The Complete List of High Progesterone Symptoms in Women

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, and also how to treat it. 

Use this checklist to determine if you meet the criteria: 

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).

figure showing steroid hormone synthesis and the impact that stress has on cholesterol metabolism and hormone production.

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 causes 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. 


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 feelings 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. 

a figure showing the 28 day standard menstrual cycle with estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels mapped throughout.

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 levels 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 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).

schematic showing the metabolism of sex androgens and estrogen.

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. 

graph showing the 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 it will help you put individual results into context. 

Treating High Progesterone

Treating high progesterone largely depends on what the cause is. 

By far the most common cause of high progesterone and therefore high progesterone symptoms is 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 overstimulation of adrenal function which results in the 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.

graph which highlights the impact of stress as measured by salivary cortisol levels on 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, a 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
  • Make 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 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. 


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. 


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. 


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


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! 











how to tell if your progesterone level is too high pinterest image.

picture of westin childs D.O. standing

About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 80,000+ people have used them over the last 6 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do.

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132 thoughts on “The Complete List of High Progesterone Symptoms in Women”

  1. 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.

    • 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.

      • Thank you for the article! I am 68 years old and started taking 10 mg melatonin for sleep. I know that is a high dosage but less did not work at all. A saliva test showed me to be progesterone dominant but a recent blood test indicated a deficiency. My doctor started me on hormone replacement. I know that this is not recommended for someone my age but it is essential to treat my health problems. I started having all sorts of high progesterone symptoms; intense enough that I could not accomplish my activities and had to stop taking the hormone. A lower dose caused the same result. My doctor has ordered a different form of the hormone for me to try. I reminded her office about the melatonin recently but have not heard back. I had read somewhere that melatonin increases progesterone & have stopped taking both for the time being. Several years ago I was taking about the same amount of progesterone but without the melatonin & had no problems. Can you weigh in on this? Thank you!

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

      • Recently started taking bioidentical progesterone. While it has helped my mood and depression and anxiety a bit, my sleep is more fragmented now. Suggestions? I tried taking it @ different times of the day, but still fragmented sleep. 100mg.

  2. 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!

    • 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.

          • Author has failed to note that if you gained weight with progesterone supplementation (crazy overdosing if you ask me) you have stored a lot of progesterone in your body fat. As this releases (If you have stopped supplementation) you will still suffer from symptoms (mimics estrogen dominance). Sometimes the only way to counteract this is to supplement with estrogen (ideally a weighted combo of all three estrogens) to at least maintain a balance of P and E as your body is cleansed of the excess P.

          • Hi Drew,

            I would advise caution with the course you have recommended here. It’s almost never the case that you would want to overdose on one hormone to balance from your accidental overdose of another hormone. It makes far more sense, and indeed this is how it plays out in clinical practice, to simply stop the first to let your own body balance it out. While progesterone is lipid soluble so is estrogen, meaning if you supplement with excess estrogen to balance your high progesterone you may succeed in making the problem worse by contributing to further fat mass.

            It also sounds as if you are speaking from a hypothetical or theoretical standpoint. It is certainly the case that even small doses of progesterone can cause symptoms of excess probably due to variations in progesterone and estrogen sensitivity. Large doses are not required to experience the symptoms listed in the article.

  3. 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?

  4. 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 ?

  5. 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?

    • I would love to see a response to this question as I have the exact same thing. I know this question is over 5 years old but a response would be great.

  6. 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

  7. 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

    • 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.

    • This sounds exactly what I go through when I take Plan-B or other emergency contraceptive. Are you taking that or something similar?

      After taking the pill, for about two weeks leading up to and through my period, I’m extremely tired, feverish, achy, nauseous, depressed and bitchy as hell. I also vomit sometimes and gain several pounds.

  8. 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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…

    • 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.

  10. 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.

    • 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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?
    Paige McKinney

  13. 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,


  14. 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?

  15. 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?

  16. 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!

  17. 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?

  18. 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.

    • 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 🙂

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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

    • 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.

      • 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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!!

  25. 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.

    • I also have bio-identical progesterone toxicity. Why do medical providers not acknowledge this problem? I know it is uncommon, but it is very real. I was using bio-identical progesterone cream for 5 months and applying it nightly to breasts, thighs, buttocks to reduce endometriosis symptoms while waiting for excision surgery. I developed terrible symptoms and ended up in ER (pounding heart, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, reduced kidney function, severe anxiety and insomnia, muscle weakness and tremors). My estrogen is relatively low as I do not have ovaries (large bilateral endometriomas required an oophorectomy).

