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Menopause/Hormonal Support


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I can’t really explain the relationship between progesterone and benzos. Hopefully someone else can.

 

However, while I agree in parts with what Perseverance posted, I don’t agree with the idea of avoiding all progesterone during withdrawal. That is just not possible or practical for those of us who need to use hormone therapy for meno issues, because to be without it would mean making our withdrawal process much much worse.

 

The main thing to keep in mind is that our hormones need to be in balance, and to not “over-do” the progesterone thing, which a lot of women tend to do because they’ve been lead to believe that there is such a thing as “estrogen dominance” and they think that if a little bit of progesterone helps, a lot must be even better. A lot of these women have been self-medicating with these creams, and that can be very dangerous.

 

However, as long as the progesterone is being administered in balance with the other hormones, and the hormone therapy is being properly monitored and managed by a doctor, I personally wouldn’t be considering withdrawing from my hormones, assuming that they are used for peri/menopausal issues.

 

This is an excerpt from the link I posted earlier, which I think explains fairly simply why you need to be careful when using too much progesterone. https://www.zimmernutrition.com/learning-center/health-articles/article/progesterone-cream-dangers/

 

The use of progesterone creams has skyrocketed in the last decade. The cause was mostly due to the writings of Dr. John Lee, M.D. who wrote “What your doctor did not tell you about menopause” and “What your doctor did not tell you about pre-menopause.”

 

The term “estrogen dominance” was coined to describe the relative increase in the amount of estrogens that our bodies were being exposed to from prescriptions, hormone treated animal products and other estrogen-like molecules (pesticides, chemicals). The concept was that these estrogens and weak estrogen-like molecules were wreaking havoc on our systems by increasing the influence of a powerful hormone that stimulates growth and cell activities.

 

Whether estrogen dominance actually exists is a subject of debate. Most alternative health professionals have accepted the arguments for the condition and readily endorse the concept. Many traditional doctors do not accept the concept and readily dismiss it.

 

I can tell you that I rarely find levels of estrogen that out of the normal range in my patients. This observation alone would seem to argue against the presence of estrogen dominance. But just like everything related to health, the story is not so simple and/or straight-forward.

 

The reason is that whether or not a person actually has estrogen dominance makes no difference when we consider the dangers of the prolonged use of progesterone creams.

 

Because of the acceptance of the estrogen dominance theory the use of progesterone creams spread like a weed. Although I was definitely a part of this movement at the beginning, I was disturbed by how progesterone creams were being promoted.

 

Progesterone cream dissolves in fat and can thus be stored in your fatty tissue. The levels of progesterone steadily increase within fat tissue with prolonged use. After a while, the amount being added every month, along with the amount being released from the fatty stores, causes elevated progesterone levels throughout the female cycle. So, instead of supplementing a little progesterone during a short period of time the body becomes subjected to elevated levels throughout the female cycle. The body can then take the extra progesterone and make it into either testosterone or extra estrogen. Excess testosterone can also be made into estrogen. Thus, the body is thrown into a dangerous hormonal imbalance that does not serve to promote proper health.

 

The ironic part of this is that Dr. Lee, himself, had this to say about hormone balance: “There’s no doubt that it’s not a good idea for most women to take large doses of progesterone in any form over a long period of time. That’s just not good medicine, it’s not balanced, it’s not common sense, and it’s bound to cause trouble sooner or later.”

 

The problem is that I currently do not see how anyone could use progesterone creams for any prolonged period of time without creating this dangerous imbalance. My patient highlighted in this article only used the minimum dose of the cream for less than two weeks a month. It has taken 7 months at the writing of this article and she is still grossly imbalanced thanks to progesterone cream. However, now her testosterone and estrogen have also been driven to unnaturally high levels.

 

The disturbing aspect of this story is that there is very little information that I can find on the internet to warn people about this danger of using progesterone cream. The only warning I found was weak at best. This is not a “safe as water” hormone and the cavalier attitude towards its use has to be changed or there will be negative ramifications.

 

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From what I read, prog will build up regardless of what type you use, because it gets stored in the fatty tissue. When I had my recent prog problem I was taking the oral Prometrium, which is as natural as you can get, and I still had problems. They seem to be fading away now, finally, but it's been a good 3 weeks of withdrawal type symptoms, and it might still be another week before things are 100% back to normal.

