This morning when I opened the door to go out with the dogs, the snow had drifted up four feet high during the night, creating a white wall that needed to be broken through in order to step outside. I have never seen so much snow in Boston. We are buried. The heavy snow reached well above my knees as I waded through the garden to the street.
Blizzard Nemo is another instance of extreme weather that has become our “New Normal“. The rule going forward is to expect the unexpected. It will be a monumental task to dig out of this one. I am fortunate to still have power, unlike 650,000 households in the Northeast. There is a statewide ban on driving and subway service has been suspended for the day. The enforced leisure of this quiet snow bound day affords the time and space to pull together my thoughts about bio-identical progesterone (Prometrium), an important topic that I have wanted to write about for some time.
Bio-identical progesterone has made a huge positive difference in my life, in the life of one of my patients, as well as in the life of a friend. Hormone therapy is another one of those issues, like saturated fat, about which there are many politically motivated and culturally sustained misconceptions, with significant consequences for women’s health. Bio-identical progesterone merits further study and research, so that doctors in this country will become aware of its benefits. In Europe it is commonly prescribed.
I discussed this topic with Dr Natasha Campbell McBride, the originator of the GAPS Healing Protocol, and one of my mentors, who is no fan of synthetic hormone treatment. She is convinced that the widespread use of synthetic hormones, such as oral contraceptives, have very adversely impacted gut health, contributing to many psychiatric, neurological and auto-immune conditions. By contrast, she believes that bio-identical hormone treatment can be extremely useful, and does not adversely impact the intestinal flora. I was relieved to get her blessing, as there is so much natural and deserved suspicion about treatment with hormones, after the disastrous impact of widespread synthetic HRT prescription on women’s health, resulting in an increased incidence of breast cancer, cardiovascular events and dementia. Statins today are prescribed in much the same way.
A ground breaking and disturbing book about this topic is The Estrogen Errors, by Jerilynn Prior, MD, a Canadian professor of Metabolism and Endocrinology, and Founder and Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) and Susan Baxter, PHD, a journalist who specializes in medical controversies. CeMCOR has a very useful and accessible website which I recommend to all my readers.
Prior and Baxter describe a common fundamental misunderstanding of the physiology of estrogen and progesterone over the course of a woman’s reproductive life cycle, which has resulted in a treatment strategy for menopausal women which is not based upon scientific evidence. Instead, it is predicated upon our love affair with estrogen, as emblematic of all that is “alluring, sexy and accommodating about womanliness”. The idealization of estrogen and neglect of progesterone has contributed to significant suffering for perimenopausal and post menopausal women. They describe how “false beliefs about estrogen became entrenched in U.S. medicine and culture, and how and why business and politics have played a role in this erroneous thinking.”
There is a widespread mistaken belief that estrogen deficiency is the cause of many of the typical symptoms related to perimenopause and menopause; mood and anxiety symptoms, irritability, breast swelling and tenderness, bloating, hot flashes and night sweats, headaches, bone loss, etc. In perimenopause estrogen levels are in fact often elevated, and the ratio between estrogen and progesterone is disrupted. In menopause it is decreased levels of progesterone that cause many symptoms. Dr. Prior’s research has revealed that for many women who suffer from these uncomfortable and often disabling symptoms, supplementing with estrogen only aggravates their condition. By contrast, supplementing with 300 mg oral bio-identical progesterone at bedtime with no additional estrogen, effectively treats these symptoms.
Bio-identical progesterone is not to be confused with synthetic progesterone, which can cause a number of side effects. They are not the same. There are no known side effects from bio-identical progesterone, with the exception of sleepiness. It must be taken at bedtime, and it greatly improves sleep quality. It has none of the side effects of typical hypnotics (sleep remedies) like Ambien, Lunesta or the benzodiazepines (such as Ativan, Klonopin, or Xanax to name a few). Many sleep aids are habit forming and intended only for short term use. Oral bio-identical progesterone may be used indefinitely until no longer needed, and does not cause habituation. It does not suppress respiration nor does it decrease restorative REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. It is thus much safer than the hypnotics that are currently commonly prescribed.
The improvement of sleep quality alone makes an enormous difference in a woman’s sense of well being. Very often symptoms of anxiety, depression and irritability arise because of poor sleep. If a woman can simply be helped to sleep well, she may feel much less depressed and anxious, not to mention the profound impact adequate restorative sleep has upon memory function, attention and overall cognition.
It is also reported that 300 mg of bio-identical progesterone causes an increase in basal metabolic rate resulting in an additional 300 calories burned daily, a bonus which can offset the weight gain that is common place with the transition to menopause.
In my own case, I had frequent post-menopausal hot flashes and drenching night sweats for 4 years that so disrupted my sleep that I only slept very lightly most of the time. The variety of sleep remedies that I tried left me feeling so hung over and depleted of energy that I preferred to take nothing. By contrast, 300 mg of bio-identical progesterone at bedtime has greatly improved my sleep quality and resulted in only the very occasional hot flash. I do still feel a bit tired, but much less so than with other remedies I have tried.
A friend of mine had such severe mood, anxiety and irritability and swelling prior to menstruation that she felt impaired two weeks out of every month. Bio-identical progesterone cream 40 mg a day was very helpful to her, but when she stopped menstruating, she stopped taking it. With menopause, she began to have frequent hot flashes that destroyed the quality of her sleep, and left her feeling extremely anxious and irritable. 300 mg of bio-identical progesterone has restored her sleep quality resulting in greatly decreased anxiety, irritability and improved energy.
A 42 year old patient of mine had such severe PMDD that often during the week before her period she felt terribly depressed and irritable, and at times even suicidal. She also had very uncomfortable breast swelling and tenderness, migraines, severe cramping and very heavy menstrual flow with large blood clots. These mood and physical symptoms would suddenly lift when she began menstruating. Prometrium 300 mg at bedtime has fully relieved her of these incapaciting mood symptoms as well as the breast swelling, menstrual migraines and heavy menstrual flow. She is also sleeping much better. Many peri-menopausal women who still have regular periods take bio-identical progesterone cyclically. They begin it on day 14 of their menstrual cycle and take it until day 27. (Day one is the first day of your menstrual cycle.) For some women who are prone to menstrual migraines, coming on and off progesterone can trigger migraines, so that it is preferable to take it continuously.
The Estrogen Errors is full of case studies similar to these that I just cited of women who were plied with anti-depressants, hypnotics, synthetic hormone treatments, and other pharmaceuticals without relief and plenty of side effects, and only when bio-identical progesterone was prescribed did their lives turn around.
Some women have a relatively easy passage from perimenopause to menopause. But for those who are suffering during this time of tremendous physiological change and transition, I recommend this book, so that you will feel empowered to talk with your doctor about bio-identical progesterone.
Here is a video of Dr. Jerilynn Prior talking about ovulation and the menstrual cycle. It will give you a sense of her integrity as a person, her thoughtfulness and common sense.
I’m getting ready to turn 54 and had a complete abdominal hysterectomy at age 34 (20 years ago). I was unable to take estrogen of any type after the surgery as it kept making my endometriosis grow back (long story) but now I feel like I’ve just been left in the cold by my doctor to ‘wing it’ all these years and wonder if all of my anxiety and heart palpitations, muscle cramps, etc.. I have osteopenia and obvious it could be caused from lack of estrogen (i was put on progesterone at one time and had an allergic response to it) and if there is something like this bio-identical progesterone would help? It seems like most here have gone through menopause on the natural side of things where as mine was medically induced by complete abdominal hysterectomy???
Dr. Tsafrir says
I do not know the answer here but would recommend consulting with a holistic women’s health doctor.
Hi, I’m a 56 year old female. I am post menopausal, never experienced a hotflash, or any common side effect that I am aware of. However, lately I have had off the chart anxiety and can’t sleep. I went to a hormone doctor here in Phoenix, AZ. All of hormones are in the normal range Estriadiol 2.0, Progesterone 58
Ration:Pg/E2 29, Testosterone 50, DHEAS 45.9, Cortisol throughout the day: 16.1, 5.4, 4.6, 13.6.
I’m a very healthy person, low heart rate, low cholestrol, etc. Exercise heavily (Ironman triathlete). She presecribed 150 mg of progesterone. From what I understand, mostly to help me feel better and sleep better. My rx will be filled by a compound pharmacy at a cost of $150. for 100 pills. I’m wondering if I even need these pills and if an OTC cream would work just as well. Thoughts??? I’m on a budget
Dr. Tsafrir says
You may wish to see for yourself what works best. Each person is unique. Its a simple experiment.
Judith Lynn says
I have been on bio identical oestrogen therapy (Progynova) now for nearly 6 years (4mg -2 x daily) and my average Oestrogen levels have been between 250 and 300 pg/ml. Recently my personal doctor recommended that I should commence taking Bio identical progesterone (promethium – 200mg) daily on a monthly cycle from day 14-day27 at night time as she was concerned that I might be getting Oestrogen dominance. I should explain that I am Transgender and my Testosterone levels now are just 0.9 n/ml. Since commencing on the Prometrium nightly I have found that I am sleeping much better and overall feel so much better, whilst on it, but I do find that by day 27, I find that the Progesterone is very cloying and I feel I need to be off it; however my pharmacist recently suggested that I should consider moving to a regime where I take it regularly ie every day.. Interestingly though since talking it now for 4 cycles, I find that by day 12 I get PMS like symptoms as if my body is telling me that its time to take my Progesterone. I have tried this for 4 cycles, but I am wondering what you would suggest
Dr. Tsafrir says
I think its important to tune into what your body is telling you while working closely with your treating clinicians.
I’m struck by the number of comments here, Like many women who’ve reached out for guidance, I’m struggling with this transition . It makes me angry that negotiating the menopausal transition cannot be a more straightforward process. I eat well, exercise, practice mindfulness, don’t drink or smoke, have great friends/family and I can only claim feeling good about one day a week. I’m in the group, who gets some benefit from estradiol (decreases joint pain, improves mood) but struggles with progesterone—it leaves me in an ADHD like state with poor motility, swelling, headaches and too much joint laxity. I agree progesterone is a wonderful hypnotic, however, I wonder how CYP450 genetic variations and Progesterone receptor variations influence an individuals response to BHRT. It seems to be guess and go, and scratch our heads when you’re not like the average person. To paraphrase Maya Dusenberry, lazy science and biased medicine leaves many of us in a place of confusion, wishing, neglect and dismissal. Wishing everyone the stamina they need for this time of change.
Hi Robin, I am in the same group as you. Likely have been lower on estrogen my entire life. Progesterone worked during EARLY peri-menopause. Now, in LATE peri-menopause I absolutely need Bi-Est cream. In fact, progesterone cream renders me an anxious mess and does nothing to abate my “new” symptoms of LATE peri-menopause such as palpitations. Palps have only been reduced using estradiol/estriol Bi-Est. There is so much advocacy for progesterone out there and yet very little (except fear-based) on estrogen supplementation. Thank you for sharing. Encouraged me to do the same.
Hi, would love some insight! I’m two years postmenopausal, and started four months ago on .050 estradiol patch and 100 mg transdermal progesterone cream, continuous. (To help with hot flashes, vaginal atrophy, bone density, cognition.) Had blood levels checked, and doc wanted progesterone higher and switched me to 100 mg oral micronized progesterone, continuous. It makes me feel horrible. Anxious and heavy-chested and simultaneously groggy/dizzy, and overgroggy and dizzy well into the next day. Sleep has gotten terrible. For two nights, when I needed to be able to drive in the middle of the night if needed, I went back to the transdermal cream (because it only made me feel mildly drowsy rather than konked over the head and heart-attacky). Big bleed came on and lasted six days. I’ve tried the Prometrium vaginally instead to get around side effects, but side effects remain, plus vaginal irritation. Am I taking too much? Not enough? Am I just intolerant? I’m really liking the effects of the estradiol, but I must take the progesterone and it’s proving to be very problematic. I have two docs–my gyno, who if I mention the bleeding will have me on the table immediately for a scan and biopsy, and a functional medicine doc, who really thought the vaginal method would solve the side effects and who believes the bleeding is related to a crash from going back to the transdermal for two nights. Waiting to hear more from the FM doc now before I call gyno and get roped into a bunch of expensive, invasive diagnostics that I really don’t believe I need. Eager for insight anyone might be able to share! Dreading taking that little peach pill tonight!
Anne Strange says
Hi! I, and others, feel your pain with respect to progesterone. For me, I had progesterone toxicity with high doses of creams and with oral progesterone I have perioral dermatitis that I can’t shake even while not taking it. I’ve heard from many others who can not tolerate progesterone but desperately need estrogen supplementation. It’s confounding for sure.
Hello! I have been in the same boat I have had my period now non stop for almost 5 months. Gone to see my family doctor he referred me to a gyno. The gyno sent me for an ultrasound my lining was slightly thickened and told me he will watch and see what happens. I went on my own to a naturapath and he put me on the cream. It slowed down my period not as heavy but hasn’t stopped entirely. I called him up again as I can’t take this bleeding anymore,and he is changing my prescription to a capsule 200mg twice a day. I am really hoping this helps! This whole experience has been completely dibilitating. Anyone else experience never ending periods? What did you take?
jacque Ridgeway says
I’ve been on Bio Identical Hormones for several years. The last few months I start my period every 2 weeks. It seems the higher the dose of Prog the heavier bleeding. I’m so over it!!!!
Hi, I have the almost the same issue, it starts bleeding haphazardly. I a
Have POF and non doctor has been able to help me despite using BH.
Audry Cece says
When I started bioidentical progesterone cream, my dr proscribed 30mg days 1-14 of cycle and 60mg days 15-30. This caused me to get my period every two weeks.
Cutting back helped tremendously, and for younger peri or premenopausal, it is recommended by the best drs to take between only 15-25mg of bioidentical progesterone cream only the second half of your cycle. This gives the body the other two weeks to flush out any excess that may be storing up in your fat cells.
In my opinion, this article is talking about an extremely high dose, and doesn’t stress the need for that “break” enough.
It is a difficult balance. I am still trying to figure it out myself.
Hi, it is so comforting to know I am not the only one with strange symptoms. For me personally the most distressing are hair loss and anxiety. Got a prescription for bio identical progesterone which I will begin on day 14 (just waiting). Any one else have problems with hair loss ( I’m in my late 40’s and it started when I was about 45). Will progesterone help with hair loss?
I am a Canadian and I have finally convinced a specialist to prescribe bio-identical progesterone cream (after discovering the work of Dr. Jerilynn Prior at CEMCOR) to relieve perimenopausal symptoms including hair loss, fibrocystic breasts, night sweats and anxiety, to name a few. My specialist is reluctant to prescribe the 300mg of progesterone used cyclically as suggested by Dr. Prior, but he has agreed to consult directly with her about my clinical history and condition.
In Canada there is a surprising lack of support in the medical community for bio-identical progesterone therapy, and Dr. Prior is the exception.
Three weeks into using the cream, which is only available by prescription here in Canada, I am experiencing less hair loss, and my breast tissue is starting to revert to normal. I must point out that I have increased the dosage to 100 mg (a unilateral decision) and I am waiting to see if my specialist will prescribe the recommended oral 300 mg (used cyclically) after he consults with Dr. Prior, as that is apparently required to address night sweats.
I have also discovered that Canadians may purchase bio-identical progesterone cream at Amazon.ca , although it is shipped from the United States. It is generally 20 mg per dispensed dose (Now product) and is much cheaper that the compounded product at the pharmacy available by prescription only.
Perhaps this information is helpful to you.
Thank you for your reply,it is helpful hearing other people’s experience with bio identical progesterone. You are absolutely right about the difficulty Canadians have with finding doctors who prescribe bio identical progesterone cream. It is good to know that it has helped with many of your symptoms, even with your hair growth. I am also hoping my doctor will agree to prescribing oral progesterone. I just recently started learning more about it. There is so much on line to read, it can be overwhelming.
Thank you again for the information.