      I’ve been researching how to get the progesterone out of my fat stores and safely out of my body. So far: Exercise and sauna to induce sweat; Calcium D-Glucarate and N-Acetyl Cysteine to support the liver in making progesterone water-soluble and get it out of the body; Increase fiber to help liver metabolites move physically out of the body.

  26. 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?

  27. 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,

  28. 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?

  29. 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.

  30. 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!!

  31. 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?

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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

    • 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.

  35. 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!!

    • 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.

  36. 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!

  37. 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

  38. 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?

  39. 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!

    • 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.

  40. 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.

    • 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.

  41. 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?

    • 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.

    • Hi Mary,

      It doesn’t really work that way. Certain deficiencies can promote hair loss but there isn’t a hormone to take to “cure” the problem.

  42. I am 50 soon and my last blood test showed oestrogen at <18 and TSH at 70. I am peri menopausal as I have cycles every 2 weeks but I am always spotting too.
    I have been using Cyclogest (progesterone pessaries) for 8 years at 500mg a day no breaks every day. I was not using oestrogen at all.

    The last 6 days I have had a constant arousal state in my genitals and I am terrified. I am also experiencing PMS symptoms of extreme hunger (despite feeling sick with the anxiety I am experiencing since the symptoms started) very sore aching large breasts, spots, pain in my cervix which I normally get before my period and mild cramping (unusual for me)
    The ONLY thing I can find on the internet that describes these horrible intrusive symptoms is Permanent Genital Arousal Disorder which is why I am so anxious. I do NOT want that!

    I have managed to find a few forum posts from women on menopause sites that claim they had these symptoms one lady was not worried by them but her doctor explained this can happen to peri-menopause women and offered her a nerve blocking drug which she declined and the problem went after 3 weeks
    Another lady had the symptoms for a while and said she is much better now but thinks she was suffering from a combination of "Sexurge" and PGAD (Sexurge = high libido that can occur in women late 40s early 50s as bodies way of trying to get pregnant before it finally shuts down)
    And the third lady said she suffered from vaginal arousal as well as tingling in her hair scalp burning pain etc and is better now but it was at its worst when her oestrogen was at its lowest = 28 serum

    My doctor states she has never had a woman come to her with these symptoms but will look into the PGAD and has told me to drop the progesterone 200mg a day for the first week and then another 200mg a day the following week until I am no longer using it at all.
    She had prescribed Tibolone 2.5mg daily which I started 2 days ago.

    I am so scared this is going to be a life long issue. I cannot even focus on the TV. I have tried to relieve the feelings but they still remain throughout the day in varying degrees.

  43. Hello I came across this while I was trying to do research on “Autoimmune Progesterone Dermititis” the past 5 months I have experienced random allergic reactions resulting as Hives on my face. I am 24 and the first time it happened it was this past June towards the end then end of July and again today. The first time I thought it was because I consumed too much dairy when I cut back on dairy and only drink almond milk the 2nd time I thought it was something I ate or something at my new job but decided to leave work. My doctor gave me allergy medication and told me I was probably allergic to something at work. Both times the hives disappeared on there own and in a couple of hours my face looked like I had nothing. Then today I randomly got the hives again during a class lecture. I luckily had the allergy pills my doctor had given me the summer in my backpack idk how they were there but thank god! And in 30 minutes they were gone. After class I decided to do more research and came across Autoimmune Progesterone dermatitis” which is when your body has an allergic reaction to its own Progesterone which is crazy!!! Sadly there isn’t much info on the internet on it and is very rare! I have never had this but I have most of the symptoms which is getting a hive breakout at the beginning of your cycle of before you start your cycle. So I’m trying to do more research to think am I having an allergic reaction because I already have high Progesterone I already have most of the symptoms that result in high Progesterone that was listed in this article and since my cycle adds more to the mix my body can’t handle it and acts in a allergic reaction?? I looked back on the other 2 times I had the hives allergic reaction happen and I was on my cycle both times too! I find this scary and new because it is so rare! I plan to visit a specialist soon but if anyone has any info on this it would be helpful because I’m only 24!! And I’ve NEVER been on birth control or anything that deals with hormones or any sort of medication! Which is why I’m so confused and bummed..

