The Complete List of High Progesterone Symptoms in Women
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The Complete List of High Progesterone Symptoms in Women

Dizziness, weight gain, water retention...

These are just some high progesterone symptoms. 

If you think you are experiencing issues with progesterone you need to make sure you understand what causes high progesterone, but also how to treat it. 

Use this checklist to determine if you meet the criteria: 

More...

What Causes High Progesterone? 

Believe it or not, women have more progesterone than they have estrogen (in absolute concentration). 

This means that progesterone is incredibly important to the female body because it directly counteracts the effects of estrogen. 

You probably think of estrogen as the "female" sex hormone, responsible for the majority of sexual characteristics that females have (breast development, etc.).

But, like many things in this world, too much of something isn't always better.

This principle is true of both estrogen AND progesterone.

These two hormones live in balance with one another.

You can think of estrogen as a growth hormone making things bigger, and you can think of progesterone as the exact opposite.

Estrogen causes breast tissue to grow, it causes endometrial tissue to grow and it causes fat cells to grow (1)(not exactly what most women want).

Adrenal production of high progesterone

Progesterone, on the other hand, causes the exact opposite. (2)

It helps regulate breast tissue growth, it helps regulate your menstrual cycle and it can help with weight loss.

But what you need to realize is that it is the balance of these hormones that really matter.

It's not as easy as simply increasing progesterone for weight loss, etc.

And it's the imbalance of these two hormones which cause significant symptoms in many women.

To be fair, the majority of women nowadays have excess estrogen and too little progesterone. (3)

This combination leads to a condition known as estrogen dominance.

But some women still suffer from the symptoms of excess progesterone.

But if most women suffer from low progesterone, how do some women get high progesterone?

Many things can cause high progesterone levels, so let's dig into the most common causes of high progesterone in women: 

  • Changes in your menstrual cycle (elongation of the luteal phase)
  • A reduction in estrogen levels in the body (
  • Too much supplementation with progesterone (either oral or transdermal progesterone)
  • Pregnancy
  • Excess supplementation with pregnenolone or other progesterone precursors
  • Adrenal related problems (overproduction of adrenal hormones or improper adrenal enzyme signaling)

As with other hormone imbalances, it's always important to correctly identify what is causing the problem in your body. 

Why?

Because then you can properly target your treatment!

Before we talk about treatment let's discuss the many symptoms of progesterone:​

The Complete List of High Progesterone Symptoms

Most common symptoms of high progesterone: 

Remember that these symptoms stem from too much progesterone, but not extreme or excess progesterone levels. 

Slightly high levels can come from taking just a little bit too much over the counter progesterone (4), pregnenolone or during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle (last 2 weeks). 

  • ​Weight fluctuations (usually mild weight gain of 5-10 pounds)
  • Drowsiness
  • Depressed feeling but not overt depression
  • Slight dizziness
  • Waking up groggy or "on edge"
  • Bloating
  • Sense of physical instability
  • Spinning sensation
  • Discomfort or pain in the legs
  • Water retention
  • Anxiety or just feeling "tense"
  • Changes to libido (usually decreased sex drive)
  • Not feeling like yourself

Less common symptoms of high progesterone: 

Remember that these symptoms are much less common and usually only occur if you have higher levels of progesterone circulating in your system. 

These symptoms are worth pointing out because they can start to mimic the signs of excess estrogen in your body. ​

  • Hot flashes (due to an overload of estrogen receptors)
  • Insomnia
  • Increased appetite
  • Overt anxiety or panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Significant weight gain

​As you might have noticed some of these symptoms are very subtle or very general. 

This can make the diagnosis difficult. ​

For this reason, it's important to remember that each person will present with different symptoms in the setting of high progesterone. 

But consider this: 

You know what is normal for your body and what isn't normal.

If you notice that you have symptoms that are similar to the ones listed on the list but not very specific then you should still have your serum progesterone levels evaluated. 

Testing your Serum Progesterone levels

There are several ways to evaluate progesterone levels.

The easiest way to check your progesterone is through your blood or serum by simply checking your serum progesterone.

But there are a few things you should realize before you get tested:

#1. You must evaluate progesterone AND estradiol at the same time.

Remember when we said that it's the relative BALANCE of estrogen and progesterone that matters more than the absolute value?

Well, this principle needs to be applied when you evaluate your serum levels. 

That means you must check your estradiol levels in addition to your progesterone levels AT THE SAME TIME. 

Most physicians know how to do this, but just in case you may want to remind them to check both. 

Look for a ratio that is about 10:1 that is, if your estradiol level is 50, then your progesterone level should be at least 5. 

*Note: This ratio is only true for serum testing. 

#2. The time of the month matters (if you are still menstruating)​.

If you are menstruating then it's important to check your progesterone and estradiol levels during days 19-21 of your cycle. 

At this point in your cycle your progesterone should be at its absolute highest (5) and the ratio I mentioned above only applies here. 

testosterone levels throughout menstrual cycle

Both estrogen and progesterone change on a near daily basis, so it's important to put your values into context. 

You simply cannot get a good reading if you randomly check your progesterone level.

There is one exception:

That is after menopause.

Because you are not ovulating it's okay to check your progesterone and estradiol level at pretty much any time.

Another point worth considering is that a single test may not tell the whole story.

In some cases (for difficult to diagnose patients) you may need to check your estrogen and progesterone values at multiple times during the month. ​

#3. You must realize that serum levels may not be the most accurate way to test your progesterone levels or other sex hormones.