Mary T says
I was treated by Dr A Schla……. Toronto ( who has retired)with 0.2 ml twice daily for 21 days ( progesterone 50 mg and testosterone 1mg/0.2 ml
I was on it for 15 yrs beautifully
She did not charge any additional fees outside of OHIP
I stopped at 60 yrs old for the last 6 months because my chiropractor said my muscles are too hard and defined
So,I thought it was not a bad idea to stop which I did
Well I re started the cream because the hot flashes returned with full force
Day and night
I would like to know if I can send in my own saliva tests to the lab in Oregon?
Marilyn Lake says
Yes, you can do this!! Dr. Alvin Pettle, of Toronto, who is a pioneer in bio identical hormone replacement, has created a hair tonic that is one of the things that I use to restore the thickness in my hair. However, I have learned the following things, no matter who your practitioner is:
Please consider getting your hormone saliva test panels done by ZRT labs in Oregon. They are simply the best, and can test all three estrogens, including cancer causing Estrone, and the Estriol levels which might relieve your leaky bladder symptoms, when applied topically to the vagina. Saliva and blood spot testing tends to be a better indicator of what is going on in your body.
Regarding hair loss, if you are on DHEA, or nothing at all, make sure your DHEA, is in the oral sublingqual form. It goes directly into the bloodstream, and avoids a lot of the hormone cascade, which can produce Di Hydroxytestosterone, which causes male and female pattern balding. Also, both my husband and I regularly take Biotin to assist hair and nail growth, and Saw Palmetto, which binds to the Di hydroxytestosterone, and makes it easy to eliminate from the body, and keep the hair on your and your husband’s head. I have been dosing my husband with saw palmetto, and 1000mcg of biotin since he was in his twenties, forty years ago!. He would have been a cueball baldie, like his Mom’s father, however, he still has most of his hair, except a bit of receding in the front temples and the crown., and he is a youthful 68. We also see Dr. Di Pieri in Kelowna, B.C., who is also a bio identical hormone expert, and specializes in men as well as women. Dr. Di Pieri put me on 100mg of progesterone a night, orally, and that corrected my sleep issues. He put my husband on 10mg for the same reason, even though my husband is a good sleeper. We also take Mag Smart, magnesium bisglycinate supplement, to end muscle cramping and leg twitching during sleeping, and after exercise. Being on a paleo anti inflmmation diet has made a big difference in so many ways, Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox is a genius plan.
It is so important to get your saliva tests done! In this way, zrt lab will email you, a detailed pdf of what is going on in your body, as we are all different. They treat you like the adult you are, so that you can get your hands on your own test results, with accurate descriptions of what is going on. Ordering bioidenticals for yourself, without proper testing is not a good idea. Consulting with someone who has years of wisdom, such as Dr. Pettle, is a good idea. However, none of these things are covered by provincial health insurance, as they are not in the clutches of the main stream pharmaceutical industry. You will have to pay these physicians and for your testing. However, as a woman who went through devastating menopause mentally and physically, until bio identicals saved my life, literally, it might be a good idea to research this route of healing through zrt labs, and to find a physician who has the courage to think out of the pharma box, and who has had recent training in bioidentical hormone replacement. I am not a medical professional, chose Architecture instead, but healthy environments for work , play, the body, mind and spirit are my passion. Best wishes in health and healing,
Marilyn Lake, The Ideal Environment
Mary T says
Thank you kindly for all this info
Is there any GP in Toronto area that covers this testing by OHIP in 2017.
I have been having anxiety, hair loss, brain fog and head aches. My doctor prescribed me 100mg of progesterone today in capsule form. I am so nervous about side effects. I also feel fatigue around ovulation and period. I have 3 kids, 30 years old, feel completely helpless. I know something is wrong just really nervous. I do not like medicine. I prefer a natural approach.
Hello, I am 39 and have been having hot flashes for 2 years, but this last year has been horrible, very nervous, anxious, severe depression. I ask my OB for help and he put me on birth control, Klonopin, and anti depressant. I had never been on Amy of these before. He did not help, but seemed to make things worse. I had a saliva test down after being off Jc for 7 weeks, and have very low estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Like an 80 year old woman. I didn’t have a period for 2 months and was told I was in menopause. I started 125mg of bio progesterone 10 days ago and just started a period today.
Bio doc is wanting me to take the 125 mg progesterone daily month round?? Should I do this amount month round? I still feel anxious and depressed.
And should I be on estrogen supplements too? I don’t know who to trust?
Im 34 yo and have a 9 mo old baby. I have terrible hair loss, not the kind that shows my scalp but just diffuse shedding. It makes my hair see-through towards the bottom and the ends are becoming brittle. Drs try to blame it on hypothyroidism but my levels are in the optimal levels with medication. An Obgyn just put me on an estrogen patch and promethium 14 days out of the month. Hope it helps! The hair loss is devastating! If anyone has any suggestions, I’d really appreciate it!
I know this is a late reply but if you see this then I can tell you that I’ve suffered horribly with hair loss, POF, endometriosis, and hypothyroidism. The most recasting thing was and still is my hair loss. The texture of my once straight, shiny and thick luscious hair is super dry and wavy. My hair loss came with severe scalp pain and I saw every doctor for it. I couldn’t even lay on a pillow so sleeping was a nightmare. My one piece of advice is to eat raw oysters. Shuck and eat 6 a day, it’s the zinc that helps. The pain from hair loss gets reduced for a day. The hair loss should calm down a bit but you have to do it everyday. It’s expensive so I have also alternated with large New Zealand green shell mussels, I eat 4 daily unless my scalp and really burning, I will eat as much as 6. I boil them for 3 minutes. I’ve never seen away recommend this and it’s my first time coming across someone else with hair loss and hypothyroidism. I think I have more problems than you medically so trying shellfish can’t hurt. Good luck.
I meant devastating not recasting!
After reading all your comments and replies I’d just like to add some things. I am currently 69. In my early 40’s I started using natural progesterone cream to balance my estrogen and felt fantastic for many years. If I remember correctly it was Pro-Gest. It helped me lose weight. It helped my periods, lifted my mood to a calm and happy state and supported my libido. Perimenopause lasted 10 years from age 43 (first skipped period) to the last period at 53. I had a year of hot flashes and some palpitations and then they eased off and stopped. After menopause though, I could no longer use progesterone as it made me moody, weepy and depressed, tired, where it used to make me feel very energetic. At 55 I was diagnosed with underactive thyroid and put on natural thyroid, Armour and compounded bio-identical hormone cream, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Felt great for about 6 years and eventually went off the BHRT and just took thyroid. It became hard to get the right dose of thyroid med and it was changed several times and I still didn’t feel great anymore. I am pro-natural everything and it takes a lot of research to figure things out. I had heart complications from the thyroid med and eventually weaned myself off of it and began a total healing program. After 13 months my thyroid is working on its own with the help of a clean diet (no processed foods, low sugar, no grain). I take NO medications and my bloodwork is fine. The only thing I take daily is a dose of liquid nascent iodine in water first thing and then eat a quality high protein, lots of vegetables, etc. I am healthy, energetic, now sleep through the night and feel reborn. My research has paid off and I know feeling great is possible. Please consider that medication or hormones alone can’t do their job unless you clean up your diet. They work hand in hand.
I could not agree more. This is true in my practice. It does not matter what you do in terms of nutrients, hormone therapy, or treating infections, if the dietary piece is not aligned, you will not get good results.
I just started progesterone , still have estrodial Patch , but now having headaches and aching muscles over last few days. Will this go away?
Cynthia Thomas says
I had horrible muscle aches and headaches when starting a 50mg of bio identical progesterone cream. I increased the dose to 200mg a day and this helped me tremendously. I was told estrogen receptors were stimulated by progesterone causing estrogen dominance symptoms to worsen. You might check with your provider to discuss this. Good luck!
Misty Botello says
Enjoyed your blog. I am 43 and am having hormonal issues and hypothyroidism. Along with some other autoimmune issues. I would like to find out from you what you did to get off the meds. I am on WP Thyroid which is dessicated, but have felt worse since. Hair falling out, skin and scalp burning. I really don’t want to take thyroid meds. I felt better before taking them. Also just starting biodentical progesterone. Tried it before and had anxiety, but hopefully not this time. But I am like you I would rather take nothing and just work on my diet. I pretty much eat paelo, a few potatoes here and there. But no grains, dairy, refined sugar, soy.
Did that work for you? Asking because I have the same background, multiple autoimmune, massive hair loss and intense scalp pain, red hands, constipation, multiple docs who can’t help and recently put on the elimination diet which I’m thinking may not be it. Would like to know what else you are trying and what is working for you. I’ve been on HRT for quit sometime and only switched to prometrium in 2017.
Dr. Tsafrir says
When I hear of someone who is suffering from so many autoimmune conditions, the possibility of mold toxicity immediately comes to mind. I suggest the you find a mold literate physician and see if you can get an answer and some help. There is a new organization called The international Society for Environmemtally Acquired Illness. You could go to their website and click on the tab that allows you to find a practitioner.
Deborah L Hoermann says
so enjoying your site and info… I am on bio identical pellets.. for last 3 years.. although expensive i am sold.. HOWEVER… i don’t sleep. tried everything… z quil gives me sedation hangover for half of day.. dr. put me on 200 mg. progesterone capsules.. bio ide. and i feel horrible in am.. very sedated… does your body get used to this????
I doubt very much that if this has been going on for three years, that it is likely to change.
Mary Johnson says
Deborah L Hoermann..thank you so it isn’t just me. I’ve been telling my doctor that the bio progesterone pill has me feeling like a zombie the next day and not to mention the naseau and lack of appetite. I already have gastritis and lost weight from it, I can’t afford a
anymore weight loss. My doc keeps saying that he has never heard this. Mind you, I wasn’t having a problem with sleeping before I started but now I wake up and can’t get back to sleep. I don’t like the way it makes me feel ..it helped with the anxiety somewhat but at the same time my hands trembles the next day along with worsening heart palpitations. I’ve been taking it for almost 3 weeks now. My dr. has experimented by stopping for a few days then start again. Experiment shows that it is definitely causing these effects.
Connie Raley says
Hello – I am 63 now, and my life has been mostly normal now for 10 years. I did not know what to expect with menopause so didn’t put the pieces together until it was almost too late. Looking back now, I was 49 and at the top of my game, both personally and professionally. The first thing that happened was I stopped sleeping. I was always a good sleeper, but I would wake up night after night after only 3 or 4 hours of sleep. After several months of this, I started having panic attacks all the time. I truly thought I was having a nervous breakdown. At the same time, I stopped wanting to have sex. Now my sex life was always great, but now I didn’t ever want my husband to touch me. I was also having hot flashes. The awful thing was I could not get any help anywhere. My ob/gyn never mentioned that I could be going thru menopause. I’m sure my regular doctor thought I was crazy, after I showed up at her door in panic mode demanding to be seen more than once. Her advice to me was to see a psychiatrist, which I did. He put me on Paxil for the anxiety, and after much trial and error, the only thing that works for me to sleep is 2 mg of xanax, extended release, which I have been on for 12 years. The only thing that kept me sane during that time was doing constant research on the computer. I finally figured out that I was indeed going thru menopause. I found the book by Suzanne Sommers about her use of bio-identical hormones, instead of the pregnant horse urine I had been taking. My NEW doctor was ok with the idea, even though she knew nothing about them. So for 12 years now, I rub on estrogen cream every morning, and progesterone every night. Even though I still have NO SEX drive, everything else has evened out, and I feel normal. I did try bio testosterone, but it didn’t help with the libido. The bio progesterone did not help at all with sleep, but at least I don’t feel like a crazy person anymore. I am helping several women right now get the help they need. Most doctors just don’t seem to get it.
Hello, I just wanted to mention Maca. It helps with a dampened libido. My doctor just prescribed me Prometrium and I am exited to begin the journey of hormone balance. My doctor would not treat the Low estrogen/progesterone without also treating my depleted adrenals as well. She did a great job of explaining the close relationships between female hormones, low normal thyroid, and depleted adrenal glands. I was also low on iron. I now have a full arsenal of natural help–and praying it does. I hope you continue to search for how to feel your very best. You’re worth the work.😉
Question what did your dr do for your adrenals as I believe that is my issue.
Leeann Pearce says
Could I ask who your dr is desperate to find someone knowledgeable.
Hair loss and the thyroid hormone fit together and could be the problem
Ask your doctor about reducing the dose to 100mg. That might help . That is worth a try. It is what I take an hour before bedtime.
Am 3 mos on BHRT, and am also struggling with feeling more ‘heavy-tired’, however, with increase in depression and irritability as well. Am unsure what questions to ask my doctor and if I should continue, as the more I read, the less I can make head-way re information.
Initially, I did not receive Progesterone pills until 3 weeks after pellet insert of the testosterone and Estradiol; prior to Progesterone, was feeling more energy and upward swing. The addition of Progesterone markedly impacted increased lethargy. My understanding is, Progesterone is essential to taking Estradiol. How do I combat this?
Would you recommend Testosterone and Progesterone only?
What questions do you suggest I inquire when I go in next week? Am utterly lost and feeling more defeated as to if I should continue BHRT or drop it.
Fyi: My BHRT pellet is made up of: 125mg of testosterone, 12.5mg of Estradiol and 200mg of Progesterone with an addition of 1 grain of WP Thyroid daily.
Connie Raley says
If the testosterone did not help your libido, I would go off of it. I don’t like the pellets. I use
bi-est cream in the morning and progesterone cream at bedtime. No drowsiness whatsoever.
Switch to a progesterone transdermal cream. Some people just cannot handle the oral route and the sleepiness. You do not have that problem with a cream.
Ava Mihalik says
May I please ask you about progeterone and constipation? I am perimenopause and estrogen dominate. I jut started taking a subligual 10 mg BIHT of progesterone.I had less breast swelling and cramping almost over night.I am happy about that but, I am only just now on 10mg and I am sure he is going to raise it alot more, I am getting even more constipated then before.I know allllllll the tricks and they are not working.I am also on DHEA cream applied to tansmucousal areas.Is it going to get worse? I already have Idiopathic Gastroparesis and its hard enough to handle slow transit now. Please respond. PS. We were hoping getting my hormones balanced could possibly decrease GP.Since mostly young girls and women my age get it. Like 80% are women, I see this as a sign it could be hormone related.Its not vagus nerve damage, sorry I had that test at MAYO. Thats all they can say, and in diabetics it maybe true, thats not me .Thyroids good, doing all the right diets so on and so. Any thoughts. Your Friend, Ava
Hormones often affect the gut and bowel function. I do not know specifically in your case, but it would not surprise me. Maybe another reader has some more thoughts.
This is the first time ever that I reply to one of those chats but I have seen them. Maybe I feel that I am old enough to help. Constipation has plagued me badly. I reached menopause at 34 and had a hormone regimen that may not have helped. I have finally solved it, now that I am 60. Very simple. For the past 6 years, I have been problem-free after having tried a semi-successful regimen of natural laxatives. The secret: simple granola of oats and seeds and nuts (baked), with fruit and yogurt, EVERY MORNING. EVERY MORNING. That is the key. The right ingredients, every single day. I feel amazing. Let me know if you need the recipe.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE I would love the recipe!!!!!
My doc put me on a magnesium supplement Natural Calm by Natural Vitality. It is in powder form and you take it at bedtime. I have been constipated ALL my life….and this actually works! It doesn’t taste that good…but I just use a little water and drink it fast. I’ve never really recommended a product before….but I’m recommending this one. You can get it at a health food store or online. I think Amazon has it!
I take this..the magnesium powder in a drink. It definitely helps keep me regular, every morning. I drink it at night..it also helps me sleep. I have just been prescribed Vivelle dot .05mg and 100 mg of Bio identical progesterone. I have less hot flashed. But, I am very bloated, swollen. I am not sure which hormone is causing the bloating 😔
Yes, please send the granola recipe!
Hello. I am new to all of this, and started 100 mg of Bio Identical Progesterone 3 days ago which u’ll take day 14-28 th monthly. I would love the recipe for the healthy granola. 🙂 I’m gluten free, but thinking that’s not a problem. Thank you!
i would love the recipe! I am having serious issues!! Just starting Bio-Identical Progesterone 100 mg …. I have been so nervous about it but I am so miserable!! Hysterectomy 1 year ago…. constipation is unreal!!