 

Even though it's not licenced for vaginal use in a lot of countries, using Prometrium vaginally is a way of avoiding some of the side effects, but it will still probably build up to a certain degree. I have used it that way in the past, and that's the way I'll use it in future, but only for about 10-12 days a month, and definitely not continuously again. That was one experiment that didn't suit me at all.

 

From my own recent personal experience with my oral progesterone, I would have to say that Diaz-Pam is correct when she writes that any type of progesterone regimen can build up in the tissues.

 

In my earlier post I wrote that I stopped my daily dosing of 100mg micronized progesterone capsules on the 14th to see if it would have a positive effect on some side effects I am experiencing:  Poor / No sleep, canker sores in the mouth, very dry hair.  I am happy to report that the last four days I am sleeping almost as well as I was pre-benzo.  The cankers have cleared up but they usually do after two weeks anyway.  Now I just have to see if I continue getting them at all and I am waiting to see if my hair condition improves.  I live in a very dry climate anyway, but lately the static and flyaways make it almost impossible to get my hair to style properly.  It may take a while more for tissue levels to drop more?

 

My new plan is to stay off until May 1st (I originally thought I would stay off until June 1st but that may be pushing it for uterus lining buildup) and then do a 10 - 12 day round to implement a bleed.  Not sure if I will take it orally at 200mg or vaginally at 100mg but I have a bit of time to decide. 

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Hi Eliz, I have always done the prometrium vaginally & have not noticed any adverse fx.

 

I am leaning toward that method in order to take a lower dose but thank you for your feedback!

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Eliz and Ihope:  do you take estrogen?.  I am doing bio-identicals which include estradial,progesterone, DHEA, and Testosterone.  It is compounded according to my blood results.    I am confused about the progesterone issue.  Since I am 66 and have been on bio-identicals for 2 years, my vaginal dryness is much better (well until the burning skin issue decided to begin in the vaginal area).  I am having a new blood draw next week, so I need to get more info on the progesterone.  Can't take estrogen without it.  I have already had the atrophy, no going back from that.   

 

These threads are so informative, I am learning so much.  What I am trying to glean from this is:  is the progesterone exasperating my  w/d  symptoms?  as I have many!

 

thanks

OC  :smitten: :smitten: :smitten:

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I can’t really explain the relationship between progesterone and benzos. Hopefully someone else can.

 

 

Nope. Like you I find progesterone a bit of mystery.

 

Overcomer: It is hard to say whether prog is exacerbating your symptoms. None of us have a great grasp of prog and benzo w/d. Perhaps no one does. There is probably a PHD or something that could be done on it. And even once you did all that research there would still be questions because, brains, and benzos and hormones are just so damn complicated.

A few people recently have had prog build up which has caused some issues with insomnia. Some people suggest that w/d from prog feels similar to w/d from benzos.

In your case however there is an answer for your symptoms: you're in bad benzo w/d due to the too fast K taper.

Still, keeping those blood results frequent so they can compensate for build ups is a good idea.

 

I know I've been zero help but really I got nada except: youre in bad benzo w/d

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Smiff:  How do I get out of bad benzo w/d???  I am tapering with V off the temazepam, down to 14 mg V.    Probably no answer for that, ey Smiff??  I am 4 months off K....nothing improved.  The burning skin is the worst.  I did take almost a year to get off the K, just didn't do it Ashton Method, just took off .25 mg here and there like Dr said.  WRONG!  oh well, it is done now.

xo OC  :smitten: :smitten:

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Smiff:  How do I get out of bad benzo w/d???  I am tapering with V off the temazepam, down to 14 mg V.    Probably no answer for that, ey Smiff??  I am 4 months off K....nothing improved.  The burning skin is the worst.  I did take almost a year to get off the K, just didn't do it Ashton Method, just took off .25 mg here and there like Dr said.  WRONG!  oh well, it is done now.

xo OC  :smitten: :smitten:

 

Sure I know how to get out of benzo w/d: you updose (or you wait).

Only problem is it is more than some people are comfortable with and it doesn't work 100% of the time

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The short answer is that progesterone is a GABA receptor allosteric modulator which means that it acts on the same receptors as benzos to raise the stimulation threshhold for a neuron to fire. In very basic terms, it helps you to feel more calm.

 

Progesterone is of course naturally occurring & desirable at physiological levels. PMT is essentially due to the drop in progesterone that occurs prior to a bleed.