Much like other hormones in your body, serum levels may not be the absolute best way to assess what is really happening in your body. 

I generally recommend you start with serum levels first because they are easy to order and insurance will almost always cover the test.

But, if you continue to have symptoms or your serum levels are not helpful, you may need more advanced testing.

In some cases, you can get a more accurate reading of progesterone by checking for urinary metabolites of pregnanediol (6). 

Checking urinary levels of sex hormones also allows you to get a better idea of what is happening to your estrogen levels (as there are at least 3 primary estrogen metabolites that are not regularly checked in the serum). ​

Elevated estrogen leads to weight gain

This process is somewhat more advanced than serum testing, so make sure you find a Doctor who understands this process and can help you interpret your tests.

#4. Progesterone levels change as you age. 

Remember that age (in addition to your menstrual cycle) will alter your progesterone levels and progesterone metabolism. 

As women age progesterone levels tend to fall more rapidly than estrogen levels which can set the stage for estrogen dominance.

This trend tends to occur right around age 35. 

age related decline of estrogen and progesterone

But just because this tends to be the general "trend" for most women, does not mean that it will happen to you. 

For this reason, it's best to at least keep tabs on what is happening with your progesterone level over time. 

If you can keep track of your yearly progesterone levels which will help you put individual results into context. 

Treating High Progesterone

Treating of high progesterone largely depends on what the cause is. 

By far the most common cause of high progesterone and therefore high progesterone symptoms are due to over supplementation. 

#1. Treating high progesterone due to taking too much progesterone: ​

Which makes things very easy to treat.

If you recently started taking progesterone and you are noticing the changes listed above then you should consider checking your serum progesterone levels (to compare them to your pre-supplementation level) and also consider dropping your dose. 

#2. Another common cause of high progesterone is due to overstimulation of adrenal function which results in overproduction of progesterone in the adrenal glands: 

​Due to the high amount of stress that most women are put under, the adrenal glands are often put under intense pressure. 

This pressure may lead to abnormal changes in hormone production or enzyme metabolism.

This cause of high progesterone is usually accompanied by excess levels of fatigue and other symptoms that may indicate you have adrenal fatigue or cortisol level abnormalities.

Studies have shown this to be the case. (7)

Stress leads to both high progesterone AND high cortisol and both of these hormones may contribute to weight gain and other symptoms. ​

Stress increases progesterone levels

You can learn more about testing for adrenal issues here and how to treat adrenal fatigue here.

If you aren't sure where to start I've also included some basic recommendations below: 

  • Cut caffeine usage completely
  • Take steps to actively manage and reduce your stress (if possible)
  • Cut back your exercise routine if you are overexercising
  • Take the right supplements designed to help balance cortisol levels
  • Check your serum cortisol level and DHEA level
  • Change your diet to completely exclude sugary carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates

​This is really just a starting point for treatment if you have adrenal problems so I encourage you to check out the links above if you feel this may be contributing to your progesterone level. 

#3. Treating high progesterone related to elongation of your cycle or the luteal phase.​

You probably already know that various factors can alter the length of your menstrual cycle. 

More common causes include stress, a change in your diet, change in exercise routine, social situations, etc.

The point here is that basic lifestyle factors play a role in determining the length of your menstrual cycle and therefore your progesterone level.

Whenever possible it's important to make basic lifestyle changes that can regulate or normalize your menstrual cycle.

These changes include things like:

  • Eating a real whole food diet without excessive caloric restriction
  • Managing stress levels by taking certain supplements or partaking in certain activities which improve your natural stress response
  • Making sure you sleep at least 8 hours each night
  • Regulating your exercise so you aren't exercising too much or too little
  • Managing your weight (this means making sure you don't gain too much weight or lose too much) 

​Following these basic recommendations should dramatically help normalize your menstrual cycle and your luteal phase which should go a long way to improving your progesterone level. 

​#4. Get your thyroid evaluated (and other hormones!)

You should consider the hormones in your body as one intertwined system. 

This means you can't disentangle them from one another.

For instance:

It has been shown that changes in thyroid function alter both progesterone and cortisol levels. (8)

We already know that stress alters cortisol and progesterone, (9) and we know that obesity alters thyroid function.

It's easy to see how even slight changes to other hormones in your body can impact other hormones including progesterone.

The bottom line?

If you have high progesterone make sure to also check your thyroid status as well as other hormones like leptin, insulin, and testosterone.

Treating High Progesterone from Birth Control Medications

Another important topic worth discussing is the impact that birth control has on normal hormone and progesterone levels. 

Most birth controls act as synthetic or fake progesterone levels, and they actually tend to completely reduce or block your body's normal production of endogenous progesterone. 

Having said that, these synthetic hormones still sit on and activate progesterone receptors and "feedback" to the brain making your body think progesterone is still in circulation

This is how these synthetic medications can act as birth control - they block the normal hormonal pathways in the body. 

This isn't a secret, but what's interesting is that by taking birth control medications you are introducing a synthetic type of progesterone (known as a progestin or progestogen) into your body which has many effects. 

These progestins tend to act like progesterone and may trigger cellular messengers and make your body think that it actually has excess progesterone in circulation. 

This may cause the symptoms of high progesterone even though your serum progesterone levels may be "low" or "normal". 

And this is also why so many women who start birth control medications end up with symptoms such as weight gain, swelling or mood swings (all symptoms of excess progesterone). 

But does that mean it's normal?

Not by a long shot. 

So what do you do about it?

Obviously, if you are reacting negatively to birth control medications your next step should be to go off of them (assuming that is an option for you). 