I would love the recipe. Thank you..
Please send recipe for granola, thanks
Yep, magnesium citrate does wonders for making you regular 🙂
I had the same problem with constipation. I’ve been constipated all my life. When I went on bio identical progesterone she also told me to get Natural Vitality Natural Calm. You can get it at the health food store. You’re supposed to work up to 2 tsp of the powder. I take about 3 oz of hot water from the tap and put the powder in. Let it fizz for a moment and then stir it up and settle. I usually put in a little cold water and then drink it down. You can also put it in a water bottle…but I just like to down it. I get the cherry flavor. It doesn’t taste good. However, it has completely cured me of constipation. I take it at night and I’m telling you….it is a miracle worker!
Lisa Williams says
I am 59 and have only the ovary and Fallopian tube on my right side after having the left ovary and dallopian tube removed 10 years ago due to severe intrusion by endometriosis. I continued having regular periods after the surgery in 2006 until they stopped in 2013.
Recently, my GYN gave implanted estrodial and prescribed 200mgs qd of bioidentical progesterone. A week after the implant and oral dosing of progesterone, my period began -dark blood with little clots. At day eight I went back to my GYNECOLOGY for lab work. My progesterone was in a normal range so I was told to keep taking the progesterone. My period finally stopped only to restart 4 days later. This time the blood is red and my flow is quite heavy. What is going on??? I’m beginning to wonder if the implant wasn’t a huge mistake!
Rhonda Richlen says
It is not uncommon for your periods to start up again when you first start on BHRT.
Veronica Cardinale-Ellinger says
I’m 51 years old and in menopause, I have started bio identical hormones twice and have been more than pleased with the results. I am however bleeding very heavily on the days just after the start of my 14 day progesterone around day 16 and I continue past day 21 sometime by a week or more. The one nice thing about being in menopause is not having a period. I have had an ultrasound and biopsy and all is normal???
I would like your thoughts…
I take 2mg/estradiol daily
1- 75mg/progesterone day 14-21
and .75mg Testosterone DHEA 10mg/Ml twice a week
Your story is the same as my story. I love the way the BHRT makes me feel. However, the breakthrough bleeding is annoying to say the least. I’m taking 400mg of Progesterone and still spotting. What’s the answer?
Hi. I am 41 years old. Two weeks of the month, I am totally messed up. Everyday is a different. I get headaches and pain in the back of my eyes. This usually starts in the middle of the cycle. Last year, I had a surgery due to an endometriosis condition. I still suffer from ovulation every month and feel very helpless. My doctor put me on Lo Loestrine (birth control pill) and I managed taking it for 8 months, but had so many side effects that I decided to quit. He suggested anti-depressants and I refused. I wanted a better solution. I suggested the bio identical progesterone to my doctor and he agreed. He wanted to give me the cream which I had tried previously and did not get much relief from using it. Maybe it was too low of a dosage. However, I asked for the capsule forms. he gave me 75mg bio identical capsules and I took the very first one last night. I had such a horrible headache prior to taking it, but 15 minutes later after I took the pill, I got tremendous relief from it and slept pretty well. Woke up this morning and didn’t have any headaches, but just about two hours ago, I started feeling the headache again. I am so disappointed. Don’t know what to do. Should I ask for a higher dosage of this pill? What would work?
Just to give you an idea of my overall health condition… I workout everyday and on weekends I go on very demanding hikes. I am physically very active and fit, however 6 years ago, I sustained a pretty bad concussion that lasted forever. I am still not 100% recovered from that injury, but I wonder if my symptoms are the result of that fall. My doctor doesn’t think that way. He thinks I have severe PMS. I had one pregnancy at 26 and I was as healthy as I could be till I sustained that injury. I am very regular with my periods, so no problem there.
So, here I am. Suffering every month from mood swings, headaches, sleep problems and I get stressed out easily. I hope to god that someone can tell me what to do. I have seen so many doctors, but no one really gives me a definitive solution.
Can anybody shed some light to my problem?
I agree with your approach of trying to get to the root cause, rather than taking anti-depressants. Sometimes people who have mood symptoms that are very linked to hormonal triggers have elevated copper levels. I would recommend checking out the Walsh Research Institute website and their clinical Resources section and finding someone in your geographical area and getting a consultation.
Thank you so much for your quick reply. I was just researching about the headaches after quitting birth control pills. I found a website with ton of information in it. Apparently, headaches are quite common after quitting BCPs and they can be on-going. I was on BCP for only 8 months and I decided to quit because I had a lot of side effects that I couldn’t stand. Now, I am pretty confident that my headaches are no necessarily due to PMS. But what you mentioned about the excessive copper does interest me quite a bit. How can I get tested for it? I am going to check that website you suggested and see what kind of information is available to me. I really appreciate your response and help on my problem.
The other question I have is whether anybody knows how long these headaches can last after quitting BCP. Has anyone experienced what I am dealing with right now? On-going headaches and pain in my eye sockets. I did not have this kind of problem before being put on BCP.
If you have a consultation with a Walsh Trained Practitioner, they will do laboratory studies of blood and urine. Copper is tested in the blood. I don’t know the answer to your headache question.
Try using progesterone cream in morning and oral in evening . Sleepiness is not a concern with transdermal application and doing twice a day will keep you balanced .
Low estrogen is your culprit… BCP gives u really high dose of estrogen… too high your body gets used it … my headaches disapered on biest estradiol with progesterone in cream dose.. BCP are too high in syntetics hormones
I have the exact feelings and have never had a concussion. I’d like for someone to help me! Went to the doctor today and he put me on progesterone 100 mg capsule.
How r you doing with the Progesterone?
Very interesting and well-written article, and thanks also for the link to the book which also sounds very interesting!
I can only agree with what you say. I was put on bio-identical estrogen four years ago, at age 43, while still having regular periods, after being diagnosed with estrogen deficiency. It has not done a thing for me, and I have now stopped taking it (I am only hoping it has not messed up my body too much…). I have just ordered bio-identical progesterone (Ona) and cannot wait to get started!
Thank you again for this article, it’s really a great help for women like me who are struggling to make sense of what is happening to their bodies, and why we don’t feel better although our doctors assured us we would…
I am suffering from postnatal depression since last 2 and half yrs.Nothing seems to work on me.Will Bio identical progesterone help me or cream will help.please reply.
Most cases of post partum depression are related to copper toxicity. I would recommend that you look at my website and read about copper overload. If you look up the Walsh Research Institute, you can find a practitioner who is local to your area and who would know about copper toxicity and post partum depression.
I had post partum depression and bio identical progesterone cured me of it. My doctor uses bio identical progesterone for women with PPD all the time with great success. Therefore, this could be of so much help to you – it completely eliminated my PPD
I also had TERRIBLE post par depression and was completely fixed with bio progesterone. After pregnancy is over and baby is here there is a HUGE drop in hormone production not to mention anxiety and depression that come along with loss of hormones and lack of sleep!! Bio progesterone is absolutely necessary in post par depression . 100% effective . Do Not go on any synthetic anti depressants. That is the first thing my doctor tried to do so I found a NEW doctor!! Lol –
Yes it will.., read book by Uzzi Reis Natural hormone balance… he treats many woman with progesterone…
JoAnn Kohler says
I take bio identical hrt. I take estrogen all month long and I take progesterone 11 days out of the month. While the progesterone makes me sleep better. Also, while taking it, my hair sheds more rapidly then usual. I think people should be made aware of this when taking progesterone.
L McKee says
Funny I just started taking 4mg of Progesterone in olive oil (specially compounded as the other delivery agents caused issues for me, as I am sensitive to most additives to food and cosmetics etc). I was in menopause for two months, confirmed by lack of period and blood test with highly elevated FSH levels. I could NOT sleep at all, had constant hot flashes up to 10 or more times a day and every hour at night. No sweats, but I was very hot all the time. Touching the skin of my partner while in bed was very uncomfortable. I took a saliva test. Was prescribed 20 mg of progresterone cream with a very bad reaction. Changed the delivery agent a week later, and dropped the dose to 2 mg (using a graduated syrynge for accuracy), and worked my way up to 4 mg over the next month. That with regular weekly accupuncture, a pure organic sage pill every morning and some additional phyto estrogens, and 35 minutes of daily yoga, and in month two I am completely symptom free. I have not had a hot flash in almost 4 weeks. I am sleeping better than I have in the last 5 years. My test results at the time indicated very low levels of progesterone and testosterone. My hair is growing amazingly and becoming full again, my skin is glowing. This has truly worked for me. But it was a multidisciplinary approach. I am not sure any one thing would have worked completely by themselves.
Thank you for writing. A holistic approach is the way to go!
When you say “additional photo estogens”, what did you use/eat/drink and how much/often? Was it something prescribed to you? I will look up the sage pill but I love organic stuff. Let me know, thank you. I’m only 37 and going through horrible mood changes last 8 mos., headaches, night sweats. Appointment not for another week.
where can you get sage pill
Is there a list of functional medicine doctors (a website or something)? I found an integrative medicine doctor but she was taking forever to do any testing, it was going so slow and she wasn’t really addressing my concerns so I stopped seeing her. I would like to try bioidentical progesterone but I’m having a hard time finding one in NY. I’ve found a few places that do not accept insurance and are extremely expensive. My Gyno doesn’t believe in bioidenticals and I’ve already tried so many otc for severe night sweats and nothing has worked. She first put me on a patch called I think vivel dot and I had too many side effects so I came off, now I’ve been on progesterone for about 2 weeks and although it helps a little with sleeping it’s not helping sufficiently, I still get the severe hot flashes and nights sweats, my sleep has been about 15% better. I read all the side effects of it and I’m not happy. I really would like to go the natural way with bioidenticals. Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated. I am on a low carb diet, I don’t eat processed foods, I exerciese regularly, I meditate, and try to release stress as best as I can.
Bioidentical hormones are made to order by a compounding pharmacy. I’ve found that the best way to find a doctor that prescribes bioidentical hormones is to contact your nearest compounding pharmacy. They often keep a referral list of doctors that they prepare prescriptions for. Good luck!
Rosa I Berrios says
Donna thanks for the information. I’ll start looking.
Rosa:) just wanted to try and help u here- sometimes theres an ” excitatory” period when starting natural progesterone so please please please be patient ok? It can take a couple weeks ( sometimes even two months according to Dr John Lee ). And I know from my own experience too it took almost 6 weeks before I could sleep 6 hours straight. Yipee yahoooo do the happy dance !! Lol I just had to keep reminding myself that it took years to come out of balance with my hormones so it only makes sense the body needs some time to build the level of progesterone up again. It can be insidious but dont give up- keep a calendar n write in it every day how much progesterone u r taking and record how u slept with that certain amount- dont be afriad either to go up or down in your dose- personally I need 20 mg in the morning and 20mg in evening – also taking it twice a day is key to mimicking how our bodies used to secrete it. (Keeps it level ).
I never thought I would sleep like a ” normal” person ever again and PROGESTERONE THANK GOD PROVED ME WRONG!!! I went too many years sleepless! EDUCATION IS KEY!! Never settle for feeling less than your BEST SELF!!!
Sweet dreams!!! Peace!
Thank You all iwant 20 years after I aS castrated is sleep and a nervous system
I use bio-identical progesterone from http://www.smokymountainnaturals.com love their products! They really help me!
That’s what I use and when I told the nurse at the ob/gyn she actually laughed at me. Said the estrogen she was prescribing was all I needed. Needless to say I continued to do what felt good for me. And now I take everything she says with a grain of salt.
Tracy Richardson says
I finally found a doctor who practices functional medicine, and he prescribed an oral Bioidentical progesterone which I have now been taking for one month. I am fifty years old, and for the past 6 years I have had irregular episodes of hot flashes. I have had hypothyroidism for the past 16, and two years ago I developed Melasma on my face. I am hoping that the more natural medication for my thyroid, Nature-Throid, coupled with the progesterone will cause the melasma to disappear. I have not taken birth control for many years, so I am attributing the onset of this condition with either my thyroid or hormonal imbalance. Do you have any experience with melasma? Thanks!
I am sorry, but I do not. Perhaps a reader might be able to comment.
Tracy, someone commented on an article on Dr. Mercola’s website saying that Astaxanthin cleared up their melasma. It’s a derivative of a microalgae that gives salmon and flamingos their orange/pink coloring and is a powerful antioxidant. I’ve been taking it for its antioxidant effect. Article is at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/29/bob-capelli-on-astaxanthin.aspx
Tali Israeli says
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Nice to read all this, but i am really confused and distressed and new to all this. I am 19 years old, back in 2015 around june july i was in a great stress due to college issues. Then i stopped getting my periods , getting last on june 12 and didn’t get for next six months. I also have genetic hypothyroidism with no symptoms which went all up and down. I had to increase my dose of levothyroxine from 25 mg to 50 to 100 mg. Then on dec 13 2015 i started my weightloss journey. i weighed 89 kgs, i might not look that much because i am tall with large bones and body frame. I started healthy but then went on kinda starvation diet like eating only salads n heavy exercise. Then in jan and feb 2016 for two months got my periods after that till now (may 1 2016) i didnt get it yet 🙁 🙁 :(. i lost weight in 3-3 and half months from 89 kg to 63 kgs. My hypothyroidism turned to hyperthyroidism and my doc reduced my levothyroxine to 75 mg. i didnt get periods yet my doc suggested to take Primolut Nor 10mg, synthetic progestin preparation for five days to induce periods. i haven’t started it yet.. i dont want any synthetic thing or any med to get my periods i want it naturally.. what shd i do?? i am scared 🙁 now i am following a low carb lifestyle sometimes do eating rice and tortilla.. but very few times. and following intermittent fasting. exercising less tho…
plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz what to do??
Sorry your having such an issue right now. Just take a deep breath. Weight loss in general can cause some period issues as well, so with your hypo/hyper thyroid combo, you may expect some. I am not a doctor, but personally I along with your change to your meds would try to get you eating more under control, such bouncing from heavy exercise, low cal eating, low cal, and see if it helps your period normalize. If it doesnt then you could try what the doctor suggested but if he is only having you take it for a month it doesnt mean that your period may always come each month from then on, its likely just to bring it on the once and then see what happens. I had to take a synthetic progesterone once to stop my neverending period once before I was on the natural progesterone, but I would never take it on a regular basis, I would rather take the natural. The other option is to seek out a doctor who deals with bioidenticals (if the diet and meds dont help) they will test all your levels and see what you may need (if your lacking something).
I am 24 and I suffer from Hypothyroidism as well. I also have had irregular periods my entire life. My advice to you would be to try discontinuing the medications the Dr is prescribing to you and try a more natural route.
I found out I had Hypothyroidism about 3 years ago after I had my first child. The Dr prescribed me Levothyroxine which I took for no more than a week. now I see a Chiropractor (Wellness based) and he suggested I do a Detox program( with shakes and supplements) which I did and afterward began taking a natural supplementation on Thyroid Pro(TonicSea brand) along with others (Omega 3s, Multivitamin, and probiotic)
After doing so my levels became normal and my period became normal as well- no synthetic pills needed!
Now I just remain eating a “Thyroid based diet” and try to detox again 1x/ year.
Many women/men feel so much better on piggy pills for hypothyroidism (NDT/Natural desiccated thyroid…porcine derived). That and balancing the rest of your hormones. It is a journey but the first step might be to find a doctor to prescribe one of the NDT’s. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com can be of help in your thyroid journey at least.
I am so happy to have read your post and the comments and replies. I am 45 and realize that I have to embrace some change. I am glad to know there is a tribe to reach out to for information–the perimenopausal tribe. 🙂
On the same note, I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember and I treat it with an occasional Xanax, but of late, my anxiety is over the top and my focus is such that my inablity to remain attentive has affected my work. I just checked in with my PCP yesterday. She prescribed bioidentical progesterone. I am so excited to start treatment. I really wasn’t sure what was going on with me, but I did not like it. I have one question though. Her prescription is only for 40 mg. Why do you think that this is so? Should I ask for more. I really want this to work.
I don’t know the answer. It maybe a different preparation. It would likely make sense to discuss this with the prescriber.