  44. Dear Dr. Childs,
    Thanks for the precious article. I am a 42 years woman got pregnant at the age of 33. The first pregnancy I had twins but from day one I was losing one of them. My doctor tried to help keep the other safe he gave me a lot of medication like uterogestan and prontogest and others I can’t remember to keep the baby. Right after birth I started to gain significant weight. Second pregnancy I lost the baby again to know I have a genetic disorder. Third pregnancy I had the same medication plus an injection for blood thinning.
    Now I gained 25 kgs more and suffering from severe hair loss, excessive hairs on the chin, skin tags all over my neck and chest area and a huge growth in my breasts. As well swelling in the feet and bloated. I feel this bloating the least at day 6 on my cycle , I mean right after I finish my period then gradually starts again from day 7. Please tell me what’s my problem?

  45. I’m trying to work out whether I have a hormone imbalance. Trying to conceive for almost 3 years with no pregnancy. 38 years old. Periods are fairly light and only last 2-3 days. I have pre period spotting which can start 7-10 days after ovulation. I have breast tenderness 7 days after ovulation which disappears just before my period and I have really bad night sweats the week leading up to my period. I also have low libido. I thought I may be Progesterone deficient but have been tested at day 21 and levels were very high. My Estrogen levels in first half of cycle were fairly low. These tests were saliva tests although I did also have blood tests which showed a decent level of progesterone. Could I have too much progesterone and too little Estrogen? Would I still have spotting if this was the case? I tried Progesterone supplements and although they delayed the spotting by a couple of days it was just as bad when it did start. I’m so confused because some of my symptoms point to too much Progesterone and others to too little.

    • Hi Sarah,

      The best place to start is with a full hormone panel including tests for your thyroid. Once you get all of this information you can begin to piece the puzzle together. One isolated test of your sex hormones does not give you the full picture as these vary from month to month.

  46. Hello Dr. I am 54 and have gained about 10 pounds recently. I’ve had problems waking up with hot flashes & getting hot flashes like clock work at 5pm every day. I started taking black cohosh which has helped greatly for hot flashes & sleep but now I worry about weight gain & trying to keep weight down. So I started Dr Lee’s all natural progestall. Two weeks in to using progestall I started getting auras & very slight headache. And now constipation this morning & also diahrea. Auras usually are a precursor to a migraine but for me it’s just the aura & slight headache. My question is, is it that I started using all natural progestine? And should I stop using progestall or cut down dose. I was only doing a pea size in the morning & a pea size at night. Thanks for any advice you can give me.

  47. I am a 38 year old female. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a year. (I have a 15 month old) My FSH was normal so my doctor put me on Clomid bc my ovulation tests always look negative. My Day 21 progesterone results came back and they were 80. My HCG blood draw was 0. Does Clomid cause this? I’m terrified I might have cancer or something seriously wrong. I also went to my general practitioner 2 days ago due to pain in my left side. She said it could be pelvic or colon and ordered an ultrasound and colonoscopy. With this new progesterone information, what do I do next?

  48. Hi, I suffer from terrible regular migraines with Aura. They first started at 16 when I went on the combined contraceptive pill. I immediately saw a link and came off the pill and my migraines vanished. However, when pregnant with my first child at 23 (and second at 25) the migraines returned and have never stopped. I’m now nearly 35 and really struggling with them. I think they must be hormone related and the only thing I can think of are that my levels haven’t settled since pregnancy. I just don’t know what to do to change them.

    • You could look into trying magnesium supplements, bisglyncanate form preferably as it it easily absorbed, alongside chelated calcium. For me it took 90% of my migraines away, including the hormonal ones.
      I took a high dose for several months but now only need a regular maintenance dose of mag/calcium and to watch my diet for migraine trigger foods as I approach my period.
      My doctor didn’t seem to have any info, but online and book research led me to this helpful solution after years of migraines.
      Hope it helps

    • Hi Jeanette,

      High progesterone can contribute to hair loss, but a receding hairline is usually related to testosterone levels.

      • Thank you for your response! I plan to have all my hormone levels checked in a couple of months and am hoping to get to the right combination of hormones.

  49. Hi Dr. Childs,
    I was taking a 200 mg capsule of progesterone nightly. My blood test came back as having a low level, so my new DNP put me on a bioidentical cream at 200 mg. per night. I feel I have several of the high progesterone symptoms, waking early morning with a HOT flash, and especially a markedly increased appetite. This bothers me as I am already quite overweight. Maybe I should decrease it to 100 mg?

    Btw, I have had hypothyroidism for years and am now taking 1 1/2 grains of WP Thyroid.