But just going off of the medication may not be sufficient to restore normal progesterone and estrogen levels. 

You need to ensure proper elimination and metabolism of these hormones through the liver, and you can augment this in a couple of ways. 

First:

You can increase liver metabolism and phase I and phase II elimination pathways by taking the supplement calcium-d-glucarate

This supplement has been shown to increase glucuronidation (10) (which is an elimination pathway in the liver). 

You can also take other supplements designed to improve liver metabolism such as milk thistle or MSM. 

Second:

You need to ensure that you normalize your body weight and remove any excess fat cells that you may have gained while taking birth control pills. 

Remember...

Fat can act as a vehicle to store fat-soluble substances and this includes hormones, endocrine disruptors, and fat-soluble vitamins. 

Conclusion

​If you think you may be suffering from high progesterone make sure you spend time trying to figure out what is causing the problem in your body. 

By figuring out the root cause of your hormone imbalance you can then target treatment and REVERSE the issue.

Also, remember that general physicians are not very knowledgeable when it comes to hormones and hormone balance in your body. 

You may ultimately need to seek out a physician who specializes in hormone replacement therapy to get the proper help (this doesn't necessarily mean an ob-gyn). 

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you suffering from high progesterone? Do you have the symptoms listed above?

Have you been able to lower your progesterone level with treatment? Why or why not?

Leave your comment below! 

Westin Childs
 

Dr. Westin Childs is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. He provides well-researched actionable information about hormone-related disorders and formulates supplements to treat these disorders. He is trained in Internal Medicine, Functional Medicine and Integrative Medicine. His focus is on managing thyroid disorders, weight loss resistance, and other sex hormone imbalances. You can read more about his own personal journey here.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 65 comments
Misha Byrne - June 6, 2017

Hi
I am a 48 year old woman. Currently on low dose Levo 25mg. I am trying to switch to NDT as I don’t get on with thyroxine.Each time I tried to increase Levo I suffered terribly with insomnia.

I have started on very low dose of adrenal support using a adrenal supplement.

I also had a progesterone and oestrogen saliva test and both were high. What does this mean?

I have only just discovered your site and it’s excellent

Hope you can advise.

Reply
    Westin Childs - June 6, 2017

    Hi Misha,

    I don’t recommend the use of salivary hormones for progesterone and estradiol because I don’t believe them to be very accurate. You can get some useful information from serum testing and if you need further testing then I recommend urinary testing as described in the article.

    Reply
    Rebecca - July 15, 2018

    Recently started on hair loss supplements that include dht blockers. Could this be the cause of my very elevated progesterone levels ?

    Reply
      Westin Childs - July 16, 2018

      Hi Rebecca,

      Probably not.

      Reply
Stesha - July 7, 2017

Hi Dr. Childs. I have a question for you. In 2015 my doctor prescribed progesterone supplementation.(I was 19 at the time.) He had me take an 80mg oral dose for two months and then switched me to 50mg. This treatment failed to serve it’s purpose but instead caused me many problems. I gained 50lbs in three months, I have constant back pain, weakened lungs, skin rashes, anxiety,adrenal fatigue,heart palpitations and other problems which I never had before. Per my doctor’s suggestion, I stopped the treatment but have found no relief for the effects. I have looked for medical help (and have tried natural doctors as well) but all the physicians I speak with guarantee that progesterone is harmless and could not have caused my complications. Is there any way for me to rid my body of the excess progesterone?
Thank you for your help!

Reply
    Westin Childs - July 8, 2017

    Hi Stesha,

    Progesterone is metabolized fairly rapidly with a half life somewhere between 25 and 50 hours, which means that after 5 half lives any excess progesterone in your body would have been metabolized out. At this point your problems are probably unrelated to progesterone and more related to other hormone imbalances in your body.

    Reply
      Stesha - July 8, 2017

      OK. Good to know. Thank you.

      Reply
Alice - August 11, 2017

Hello Dr Childs, while using a bcp which contained 1.5 mg of Estradiol and 2,5 progestin which supposedly only targets the progesterone receptors I rapidly lost my weight and I was already very thin. Now I look anorectic.
After the weightloss I started to get diarrhea, hot flashes and all the symptoms of menopause. I’m still losing weight. My physician put me on all kinds of BCP’s but nothing helped. She also said I could try estradiol patches but she claims I could experience even more low estrogen symptoms because estradiol targets de Progesterone receptors first. Most women struggle with weight gain so it’s difficult to find information on the internet and what I’ve read is contradictory.Can high progesterone also cause weightloss and low estrogen?

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Mary Scoville - August 15, 2017

So what is the ideal range then for progesterone levels for most women and how do I know if I am taking to much ? My last blood test it was really high so they reduced me from 300 to 200mg a day. Will this be enough of a reduction or will I need to maybe go down again? They are about to check it again, what should it be ideally? What amounts do you usually give for women who have low progesterone levels ?

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Gail Hanson - August 20, 2017

I am post menapausal. I have no ovaries. Been taking Progesterone for a lengthy time and in past few years have taken a very high dose to treat symptoms, which caused other symptoms. Am in the process of decreasing and am still quite high. I am unable to sleep through a night which is the worst symptom. Around 4 a.m. I have a rush, humming, buzzing in my head and can’t sleep. In my attempt to decrease the Progesterone last night I had dropped the amount again and couldn’t sleep for the rush (best way I know to describe it) in my head. I ended up taking a bit more to fall asleep but still had the 4 a.m. Misery. What is that? If I drop significant levels quickly will I sleep at all?