Definitely talk this over with your healthcare provider. From all that I have learned, it’s always best to start out with the least amount and adjust from there. I’ve been on bioidenticals for two years now (I’m 50), and I started out on all three (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) after a spit test revealed I was producing very little of any of them. My doctor said I could either start all three or do one at a time in hopes that I could find which one was lacking that would solve my problems, but I reasoned that would take more time and I could be miserable for a few months, so I decided that since I was low on all of them, I should just start on all of them, so I did.
What a journey the last two years have been! I found out that having a lack of those three hormones and just replenishing them isn’t always the answer. My issue wasn’t anxiety, it was having hot flashes and no sex drive, not being able to remember words, skin wrinkling getting worse, etc., but hopefully you will get the gist of why I am writing this. Most of us want our doctors to fix our issues, but the truth has bourne out for me that it was a lifestyle change that I had to commit to make to have better health, not “magic” in a bottle. Drugs do play a role when they are needed, and bioidenticals right now are “all the rage” even though there are no long-term studies out there yet to prove they are as safe as some doctors say they are, but you would be surprised how taking a few small steps on your own to take back your health will get you.
I was DESPERATE to get rid of my hot flashes, and I daresay I would have sold a kidney if it meant I’d never have another hot flash, but I knew I did not want to be on prescription medication. I’d heard about bioidenticals, and so I decided that is where I would start, still NOT wanting to take responsibility for what I was and was not doing to truly take care of myself. The first three months were awesome – all the little things that I didn’t realize were actually attributed to lack of hormones were going away as were the hot flashes, but after the third month, I started struggling with hot flashes and some of the other issues again. I read everything I could about hormones, and then heard something about adrenal fatigue and cortisol and DHEA and glutathione, and that if one’s adrenal glands weren’t working properly (since they affect every organ and system in the body), it could be that the underlying problem was adrenal fatigue and not necessarily lack of hormones.
I started taking an over-the-counter glutathione product (9 months ago) that has made a WORLD of difference in many of the little issues I had, and while it has cleared up many of them, those pesky hot flashes continued. I started looking into what foods caused hot flashes, and it became very evident that I needed to make a change and so I did. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% hot-flash free yet, but they have drastically reduced in intensity and number AFTER changing my diet and adding a little bit of exercise in. Two years later, my spit test results just came back and my estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels were all on the high end, meaning I am almost producing too much, and here’s the kicker – I stopped the testosterone 9 days prior to taking the spit test!
So what am I doing? I stopped almost drinking any kind of alcohol, I have one cup of coffee a day, I’ve backed off of sugar, processed foods, and have incorporated more raw foods, getting rid of the processed foods, not eating out as much, eating/using good fats like grass-fed butter (Kerrygold), using avocado oil and coconut oil when cooking, eating walnuts, incorporating chia seeds and flaxseed, collagen protein, and food-form vitamins and minerals, fish oil, and maca into my diet, and I have started exercising more consistently. A note on exercising: The pharmacist also said too much exercise (wanting to fall asleep within 15-45 minutes after exercise) is not a good thing, so I’m balancing that with lifting weights, and also importantly, I’m drinking FILTERED water that filters out chlorine!
My point, even when it comes to anxiety, is that there is a lot you can do naturally before going to the heavier artillery if you are willing to make some changes. I’m certainly not giving up my bioidenticals yet, but the goal is to find the right balance that helps me feel good while not putting myself at risk by taking any kind of drug because my doctor says that’s the answer. My girlfriend and I have been comparing notes with the four different docs that we have seen now, and THEY ALL four believe something different about how to deal with these issues and are almost opposed to the other suggestions from the other docs. Don’t get me wrong; I love my docs, but they don’t know everything, and most of them know very little about nutrition and the direct effect food plays in our health (no offense Dr. Tsafrir). Isn’t it funny that the founder of medicine, Hippocrates, once said, “Let your food by your medicine and let your medicine by your food.” I certainly believe now he was onto something!!
And regarding the progesterone; don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work immediately, it may take a month or two to kick in! Best of luck to you! 🙂
No offense taken. It’s a wonderful comprehensive thoughtful comment. Very important. I agree with you.
I myself have been on progesterone cream(bioidentical) for about 2 yrs. I had started at 40mg as well as mine was soooo low. After a while my cycles changed and my periods became irregular again coming early, so I was adjusted down to 20mg, so with myself once I got my body back to a regular level I had to lower it. You may find it also may help with your anxiety, it is called the calming hormone. I did also have some anxiety myself the last few years before going on the hormones but really didnt think to much about it, after being on progesterone for a while I did notice that I really did not have the feeling of anxiety at times I had it before, so I have had good improvement. Food and diet is important as well, I make sure I get regular exercise, my wellness doctor suggested some vitamin D, supplements for me to help rid excess estrogen, fibre, I grow a veggie garden with no GMO heirloom, even such things as watching what chemicals are in products you put on your skin, eg/ many regular sunscreens have chemicals which are estrogen increasing, I personally switched to mineral sunscreen, same with many bodywashes, makeups, even perfumes. My advice read, read, read, do your research, you want to be able to question your doctor if what they say doesnt make sense, your the best person to look after you. I have had great success, and hope all goes well for you too.
What a great holistic comment! Thank you for all of your thoughtfulness and taking the time to write.
40mg could be right for you, just try, for 2 months or so. Not every month will be the same as your natural hormone levels may also fluctuate. So, it’s more the overall trend you’re looking for, not day-to-day differences.
You are the first one I hear about increased anxiety after 40, like I had/have! I have been using bio-identical progesterone for more than a year now, and I can tell you: It DOES help against anxiety!
I started with 100mg on days 26-26. I am very sensitive to hormones, and progesterone makes me very sleepy. Even my heartbeat would skip beats sometimes (anyone else has this from progesterone?).
I went down to 50mg of progesterone, to leave the good and take away the bad of it. It also reduces hair fall.
Btw, I have tried bio-identical creams but they do not work for me.
I’m 52, post menopausal for two years, and have been researching ways to relieve my symptoms for three years now. One of the most informative and helpful doctors I have come across is a Dr. Diana Schwarzbein, who is an Endocrinologist specializing in menopause and bioidentical hormones. She herself is post menopausal and can personally relate to the various symptoms and problems associated with menopause. I recently learned that my own doctor who practices integrative medicine, actually received some training from Dr. Schwarzbein. I signed up for her free Menopause Minutes and now I receive an email every two weeks from her with a 5-6 minute audio file with a wealth of information on how to balance your hormones. Check her out at http://www.menopausepower.com/ . She also has some videos on YouTube.
I googled how much bio-identical progesterone can be taken safely and your website was the first legit one to come up. After reading many posts I’m concerned as I’m on 1200 MG compounded a night. That is 4 x 300 mg tablets. It does not knock me out as I’ve heard women say 120 mg. puts them to sleep. I’m also on 2 mg compounded estradiol and 60 mg. compounded testosterone cream daily. My night sweats have gone away after starting 2 months ago but my mood swings are terrible. I don’t know who I am. The doctor says I need to give it 3-6 more months and I will see a difference. I’m also struggling with the weight issue. I normally weigh 94 pounds and eat 1,200 calories,run and work out. My muscle tone has improved but I’m stuck at 98 pounds and have to cut to under 900 calories to get any lower which puts me in a worse mood. I had a complete hysterectomy. Have 3 month blood tests. Am on 120 mg. Armourthyroid for Graves disease treatment. Any suggestions would be most welcome!
I am very sorry. I am not an expert on hormone replacement therapy. My knowledge is limited. I based this post on the book that I read by Dr. Pryor, the Estrogen Errors, and personal experience. You may want to contact her or perhaps someone on this site will have a more informed response for you. It does not sound like you feel a great deal of confidence in your doctor, and thus it may be worthwhile trying to find someone to give you a second in person opinion.
Thank you so much for your reply and the book recommendation. It has lead me to several books on the topic. I trust my PA who works under my OB/GYN. I just thought it odd how I seemed on such a high dose but after my surgery I tested with zero hormones and if anyone has been there, you just want to check out. Nothing works. He literally saved my life. The mistake was not getting me on them sooner but I was told I was a unique case.
Love your website! Thank you.
I am not an expert either, but did a lot of research prior to myself taking progesterone, and that does seem to be a lot. It should mimic the levels we normally would have in our bodies(and that amount is way over what our bodies naturally produce in a day). Is your doctor doing any testing to see what your levels are at? If not I would suggest you have them check it or seek a second opinion of a doctor that will. I have been on progesterone for about a year and a half and have had my levels checked 3 times already, my levels are now normal, and I have no symptoms (so they do not need to check more often) For the weight issue, even if you happened to be 5,0, (not sure if your less or not) but the BMI index sayes anything under 96 would be underweight. If your are over 5 ft you should talk to your doctor about maintaining a healthy weight because 94 would be too low.
Thank you so much for your input and concern. I have had three blood tests so far and started the end of October 2015. Am awaiting the results of my test from last week. I talked to the compounding pharmacist also and she said that I am on a higher dosage, not the highest, but my doctor is adjusting by seeing how my body metabolizes it as everyone is different. I started on 600 mg. and he felt that wasn’t enough and I agreed and feel better on 1,200. It’s also tough with all the hormones and my thyroid issues.
I was a professional dancer/gymnast so am not the “average American’s” weight plus am 34A so no weight helping there! I am 5 feet tall. I was a competitive runner before my surgery but was unable to exercise at all for months afterwards, thus his reasoning on starting me on 40 mg. testosterone (my mistake there quoting 60 mg). I was completely depressed. Now can at least run again and getting some muscle back so 94 is a healthy weight for me. It’s difficult watching my once toned body change whilst I put in the work of weight lifting, running and yoga to keep it there. When I read other always “non-overweight” women going through menopause also gaining no matter what they did, it resonated. Anxious to read more, always learn and try and not let it get me down when it interferes with quality of life.
Thanks so much for sharing.
Also for the testosterone, if you read any of Dr. Lees book about hormone therapy, he only suggests 0.5mg of testosterone a day. The amount your taking from what I read looks higher than what a male makes naturally in their body each day(4-8mg). I would definitely look into it.
I’m thinking about starting a bio – identical progesterone, but am unsure which would be best ……furthest from synthetic, closest to all-natural.
I understand my thoughts are advised against, but I’ve decided to play doctor on myself, after going to a few different doctors and pretty much coming up with nothing more than any changes w/me are my fault, which I know isn’t true.
Here’s the deal:
In December of 2013 I had to have a Total Hysterectomy (both ovaries were left). Ever since then, my weight has been a nonstop problem, no matter how much or how little I eat. I am 5’8 & after my 2 kids, my bounce – back range is 157 to 165 lbs. For my height, that weight is bikini – able 😉 Currently I am 194.5 lbs and HATING how I look!
In February I started trying to lose the weight, after weighing in at 197. The last day of July I was 168. Semi-happy, I grabbed my swimsuit and left for my 11 day vacation. As of the 2nd week in October, all the weight is back and it makes NO sense. I generally don’t eat breakfast or lunch. Never really have. If I eat breakfast, I have 4 eggs or a bowl of cereal. If I eat lunch, its usually on the weekend when I’m around people that decide to go out somewhere. Weekdays I’m at work where i am “given” a 30 minute lunch that I don’t truly get. Ever. Dinner time is whatever I make and sometimes not even that. Sometimes I’ll feed my family and then just eat a bowl of cereal. It’s ridiculous!!
I KNOW my hormones are out of whack and therefore I have decided to permanently (hopefully) put myself on a bio – identical. I’m REALLY hoping to see some positives out of it such as my weight staying where I work to have it, less hair thinning (only noticeable in the drain . ….so far), and normal happiness, sex drive, and overall daily feelings returning to normal. I’d even settle for 50/50, at this point.
What are your thoughts on progesterone changes, or even hormonal changes in general, after having a total hysterectomy (still having both ovaries)?
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, even from others who are in my spot.
The hormonal changes are puzzling since you still have both ovaries. But I am no expert, and there is perhaps something I don’t understand. Taking Progesterone does apparently speed up metabolism. In my view, the healthiest and most effective weight loss approach for many people is the low carb one. I am not a fan of meals of cereal. It simply spikes blood sugar and insulin, and is working a cross purposes with a desire to lose weight.
I’ve read several things, leading me to believe that having a hysterectomy where the ovaries are left in place doesn’t mean no change. Here is a clip out of one article: “Reports show than more than half of all women who undergo hysterectomy but retain their ovaries will experience symptoms of hormone shifting and imbalance – even though their ovaries are left in place and continue to function. What many women aren’t told is that the uterus and ovaries share their blood supply and once the uterus is removed, ovarian function can be negatively affected.”
. . ….I think I’m just going to give it a bio – identical progesterone a shot and see what happens. Fingers crossed! 🙂
sandra w says
Have you had blood tests etc. for your hormones? otherwise your just guessing about if you are low, or what you are low on. This should be a first step, and if your doctors wont do it you need to find a bioidentical doctor to do it for you. Gaining weight usually is more to do with the concept of calories in and calories out, plus metabolism does go down a little as you age slightly. May I suggest you record calories for a week, all you eat, and see how many calories you are eating on average, you can then find out what your bodily needs are and see what going on. I personally like My Fitness Pal. It does have a spot where you can record, lookup and do the monitoring for the week. You may actually be having more calories then you require per day. It could in fact be a combination of both.
I’ve already done the calorie counting bit ….
.repeatedly. 1000 to 1200, on a normal day (drinks included), but some days up to 1400 to 1500, max. It’s not an issue with over eating or not being active.
I’m a certified nutrition coach. A couple of thoughts came to mind.
First, food is your friend, your body needs nutrients to get the job done, so eat a veggie heavy Paleo diet, no grains, legumes, processed foods, sugars, milk. Do eat lots of veggies, organic eggs and meat and wild fish, and healthy fats like nuts or avocados. Don’t count calories.
Second, have your hormones measured properly. Have a full thyroid panel, an adrenal profile, and a DUTCH test. You need to figure out what’s going on and fix it. Also, look into iodine deficiency. Just your thyroid sleep ne could be behind your problems.
Last, look at food allergies and gut health. Every 50 year old woman I know has been coming up with allergies to gluten, milk, eggs, and/or soy, plus others. The inflammation can promote weight gain and your cereal dinners might be a driver. Have a Geniva Diagnostics GI Effects test done to find out what’s living in your gut, certain bacteria can promote weight gain. And take a non-dairy probiotic, 20 billion or more.
Hang in there, there’s an answer out there for you – you just need to get good data and be willing to make the changes to your lifestyle, and it sounds like you’re very motivated!.
I lost 35 lbs. myself using some of the above advice, eating constantly about 1700 calories per day of nutrient dense food. The answer isn’t in starving.
Great comment. Thank you for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully. I agree, there is a need to get to the heart of the problem and to commit to long term changes in life style.
Hey Sharon, thanks SO much for your reply! I feel a little more willing to try the doctor again since I now have some specific tests to ask about. Speaking of gut health, I wish this forum would let people upload pics. I recently went to the hospital for my gut. I have before and after pics. They look like they were taken right before childbirth and a couple months after. It’s crazy!! Also, I got a probiotic a couple weeks ago, 30 billion plus.
Anyway, thanks again for your reply!!! It seems REALLY helpful!
Thanks, Manda and Dr. T.
I think your gut is a good clue based on what you’ve said. There are a lot of things that can go haywire there.
In addition to the Genova GI Effects test, The Food Intolerance Bible by Anthony Haynes is a great self-help book with lots of quizzes you can do to ferret out problems and good explanations of treatment protocols in the back, so you can understand why a doctor is telling you to do something.
Seriously, giving up grains, wheat, corn, quinoa, etc can go a long way to solving your gut problems. If you need to be convinced that gluten is your problem, you might add a couple of the Cyrex test arrays, for the various types of gluten AND for cross-reactive foods. Or save your money, and just give it up.
And get the hormones done, too. Especially the full thyroid panel, NOT just TSH.