 

As with all hormones though, you can absolutely have too much of a good thing & as Pam has very thoroughly described, the current fad for regarding progesterone as a cure all has resulted in uninformed consumers taking progesterone at levels that far exceed phsyiological doses.

 

It seems that in benzo wdwls some BBs are very sensitive to any form of supplementation & some women don't tolerate supplementary progesterone well, even without the complication of wdwls.

 

I would not supplement progesterone without being on supplementary estrogen but using prometrium vaginally 10-12 days a month did not cause me any problems while tapering or since.

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OC - From what I've read, progesterone does hit GABA receptors, but I'm not sure they are exactly the same receptor site that benzos do.  In any event, if you're having your blood monitored and they are doing the blood tests properly and you haven't had a problem with progesterone in the past (prior to benzo w/d), I would not discontinue it simply due to benzo w/d.  If you're taking estrogen and you have a uterus, you need progesterone (at least that's what I believe from what I've read).

 

HUGS!

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Hi Ladies,

 

Since DP has helped me so much with my taper I thought I would stop by this thread for some advice.

 

My taper has been symptom-free so far, but my hormones are all over the place. My periods will be regular for a few months and then all over the map for a few, usually with shortened cycles and a lot of spotting. My biggest complaint is fatigue. The hormonal stuff feels nothing like I felt in w/d, and passes on it's own while I continue to taper, so I don't think I'm confusing the two. I'm pretty sure all of my current issues are hormonal.

 

I have had everything checked out and there is nothing "wrong" according to traditional medical tests. My hormones didn't show any signs of abnormality at the time I was tested. I had a uterine biopsy (uterine cancer in the family) and it was fine.

 

My OB put me on a low estrogen pill for a few months to help regulate my cycle but nothing changed so I stopped it.

 

I'm wondering if anyone has had any luck with anything to help perimenopausal issues like mine? I'm tired of having to spend so much time in bed, I have crashing fatigue that comes on very suddenly and really affects my ability to get things done which is hard for me with 2 young kids and a master's degree in progress.

 

Thanks so much,

 

Workin

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Hey Workin

 

Sounds pretty much like typical peri symptoms to me, at least for a lot of ladies. I never really suffered too many peri symptoms, except for irregular periods for a few years. So I was living in ignorant bliss all through my 40s, but it hit me like a freight train just after my 51st birthday. I think in my case my estrogen levels just literally nose-dived over night.

 

If it’s any consolation, a theory I have read is that if you suffer more during peri you tend to have an easier time of it during meno, and vice versa. Of course that’s just a theory.

 

It's really hard to work out hormones while you're in the peri stage. The hormones just go all over the place, so when they said nothing was “wrong" often you have to decipher what that medico speak actually means. Sometimes it just means that everything was okay for someone who is peri-meno, but not necessarily okay for someone who wants to have a normal life.  Also, what levels your hormones read one day, could be totally different the next.

 

You could try some of the OTC remedies, but from my experience they can be very expensive, be unpredictable in how much they actually help, and if they do help, quite often they stop working after a while. However, from what I’ve noticed it does seem that those who are only suffering fairly minor symptoms can sometimes get relief with these preparations.  The studies that have been done on these OTC remedies usually say they only work as a placebo, but if they are offering some kind of relief, even if it’s only as a placebo, who’s to say that's wrong? None of them ever worked for me though, but my symptoms were never what you could call “minor”. My cousin swears by Promensil, but it did nothing for me.

 

However, the thing we have to remember about all these OTC remedies is that they really aren't hormones that our bodies can recognise as human hormones, so our bodies quite often don't know what to do with them, and sometimes what’s in them can have a lot of fairly serious side effects. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is natural for us to take. The difference with natural hormone therapy is that, while they are derived from plant products, they have been synthetised to exactly match our hormones (ie bioidentical).

 

If you have tried a low dose estrogen pill, perhaps you could try something a bit higher dosed, or maybe a transdermal application like a gel or a patch, as this tends to get into the blood stream more efficiently. I know of a lady who is also peri, but has had to increase her estrogen to feel the benefits. Of course if you take a higher dosed estrogen you will also need to take some progesterone/progestin to oppose this estrogen.

 

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Eliz and Ihope:  do you take estrogen?.  I am doing bio-identicals which include estradial,progesterone, DHEA, and Testosterone.  It is compounded according to my blood results.    I am confused about the progesterone issue.  Since I am 66 and have been on bio-identicals for 2 years, my vaginal dryness is much better (well until the burning skin issue decided to begin in the vaginal area).  I am having a new blood draw next week, so I need to get more info on the progesterone.  Can't take estrogen without it.  I have already had the atrophy, no going back from that.   