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Mary Scoville - August 31, 2017

What is considered ideal or good range for progesteeone to be in? I am taking some and getting mixed messages from my Dr and internet would I should be at and wonder if mine is still to high even tho we lowered my dose and it did come down in blood work. Do I need to lower it again maybe? I just came off 2 meds too for anxuety so wondering if also feeling off because my body is trying to adjust to that as well. Thanks

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Dana - September 7, 2017

I’m trying to figure out what steps to take on what I am going threw! I am 33 years old I just got my menstruate cycle back about 10 months ago after losing it about 22 years old! I got pregnant and had a baby at 28. Also I saw doctors and they tried to give me hormones to see if If would come back. It never worked! I’m now on a regular cycle.
For the past 6 months Two weeks before I get my period i get bad Symptoms. But the past three months have gotten so bad. This month I literally can’t get out of bed, my body is hot and i sweat and run a fever, my Breast are so sore, I have acid reflux, I have no energy, I’m wicked depressed and I keep crying, I get hot flashes, my legs are killing me in pain, I’m noticing more hair in my brushes and the shower drain, my sex drive is thru the roof high like SCARY high, my sense of smell and taste is wicked heighten, my eye sight almost seems different and the past few months my breast have gotten bigger. I can’t fit into any bras and there so heavy now. I literally went from a D to a DD. I’m not pregnant. I suck at going to doctors!! I know I need to go but if I start bouncing around office to office I’ll give up on it and I know I need help. I’ve never felt so bad. I slept 3 days away and I’m now 7 days into symptoms this month and I’m still so sick. I wanted to go to doctor’s but I didn’t have the strength to get up and go. I was at a point I almost want to go to hospital! My boyfriend is no help other than yelling at me! Please help me and point me in right direction and let me know what you think may be going on

Reply
    jane henson - August 24, 2018

    I’m no doctor but are you sure you don’t have an underactive thyroid. Some of your symptoms (hair loss, weight gain, fatigue, Leg muscle ache, depressed) sound like it. I have an underactive thyroid and am taking Levothyroxine for it but still suffer many of these symptoms and more.

    Reply
Leah - September 11, 2017

I was on nexplanon birth control for 4 months. I got all sorts of symptoms including cystic acne, gained 15-20 lbs, extreme mood swings, severe dizziness and anxiety attacks. It basically ruined my life and almost destroyed my relationship. Now that it’s removed I’m not sure how to get back to normal after what I suspect is a high level of progesterone.

Reply
    Westin Childs - September 11, 2017

    Hi Leah,

    I don’t have any specific articles on how to get back to normal post birth control but the general idea is that you want to balance your hormones (estrogen and progesterone specifically) and go through therapies designed to make sure you eliminate the birth control medication from your body. Many of the therapies listed in this article should help.

    Reply
Melani - September 24, 2017

I currently have progesterone level at 29 & estrogen of 840…I have been told that I am in range for “therapeutic” levels- except I take no estrogen replacement…I don’t even eat soy! I do use Now Progest cream 1x per day & am afraid to stop becuz I don’t know if that will help or make thing worse…I can tell you that I feel absolutely AWFUL every minute & I’ve lost 15 lbs fairly quickly recently…

Reply
    Westin Childs - September 24, 2017

    Hi Melani,

    It’s tough to say what your main problem is without a full assessment. You should focus on other hormones including thyroid function, etc.

    Reply
      Melani - September 25, 2017

      Yea, I take Armour thyroid…had all of it checked & the rest was normal, these were the only values I was puzzled about. Thanks.

      Reply
Melani - September 24, 2017

Sorry, forgot to tell you that I’m 52…5’6″ currently 127 lbs…I’m also SCARY forgetful right now…

Reply
Holly - October 4, 2017

I have irregular cycles ranging from 26 days to 99 days. Is testing on days 19-21 still advisable with such erratic cycle lengths? I am currently on oral compounded progesterone 250mg which was adjusted down in Jan from 400mg. Within a few weeks, I began to have symptoms of high estrogen (fat gain, breast tenderness, etc). Serum test revealed progesterone level 25, estrogen 328. Doctor stated I needed to let my body adjust to the new dose of progesterone. This past cycle has been 99 days, I’ve gained weight, have this new layer of fat covering my body [(I heavy strength train 5 days/week (overtraining?)], severe bloating, etc. I have finally started a very light cycle but don’t know when to test my levels. Is Day 19-21 still advisable?

Thank you in advance for your response.

Side note…I am on 3 grains of NatureThroid as well. Clinical diagnosis of hypo based on symptoms not lab values several years ago. I am currently 42 years old.

Reply
    Westin Childs - October 5, 2017

    Hi Holly,

    The short answer is that no, testing on days 19-21 of your 26 to 99 day cycle will not be helpful. The goal is to test during the midluteal phase (if possible), and that becomes very difficult if you don’t menstruate regularly.

    Reply
Tina Hepworth - October 15, 2017

Hi, I am 62, and am using a 0.075mg Estradiol patch for severe hot flashes, along with 100 mcg of promethium every night night . My latest serum levels are: Estradiol 92 pg/ml, prog. 0.4 ng/ml, DHEA 72.6 ug/dL , and total T 6 ng/dL, and freeT 0.5 pg/ml. The hot flashes are being controlled well, but I’m concerned about the low Estradiol:prog ratio. What are your thoughts please?
I also have v.low libido, constant mild depression, and a lot of back pain.I’m v. active, BMI 24. Thank you!