I am 55. Like many women here, I was slim and trim most of my adult life, until age 46, when I suddenly blew up, going from 130 (5’8″) to 155 in a year. Although 155 was still not fat REALLY (for a 5’8″ woman), for ME, it was going up 4 sizes in jeans, going from size 8 dress to size 14. On and on. Imagine my surprise when the doctor informed me I was in menopause…..with 0 level hormones. Since that time, I have researched EVERY known article and theory regarding weight gain/loss and menopause.
I did the “starve yourself/exercise to death” thing with no results. I’ll make this brief here. There’s so much more I could say about what I went through… but I will refrain.
The loss of muscle mass is the deal. It happens to every woman, that is part of aging. We have been inundated with information regarding aerobic exercise, caloric burn, and diet (calorie counting). Enter MENOPAUSE and all that goes out the door. If a woman loses muscle mass (or anyone for that matter) you are losing your ability to metabolize nutrients, especially carbohydrates–which are fuel for muscles. The carbs have nowhere else to go, because with decreased estrogen and progesterone, your body’s ability to take care of those carbs (in cooperation with insulin) goes out the door as well.
Decreasing carbs HELPS. Increasing protein HELPS. Increasing fat intake HELPS. Some lucky women find the balance and go on their merry way. But from my reading on this website, most of us still are puzzled when the weight just sits there, staring back at us from our Humpty-Dumpty image in the mirror.
I think the key is the type of exercise we do. Aerobic exercise, like jogging, power walking, the treadmill, etc, does not help like it once did. Because calories are not the issue. Someone earlier mentioned Dr. Schwartzbein…and she turn me on to this several years ago…carbs and insulin levels seem to be the issue. Estrogen/progesterone work with insulin in pre-menopause years to put away those carbs quite well, convert them to energy that we exercise off when we are running, walking, playing tennis, etc. But what happens when we drop in those two hormones is we are stuck with insulin….being secreted in response to eating carbs. It’s like this:
Progesterone: yes Estrogen: yes Insulin: yes (premenopause)
Progesterone: no Estrogen: no Insulin: yes (postmenopause)
Insulin’s only purpose is to put those carbs somewhere. If there’s no female hormones, as in menopause, the only other thing to do is to store the carbs as FAT. FAT. In the middle—in your organs, creating that pooch you see in the mirror. It’s a survival mechanism. No one can escape. We are human.
Here is where quality of carbs really matters. Eating fruit, although fruit is such a healthy food, will really make your blood sugar rise rapidly. The menopausal body sees sugar as sugar, regardless of its source…so fruit eaten—goes to fat in the absence of those precious hormones. Vegetables (most of them anyway), however, do not affect blood sugar as much and eaten with protein and healthy fats will give energy, and decrease the amount of insulin your pancreas produces to take care of the carbs. Thus, you stop packing on the fat around the middle, and actually burn fat for fuel.
What about the exercise? Stop so much aerobic exercise. Or decrease it, at least. Focus on the quality of your exercise and not quantity…replace with weight training, resistance training. Building muscle increases your metabolism…and when that happens, you will see the fat decrease.
Bottom line, it takes time. No matter what you’ve always done to stay in shape…MENOPAUSE LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD. You have to rethink your entire way of eating and exercising, because we were born female, we have these things called ovaries, and over time, they change. We have to change with them, or we will look like Mrs. Humpty Dumpty and not be the best we can be AS MATURE WOMEN. None of us wants to be 25 again. We are mature and wise, and we are supposed to get old and die. We have to change…to go with it…change our ways of thinking about our female bodies, our mature years and our goals….AS MATURE, WISE WOMEN.
Thank you for taking the time to write this thoughtful comprehensive comment. I am certain that many will benefit from your perspective.
Wow!! That was probably some of the best info I have read- thank you!!
Hysterectomy ( even when u still have ovaries) stops blood supply to your ovaries, so they shrink in few months anyway and stop functioning…. so if your adrenals are weaker u must supply bioidentical hormones to feel like before…,
Can 200 mg prometrium be taken continuously for 51 year old perimenopausal (very irregular cycles though) woman. Should a break be taken and if so how long?
sandra w says
I cant tell you if you should take it non stop, your hormone doctor should let you know, but in my situation I started with taking it all the time (47 wonky periods, 1 lasted 3 weeks and I had to take meds to stop it) when i was able to decifer my cycle for a while I then started on the 8th day after my period started, now I am appr starting 2 weeks after my period starts, so about 2 weeks on 2 weeks off, kinda coordinates with the natural rhythm your own body had with the rise and fall of progesterone. I have read about persons taking it all the time.You may wan to read Dr Lees books, he has a bunch, they are really very good and can give you more insight into the whole process, how to take it, when to take it. He was like a hormone guru. Pretty well everything he has mentioned in his book is exactly how my hormonal doctor has followed up with me.
Hi! I tried to sift thru all the comments…any info about prescribing to a young teen? My daughter started her period at 10 and 3 years later is still bleeding long and heavy…to the point that we just found she is extremely anemic. I thought they would recommend birth control pills and I was hesitant, but the GYN we found recommended 100mg per day. I am still hesitant but am researching:).
Unfortunately, I am really not an expert on hormone therapy. I am, however, not a fan of synthetic hormones. I would recommend that you find a practitioner familiar with bioidentical hormones. I wish you and your daughter all the best.
Sorry, forgot to add that i have PCOS, is successfully treated with metformin. Thanks!
Thank you for this blog posting. I return to it again and again to reread it and read the comments.
I am 46 and starting my second year of perimenopause.I was put on Prometrium initially which worked fantastically but then the effects seemed to wear off. In the last year, I feel like perimenopause has really compromised my health and I’ve had a kidney stone, vertigo, and shingles. That’s more illnesses than I’ve ever had in my entire life. And the last four months I’ve had six periods. Previously the Prometrium had helped my mood brain fog and memory. I went back to my doctor, who was very kind and supportive and she told me I should stop taking as much Prometrium that I had been taking (Rx was for 200, after 6th period, i ramped it to 400). She put me on the pill to try to control my whack a doodle ovaries . I am two weeks in and I do feel better physically in many ways but I sure do miss the mood boost of the Prometrium I’m still feeling moody and angry.
My big question is: Is there any precedent for adding Prometrium to the pill? i want to have more emotional lightness. I feel that’s not really available to me physically, however weird that sounds. I did take a Prometrium twice while on the pill and it made me feel more like my usual self–not fantastic, but just more baseline. Any insight you or anyone else can offer would be most appreciated! Thank you!
I am unfortunately no expert on this. I would not know how to advise you, but am not a big fan of synthetic hormones. Have you explored the work of Dr. William Walsh of the Walsh Research Institute? There may be more going on here than perimenopause. I recommend you check out his work, and perhaps find a practitioner in your area. There is a practitioner’s page on the website of the Walsh Research Institute by geographical region. You also might investigate the Paleo auto-immune protocol. There may be food sensitivities contributing to this as well. I believe that people with PCOS do well with a ketogenic diet, or at least a very low carb one.
thank you for your time and insight!! I appreciate it.
Ive been on bioidentical progesterone for over a year myself, I personally would not mix the pill with the prometrium unless advised to, mind you I am not a fan of synthetic hormones either. I myself see a bioidentical doctor who monitors my levels of hormones, knows what I am or am not lacking and makes adjustments if needed. I personally just had an instant where I had upon losing 75pounds messed up my levels of progesterone and my estrogen changed and lowered, I started having periods every 2 weeks (doctor let me know ahead of time I could expect some wonky stuff) I just readjusted my progesterone, which now was too much because of my weight loss, and it was back to normal within about 2 cycles. I have fantastic, mood, sleeping etc with taking it. If you are not seeing a specialist in hormones, your hormones being monitored, I would if i were you find someone who is able to do it, many or most regular doctors and Obyns do not have extensive training in that and they seem to just sometimes guess as to what we need and how much without doing the needed tests to get our levels back to where they need to be.
From the hormone course 101:)… no progesterone works alone down a road… your dr shoyld of give u mild estrogen with a progesterone instead of syntetic birth control pills, they have such high estrogen compare to biest estrogen and shutting the natural function of your ovaries, u will feel worst diwn the road..,
Oh my goodness! I started on bioidentical hormones a little over a year ago. A spit test is about $129 and I am taking progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen, and a 3-month supply for each one is $35, so $105 plus tax. That is WITHOUT INSURANCE! If you have insurance, chances are some of it will be covered. You need to find an apothecary (compounding pharmacy), and ask them which doctors in the area deal with bioidentical hormones. I bought my spit test from the apothecary, followed the instructions (and you have to be at a certain point in your cycle to do the spit test, so it could be a month before you get your results so be prepared for that!), sent it into ZRT Labs, and a week later, I had my results in my hand. I then made an appointment with a doctor in the area who deals specifically with bioidenticals, took my test with me, and he looked it over and determined the best plan of action for me. Good luck!!!
What are your thoughts on Paroxetine (Paxel) 10 mg. Definitely help me with many symptoms night sweats, mood swings etc….except weight gain.
Of all the SSRI’s, Paxil is the one most often associated with weight gain. If other measures such as healthful and appropriate diet, adequate sleep and rest, proper exercise, sunlight and spiritual practice fail to treat depression, or if the situation is desperate and needs quick relief, I believe anti-depressants can be appropriate. There are, however, in my opinion, other factors that should be investigated, like pyrroles in the urine, elevated copper or methylations disorders, all of which can cause depression and which when corrected, can treat depression. I am not a fan of pharmaceuticals unless absolutely necessary.
Thank you for your great blog. I wonder if you are able to assist me with some advice please:
I am 48 and I have been experiencing peri-menopause for some time and am now in Menopause. I had a hysterectomy in 1999.
I would have no idea where I am in my cycle because of the hyst.
I have been using Bio identical Progesterone for the past 5 years and it really helps with my sanity..however:
I have no libido. I am highly stressed all the time (different from sanity) and I am stacking on the weight.
I have read that bio-identical progesterone is supposed to help with stress and libido and weighgain.
I am becoming concerned that either I am not using enough (I use .25ml both am and pm. the script has Prog 140 and Preg 50 written on it) should I use more or is there a resistance/build up resistance to progesterone? I rotate the sites.
I feel desperate as the libido thing is getting me down, getting the husband down and this does not help the stress.
I would like to know what your think. thank you.
I am really not an expert in all of this. I would suggest that you consult an expert, such as a naturopath who is knowledgable about women’s health. It does sound like things are out of balance and that you need some good help.
Hey. I get exactly where you are coming from because I am in the same position. I had my son 16 years ago and was crazy in the mood when pregnant, had my daughter 13 years ago, less drive, and after that it just when downhill. I have no sex drive at all. I have been on bioprogesterone for just over a year, smoothed out cycles, i am less moody, things are good there but still no sex drive. My hormone specialist asked me about drive last time i saw her, she is running a hormone blood panel to take a look, i could be low on testosterone, my adrenals could be burnt out, I guess a number of things besides progesterone could inpact your sex drive. i have to get results in about 2 weeks, i will see whats happening and let you know, maybe what i find out could be something similar, and you could then check with your doctor or at least know what to ask or look for, wish me well, doesnt do good things on the home front when you have no libido, my husband is pretty patient though.
I started taking bio-identical progesterone on May 19th, the 14th day of my cycle. 200 mg nightly. I started bleeding the 21st and it lasted for 21 days. I stopped for a week and started again. I am bloated and have gained weight. I am sleeping better, but I am looking for some guidance as to how to deal with the bloating and the weight gain, in addition to the constant bleeding. I am thinking of going back on birth control where I could control my weight. I do like being able to sleep, but not at the cost of close to 20 lbs.
I am doing all sorts of other tests now…transvaginal ultrasound, hysterosonogram, biopsies and blood tests. The biopsy came back negative, as did the blood test. The ultrasound showed a ovarian fibroid, a couple on my uterus, and a potential calcified fibroid in my fundus.
I need to stop this weight gain and bloating. I can deal with the rest. I eat right (I have a nutritionist), exercise, and can’t seem to drop a pound. This is enough to make me go back on birth control…
I’ve just started Prometrium for 5 days (100mg a day) and I have had no sleep and feel depressed and really don’t know how long to take it to see if it will help me at all. I am 53 and my period stopped at 50 so I am post menopausal. So far, I DO NOT like Prometrium and doubt if it will do me any good.
Who did you see in regards to hormones? Have they done any tests to see what hormone you are missing or low on? You need to deal with someone who can do the correct tests, determine what you need and continually followup to make sure everything is at the correct levels and that you feel well. Many regular doctors and OBGYN do not have the specific training about hormones. My OBGYN who I first saw about my issue did no tests at all, guessed what I was maybe missing or low in and wanted to give me a prescription of something. I looked at all the reviews and problems with this specific pill and tossed the prescription in the garbage. (there was hardly any testing done on this new drug, serious side effects reported, including a lady reporting skin tumours) I myself am on progesterone, know from testing. I take a bioidentical progesterone cream made specifically for me. I have less anxiety, and I sleep like a baby, before I was waking through the night (many nights) and could not get back to sleep.
I talked to a Dr. who deals with BIO HRT and he told me that to Hormone saliva tests it would be $500.00 and then $200.00 a month for hormones. this discouraged me so much. Do I need to be rich to indulge in such luxuries as a Dr. for Bio hormone therapy?
Hi there. Get a fee schedule from a few doctors you would consider seeing. My doctor charged a yearly fee upfront, but no other fees for office visits. I could use my health spending account at work to pay that fee. I only take Bioidentical progesterone as a cream, it is only $80 for a 3-4 month supply. I only had bloodwork hormones done and there was no charge. If I want a whole intricate screening, I think saliva, it is quite high, but I am having very good results now, so I am going to keep doing what I am doing now.
I am 51
I have been sufering with day/night hot flashes for two years now. The flashes so bad that I got them every 30 minutes so NO SLEEP FOR ME! Really intense to where I get dizzy and very queasy.
I began and new job and could not cope so my Dr. put me on low dose estrogen patch and 100 ml. progesterone pill nightly.
Although my sweats almost completely went away, the drawbacks from the estrogen were bad like edema in my legs, belly bloat, aches in my joints, and migraines.
I decided to take myself off of the estrogen.
I still take the progesterone at night and my flashes are slowly returning (BIG SAD FACE)I still have bad bloating in my belly but it’s only been a little over a week since stopping the estrogen.
My question to you.
Do you think it would make a difference for me to take 300 ml. at night every night to help with the flashes and my bloating?
That is I believe what Dr. Jerilyn Prior would recommend.
In your experience how long does it take to work. I took 300 ml. last night and didn’t see a difference in my night sweats/ hot flashes this morning.
How long should I give it before I decide to wean off?
How do I wean off of a gel pill?
Thank you 🙂
You really need to speak to a bio-hormone specialist. While only one of my hormones is low, the progesterone, some ladies have one or the other or both,(progesterone and estrogen) and in combination with other hormones we have too. You really need to find out what is out of whack, and what you need to be on and how much. You have to find out which one is the one which would help more with the hot flashes. The doctor should also followup with testing to see where your levels are after a while to see if they are back in range, and follow how you are feeling. My family doctor and OBYN had very very limited knowledge on hormones(what they did know was a one remedy fits all approach, and heres a pill), did not deal with Bioidenticals, I had to hunt around for one with the knowledge I needed.
Try going to an apothecary (compounding pharmacy), get a spit test $129-149, and when you get the results back, make an appointment with a doctor who deals with bioidentical hormones. The apothecary should have a list of doctors in the area. At least you can get some help that way, but you may want to find a naturopath who can help as well. Perimenopause and menopause symptoms can be greatly reduced by drinking lots of water, eating healthy, exercising DAILY (my doc says 2-3 x a week is not enough), and finding good supplements, but my symptoms were so bad with hot flashes every 30 mins that I was desperate for any kind of help. The bioidenticals have me stabilized pretty well, but I have also learned that there are a lot of natural ways to help yourself as well. Good luck!