    Thank you!

  50. Hello!
    I did serum testing and my progesterone is higher. Please, can you check these values and give me your opinion.
    E2 – 210,pmol/L
    FSH – 7.6 IU/L
    LH – 3.3 IU/L
    Prolactin(PRL) – 297 mIU/L
    Testosteron – 0.96 nmol/I
    Progesterone – 56 nmol/L

    As I can see only progesterone is higher.
    Progesterone was checked on the 21st day of the cycle and all the rest hormones on the 3rd day.

  51. I think I might have done something stupid. I went to a medical spa to get my hormones checked. Wasn’t expecting the results… practically no Vit D, B12, DHEA, testosterone and progesterone, thyroid looking hypo (even though I’ve always been super thin) and my cortisol levels were 14.5… but I’m a shift worker and just went through an extremely stressful time losing my dad a few months before getting blood work. They are currently treating me for everything that was low, but I’m also currently on the NuvaRing for birth control. Since reading your article, I’m thinking I may not have been low at all in these areas since my birth control releases a synthetic form of the hormone, which I’m sure they don’t test for… would I be correct; and should stop taking the 75mg of Progesterone every night? I’ve been on everything for about a month, and since started my period 1.5 weeks early (always been regular) and have gained about 10lbs. First starting this, my night sweats went away, but now their back? Hopefully, I followed your rules so you’ll respond.

  52. I have been using Bioidentical progesterone and estrogen creams for some time now. I am 60. The dosage was prescribed worked beautifully for quite some time until I started getting my periods back. They are now coming a week after my last day. I have no current doctor due to a move so I am stymied. I don’t want to stop them all together unless needed. Stress is high and I am taking a lot of supplements to help support. Any ideas as to what to do to regulate?
    Thank you.

  53. I am a 62-year-old woman who underwent a hysterectomy during Jan. of 2018 due to chronic vaginal spotting. I underwent D&C’s and uterine biopsies and no diagnosis was ever found as to the reason for this problem. There were two extremely small uterine fibroids that were not felt to be the cause but I went ahead with the surgery as I did not want to undergo a uterine biopsy to check for cancer every six months as suggested by my GYN. My uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes were removed. I asked that my ovaries were left. I have continued to experience frequent brownish vaginal spotting and still have no diagnosis for this. Shortly before the time of the hysterectomy, I had my hormones tested and as expected my estrogen level was extremely low as I had never undergone any hormone replacement therapy. My progesterone level at that time was above normal limits but my GYN seemed to have no concern about this. I have not had my hormone levels tested since that time but am wondering if a hormone imbalance could have something to do with the spotting issue- assuming I undergo the test again and my progesterone level is still above normal for a postmenopausal woman. I also am significantly overweight and do not seem to be capable of losing much weight regardless of how few calories I consume per day.
    Can high progesterone levels in a postmenopausal woman be related to spotting and/or weight issues?

  54. Hi there,

    I was on the pill from the age of 17 until the age of 24. I really didn’t know anything about what it was actually doing to my hormones. All I knew is I’ve always suffered from hormonal acne due to an imbalance and/or sensitivity to my diet. Birth control worked for me beautifully. My acne disappeared and I felt extremely balanced. I lived a very active lifestyle constantly able to sleep well, exercise often, and maintain a healthy diet. I’m not sure if this means I was getting a higher level of progesterone or not, but my only negative side effect was headaches when I’d take that week off to “have a period.”

    I’ve had two kids since then and am still breastfeeding my 19-month-old about 3 times in a 24 hour period. I know my hormones are off balance although I’m not sure how. I’ve gone through breakouts, depression, mood swings, anxiety, having a short temper and extreme fatigue. I don’t even recognize myself, to be honest. I’m debating getting back on the pill or using more holistic supplements to regulate my hormones. As I said, I liked the balance I got with the pill before kids. I’m not sure how it would effect me now after kids. I also am discouraged by the fact that it blocks such a natural process in my body using synthetics. I’m inclined to do this testing you talk about, but figure while I’m breastfeeding it might not be so accurate. Any advice would be appreciated. I’m quite new to understanding these things called female hormones.

    Much appreciated,
    Tamra Williams

  55. I have just completed a saliva test that indicated my estradiol levels to be 100 and my progesterone at 54,000. My Bioidentical compounding pharmacist has advised me to stop my hormone replacement and see my doctor for further testing. I have all the symptoms list in this last section. I have been on Bioidentical Hormone repayment therapy for the past 5 years after having a complete hysterectomy overdoes removed at the age of 46. I am now 51. Any advice?