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Paige McKinney - October 19, 2017

I am 44 yrs old. I have been taking progesterone for birth control and to stop my periods for around 4 years. About 8 weeks ago. I started gaining weight rapidly,my breasts have grown almost 2 cup sizes, and I stay bloated. I’ve been severely tired and moody. I’ve taken 4 pregnancy tests and all are negative.
I have been under a major amount of stress during this time. Where do I need to start to see what’s going on with me?
Sincerely,
Paige McKinney

Reply
Kin - October 25, 2017

I have symptoms of progesterone toxcicity. My heart pounds out of my chest most of the time. I have decreased urine output. My face looks like a moon. I have started taking holy basil and PS. Is there anything else I can do to help relieve my symptoms? I also
have low estrogen.

Thanks you,

Kim

Reply
Samantha S - November 9, 2017

Hello Dr Childs,
I have been having problems with hormonal imbalance. Recently my period was delayed for two months, so my Gyane suggested I take Rogestrone (thrice a day for 3 days, 50 mg) .. I did get my period but Now I feel dizzy, tired and my body feels heavy. Are these the side effects of high progesterone?
How do I get back to normal?

Reply
Deborah Ross - November 10, 2017

Hi Dr Childs

I have had adrenal fatigue the last 12 mths & was just starting to feel better & then my progesterone levels increased & I am feeling tired. I am currently on a herbal liver support is there anything else I should be doing?

Reply
pat bailey - November 17, 2017

I am losing my mind because I can’t balance my hormones whatever I do. I use divigel half a mg. and use a low dose of vaginal progesterone and somedays I feel overly sedated and other days feel like I have no progesterone and low cortisol. Now I am bloated with large breasts which feels more like too much progesterone. I’m always cold too. Don’ know what to do anymore. My doctor doesn’t listen to me ever!

Reply
Amy H - November 17, 2017

Hello Dr. Childs,

I am 34 years old, very active and had my first child almost exactly 2 years ago. Since having my first child, I have had 2 DVT’s and a mini stroke. I am now experiencing significant pain in the leg that had the DVT’s just before my cycle starts. I have also been feeling very depressed during my luteal phase (which is not like me), feeling dizzy and experiencing nightmares. I am wondering if this all has to do with my progesterone levels. I am very fit and active but I am also on blood thinners and cannot take any hormone therapy. I am just at a loss. Do you have any advice?

Reply
Mylks - December 14, 2017

I just finish reading your article. I want to say thank you! I felt that you were just talking straight to me.
In this world of high technology and busy lifestyle it was so hard to get to a doctor who will listen to you or had time enough to figure out what you’re going through.

I was just diagnose to have autoimmune progesterone dermatitis APD. I am 41 y.o. With 2 kids ages 10 and 7.
Actually I diagnose myself after doing my own research.
I went to my family doctor then he refer me to the dermatologist who said he never had a patient like me, did a little research in the internet and agreed that I have APD, he prescribe a combo of medications to releive my itching, and rashes, hydyoxicine at HS, cimetidine TID, and Allegra for 6weeks. And told me to go see my OB-GYNE. Then he ask me to see him again after 6 weeks.
I had a hard time booking to gyne, first my Ob gyne doctor was not in the clinic, second the nurse in the clinic doesn’t know or understand me she never heard of the kind of diagnosis I had and think that it’s not a gyne case. (I’m saying because after talking to them to the lady doing the booking she told me the nurse will call back, she did call back after 2 hours and left a message saying she think I should be seeing dermatologist instead) call her back but it’s l the answering machines I was not able to get thru.
Well I’m lucky to have 2 good insurance so while waiting on that gyne I went ahead and used my other insurance coverage a different medical group. They were very good they put me right away for appointment to a gynecologist in 20 minutes time I was sitting on the clinic. Met the MD who looks young and smart but clearly no idea about APD, so she said if the rashes comes when you have your period then I will give you pills not to make you have a period. It make sense right while she’s talking to me I she convince me that she’s giving me a mild one, because I complained to her that I never take birth control pill, since I had a very bad side effect on it.
I told her that when I was 25 or 26 I was diagnosed with endometriosis after a laparoscopic diagnostic surgery,and removal of endometrioma. I was placed on birth control pill I stopped it because the side effects was worse, get me depressed, and had mood swings.

Well then she said take the pills (estradiol) starting today and see her after 6 weeks, meanwhile she will talk to a dermatologist and show the picture of my erythema multi form. That I had all over my body.

After reading this article things made more sense and I got scared taking this pills.
I think I have to help my body. Improve my immune system,I was under too much stress recently, and I beleive everything you were right,I have to do more research, but this make more sense that anything.
It is because my problem is also hormone issues.
I would like to ask you for your recommendation and will check for your other articles if you have more
Thank you.

Reply
    Westin Childs - December 14, 2017

    Hi Mylks,

    I don’t have any resources on autoimmune progesterone dermatitis exactly but some of the treatments targeted towards other autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s may be relevant. In addition it may be worthwhile to confirm the diagnosis by transdermal progesterone injection or by attempting to suppress ovulation via medications to determine if that is indeed the cause of your symptoms. Some cases may also reportedly improve with increasing progesterone doses which may de-sensitize the body to progesterone.