Since I was a teen I’ve had too frequent and too heavy cycles (14 day cycles with large clots, heavy bleeding), with awful pain, irritability, and often exhaustion that was interpreted as depression, and for close to 20 years GYN Dr’s prescribed different birth controls or told me my symptoms were in my head. Last year, at age 36, a Dr told me my estrogen/progesterone was out of balance and prescribed micronized bioidentical progesterone. My cycles lengthened to a normal 27-28 day cycle, the heaviness decreased somewhat, and the irritability, exhaustion, pain, etc was gone. I attribute the never-ending rotation of birth control to the loss of my gallbladder about 4 years ago. I wish I had known more, and that doctors would have known more about how to help so I wouldn’t have had to suffer for most of my reproductive age with symptoms that were simply due to my body’s inadequate natural production of progesterone.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Many women have had and are having similar experiences and perhaps reading about your journey will point them in a direction which will restore their health. In addition, conventional medicine does not recognize the damage that indiscriminate and inappropriate prescription of birth control pills does to the intestinal micro biome, and thus degrades health.
Thanks for sharing, your story may help someone having similar issues. Im glad the progesterone was able to ease some of your issues and that you are feeling better.
Hi I am a 53 yo female I have workout all my life eat healthy etc.i have ALWAYS been thin. My period is every 2 mos now. I wake every hour sweating etc. I am listless. I recently lost my health insurance and am CRAZY that I have gain 20lbs for no reason. I have always been thin and I am adding fat to my list of everything else!! Please tell me about bio identical progesterone. Can I get it myself? How much? I am 5’9″ 164ilbs. Should be about 148!! I am on cymbalta for 7 years at 30mg for anxiety. Take nothing else… Help please I’m disparate a d frustrated and defeated!!
It sounds really distressing! Bio-identical progesterone would likely be helpful to you. You need to work with a licensed practitioner who can prescribe it. I recently heard a podcast with a naturopath in Canada who specializes in women’s health, Fiona McCoullough. One of my patients had a consultation with her and liked her. She works with people via Skype. Her website is:
I hope you find the right help and feel better soon.
Sorry your having such issues. I personally would recommend you find someone who deals in bio-identical hormones. You need to see if it is actually the progesterone giving you the issue. Many women have hormone issues, and in many of them it is the progesterone level giving them problems, but it could be an issue with eg/ estrogen. Your family doctor or GYN may not have info or deal with Bioidenticals, I had to do research and talk to people, and go looking, I got recommendations at a compounding pharmacy, but then also did research on the particular doctors too.
Yes , usually u need more than progesterone, after or during early menaoause symptoms, everything works in synergy.. remember no hormone works on itself… estrogen gives u energy, nice skin etc… progesterone protects your uterus and works to compliment the estrogen… it is like a tango:)
Has anyone had the experience of being on bio identical hormones and suddenly getting period pains? I haven’t had a period in 6 years but in the last 2 weeks I feel the same pains I used to and had a very slight showing yesterday. Is this normal? weird?
Hi, sorry i clicked reply to Amy, i wanted to ask my own question
and couldnt figure out how to starta new one. I am 60 and have been menopausal for 7 years. i switched right from birth control to HRT as i suffered severe depression whenever i went off hormones. i take estradiol every night and prometrium every 3 days 100mg. are these synthetic or bio identical?
due to alot of stress lately, my mother died and i changed jobs, i kept falling asleep forgetting my hormones a few times a week.i woke up yesterday with a period, complete with mild crampd. i looked online and freaked out thinking i might have uterine cancer from not taking enough prometrium with my estradiol. but i also read that stopping the HRT could cause a bleed. i took 200 mg prometrium last night (supper time so i dont forget again) with my estradiol (1mg) and the bleeding is almost gone already. has anyone had this experience? my Dr is sending me for pelvic ultrasound soon and i am scared. i plan to take the higher dose of prometrium until the test anyway,in case its just thick uterus walls, do you know how long it takes for the walls to thin out on prometrium daily? i dont want to end up with unneccessary hysterectomy etc.
i also have sarcoidosis in my lungs which if the granulomas appear in the uterus could cause these symptoms, and no experts in this are within 500 miles of me. thank you. sincerely,
I have been on 60 mg of progesterone cream (bioidentical) for 3 months along with 1mg of estrogen cream. Feeling so much better and now will increase estrogen cream to 2 mg per day. Recently saw my ob-gyn doctor and she emphasized that the prometrium tablets would be safer for me to take and would be absorbed better than the cream. Said that because I only have one ovary, that the lining of my endometrium could more easily develop cancer if I didn’t have the right amount of progesterone. Afraid to try something new with these pills (100mg prometrium pills) because I’m feeling so much better. The hormone doctor who prescribed the creams didn’t mention anything to me about the possibility of pills as an option.
Hi. I personally would run it through your hormone doctor before you decide to change. The hormone doctors are the ones who have usually been trained specifically in hormones. Where as most GYN,s do not have thorough training. I personally am on the cream as I had heard it is absorbed better and it is not processed through the liver so you do not need as high of a dose. If they switch you to pills your dose will be higher as most of it will get filtered out. I really have not read one is better than the other as long as you are on the bioidentical. (I personally like the cream better as it goes into your bloodstream in a similar fashion to the way our own body does)If it was only in relation to the developement of cancer, both could help with that. For me I had a thick lining that was not being shed properly due to my period being funky, my GYN wanted to observe it and stick me on something synthetic (did not want it) I am now on the bioidentical progesterone for 3/4 of a year, only after a couple of months use my lining was already thin and normal (shown on a scan) It is correct that if you are not on a proper amount and your lining is thick or has a continuous buildup it could become cancerous. I would think that your hormone doctor would likely test your hormone level, like mine does, and also make sure (GYN may do ultrasounds) to make sure the lining is normal. I would also think that if your hormone doctor says your levels are good, and your feeling good, I wouldn,t want to possibly mess up a good thing and switch without really needing to.
Sandy, I want to shed thickened lining too. What is the exact bioidentical progesterone cream you use? Do you use alot of it once a day or twice a day? On what days of you menstrual cycle do you apply it? How many months did you apply it for the lining to be thin and normal? Thanks for your help. God bless us all.
(I personally like the cream better as it goes into your bloodstream in a similar fashion to the way our own body does) For me I had a thick lining that was not being shed properly due to my period being funky, my GYN wanted to observe it and stick me on something synthetic (did not want it) I am now on the bioidentical progesterone for 3/4 of a year, only after a couple of months use my lining was already thin and normal (shown on a scan)
Trying to shed thickened lining for 2 years. You mentioned you get the bioidentical progesterone cream from a compounding pharmacy made just for you. Please let me know what’s in it exactly so I can go and ask for the same thing. I really my menstrual cycles to be normal again. Trying to eat less to reduce estrogen too.
If its not broke don’t fix it? I say stay with the bioidentical creams that the first doctor prescribed. Synthetic oral hormone medications have to pass thru the gut and be processed by the liver. The excess synthetic medication can damage heart and cause breast/uterine cancer, which is why synthetics are no longer generally recommended. If you are feeling good, your body is probably getting exactly what you need from your bioidenticals. Bioidenticals, in my own personal experience, and from my extensive research are the way to go. Do your own research, then you can have an informed discussion with your doctor about your preference.
After a year of vlc eating, I developed severe anxiety/insomnia. I’ve spend more than two years trying to recover. Recently realizing that my progesterone is low and attempting some bioidentical treatment.
Dr. Schwarzbein wrote about this in her SPII book.
“Many people who read the book came off feeling that insulin was something to get rid of or that they already were insulin resistant when they were not and therefore went too low on their carbohydrate intake. I wrote The SP II in part to explain how damaging it is to eat too few carbohydrates as well as too many! I wanted to introduce the other side to the insulin story, the adrenal glands and to emphasize that balance is key.”
She writes how healing takes time and can require weight gain.
As a frequent participant in Paul Jaminet’s FB group, I can tell you that many many woman end up hormonally messed up after doing vlc/keto. It’s a way of eating that I do not think is safe for woman (especially of a certain age) to undertake. It upsets me when men continue to tout the benefits of this eating because it works for them. Show me older woman doing very well long term eating that way first. During the AHS14 Keto for Cancer discussion, the experts did discuss how woman can become hormonally messed up and hypoglyceamic. I think caution needs to be exercised when touting these ideas as “safe” for everyone to try.
I’m hoping the additional progesterone will help me get to an even better place. Jerilynn Prior is great and there are a few other great resources as well. Dr. John Lee is good as well http://www.amazon.com/What-Your-Doctor-About-Premenopause/dp/0446673803
Thank you for taking the time to write.
Each of us is so different. For some the ketogenic diet is a real life saver.
For some it really helps their moods and anxiety.
But for others, it does not make them feel well at all.
Hi and thanks for all of this information – it is completely new to me. I believe I am in peri-menopause, but my symptoms are a bit different. I have primarily begun to experience “daytime” hot flashes and severe acid reflux with a concurrent headache. The hot flashes are tolerable, but the reflux/headache combo isn’t. I’ve been able to time the swings in the reflux to my monthly hormonal fluctuations, and it used to mostly occur during PMS; but now, as my cycle is shortening, the days are squeezing together, and it seems like I have many more bad days than good.
I have always experienced lax joints and severe diarrhea during PMS and I believe the laxity in my esophageal sphincter might be a continuation of this symptom. There are no specific food triggers – can be a sip of water or bite of bland cracker – all the OTC acid blockers do nothing for me.
My Gyn has put me on BC to see if it will help regulate my cycle and hormone levels and subsequently the reflux and headaches. I’m in the 2nd week and although I thought the reflux could get no worse, it has! Is it possible that this estrogen dominance you mention can be the cause of my gastrointestinal problems? And that bio-identical progesterone would be a better choice?
All I can say is to speak to someone who deals in bioidenticals. When I went in to talk to my Gyn, he did no tests, he just wanted to give me pills and send me home. He did not even want to discuss bioidenticals with me, even though I knew he had access to pill form bioidentical progesterone. My doctor who I currently see did blood work, I know exactly what my levels of everything are, she follows up every second month, I know I am estrogen dominant and she is helping me work on getting the levels down. I know I am deficient in B vitamins, and I take some vitamins, minerals and she will continue to monitor me. If you are estrogen dominant you wouldn,t want to take a hormone pill with extra estrogen. You may want to go to a library, or on the internet and read everything you can about this subject(you cannot know too much in this area, and you may have to use some of this knowledge to speak to these doctors think we don,t know anything). From what I,ve read, Gyns do not spend a great deal of time learning about hormones and this time of life. They mostly prescribe pills or take out what they can,t fix. The last time I was at my Gyn, one of my last tests came back fantastic, my uterine lining was down to the proper thickness (its not a good thing if its thick for too long) the doctor asked me if I was taking the pills he prescribed. I told him no, I was not comfortable taking them as they were synthetic, and I told him I had asked him but he refused to prescribe them so I found another doctor to prescribe Bioidentical progesterone. I told him I have done a great deal of research, and I will only take the Bioidentical. I was nice to walk out of there after standing my ground, and also knowing from the test, the cream is working. Dr. Lee has a couple very good books, there are many.
This comment is very much in the spirit of Jerilynn Prior’s book The Estrogen Errors that I mentioned in my post. I very much agree with this perspective, especially about empowering yourself through your own research and by observing the effect of particular treatments on yourself and standing your ground. Most conventional gynecologists know very little about this topic, and there is still a great deal of mythology about estrogen and women that is accepted as gospel.
The MISSING all IMPORTANT piece here is that NOT ALL WOMEN ARE IDENTICAL! Sure, progesterone may be YOUR miracle cure, but some women DO NEED ESTROGEN replacement. And which of three types of natural estrogen does one need? The KEY here is to measure with serum levels, the levels od all hor ones, estrogen, progestrone, and testerone. Then replace naturally what is needed. If estrogen dominance was the issue, then why do most womend feel so god mid cycle when estrogen levels peak and progestrone is low?
Let’s not forget underlying issues such as PCOS, wich can lead to no milk production after birth, for example, where these women feel the BEST they ever have being pregnanat!
The key is INDIVIDUALIZED treatment oprions, not one size fits all natural progestreone. It adds to the confusion many women already face. Educate yourself before buying into anything that works for one person…YOU need to do what works for YOU!
I completely agree with you! I used progesterone alone for several years during peri menopause and it did help. However, when I was really hitting menopause, progesterone offered no relief at all. I was severely estrogen (estradiol) deficient.
There are three types of estrogen – estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Women continue to produce estrone after menopause, but that is not the youthful estradiol and it doesn’t exert the same effects. Estrone is the one associated with cancer.
I use BHRT and estradiol cream stopped my hot flashes and night sweats completely! I lost 10 lbs, my skin and hair are healthier, and my libido has returned.
Progesterone is not a cure-all by itself.
So true for me also… bioindentical estradiol with progesterone cream kick my weight loss and overall great feeling hormonally, it realky works in synergy and they compliment each other, where being on progesterone only most people gain weight and have crying spell since they are lacking estrogen ,
Well said 👍👍👍
I am 51 and have been suffering from Menopause systems for over 3 years , my lady Dr has put me on BHRT . Some of my main systems is anxiety and mood swings. The first DR I went to did not listen and just threw me a script for AD , Lexapro I hated it but I took it for a year , then took myself off . When i back to her 6 weeks ago to discuss my hormones she shut me down and said BHRT will not help , so I went back on lexapro , however it was then I sourced another Dr to discuss. , I had my hormones tested my DR decided to put me on BHRT .
This is why i sourced another DR as every time I went back to the first DR again she said I should take the AD , I have never taken a drug in my life.
I have been on the BHRT for only 3 weeks , how long will it take to work ?
And are some of the increase side affects of Anxiety , jittery feelings due to stopping the Lexapro 2 weeks ago.
Some people have a hard time coming off of ant-depressants and need to do so very very slowly or else they have withdrawal symptoms. You may be feeling increased anxiety from stopping the Lexepro. I don’t know how long it will take bio-identical hormone therapy to work for you. I would ask your doctor about her experience and what she anticipates will be likely for you. I am not an expert in this field.
Hi there. I have been on bioidentical progesterone for about 6 months. I would continue working with your BHRT doctor to find out what works for you in what doses. Although I can,t specifically comment on your situation, I was having heavy unending cycles which have improved, I was also having some anxiety but never ever thought it could be due to perimenopause because at first I really didn,t even realize I was in perimenopause. Even that seems much better as well as sleeping more sound, and I had a few evening where I woke so hot and flushed and I haven,t had one of those either. I have done a lot of reading and it seems to be the thing with doctors just to throw prescriptions for powerful pills to fix us, and for a normal occurance that all woman will eventually go through, sometimes we just need to realign what is out of alignment, work with your doctor and see if they are able to help you readjust your hormones naturally to see if it rectifies the issue and go from there.
I have been told I’m in the stages of perimenopause. This whole year I’ve been so sick with weakness, bad anxiety, muscle pain in legs, and just feeling bad. All lab work anf tests checks out good. One of my gyn put me on progesterone creme 40mg split up in two doses a day. I did pretty well for about three months but stayed kinda dizzy feeling alot. So I stopped the creme per my other gyn. The month of September I did ok but when October came I was a mess and still am. horrible anxiety, hot flashes but no night sweats. severe weakness and dizziness and my head feels weird all the time.My general dr put me on a hormone patch of estrodial for abt a week and a half then they took me off of that. Now I feel my whole body is a mess. I’m beginning to feel that maybe I should be back on the progesterone creme. I’ve had a hysterectomy but kept one ovary so that is not helping. Has anyone went thru this I’m just needing some answers and help if so.
Hope you are feeling better , Try BHRT , I have done so much research, from books , internet and other.
I have had an awful time over 3 years finding resolutions for my systems going through Menopause, eg anxiety , mood swings and other that just came out of now where. And all the mainstream DR wanted to help with was Antidepressants. Which I felt was not for me . Then I found a womans centre and the lady there who is focused on Women reproduction and Menopause help.
She did all my testing for Hormones and took it slowly with the BHRT .
It has only been 3 weeks but there is a little improvment the progesterone cream was only a low dose , two days ago she introduced a tablet form of Progesterone tablet of 100mg . This is helping with the anxiety .
BHRT is heelping me .
Take care .