    • Hi Kimberley,

      I’m not a fan of hormone testing through the saliva because I don’t believe that it is the most accurate way to test for these hormones. I wouldn’t give any advice based on the results of that particular test.

  56. This is the first blog I’ve come across where so many women are having so many problems with progesterone. At 46 (now 49) when I first researched peri-menopause everything online indicated progesterone ‘good’ and estrogen ‘bad’ during this time (i.e. estrogen dominance). Therefore my peri-menopause journey initiated with OTC progesterone cream supplementation. Even went up to unmeasured high doses, chasing symptoms that I was led to believe were due to estrogen dominance. Ended up with severe anxiety, palpitations, lack of focus, was miserable. Following this I went into a state that I can best describe as hyperthyroid (heavy underarm sweating and weight loss without trying). Went to an MD, saliva tested, and based on results (high progesterone, mid range estrogen, low cortisol, low testosterone, low DHEA) was started on 1.25 Bi-Est w lowest does of testosterone, 100mg progesterone capsule, DHEA, ashwaganda, and maca, along with adrenal complex (MD works with a compunding pharmacist). Felt good for a while only now I believe I’m hypothyroid (cold hands and stubborn weight gain, acne, extreme difficulty waking). My basic thyroid panel shows ‘normal’. Question: Can massive swings in hormones over the course of 2 years mess up thyroid signaling (not sure if this is correct term)? Put another way, can excess progesterone CAUSE hyperthyroid, and can a ‘new’ introduction of estrogen trigger hypothyroid? I’ve read where estrogen supplementation can cause hyperthyroid. Still chasing symptoms and frustrated. Recall when I was a teenager entering menses I had difficulty waking. Just can’t seem to determine if that was from increasing progesterone or estrogen. Sharing that because I seem to be experiencing the same ‘exit’ as my ‘entry’ into female hormonal existence. Thank you for this site! Honestly need to shut down or include greater warnings on the dangerous (personal opinion) progesterone advocate sites out there. I’ve lost a year of balance to them. MD’s lack training, and even with GREAT (PPO) insurance hormonal panels aren’t covered for as frequently as I believe they should be (monthly!!!) so this is truly a challenging time.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Progesterone, in high doses, can cross-react with estrogen receptors which is probably causing the symptoms you are experiencing. Both estrogen and progesterone can also impact your thyroid but this would be evident with a full thyroid panel.

  57. Thanks for this very informative article. I have been on estradiol and progesterone for almost 20 years, post complete hysterectomy. I took orally at first, then went to creams, and now transdermal drops. I have been on the same doses for many, many years. I am also hypothyroid, controlled by Synthroid and Cytomel. Recently I have begun to suffer from many of the symptoms I find here indicating excessive progesterone. I have bloating, fibrocystic and sore breasts, insomnia, pounding heart, weight gain, etc. I plan to simply stop the progesterone for a bit to give my body a chance to flush out the excessive progesterone. I also have a sluggish, fatty liver. I am wondering if it will actually take a full six months to remove all the progesterone from my system. Do you have any thoughts on this given the lengthy time I’ve been on these hormones. I am 67 years old.

    • Hi Lee,

      Progesterone can build up in your fat stores which may release for months after you stop taking it. Because you’ve been on it for so long, I would expect it to take a while to completely eliminate from your system.

  58. Hi Dr. Childs, Thank you so much for taking time to respond. Want to share recent experience and an interesting NCBI article in case it helps. I re-ignited a hyperthyroid state after stopping Bi-Est and using low dose progesterone only. Ultimately was concerned over impact of Bi-Est on thyroid. Interestingly, using progesterone cream only, even a tiny amount, triggered hyperT, so I added a tiny amount of Bi-Est and voila, it countered the hyperT anxiety. I did read somewhere that topical Bi-Est doesn’t effect the thyroid although oral does so curious as to why I am having this experience. In any event, here is an article that touches on autoimmune disease triggered by progesterone and includes a section on thyroid: Progesterone and Autoimmune Disease
    Grant C. Hughes, M.D. (NCBI). Great read and findings seem to make sense for those of us that over supplemented and have hyperT symptoms when using any amount of progesterone now. Is there any correlation (to your knowledge) of normal-low end of range free T3, normal-low end of range free T4, and an almost perfect TSH (1.6-1.7) and graves or more likely with these numbers is hashi more likely? Those are the only data points I have to offer. Will be getting a full thyroid panel soon. Clearly my thyroid is functioning (TSH) but I’m totally messing up T4 and T3 with BHRT creams. Like others, I wish I could flush my system of progesterone immediately. Dangerous stuff given the fact we cannot test levels frequently enough to catch a build-up before it happens, even at a lower dose. Dang peri-menopause.