    Either way you still have several treatment options available to you at this point! Good luck and keep us updated 🙂

    Reply
Stephanie - December 23, 2017

Thank you so much Dr. Childs for a VERY informative, well written article. I’m 49, went off the BCP in August, hormones tanked, progesterone was a big fat zero. I’m doing BHRT with a grest doctor in Philadelphia. I started on 100mg of compounded progesterone at bedtime. It barely took the edge off. 6 weeks later we reviewed blood results and symptoms and he upped me to 200mg. Last week, after 12 doses of 200mg, I felt pretty darn good, anxiety gone, depression gone, but I still wasn’t sleeping . I’ve been on sleeping pills since September while we figure this out because not sleeping can destroy everything. I’m not taking sleeping pills now, I think I’m stressinf about sleep, but I feel “off.” Yesterday at work I was mean and cranky and no tolerance for BS. I feel like I did 2 months ago. Is 300 mg a lot? Could the difference between 200 and 300 make that much of a difference? I also have estradiol and testosterone pellets. Im going to call the doc after the holiday but I would love a frame of reference when I speak to him. Thanks again for a great article. Can’t wait to check out your other work.

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Mariajose - December 28, 2017

Yes, but there have not been
any changes that could have caused it. So I’m wondering what else I could do to balance things out.

Reply
Holly - January 8, 2018

Hello,
I was on the the bc pill Seasonique for over 2 years. Around a year into the pill,
I started having panic/anxiety episodes which I never had in the past. I’m 33 was 32 when these began. They would come and go intermittently for the next year and a half before i made the connection that it may be pill related. I was also diagnosed with an overactive thyroid and put on methimazole and also Lexapro. None of which I believe i needed if i had been told to stop the bc. I am currently off Seasonique and Lexapro but still taking methimazole. I’m experiencing withdrawl symptoms such as depression, insomnia, brain fog, irritatbility and lack of focus. Everyone keeps telling me it will take role for my hormones to level out. Is this true? I just long to feel like myself again. Thank you!

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Jennifer mckenzie - January 23, 2018

Hi Dr Child’s,
I was diagnosed with ME around 10 years ago. I’m not a doctor but I didn’t feel that was the right diagnosis for me. I’m 49 years old now and have been tested recently and show to be menopausal, as I was approximately 2/3 years ago but continued to have a regular cycle. I have lots of symptoms now that I think are hormonal , especially of high progesterone. My GP has never tested progesterone. After reading about high levels of stress and its affect on progesterone, it seems highly likely to me that this could be my difficulty and not ME, my GP is very fed up of me, what can you suggest I do to see if I have increased levels of progesterone.
Kind Regards
Jennifer

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    Westin Childs - January 23, 2018

    hi Jennifer,

    Testing for progesterone is very simple and all you need is a serum progesterone level, your Doctor shouldn’t have any problem ordering this test. Make sure to also check estradiol if you check serum progesterone.

    Reply
      Jennifer - January 23, 2018

      Thank you so much for your reply Dr Childs. Is there a test I could order without my GP? I’m reluctant to see him as I don’t feel there is a great relationship there. On my last visit, I was asked “and what do you think is wrong with you?” Very demoralising.
      Kind regards
      Jennifer

      Reply
        Westin Childs - January 23, 2018

        Not that I am aware of, another consideration would be to seek out a new physician that is perhaps more willing to work with your concerns.

        Reply
          Jennifer - January 23, 2018

          Thank you Dr Childs, I think that might be the best way forward.
          Kind regards
          Jennifer

          Reply
jill - February 1, 2018

I’m 38 years old. I been having periods at a 22 day cycle. This time I had a period then started again 13 days later. So 2 in one month. They usually last 5 days.

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Stephanie - February 2, 2018

Thank you so much for such a great article!
I’m 30 years old and have been battling acne for 20 years. I’ve literally tried everything!
With nutrition and every other factor completely on point, I’ve been realizing my major breakout is always from day 17-23 of my 28 day cycle. I’ve used spironolactone and it was helpful, but not 100%, and now that I’m realizing the breakout timing versus progesterone production, I’m ruling out the androgens as primary cause and want to target the estrogen-progesterone balance.
My question – I assume a doctor would throw the BC pill at me (haven’t been on it for about 8 years), but I’m nervous it may make matters worse if this is a case of high progesterone more than an imbalance between the hormones. Is there any medication to simple lower progesterone before trying to target both hormones?
I’ve had blood tests done and everything was normal (testosterone actually a little low, even before the spironolactone), but I likely didn’t go at the best time of my cycle.
Thank you again!!

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nicolemiller9999 - February 7, 2018

Dr. Childs,

I am a 48yo woman who has reached an ungodly weight over the past 4 years. I am 5’10, 250 pounds. I gained 56 pounds over a 4 month period of time in 2014 and have been unable to lose anything, most alarming is that I will literally put on 5-10 pounds in 1 week if I don’t keep my calorie intake below a net 800-900 calories a day (1450 intake, 600 exercise). This has been a mystery to several specialists including endocrinologists, cardiologists, internal meds and ND’s. I’m at my wits end – I won’t live like this – this isn’t who I am and I feel helpless to change this and worse I feel helpless to find anyone who can help me. I just found your site as I was double checking my most recent blood work results that my doctor thought would prove something so significant that they would get the answers; however I am close to perfect stats wise. Exception that the doctor saw no issue with and that I am now digging into is Progesterone and Testosterone levels being higher than normal ranges – both. I don’t take anything except vitamin D, vitamin A, multi-vit, B12 complex and a 1 grain of naturthroid (due to a goiter found 4 years ago at start of weight gain). Do you have any insights to share or can you tell me where to look next in my blood work to figure this out? Thank you in advance for your response.

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Renee Rogers - February 27, 2018

Any suggestions as to who can treat bio-identical progesterone overdose in Australia?

