoid estrogen mimics, please read the
Environmental Toxins page. The Steroidogenic Pathways chart shows how hormones are converted.

Vitamin D3 is very important as a deficiency reduces the benefits of progesterone, optimal range is between 70-100ng/mL. Nothing less than 5,000iu's is needed daily. Co-factors are needed when taking D3, magnesium and vitamin K2 with no soy are the important ones.

Aug 01, 2018
by: Susan

Hi Joy,

Thanks for your time. I have been reading this article and it helps explain a lot of what I was talking about with paradoxical reactions those with CFS/ME have - and adrenal exhaustion is a secondary condition, but still a real one.

He also says that about cream, but in the case of adrenal exhaustion during menopause too (!) it's best to start with 40mg of cream because more can crash the adrenals further. He does mention that paradoxical effect of taking progesterone in the first few weeks will mimic estrogen deficiency and actually says the opposite of what the theory is here: that taking too high doses of P will convert to E.

Everyone is so different especially those of us with long term chronic illnesses, so I appreciate the perspective here to increase the dose (and I may do eventually) but in the meantime, I will do P cream at 40mg as per the above article. I will report back in case other people are in my boat and interested.


Aug 04, 2018
cortisol/adrenal made worse with NatPro
by: Anonymous

Susan, that happened to me and I kept hearing that it was just Estro dominance but even at 600mg of NatPro for over 6 months without a break I just kept getting fatter and have a ton of water retention due to the cortisol eventually pushing to much aldosterone. Its actually very dangerous. I don't know what to do now since I took all this progesterone without a doctor

Aug 06, 2018
by: Anonymous

You need to detox your liver. Consider supplements such as DIM and NAC to help clear out extra estrogens.

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