  59. I have a question as to how quickly someone can come to have progesterone excess with supplementation. I am 45. I began bcp over the winter for mood swings and very excessive, but regular, periods. I was also treated for anemia and low ferritin. Within a month my periods were lighter, moods improved, and the anxiety I had been suffering with for ten years was gone! I didn’t know how hormones could affect anxiety. Three months later I had gradually gained 15 lbs, was lethargic and began having suicidal ideation the week before my period.

    I quit the pill and was referred to a gynecologist who found my estrogen was normal, FSH normal, low vitamin d, B12, thyroid, and testosterone. I am being treated for all of that. He was going to prescribe progesterone cream, but I asked for the capsule because my insomnia. I get great for a month, just a little tired, lost a couple pounds even. I still have exhaustion in the afternoons but fall asleep easily at night. But I keep waking at 3 or 4 in the morning unable to go back to sleep. This month, though I am careful with diet and exercise, I have gained four pounds. Worst of all is the horrible abdominal cramps I get that last all day.

    Does using the cream still help with mood and sleep? Are these symptoms because of having too much progesterone? How long does it take to get out of your system?

  60. Also, I was diagnosed with adenomyosis with an englarged uterus. Only options are an IUD, which my doctor doesn’t recommend or hysterectomy. I was hoping a daily dose of prometrium would help in the long run.

  61. I’ve been on BHRT for several years. I’m post-menopausal and am on thyroid replacement (NP Thyroid and cytomel) after a thyroidectomy. Last labs showed T3 and T4 are optimal. I recently had hormone labs run and progesterone level tested at 46.1 pg/ml which is well beyond the normal level. I’ve been taking 200 mg of progesterone daily for 3-4 years. I haven’t had any significant weight gain, but have other symptoms like depression, anxiety, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, water retention, not sleeping well, low libido and allergies. My problem is finding a doctor who understands and knows how to deal with this issue. My current doc does not even monitor my progesterone levels (despite being on supplementation) and I ran the labs on my own.

  62. Years ago throughout my 20s at different times I tried the progesterone only mini pill (BCP). The doctors insisted it was generally safer without the estrogen.
    I always ended up with the same symptoms for months and months. Which were …constant spotting, pelvic and groin type pains, fatigue, and muscle weakness and a feeling joint instability. I felt like a rag doll. The doctors kept insisting my body would eventually adjust but things never improved.
    Now my doctor insists I take a BCP with both estrogen and progesterone but a lot more progesterone than most pills. My body and cycles are changing and some small irregularities and symptoms of peri-menopause and I have not been on any hormones or BCPs in about a year or so. The high progesterone scares me. Also, I am thin and therefore my doctor decided that my estrogen is low. I just don’t understand that conclusion alone. I have a friend who has always been very thin and is well past menopause and has breast cancer and has estrogen dominance.

  63. Hi there – Took the 21-day serum test (UK) and my

    oestrodial 299 pmol/L
    Progesterone 55.8 nmol

    Is this ok? I can’t work out ratios! Please help.

  64. Hello,

    I have elevated progesterone levels. My period has diminished to none. My breasts are very tender. I feel like I’m pregnant, but I’m not. I recently started taking hemp oil around the time of the change in my body. Can this be the cause of the imbalance?

    Thanks, Angie

  65. Hi Dr. Childs
    Your article above is very intersting!

    My progesterone level is through the roof. I tested it in the saliva and they said it was three times of what’s the “normal high”. I then went to my gyn and had it tested in the blood with the restult that the level was normal (tested on the 21st day of my cycle).

    I also tested all the other sexual hormones and my gyn said that I got absolut perfect results. And that they do not see any imbalance.
    Thyroid (T3, T4 etc was tested 2 years ago and all ok).

    About two years ago I started to feel changes in my body and face before my period, after never having experienced PMS, acne, anything. I started to have greasy scalp and excess sebum production in my face, plus more facial hair, resulting in big pores. I got eczema and very sensitive breasts.