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KarlA - March 7, 2018

Hi Dr. Childs,

In mid January I took a single dose of the after pill, after 4 days I got my period and decided to get a one month shot of birth control and that’s when the fun began. I had to attend to the gyn. Because I had severe itching in my Vagina, she mention I had cervicitis and it was treated. Than I had my period for the second time but this time I was itchi two days or so before menstruating, and during menstruation. I went back to gyn. And said that I had an overdose of hormones and the itching was a symptom because I did not have any signs of infection. By the way She inspected me and mention I was still in my period. The itching is present again, last week my face was aglumarated by acne(the painful one) I am 26 and acne free. I still have mood swings, my breast hurt and they look bigger, but most important the itching came back. I suspect I am still intoxicated with hormones. My question is doctor, what can I do to metabolize the hormone faster if that is indeed what I have?

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Erin - March 15, 2018

I had the Marina IUD put in 15 months ago. I have gained over 20 pounds, I have anxiety, my Brest size has gone up and my breast are sore and heavy, I get headaches and feel PMS symptoms all the time. Blood work came back normal. I want the IUD out. What do you think?
Thank you,
Erin

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ANGIE PLACKIS - April 19, 2018

I recently had saliva hormone test that revealed Progesterone =>2400 and estrogen <.5. The only symptoms I have of high progestetone rte low libido and 5-10 pound weight gain. I have stopped using the cream. Is there anything else I can do to promote elimination of the progesterone?

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Karrie Bailey - April 24, 2018

I am a 58-year-old female who has been doing Hormone replacement therapy for a few years now. Recently, however, my naturopath didn’t follow up with me and had me on 400mg of progesterone per day for over 6 months. I became bone tired fatigued, had insomnia, have gained over 20lbs and literally couldn’t stay awake. I am looking for a new doctor, and I have quit taking all my hormones. I don’t know how much damage may have been done to my heart and lungs. I still can’t get a deep breath, especially after eating. I have an appointment with a Dr. to check my heart checked, but can’t get in until May 7th. I am becoming very concerned and not sure if I should go to an emergency room, but I don’t really feel like they would be able to help me. How worried should I be right now? When I google the side effects of high progesterone, it’s pretty darn scary. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Annie - April 27, 2018

I had a total abdominal hysterectomy at age 31 5 years ago. For the past three years, I have been on the following Bioidentical BRT dose: progesterone 30 mg/DHEA 10mg/testosterone 2mg cream TWICE daily; estrogen .375mg patch applied twice a week. At first, everything was great, no hormonal symptoms and I lost 25 pounds (working out 6 to 7 days a week). For the past two months though, despite no change in diet or workout level, I have gained 10 pounds, have terrible muscle cramping in both calves, hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, bloating, no sex drive and slight dizziness. I had my hormones tested via saliva, and my BHRT specialists and I differ in opinion on the results, which are below:

Estrogen – CURRENT – 1.1 – RANGE -0.5-1.7 pg/mL Postmenopausal (optimal 1.3-1.7)

Progesterone – CURRENT – 140 – RANGE – 12-100 pg/mL Postmenopausal

Ratio PG.E2 – CURRENT – 127 RANGE – Optimal: 100-500 when E2 1.3-3.3 pg/mL

Testosterone – CURRENT – 32 RANGE – 16-55 pg/mL (Age Dependent)

DHEA – CURRENT – 3.5 RANGE – 2-23 ng/mL (Age Dependent)

CORTISOL – CURRENT – 5.8 RANGE – 3.7-9.5 ng/mL (morning)

I think the Progesterone is too high, but they want to keep me on the 30 mg twice daily dose but lower the DHEA and CORTISOL. I want to cut the entire dose to progesterone 30mg/DHEA 5mg/testosterone 1mg ONCE DAILY. As take the dose as it is, my symptoms get worse. Should I stop just the cream for a while and then start on the lower dose? If so, how long would it take for the excess hormones to get out of my body? How long before the symptoms go away and I get back in balance? Anyone’s help is appreciated!!

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judy - April 28, 2018

I was using a compound hormone cream with estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone for last 15 yrs or so. Also on armour thyroid, switched to westhroid. Would have labs done every 6 mos to monitor levels. TSH has been high last several yrs but Dr never lowered dose. Could never get all 3 hormones level, testosterone would be very high one time then next time some other hormone would be too high or too low. Stopped using hormone cream about 4 mos ago. The last 3 labs in the last 3 mos showed very high progesterone, it has been coming down but still 4x higher than normal for someone post menopause. Now my Dr wants me to see an Endocrinologist. Is that a good idea?

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Savanna - May 6, 2018

Hi, I’m 27. I’ve had a Mirena IUD in place did almost 6 years. It’s been awful. I feel as if I’m completely losing my mind and sight of myself. It’s somewhat a relief to read I could just be imbalanced and not insane but now What? No doctor will help me because I had it placed in the UK and am now in the US.

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shannon - May 9, 2018

Hello,

For the past year, I have had what I think to believe an allergic reaction or high/low progesterone levels – where my mouth/lips blow up as if I had a nut allergy or something. This has happened 3 times and there is nothing regular about it. It does seem to happen though when I have been on my period. Most recently, yesterday, I was eating a sweet potato and a kidney bean chili and all a sudden my lips started tingling and blew up over 6 hour period. I also got my period that morning. I have had various allergy tests done and have all come back negative, which has led me to this. I have had issues with my thyroid and hormones in the past as well as a ruptured ovarian cyst. Does any of this ring a bell or sound like anything you might have dealt with or heard of. Thank you!