 

These threads are so informative, I am learning so much.  What I am trying to glean from this is:  is the progesterone exasperating my  w/d  symptoms?  as I have many!

 

thanks

OC  :smitten: :smitten: :smitten:

 

Hi Overcomer

I am on 1mg Divigel Estradiol applied daily to alternate thighs.  I am 50 years old and through peri-menopause.  I am to understand from information provided by Diaz-pam that this is considered a medium dose. 

 

I have fibroid tumors (five about the size of an eraser at the end of a pencil near my left side fallopian tube opening in my uterous) and so I have to have annual vaginal ultrasounds to be sure the estrogen therapy is not causing them to increase in size.  I am not sure if my progesterone regimen, which has the intent of causing a bleed to prevent the uterine lining from building up has any effect on suppressing the growth properties of estrogen and would therefore keep my fibroids from growing.

 

This is a tricky game we play trying to keep our hormones balanced and taper the hateful benzos!

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I haven't bled since December and that was really only a little spotting and when my testing was done at the end of December, progest was very high, about 3 times what it should be in comparison to the estrodial.

 

My original prescriber was a pharmacist who specializes in bioidenticals.  He said that when you take estrodial and progesterone, the trade off (from not taking anything) is that you have periods again.  I'm not experiencing that and I take my progesterone 3 weeks on 1 week off.  I have testing done again towards the end of April.  Just makes me concerned that I'm not bleeding. 

 

Comments anyone?

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I haven't bled since December and that was really only a little spotting and when my testing was done at the end of December, progest was very high, about 3 times what it should be in comparison to the estrodial.

 

My original prescriber was a pharmacist who specializes in bioidenticals.  He said that when you take estrodial and progesterone, the trade off (from not taking anything) is that you have periods again.  I'm not experiencing that and I take my progesterone 3 weeks on 1 week off.  I have testing done again towards the end of April.  Just makes me concerned that I'm not bleeding. 

 

Comments anyone?

 

Hi Bunny,

From my limited knowledge, and believe me I am no expert, if you are on a continuous progesterone regimen (I am not sure if three weeks on and one week off qualify as a continuous regimen) it is expected that you will not bleed since the progesterone is preventing the lining from building up.  Before I stopped the progesterone on 3/14/14, I had been taking 100mg micronized progesterone sealed caps (this is bioidentical) continously since October 14th.  The reason I stopped is that I was experiencing side effects of what could be excessive tissue buildup.

 

Can you call your doctor and explain what is happening to get his/her opinion?  Some doctors rely on test results others tend to go by symptoms since test results can vary day to day, week to week or month to month. 

 

The only comment I can make is that if your progesterone test result shows high P, this would possibly explain why you are not having a bleed.

 

I hope you get this sorted out soon  :smitten:

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LOL, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining I'm not bleeding, just want to make sure I'm safe.  :thumbsup:

 

Tell me about it!  In my current situation I guess I have to pick the lesser of the evils; I get to have insomnia and canker sores in my mouth but no period, or I get to have a period every month, and sleep and no cankers.......hmmmmm?  Why can't I have both darnit!

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In my opinion ladies I waited too long to take the bio identicals.  I have already atrophied, but the bios did help with moisture.  Once the vagina atrophies there is no going back.  I wouldn't want to be dealing with incorrect hormones and benzo w/d at the same time.  I will be having my blood draw soon, so will see what the numbers have done since my K w/d.  I hate talking to this dr now, she labeled me with anxiety disorder when I was in K and tramadol w/d.  The ENT labeled me with anxiety disorder because of w/ds.  Makes me not ever want to go to another dr.

xo Overcomer  :smitten: :smitten:

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Yes, I think a higher dose b/c pill is next on the list. Has anyone had any luck with hormonal control while tapering?

 

 

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Yes, I think a higher dose b/c pill is next on the list. Has anyone had any luck with hormonal control while tapering?

 

What do you mean by hormonal control?

 

Most people in meno seem to do better taking hormones when tapering than not.

 

I've had some success with helping me with the worst of my hormonal symptoms. I still get them but not so bad. It is a moving target though.