I’ve been prescribed bio-identical progesterone pills in oil twice now for painful periods and estrogen dominance and all that entails. The first time, I was prescribed 100 mg per day on days 14-27. I bloated, became very constipated, moody, and ended up bleeding the entire time. I tried it for 2 months and finally had to stop. I was then put on many vitamins, thyroid etc to build up my health to try again at a later date with a smaller dosage. 7 months later, feeling stronger, I have been put on only 25 mg. I have been taking it for 4 days at night and once again already constipated, bloated and feeling a little off mentally. I’m sleeping great but I’m not understanding why I’m having this reaction to it at such a small dose. Any suggestions or has anyone had the same problems?
Hi there. I am currently taking bioidentical progesterone in a compounded cream form(I do not know if that would make a diffence in the reaction you are having) and do not have such reactions and I have read and done a lot of research before I took and didn,t read about someone having such strong reactions, but I did look at a side effects page and some ladies report some different reactions? What are your meds called? Is it called prometrium? Are you being followed by a doctors who deals in Bio-identicals? I deal with a doctor myself who did blood tests to determine I was low in progesterone,, high in estrogen, low in my b vitamins, she tested my A vitamins and suggested a proticol of stuff for me to do, take, vitamin and mineral wise, my GYN was not able (not willing to help) and really would not have monitored me as close as the doctor I am seeing now. I would definitly follow up with someone who knows their hormones.
I’m not sure if there is anyone who can give me a bit of feedback on your experience when first starting on Prometrium (or another bioidentical progesterone) in perimenopause for hugely irregular and terribly heavy and debilitating periods.
I recently saw an OBGYN who prescribed a dosing of 200 mg for 10 days / month… it was after that that I read Dr. Prior’s book and also contacted CEMCOR and was given the recommendation that given my symptoms, 300mg DAILY would be the preferred dosing. I will attempt talk my GP into prescribing it that way for me when I see her. Any of you who have done the daily dose of 300mg….how long did you find it took your body to ‘regulate’ and for that heavy bleeding to let up? Did you find that it got a bit worse before it got better? I would appreciate any insights…and thank you for them!
Hi CJ – I am on 200 mg every single day now and have been for about a year. I started out on the synthetic kind which worked like a charm, but it was a pretty heavy dose due to menorraghia and severe anemia.
A few months after I stopped bleeding I switched to the bio-identical, ,same dose as the synthetic. I think it must be slightly weaker as I bled lightly for a bit. I was on 300 for a while, and eventually went to 200. I have only light periods now, monthly – very light.
I tried to go to 100 several months ago, but the bleeding started again, albeit lightly, so I went back up to 200 per day. It helps me sleep and stops my night sweating too.
Every person is different, but it seems like the higher dose is needed for a while to stop the bleeding – it takes all the receptors and stuff time to regulate. I found this really good website that explains that, and then it has a section about dosing. It talks about both the synthetic/progestin (medroxyprogesterone) and the bio-identical/oral micronized progesterone (Prometrium). It says that 600 mg of the oral micronized is used to begin with to stop menorraghia. It seems the natural stuff is pretty harmless according to other stuff I’ve read too. Check the website out, it’s fantastic:
Good luck. I remember being worried, lost, pissed off, and a little bit frantic with all the bleeding. Sending you hugs, sistah!!!
thanks for this reply and the link – i have used that site as a great resource also. mb – if you see this message…i am curious to know how long it took for your system to kind of regulate. i am still bleeding daily (most days it’s fairly light but…still continuing after being on daily 300mg for 3 1/2 weeks – had an episode of really heavy bleeding the first weekend but since then, pretty manageable) i am trying to remember that things take a while to work and to not stress about it 🙂 (not always easy!)
I wish I had taken better notes. I started with synthetic at first, and we did have to increase that because I was still bleeding, but when we did, it did stop the bleeding pretty much right away. But I remember being frustrated with break through bleeding at times. I can’t remember that dosing, but the doctor was concerned about the breakthrough bleeding so she did endometrial biopsies (more about that below).
Then I learned about the bio-identical and it’s health benefits so I started on that, in addition to the synthetic – 200 mg in the mornings. When I stopped the synthetic, I started bleeding again, so we upped that dose too (the synthetic is quite a bit more potent than the natural). I think we upped it to 40o mg at first, split a.m./p.m. Whatever the dose was, it did stop the bleeding and I had learned to take it only at night due to the wonderful drowsiness. (I love that it helps me so very much with my sleeping.) I guess the natural progesterone does have a short half-life, so splitting the dose, 200 at night and 200 in a.m. was helpful. I think it was withing about 4 months that I went down to 200 only at night.
From what I’ve read, it’s pretty safe at levels even higher than 400, (I think I’ve read somewhere about someone taking 600 for something !) so I fiddled with my dosing myself (I’m kind of stubborn that way) as I needed to in order to stop breakthrough bleeding. ie., if 300 wasn’t working, I’d go back up to 400…
Regarding the biopsies, my OB doc thought I shouldn’t still be bleeding at the doses I was taking, so she did biopsies. The first one came back with cells that were not cancerous, but were at level 1 (of 3) before they are considered cancerous. She did another 3 months later and the cells were normal. She wanted to do another one, and I plan to do that, just haven’t yet. I’m pretty bad about getting to the doctor. I get a little freaked out I guess. From my reading, the natural progesterone protects against endometrial cancer, and I kind of feel like I have proof of that. But I do need to go back and check the lining at least one more time.
If you up your dose and can’t get the bleeding to stop, hopefully your doc is checking your endometrial lining too. It’s not too bad of a procedure – like a pap smear, only a tiny bit worse, because they have to go all the way up there. It’s a very short duration, sharp crampy feeling, but definitely survivable.
An interesting thing happened lately. After several months of success on the bio-identical with very light periods, I had a week long period that wasn’t too heavy, but it was red, and not light. It started at the same time that I got a refill. I noticed that my night sweats, insomnia, and anxiety/depression started back up too. I actually think there is something wrong with this batch of pills. I am doubling it now – to 400 – and it is taking care of the night sweats and bleeding, but I’m still feeling emotionally off. I am going to refill as soon as I can and I’m curious to see how the new pills work. It’s a little disconcerting! I mean, I know it could be my own hormones acting up, but it all coincided with the new refill.
One other thing I noticed – when I took ibuprofen along with the progesterone, it helped slow the bleeding down too.
Good luck with everything, CJ. It can be so very frustrating. Keep taking good care of yourself.
MB…thank you so very much for this helpful post (and the encouragement) it is such a muddled time of life – trying to embrace what is and keep my mind on the fact that this does all get better / easier 🙂
take good care.
A quick addendum to my long response a few seconds ago (sorry so long!) – at some point, I was given a 100 mg natural prog. rx in addition to my 200 mg rx which allowed me to take 300 for a while there. I don’t use it anymore, but it was one of the stages of fiddling I went through. 🙂
Hi CJ. I am currently in the a stage of perimenopause the doctors think. I started bioidentical progesterone cream in July as I had a couple crazy periods, one never ending and another so heavy I had to triple up on pads and heavy heavy flow. The cream is dosed a little differently as it is transdermal. I am on 40mg per day spit into 2 doses. So the cream form I,m on would be like taking 300-400 of pill form because cream form does not have to get processed through your liver (from what I,ve read) I have not had a crazy period since, they run about 7-8 days from start to finish, I am not having the few days before my period, the crazy munchies I had been having, I am sleeping much better and more soundly, moods all around better. I was only on the synthetic progesterone one time, a round of it to stop a period that was going on for 3 weeks and showed no sign of stopping, and I had no withdrawal after so then I had to have a sonohystagram to see if anything else was going on up there. I just got those results back everything looked good, I had a very thick lining which was also now normal.(which is not good) I credit the normal lining to the bioidentical progesterone. From what I have read the synthetic progesterone is more potent than the natural so the same dose may not work in the natural. If you have any other questions let me know, I know I was worried and scared when all this happened because I just didn,t know how I was going to cope with all of this stuff happening and I felt my GYN just wanted to use me like a guini pig for one of his newer prescription synthetic pills (which had so many side effects when I looked it up)
Thanks so much for this Sandy…it is such a crazy time, and you’re right…all of that blood loss can be so scary and in my case has made me feel like my quality of life has really tanked.
I appreciate your insights… it can be hard to not obsess about all of this when you have a never-ending flow – I know it will eventually alleviate but it can feel frustrating. Trying to focus on the fact that this too shall pass…and trying to get on with the business of just doing life!
take good care
Thanks so much for this discussion. The lack of correct knowledge of natural micronized progesterone by OB/gyn’s is amazing! I wonder if some important experts and experiments were lost in WWII. Seriously. According to Gary Taubes, author of “Why We Get Fat”, lots of doctors were killed or were so busy trying to survive that the research on fat and hormones was lost or halted and our whole paradigm around obesity is wrong.
Anyway, I’ve been on micronized progesterone (Prometrium, 200 mg) for about a year now. My OB first prescribed the synthetic to stop severe perimenopausal bleeding. And to give her credit and gratitude, it worked. But after I did some research into natural vs synthetic, I asked her if we could switch, and she agreed but didn’t think it should matter. I was disappointed that she doesn’t think there is a difference.
I felt a difference right away when I switched to the natural progesterone from the synthetic. I had a little breakthrough bleeding at first, but that stopped and now I have a slight period each month, but I don’t stop the progesterone at all. I take it every night and in addition to stopping the menorrhagia it helps me sleep without anxiety and stopped the night sweats. Whew!
I am so grateful for this stuff and that my doctor put me on it and was willing to switch to what she referred to as “the more” natural progesterone. I hope to be on it for a long, long time. I’m 51.
Thank you again.
My GYN who(wanted me to take a synthetic progesterone) asked today if I was taking it. When I spoke to him last appt I mentioned I wanted bioidentical progesterone and he just shooed me off. He told me they were the same. I had my followup appt today and had really good results since last appt. He asked me if I was still taking what he prescribed and I told him I was not comfortable taking it and I had seen another doctor who prescribed my bioidenticals. He again said they were the same, so I just told him I had done a lot of reading and research and they are not the same. He just shutup and told me he wants a followup appt for 6 months from not to followup on another issue he is watching. We are the only ones to look out for our best interests and if something doesn,t seem right sometimes we have to do our own research.
Good for you! Its so important to be your own advocate. The conventional medical perspective is unfortunately so misguided and misinformed about so many things, that you really do need to do your own homework. And it becomes really difficult to know who and what to trust. It is so important to follow your own instincts and advocate for yourself. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.
Tracy Johnson says
I have cyclical migraines. Do I use the same dose of progesterone cream daily or do I increase and decrease depending on the day of my cycle? Will my period start on it’s own even though I’m taking it daily? Also, is there a particular bioidentical progesterone cream you recommend? I currently use Arbonne Prolief, but they are not going to manufacture it anymore 🙁 Thank you so much!!
I am not an expert in this field. Maybe another reader will be able to help.
I’m post-menopausal for one year (2 years or so since my last period) and am 50 years old and have been on “bio-identical” estrogen and progesterone for about 9 months. What drove me there was severe night sweats, lack of sleep, but mostly panic attacks with constant anxiety that seemed to kick in over night. This was bad enough that I went on, briefly, an anti-depressant which I no longer take.
I just read Prior and Baxter’s book which I found to be a refreshing history on how the medical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries have described the state of being a woman as a chronic pathology. But, what I found disappointing in the book was the lack of differentiation between estrogens derived from horse urine such as Premarin and what we commonly refer now to bio-identical estrogen such as the bi-est which I take. The book demonizes estrogen on all fronts. I left the book feeling ill-informed about bio-identical estrogen.
I do question my need for estrogen and would prefer to take as little hormone as necessary, or rather as much as I need. I have started to reduce the estrogen and ramp up the progesterone. Through all of my experience with menopause (and other health situations in my life), I need to draw from a team of opinions and ultimately be my own Dr. Jekyll to find out what really works for me. I don’t jump on band wagons and am not ready to accept any reigning opinion as a holy grail because clearly the science isn’t there. All woman need to tread lightly when encountered with any answer that seems too good to be true. The sad reality is that the most reliable studies I have are the ones that I experience first hand on myself. I’d like the WHI or someone to try again and focus exclusively on the “bio-identicals” this time.
Thank you for taking the time to write this thoughtful comment. What I am most impressed with is the reality that we are an n of 1 and that I learn the most from my own reactions to my experiments. I have yet to find an expert who has the answers. I find pieces of what is true for me here and there and cobble together my own protocol, which is always a work in progress. I think your critique of the book is valid, that there is not a distinction made between synthetic and bio-identical estrogen. I am not an expert in this domain. Please continue to share what you discover. It benefits us all.
Cobbling is all we have along with the support of an educated doctor, but the information seems to be getting better too and more disseminated. You just have to smart about it and know your symptoms. Question – I have had break through bleeding (a mild period with cramps) since I have increased my progesterone. I am post-menopausal so I’m not thrilled by it. My assumption is that the additional progesterone is acting on estrogen build-up. Does that sound correct? I can’t seem to find a straight answer about this anywhere. I am easing off the estrogen as well. And, I know that women taking synthetic estrogen who plan to stop need to wean slowly, but I cannot find information about weaning off bio-identical estrogen. Do I need to do this as slowly? I doubt I have the patience to do a 3 – 9 month weaning. Today, I just skipped it altogether. Thank you for your feedback!
I think your logic about your break through bleeding sounds right, but I am not an expert on these matters, by any means. I don’t know the answer about your estrogen question. Maybe another reader can chime in. Weaning is generally a good idea, though maybe you do not need to be so cautious and can do it a bit faster. Thanks for writing and please write again if you have experiences or information to share. We learn so much from each other.
Susan, I also live in the Dallas and would love to find someone who works with bioidentical hormones. Could you give me the name of your nurse practitioner?
32 yes old with hx of DVT can’t take traditional hrt. Night sweats, hot flashes, hair growth, fatigue, mood swings and horrible headaches. Had ablation 3 yes ago for prolonged heavy bleeding. That kick started the above mentioned symptoms, so I’m scheduled for a partial hysterectomy on 7/17. Wondering if I should ask to try bio identical hormones.
I am no expert, but that sounds like a very radical solution. I find myself wondering about your diet and gut health. I don’t know how to advise, but hopefully you will get second opinions. All the best.
Hi Brandy. Has the doctor done of your testing to see where you hormone levels are. Do you know if you are lacking some type of hormone? I have been having some issues as well. I live in Ontario Canada. I first when to my GP complaining of bleeding issues myself and she didn,t want to deal with me, she wanted me to deal with my GYN. I saw him and I discussed Bio identical hormones, but he gave me every excuse and basically changed the discussion to a synthetic progesterone. I left frustrated because he would not really discuss my options, listen to what I was interested in. I ended up seeing a doctor who deals with bio identicals, she will do all the testing, she will follow my hormone levels and figure out if I am lacking in 1 or more hormones. I have a thick uterine lining as well. She wants me to have my records sent over so she can see this as well and follow the progress to make sure that the thickness is getting thinner as well. I would maybe get a second opinion from someone who deals with bio-identicals to see if the issue you are having could improve with them, and if you would have an issue taking them. I have only been on mine right now for about 3 days, too short to notice too much because my issue was mostly with bleeding too much or to long, some other issues like PMSy type stuff but mainly the bleeding, but so far I notice no bad changes or issues,or side effects, so I may have to wait out until my next cycle to see if there is any. If it would help you it may save you from such a drastic step. Sandy improvements.
would youplease write the brand name of bio identical progesterone .the gyn.has gave to you.
And how much mg.per day.
glad to hear from you!
She has placed me on 40mg per day and I split it up and take it 2x per day about 12hours a part. She was going to give me the pill form but I asked her if I could try it as a cream and she agreed. I have been on it about 5 weeks, it helps with sleep with the evening dose but I feel no sleeyness with the morning dose. My moods seem more even all through the month, my crazy cravings are almost nil. My cycles have less flow so far. I had a couple that needed me to wear 3 pads at night just because the flow was constant even at night. I am estrogent dominant (majorly), she put me on a bunch of vitamins, minerals and supplements to help bring levels down. I am overweight and was reading this is not helping the situation at all, so I am on a mission to get my weight down by a bunch to also help bring levels down. So I am eating more of the foods that help with estrogen reduction (luckily I like all those types of veggies) reducing my calories, and walking, and I will all in some strength training of some sorts once I get the first step settled and I have a little routine going.