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Elaine - June 21, 2018

Hi there, I am 33 years old, never been pregnant. Since going off BCP 3 years ago, had premenstrual spotting for 4 – 10 days before period. Loads of anxiety. Serum progesterone (day 21),2 years ago was 75 nmol/l, now it is sitting at 103.92 nmol/l, with oestrogen within normal range at 541 pmol/l. I don’t take any progesterone precursors that I know of (although take a b complex with B6). Thyroid and androgens seem normal… so confused. Any ideas on what I should test further? Could high cholesterol increase progesterone? No DUTCH test available in my country yet.Thanks in advance

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    Westin Childs - June 23, 2018

    Hi Elaine,

    When you come off birth control it can take your body months to years to get back to normal due to the massive pituitary suppression that occurs, you may simply be dealing with this issue.

    Reply
Cynthia - June 23, 2018

Hello Dr. Childs. I’m 42 years old. I’ve checked my hormones recently and my progesterone is almost double of the highest value in the acceptable range. I also have hypothyroidism (TSH is ok, around 1.5… but symptoms were never gone, especially weight and fatigue). I am overweight and even with exercise and diet it’s been really hard to lose any pounds. Low carb was always a sure thin and now it doesn’t work. My total and free testosterone are in range and my DHEA is slightly higher (all these results are from 20 days in the cycle). My estrogen is usually low but within range. It was not tested in day 20 like progesterone and the others unfortunately (in day 3 the ratio was 14 prog: 1 estrog). Symptoms really started appearing about 6 months ago. I have low ovarian reserve an my period was already short 1-2 days max). Now it got back to 4-5 days and has increased. I have a lot mire water retention. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not but 6 months ago I started taking lamotrigine and bupropion (I discovered I am within the bipolar spectrum). This treatment has changed my life. Could it be related to my high progesterone? What other tests could you suggest? Thanks for your time!!

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    Westin Childs - June 25, 2018

    Hi Cynthia,

    If your symptoms started around 6 months ago and that was when you started your medication then you’ll probably want to look there first.

    Reply
Amy - July 5, 2018

I am 47, I take 3 grains of a T3/T4 compound. My Dr put me on 50mg of progesterone and then increased it to 100. Initially I felt better, but after a couple of weeks I felt more tired, chin acne and tender breasts. I went back down to 50 3 days ago and I feel worse than ever. Completely exhausted and achy. Is this a normal reaction to decreasing and it will subside or should I stop taking it altogether? Thank you!

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    Westin Childs - July 5, 2018

    Hi Amy,

    Unfortunately, I can’t give you medical advice but I can say that your reaction is not typical.

    Reply
Roberta Cardoso - August 16, 2018

Hello
Thanks for very informative article. Do you have any information around peri menopausal, HRT and extended breastfeeding, luteal phase defect and high progesterone!? I don’t have any peri menopausal symptoms but a shorter luteal phase every month.
Many thanks [email protected]

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    Westin Childs - August 20, 2018

    Hi Roberta,

    I have some information on perimenopause but not about those other problems you’ve mentioned. You can read more about that here: https://www.restartmed.com/perimenopause/

    Reply
Catherine - August 17, 2018

Hi
I am 34years old and have been trying to conceive for two years now. Last December, I did a hormonal profile and the result showed estrogen was low. It was 44 and the range given was(50-150). I was placed on medication (Tamoxifen) for four months. I repeated the same test this August and estrogen levels are okay but the progesterone levels have increased 41.3 and the range given is (3-25). Is the progesterone too high to cause harm to my system and also affect the chances of getting pregnant?

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H - September 8, 2018

My doctor prescribed Progesterone for menopause symptoms and after 6 weeks of taking it I gained 13 lbs despite changing nothing about my intake or exercise—I was at an ideal bodyweight when I started the progesterone. In the 5 months since she has prescribed estrogen which I took with daily progesterone and still the massive bloating and sense of fullness—and the weight—won’t budge. I feel like I have too much Progesterone and my question is do I quit taking Progesterone and only take Estrogen for a while to try to rebalance things? I feel like I want to quit everything and just hit the reset button. This is so frustrating. Thanks!

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    Westin Childs - September 10, 2018

    Hi H,

    It’s generally not a good idea to take unopposed estradiol. Your weight probably has more to do with your dose of either or both hormones and that would be the first place to look. You’ll want to order lab tests and take a look at your symptoms to figure it out.

    Reply
Jenni k - September 13, 2018

Obgyn put me in a progestin-only birth control pill for three months. Not for birth control ( I have a partial hysterectomy) but for hrt and to balance hormones. Made me feel terrible. Had a major lack of estrogen symptoms etc. I’m trying to get off this progestin pill and it’s giving me bad anxiety. I’ve been cutting it down slowly. Currently at half a pill. I can tell my regular hormones are coming back. Would starting bioidentical progesterone help with my withdrawal symptoms? Need to get off this pill completely and feel better but the anxiety! Pls comment. Thx.

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    Westin Childs - September 13, 2018

    Hi Jenni,

    It’s not a good idea to use both bio-identical progesterone and birth control pills at the same time as they may cause issues.

    Reply
Gina - September 15, 2018

I’m post-menopausal and have excessive progesterone (off the chart), likely the result of supplementation and excessive stress. Is it better to abruptly stop supplementation or gradually?

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    Westin Childs - September 15, 2018

    Hi Gina,

    In general, it’s never a good idea to abruptly stop any medication or hormone that you are taking! It’s probably safer to slowly titrate down your dose if you feel that is necessary.

    Reply

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