    I must add that I’ve been suffering from depressio the last 2.5 years, due to a trauma, finally feeling good again. But it was a very time and my body has been going through a lot. Symptoms with no real diseases, lots of stress, hemogram was off, very low iron, zinc, B12, all together. I did lots of tests, a CT, MRIs, ultrasounds, scans.. You name it.
    I got diagnosed with cysts in my kidney, endometriosis (had surgery a year ago) and kryptopyrroluria. Due to the last one, I had to take supplements with lots of zinc, B6 and mangan.
    I just read now that if you have too low progesterone, you should increase your intake of zink and B6. Could this be a reason?
    Or maybe the endometriosis, even though I still have my ovaries and they both work perfectly well.

    My cycle is most of the time very regular (28 days) and I do not have any other symptoms..

    How can I find out what imbalance I have and what causes it? Are there any other tests I can take? Any insight from you would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks!

    • Hi Dr. Childs,

      I have been experiencing many of the high progesterone symptoms you mentioned (I’m in peri menopause at age 51). I’m trying to adjust my dose of bio identical progesterone to alleviate these symptoms. My question is, could high progesterone be causing stiffness in my joints or muscles throughout my body?

  66. Thanks for the article. I’m trying to work out whether I have low or high progesterone at the moment!
    I’m 34, breastfeeding, and suffer with hay fever terribly (greatly exacerbated during pregnancy). I have had anxiety and depression in the past but fine now (although I’m rarely “happy”). Due to breastfeeding cycles are very irregular so testing might be hard.
    Any ideas? I’m in the UK.

  67. Hello. I am 38 years old women who was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure and l am on body identical hormones. 50mcg estradiol patches and 200mgs natural progesterone for 12 days of the cycle then l get an artificial bleed. My question is that lately l ve heard one menopause specialist doctor saying that l could reduce my progesterone dose 1 capsule a day as l am using it internally and this way it gets more absorbed. On one hand l would love to do that as it gives me fatigue and dizziness during the progesterone part of the cycle however l am also hesitant to do so regarding the protection of uterine. Thank you.

  68. Ive been diagnosed with hypothyroidism almost a year and a half ago but was untreated for many years.. on on 75mg of eltroxin and have had my hormones tested a few months ago but have been on progesterone for a while as I’ve been test and going through peri menopause.. I’m taking 200mg of bioidentical progesterone. While it has helped my mood and depression and anxiety a bit, my breasts become super sore and achy for weeks until I get my period but when I get my period they are ok for a week.. also I get blurry vision some days worse than others, hair loss, scalp get sores and itchy, and foggy head. I’m been to a natural path and my dr. and still trying to find answers.. should I get my adrenals and cortisol checked again along with thyroid which was tested a few months ago and it was getting high, and estrogen & progesterone tested as well? I’ve had to become my own advocate and looking for answers.. hope u can help

  69. Yes I have all the symptoms of high progesterone, the most problematic of which is low libido. I’m post-menopausal and have been on bioidentical hormone replacement for years. I started on testosterone and estradiol pellets (plus oral progesterone) which initially gave me fantastic libido. Over time, however, libido became very random. A little over a year ago I switched to E & T injections hoping for a better result, but things have not improved. I’m convinced that the static dose of progesterone is largely to blame for my low libido (BC pills also killed my libido). But, how do you rectify this? Doctors tell you that you MUST take the daily 200mg of progesterone to avoid certain cancers. However, I know my pre-menopausal body did not secrete a daily dose of progesterone like this and, therefore, this seems unnatural. I also know that a great many women on a hormone therapy protocol that includes progesterone have the same issue with low libido (I was in a FB group and this issue came up frequently). Doctors I’ve asked about this are clueless and largely apathetic. One just shrugged and said, “well, women are complicated.” I’m to the point (although I swore I would never do this) where I feel that I need to cycle my hormones just to feel normal, even if it mean I will have to once again have a cycle. Hoping that some doctor somewhere will come up with an answer.

  70. Hello Dr. Childs! What a great site, thank you! I am struggling to figure out how to help my progesterone dominance. I am 40 yo and have had extreme breast tenderness in the week before my cycle starts. Stress has been high over the past several years. I tested via DUTCH test first and a blood test 2 months later, both around day 21 of my cycle. I was very progesterone dominant on both labs. On the DUTCH test, estrogen was frankly low and progesterone was high normal. Oddly, cortisol levels were very low too but epinephrine was high. 2 moths later, my estrogen had improved (I had been taking herbal adrenal support and herbal phytoestrogens), but my progesterone is still high and the breast tenderness is unrelenting. My thyroid levels are: TSH 2.23, free T4 and are T3 in middle of reference range but high reverse T3 at 24. I am working on managing my stress, but I still have a busy lifestyle. Any other suggestions for the breast tenderness? I’m at a loss. Thank you!!!