I just had to go for a followup appt for a sonohystogram. I have only been on the progesterone for about 2 months and in that time my lining when down from a thick level that there was concern about to it now being thin and even. I am having wonderful response to this cream.
Sorry Mia. I went to a compounding pharmacy and they make the dose up specifically for me. It is about $40 per month.
Have been told that my hormones are out of whack and I have difficulty sleeping. I tried taking the progesterone and my anxiety went through the roof. Am totally confused!
I am no expert in this area. I recommend contacting Dr. Jerilynn Prior and getting a consultation.
Keep taking the progesterone. What happened toyou is that the progesterone wakes up the estrogen receptors temporarily making estrogen dominance worse for a few weeks. Stick with it it will help. Without progesterone i was so disabled from menopause, i tried bio identical estrogen and other hormones but only the P works for me, and I take 200 mgs Prometrium orally nightly, and use 10 or 20 mgs progesterone cream if i have a stressful day. I did try going without it, but can only last about 4 days and then the hot foashes night sweats and extreme anxiety return. Im sticking with it!
I had been suffering for months with night sweats, anxiety off the wall and sudden weight gain. I first made sure it was not my thyroid. However I am now full menopause. My GYN put me on Prometrium 100 mg at night. I have been on this for three months I now see some improvement in my night sweats, and moods. Thank goodness. I had no idea that Prometrium instead of Estrogen is what I needed. I have a Uterine Polyp also, that she said was caused by too much Estrogen and low progestreum. That said I would say continue with the Prometrium for some time and see if you improve. So, thankful. I was a mess.
I am 61 years old. I have been on 125mg of Progestorone for about 3 years. I just went off of it for about a week. I don’t like taking anything. I was extremely constipated and had achy bones around my hip area and left leg. I thought it might be from the progesterone. Also bad skin issues. I break out quite a bit . Since I’ve been off not much has changed except my skin seems to be getting worse. Also, I have sleepless nights and a bit more of hot flashes. I am worried about all of this. My regular GP says after taking it for 2 years there’s a good chance of getting cancer. The other doctor said this isn’t true. I have 3 sisters who have/had breast cancer. 2 of them have passed away. I also have estrogen cream. I rarely use it because I’m scared.
I am no expert in this area. If I were you I would contact Jerilynn Prior and get a consultation. I wish you all the best.
This is a great video and I really enjoyed it. Dr. Pryor’s story at the beginning was fascinating to me because I also started my period for the first time on my 13th brithday just like she did! I was so shocked when she said she had the same experience.
I am glad you enjoyed the video. I included it because I liked getting a sense of her as a person. That is always important to me.
I’m looking for information about how progesterone treatment impacts your period during Childbearing years. My docs make a lot of changes, but never really explain if or how changes will impact my body.
I’m 35 years old and had been prescribed bio-identical 100mg daily of progesterone in 2009 (in addition to bio-id. cortisol & T3) after significant blood work showed my hormones were all out of whack. I’ve had 4 lap. surgeries trying to hold onto my child bearing years (endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, polyps, scar tissue).
During those years, my period became much lighter, my mood better, HUGE improvement in my sleep as well… And most of all my period was like clockwork! My period app would pop up “Due tomorrow” and tomorrow it came.
Recently (April 2013), an endocrinologist ran a whole new slew of blood tests and had me ween off the hormones (I had already been taken off T3 about 6-9 months ago when thyroid got too high). My first period after I stopped progesterone I was 5 days late, it dragged on, but was far lighter than normal. The next month, 7 or 8 days late and was off and on for 10 days between light, nothing, and spotting. This month I was 5 days early, spotted one day, had 1 day that was like a light period for half a day, and then just spotting for 3 more days. I’m exhausted – I literally slept more on than off all weekend and then have insomnia at night.
SO HERE’S MY QUESTION: Is this normal after going off bio-identical Progesterone? If so, does this typically regulate itself after a few more cycles?
I’ve considered asking to go back on it, but with so much mixed information out there, I don’t know if that’s wise.
Any info, insight, suggestions you can provide would be greatly appreciated!
I wish I was more expert than I am on this subject. I do not have a great deal of experience. I read Jerilynn Prior’s great book “The Estrogen Errors” and tried it on myself with good results. I have one patient on my practice who it has helped and a friend who has also really had a good result with it. So I don’t know how to answer your question. According to Dr. Prior, if it was so helpful to you, it would make sense to continue it. I have no idea what the typical course would be after going off Bio-identical Progesterone. Maybe you could try and contact Dr. Prior and see if she could answer your question. Bio-identical progesterone really helps with sleep. That is my main reason for taking it. Same with my friend and many cases in Dr. Prior’s book as well.
Hi everyone. i was 29 yrs. old and had a partial hysterectomy. i still had my ovaries. No way of physically detecting onset of menopause. At age 49 I was still..Me. Then at age 50 I started swelling. Retaining fluid. Joints aching. Sweats, awful sweats and had never sweated before very much even in the heat of summer. I was moody, gaining weight. I had blood work done. Showed Hypo-thyroid. Started on medicine for it. Started retaining fluid worse. I had saliva tests done. Was prescribed Bio-identical Progesterone cream to apply to inner arms, legs and stomach. I am so lucky that my GYN approves this compounding pharmacy. Within 2 hrs. Of the first dose I was starting to lose fluid. After a week I had lost 7 lbs. of fluid. Hot flashes are under control. I can only say from my own experience that I can not imagine not using it. Best wishes to everyone. Louisiana, U.S.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write. This is very useful. I suggest reading Dr. Jerilynn Prior’s book, The Estrogen Errors. She reports on a great many cases of women for whom progesterone was crucial to restoring their health.
58 now. Had partial hyst at your age
Menopause knocked me down three years ago
Severe anxiety. Hot flashes
Just changed from me one day to horrible me the next day
It happened that quick
I take a T 3 T 4 that helps now— cured my constipation
Have excellent nurse practitioner here in Dallas
That works with Dr M Spurlock
Estrogen vivelle dot not helping
Now trying bioidentical progesterone
Your post gives me encouragement
What is your update? I am 55, live in Austin. I just started the natural progesterone from Sabre Siences and it seems to be the ticket! BUT, I’m severely constipated! Do you still take the thyroid with the progesterone? Will you share your doctor contact info? I could make that trip.
Thank you so much for the information you shared! Three years ago (at age 41) I was very much like the 42 year old patient you described. I came across a doctor who prescribed 300mg oral bio-identical progesterone at bedtime, and within 3 weeks, I had my life back. My horrendous bleeding/clotting (for 3 weeks out of every month) was gone and daily headaches, anxiety, insomnia, mood swings and night sweats were gone too! Before I started progesterone, my OB/GYN ordered an ultrasound which showed a thickened endometrium (beyond the normal limits) but no other anomalies and did a biopsy (normal results). Her only answer to the excessive bleeding and other symptoms was a hysterectomy……period. When I asked about bio-identical hormone strategies instead, she actually yelled at me. So I found a new doctor. Anyway, I guess the new doc is nervous about me being on my 3rd year of progesterone (says there hasn’t been enough research) so he ordered a repeat ultrasound (exact same results as the first one). But I have no strange symptoms, no abnormal bleeding, no pain, no complaints. Do you have any advice for me about prolonged use of the 300mg oral, pharmacy compounded, bio-identical progesterone? I can’t imagine going back to the person I was before I started the progesterone!! But I don’t want to risk my overall health either…….after all, I have 3 young daughters to take care of….. Again, thank you so much!
Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. I have been traveling. Its great to hear about the profound benefit you have received from bio-identical progesterone. There are many stories like this.
I am no expert on this topic. Everything I know I have learned from Dr. Jerilyn Prior’s book The Estrogen Errors and her excellent website, The Center for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research. I recommend both of them to you. I suggest that you write to Dr. Prior and ask her the question you ask me. Please let me know what she says. I believe that I read somewhere that she wrote that there is no danger in taking it as long as it is necessary, but I am not sure if that is accurate.
Kate Lee says
Did you find out any answers to your questions about progesterone usage, etc. I am in the same boat.
Thanks for asking! On my last post I said that a repeat ultrasound was ordered. The thickened endometrium was a bit less, but there were 2 polyps. My doc ended up sending me to a gynocologic oncologist even though I had no symptoms at all. (he insisted that we shoot straight to the expert in the field of gynocologic issues). First of all, he removed the polyps and did a DNC to analyze all the tissue. No abnormal cells at all were found! No hyperplasia either! On the follow up visit, we discussed the use of the bioidentical progesterone. He said that it was a smart choice and he wanted me to stay on it. Also………..he shared an interesting finding. When the tissue was examined, there was a substantial amount of tissue which occurs after ovulation. The doc said that synthetic progesterone would have suppressed ovulation (like with birth control pills), but the bioidenticals hadn’t done that. They were obviously correcting the bleeding, headaches, sweats, mood swings and such, but were NOT affecting the typical funciton of my ovaries. (He was a bit suprised by this too) Anyway, all of it was great news and the docs left my progesterone alone!! (although they both said that as I get older and my estrogen levels naturally drop, we will try lowering the dosage to 200mg oral dosage per day) I hope this helps. Let me know
Hi Heidi. I read your story. I know its from a bit ago but I am in a similar boat and wondered how you are doing. I am 47, I have a thickened lining as well. They have done a biopsy and I have to have a hystosonogram (I believe thats what its called) just to get a visual inside. I am currently looking into bio identical progesterone. The doctors have only given me synthetic options right now, IUD for 5 years, a synthetic progestin that is new on the market and only has just over a year of testing and these make me cringe. Has your lining ever gotten thinner, do you take it only so many days of the month or all month. My current doctor wants nothing to do with the bio identical although I know he has access to Prometrium(I,m in Ontario Canada), but he wouldnt hear of it. So if I want it I will have to go to another doctor in the area that deals with Bio identicals. Sandy
I actually had a follow up ultrasound in February of this year (2014) and the gynecologic oncologist called to report that all measurements were now within normal limits. He also said that because I no longer have thickening, there is no need for any more follow ups with him. I asked him again about the bioidentical progesterone I’m taking (since there is so much controversy among docs about it) and he again told me it was a smart choice. I figured since he is the expert on the “uterus-gone-wrong”, I will take his advice over others. But that’s just my opinion, and I choose to continue. I do have the occasional hot flash and a headache the day before I start my period, but nothing AT ALL like I experienced before starting the progesterone treatment. I did switch doctors in order to start the bio-identicals, but I got results within the first month taking them. And I have been a personal believer ever since. They obviously don’t stop normal ovulation and ovary function for me, and they have practically eliminated the negative symptoms I was experiencing. I hope this helps!
Thanks so much for replying. I am just currently looking for another doctor here to deal with the bio identicals. I will still have to deal with my GYN for another issue he was also watching (tube issue) but I don,t know how he will take it the next time he questions me about the meds he gave me and I tell him I,m on something else prescribed from another doctor. From everything I,ve read I just feel this is the right choice for me to try right now. I just find it crazy that he can prescribe what I need (the tablet form only up here) and he just will not. Thanks so much for the info. Do you take 2nd half of your cycle or are you taking each day?
Sorry I left out that I’m taking 200mg of bioidentical progesterone in pill form every single day. I initially started with 300mg per day but backed up to 200mg after the normal ultrasound this Feb. I’m not into taking any medications that are not absolutely necessary so I’m trying to take the least dose possible. At 200mg for the last several months, I still feel fine. I know there is a skin cream option here, but since I work with children, I don’t want to take any chance of transmission to them. Some may say that’s overly cautious, but I feel like it’s my responsibility to be that way when it comes to kids.
I have just stumbled upon this site having just recently been prescribed Prometrium to address my own perimenopausal issues with wildly irregular (and disablingly heavy) periods. I was prescribed 200mg for just 10 days / month and then was told i would have a withdrawal bleed after those 10 days…despite telling the gyno i saw that I had basically been bleeding since April…and flooding like crazy the past several days whilst on the Prometrium. I decided to attempt to contact the Centre for Menstrual Research in Vancouver, and actually ended up with a recommendation after some back and forth to do exactly as you have done…take 300mg DAILY for at least 3 months to balance out the clear estrogen dominance I have been dealing with. I was so encouraged to read your story, and to learn of your success with this treatment – and I will be going back to my own primary care physician armed with some great research and demanding she prescribe the Prometrium for me at that dose, for daily use. It is hard to know how to approach docs, however I feel so confident in the research Dr. Prior has done I just hope my doc will comply 🙂
Hi. Heidi. Just wanted to let you know I was able to see a doctor dealing with Bio identicals. She has prescribed me progesterone. I am doing the cream version 40mg per day and I split that up into 2x per day. (Compared to the oral version, I think it is comparable to about 200mg. )I have been on it for 2.5 days right now but as of yet do not notice too much, but my main concerns were bleeding concerns and I think I am in the middle part of a cycle (if you can call it that) I may not notice to much until I have a actual bleed of some sorts, as mine were heavyish and getting off trek time wise(3 week bleed). I am supposed to take it all but 7 days per month. So cross you fingers for me. and I hope things get better for the next cycle to come as I am supposed to go on holidays up to a cottage in the middle of nowhere, and bleeding issues are the last thing I want to have there.
Nigel Kinbrum says
As a man, I have a different “sterone” – Testosterone. Due to pituitary dysfunction years ago, levels of various hormones (TSH, LH & FSH) fell to zero and another (GH) became low. I take thyroxine to compensate for the zero TSH.
When my free Test level fell to 4.7 (RR 10-40) back in 2004, I was prescribed 120mg/day Testosterone Undecanoate. After a month or so, I had another blood test. My free Test level had fallen to 4.5.
I was then prescribed Testosterone in trans-dermal gel form, 50mg/day. That worked. In fact, it worked too well and my first blood test post-gel gave a result of >50! I’m now on ~17mg/day.
“Bio-identical progesterone cream 40 mg a day was very helpful to her, but when she stopped menstruating, she stopped taking it.” Why did she stop taking it if it was very helpful to her?
Thanks for writing and sharing your experience with hormone replacement. My friend does not know why she stopped taking it. She wonders now “what on Earth was I thinking?” I think we all have experiences like that. We do things that make no sense when we look back at it.
Thanks for the info. But you are wrong about Europe. Bio identicals are very controversial here.
In the regular health sector you won’t find a doctor who even knows about it. Only since Oprah’s broadcasts about it people here know about it and are researching it. The only information available comes from American internet resources!!
Thanks again for your detailed info. The more, the better!
Kind regards, Nicky
Thank you, Nicky for writing. On the jacket of Dr Prior’s book it said that is was commonly prescribed in Europe. Maybe it varies from country to country. Where do you live? I really recommend her book. It is very accessible and full of great information.
Is it safe to do a bio identical progesterone if you are 62, have been in menopause for 11 years and have never taken hormones?
I am honestly not an expert. It seemed from her book “The Estrogen Errors” that Dr Prior felt that it was safe indefinitely as long as a woman needed it. So, I would imagine that it would be safe, but I am not certain. What would be your motivation for taking it? Are you having sleep difficulties or hot flashes?
cathy perry says
Jan I am 61 having break threw bleeding had many test last year….just can’t get through neverending menopause…so discouraged
I know its crazy having all this weird stuff going on and un-nerving wondering what is wrong. Were the tests all normal? Have you had any tests done so you know what if any hormones are low? Are you on any synthetic hormones? If you had no testing for you hormones but are on synthetic meds, then its just a stab in the dark that you are on maybe what you are needing, and still not good if its synthetic. You may have to go hunting to find someone who deals with Bioidenticals, neither my personal doctor nor my Gyn dealt with them, I had to search to find someone who could help me. Usually you can search online, but if so research the doctor also to see if they have good reviews or you may be able to locate one through a pharmacy which does compounding (they would specifically make the creams for you at the dose the doctor recommends)