 

I've used estrogen bio-identical patches in differing amounts. If estrogen is all you are after workin that might be an option. The good side is they are bio-identical where as a lot of bc pills aren't. The other plus side is they are more adaptable. I've used half of one, quarter or one, 1/8 of one. You just cut them to what you want. The final plus is their absorption is pretty quick so you feel them quickly. You can also take them off and abort if they are getting too much. Your body eliminates the excess hormones reasonably quickly.

so yea.. main plus: adaptability.

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Hi Ladies, i wasn't around here for a couple of months because i felt so much better in my withdrawal.But now i ended up in hell and agony after taking birth control pills for only 17 days.I am looking for support because i am not sure i will be able to stay off benzos (reinstating) because i am going through pure hell right now.I am not menopausal,i am 36 i was given b/c pills for pain after a surgery (cysts).I felt awful the whole 17 days i was taking them,and quit mid cycle,then i ended up in a hospital with chest pain and shortness of breathe which wouldn't go away and was diagnosed with mild pericarditis,was taking  Ibuprofen (NSAIDs) for a month,but got better only after i finally got back my period.Now i am 10 days after my period and i am going through withdrawal hell,i didnt feel as bad even after i jumped off benzos.I don't sleep,my legs are in constant painful spasm,by BP is jumping high like never before,i have constant migraine which is not relieved by migraine/pain pills i am having panic attacks every few hours also at night.So i need your help and support badly.Please advice what i can do because i am considering reinstating benzos (i know its a bad idea but i cant stand what is going on).

 

Ps:i took the last b/c pill 5 weeks ago but it wasnt as bad as now.

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Ok firstly let me say that sucks.

 

The problem is I understand hormones even less than I understand Benzos. Both are extremely complicated and act in multiple way throughout the body and brain.

 

There is another member who got really sick after trying bc pill. I'll try to look up her name. She updosed at least 5mg as a result.

 

Can I ask what b/c pill it was? If it was a really high progesterone pill - wikipedia has their concentrations if nowhere else - then you should look back a few pages to the link to Perserverance's thread on progesterone and benzos. It basically says that progesterone and benzos are cross tolerant and both can cause benzo like w/d effects. There are other members who have got w/d effects when trying to cut down their progesterone too.

 

I don't think you need to reinstate after all you've been through however. My guess - and it really is a guess - is that balancing out your hormones will not take as long as recovering from benzo use.

 

Will seeing an endocrinologist help perhaps or someone else who specialises in hormones?

Some other very risky options: trying some estrogen to see if that balances out the progesterone; trying some vitamins that change progesterone and estrogen amounts - vitamin C and B vitamins.

I can hear you are suffering but do try everything else before benzos given how far you've come.

 

Take care and keep in touch

Smiff

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Thank you Smiff,

 

The pill was "Qlair" it's israeli pill,"the best on the market and the closest to natural" as my OBgyn said.

here is what it has:

28 pills:

2 dark yellow tablets each containing 3 mg estradiol valerate

5 medium red tablets each containing 2 mg estradiol valerate and 2 mg dienogest

17 light yellow tablets each containing 2 mg estradiol valerate and 3 mg dienogest

2 dark red tablets each containing 1 mg estradiol valerate

 

Dienogest is semi-syntetic progesterone,i guess it caused all the mess especially when i got to 3mg,i felt so bad..

 

Wow i am in agony i took a beta blocker to lower my BP and it didnt work,Benadryl didnt work to help me sleep either....Its 3:40 am here

Seeking med help would lead to nothing but being put on benzos,endocrinologist would only deal with me if i had some hormonal disbalance which is seen in bloodwork and my bloodwork is normal.So i am stuck to deal with it alone...dont know if i can..Vit C does help to calm down a bit,so i am eating it and calming herbs/homeopathic remedies...Vits B makes it worse...

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Wow Julianas:  So sorry for all those s/xs from the BCs.  Please don't reinstate the benzos, that could be adding fuel to the fire.  Not all BCs are equal.  Maybe a different one would be better.  Do you need it for the hormones or for birth control?  There may be other options.

OC  :smitten: :smitten:

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Thanks overcomer,

 

i NEEDED them to stop ovulation=to stop painful ovarian cysts.Now it all is fine,but the price was too high.I took them for 17 days only but i stopped mid cycle.Now my natural cycle is back but with it i got back to acute withdrawal.

And no i wont touch any b/c pills ever again.

Well i managed to sleep for one hour,good for me....

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