  71. Hello Dr. Childs,
    I was very estrogen dominant with endometrial hyperplasia, and morbidly obese, and my doctor put me on a daily micro progesterone pill. Over the last year I’ve lost over 100 lbs, and am feeling great in most ways. However, for almost the entire time between ovulation and my period, I have swollen and extremely tender breasts. Could my weight loss have changed the estrogen dominance so that now I’ve got too much progesterone from the micro pill?

    • Hi Ash,

      It’s certainly a possibility. I always say that if someone has lost 100 pounds or more that they are a completely different person than they were previously so all hormones/medications/etc. should be checked and adjusted as necessary.

      • Hi, I’m 48 five months ago I’ve been getting really bad hives like urticaria on my face and neck. I’ve noticed a pattern it happens about 1 week before my period. I’ve seen over 12 doctors. One doctor has diagnosed me with autoimmune progesterone dermatitis catamenial anaphylaxis. No one has even done any hormone tests. I’ve only had blood work and my thyroid was high in December 6.92 it’s now 1.19 now. Please give me some feedback.

        Thank you,

  72. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I am at perimenopause stage near 50. My periods had still arrived every month although not as full as previous years but still came. Last month i had an intensive workout trying to deal with work stress and felt fatigued after (still recovering from anemia). This month my period didn’t come and i had straight days of insomnia starting from the day i should have had my period. Do you have an explanation on this? It feels like I’m wired and adrenaline-filled at night. My bp is higher than usual. My heart is palpitating especially lying down. Even after my workout, i can fall asleep for the next 2 to 3 weeks leading up to my period. I do not know whether my workout has impacted my hormones in a negative way. Just on the day of my period, i started having insomnia. Any insight please? And what should i be getting tested?

  73. Hi Dr. Weston Childs,
    Thank you for the great article. I am a 42 year old female, prescribed 100 mg of bioidentical progesterone troches. The DUTCH test showed post menopausal levels of progerone. It worked well for about 6 months, no more pms symptoms, lighter flow, slept better, and lost ten pounds. Recently I have been experiencing some unwanted symptoms such as brain fog, bloating, gained 4 lbs in four months, heavy flow and cramping all through the luteal phase. It seems like each month in the luteal phase I gain 1 lb and it never goes away. Does this sound like I now need to decrease the progesterone? Or is it possible I need to increase? Any advise would be great. Feeling very defeated. Thank you

  74. Hi, I’m a 52-year-old female, taking 200 mg daily of progesterone 60 mg daily of armor thyroid… Also taking one DiM capsule and have testosterone pellets. It’s been four months since I started this regimen. Still feeling pretty terrible. A lot of Hair loss, very fatigue, feeling down and a little anxious, suddenly having a lot of low back and left hip pain. From what I’m reading I’m wondering if my
    Progesterone dose might be too high? Feeling a little frustrated with the doctor I’m seeing…she doesn’t seem on top of what I’m taking, my side effects and my lack of improvement. Thoughts?

    • Hi Tracy,

      There are many other hormones that can contribute to your well-being and they must all be looked at it concert with one another. You’ll want to look at more than just your progesterone including hormones like estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormone, and cortisol.

  75. Hi, found this good reference searching for high progesterone symptoms. I’m going to guess my case is unusual in that I’m a 52yr old male who supplemented with 3-5mg a day for 6-8 weeks to try to increase libido. I read that very small amounts in men can be helpful.
    I’ve monitored with saliva testing from the start but after 8 weeks my P4 level went through the roof. As in twice the high end of the range. No overt symptoms but that was a bit of a shock. I’ve stopped straight away and to be honest it didn’t do much other than see me gain 5 pounds & have a bit of day time fatigue.

    Lesson learnt I guess! DHEA would have likely been a better option.

    • Hi Jay,

      Men tend to do better using pregnenolone or DHEA (as you mentioned) as opposed to progesterone. But you are correct in that using progesterone can sometimes improve libido in men. The only problem is that, from my experience, the risk of problems is too high when using progesterone because the dosing tends to be more directed toward women. For this reason, it’s easy to take too much and cause more harm than good. But that’s just my experience.


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