Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

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yawny
Posts: 255
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:20 pm

Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by yawny »

I'm 49, and haven't reached menopause yet. In fact, I've seen several naturopaths in the past year that said I have no symptoms of it starting yet. Then I saw a naturopath that specializes in bioidentical hormones and she said that on average around 35 years old, woman start their path toward menopause and the symptoms vary. Progesterone is the precursor to many important hormones and is mostly made in two ways, from the adrenal glands and from an egg dropped during ovulation. But around 35 years old women tend to not drop eggs every cycle (even if they get their period) so the progesterone doesn't get made, and a shortage starts in the body. If you have stressed adrenal glands, and who doesn't in this world, then the shortage can be even greater.

I started with over-the-counter bioidentical progesterone cream and the first night I could feel a big difference. I felt a natural sleepiness that reminded me of my pre-RLS days. Normally I'm wired-but-tired and my sleepiness feels drug induced. Because I was so sleepy and relaxed, for two weeks I was able to completely drop my use of a marijuana vaporizer before bed (I resumed after two weeks because food sensitivities started causing inconsistency so I started vaping again). The other big benefit was that I started being able to wake up from PLMs symptoms and go right back to sleep. Always, I had to take a medication or supplement to get back to sleep. I've also noticed that my anxiety went down another notch or two. Side Note: The waking and not taking additional medication was inconsistent though, and didn't become a regular pattern until I started a Low-Sulfur diet.

Then my hormone doctor had me drop the cream and replaced it with bioidentical progesterone pills from a local compounding pharmacy. She explained that this method is the only one that produces GABA since digested progesterone creates GABA in the liver. I felt a little different on the pills in that the relaxed sleepiness before bed wasn't as profound. I stuck with it for 2 weeks and still had the other benefits but missed the effects of the cream. So my doctor told me it was fine to do them both, and get the benefits that both forms offer. Often times, it takes months for your hormones to adjust and balance, so it's a bit of a waiting situation, but some people feel immediate relief from various symptoms in a week or two.

So each night...1 hour before bed, I take two compounded pills of 25mg progesterone each, or 50mg total. Then, 30 minutes before bed I apply the progesterone cream. I use over-the-counter Emerita brand cream called Pro-Gest. I have a kitchen measuring spoon and squeeze out 1/4 teaspoon. I rotate the areas of application each night. Then I wash my hands so I don't transfer it to pets or family. I use this cream every single night, and do not take any breaks from it, like some do, according to their hormone cycle. I once took a break when my cycle started and couldn't make it past three days because my sleep worsened so dramatically. As soon as I started again, things immediately improved back to normal, so I stay on the cream, and my doctor approves of this.

If you need a naturopath that understands bio-identical hormone treatment, I highly suggest finding the best rated compounding pharmacy in your area (check Yelp) and visiting them to ask for a recommendation. My compounding pharmacy asked me who I was seeing and told me my doctor was one of the best. Otherwise, Yelp can be helpful too. And you don't necessarily need a local compounding pharmacy because you can do mail order.

Emerita Pro-Gest progesterone cream, 4 oz tube
I use this brand because it's recommended by the pioneer in bio-identical progesterone cream use, Dr John Lee (his books are very informative). It's also the highest rated on Amazon. I like that it's fragrance and paraban free. The cheapest source I've found is online at Walmart, but you can get it at Amazon, or health food stores: http://bit.ly/2tzqAXM

https://www.johnleemd.com/

pinkynose
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:58 pm

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by pinkynose »

Thanks Yawny! I've been using this product by Emerita since you had mentioned it and it has been helping me with sleep as well. I have an appointment with my gynecologist next month and I'm going to see if I can switch to a local compounding pharmacy for my HRT. Right now I've been getting Prometrium from Canada Drugs. It's not covered by my insurance, so I may as well get the compounded form for my specific needs. I may need to find a naturopath that understands bio-identical hormone treatment but I think it's important. Thanks for all the great information.
Pinkynose

yawny
Posts: 255
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:20 pm

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by yawny »

pinkynose wrote:Thanks Yawny! I've been using this product by Emerita since you had mentioned it and it has been helping me with sleep as well...


That's so great to hear...good luck with your doctor!

legsbestill
Posts: 551
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:22 pm
Location: Dublin Ireland

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by legsbestill »

Thanks yawny. I think I will re-start the cream and use like you do without taking breaks. I am not sensitive like you (tending to the extremely insensitive - which can be equally problematic as medications don't seem to work as readily) so it may take longer for the progesterone to build up in my system.

yawny
Posts: 255
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:20 pm

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by yawny »

Exactly, I don't take any breaks from the cream and that works the best for me. I do have to add that after starting the cream, during the first 3-4 days, I was very emotional and "difficult to be around" (my husband's inflammatory words). But it was all good after that!

peanut1
Posts: 356
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:06 am

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by peanut1 »

Yes, I have heard some wonderful things about this. It's unfortunate that it's expensive and insurance does not cover.

yawny
Posts: 255
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:20 pm

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by yawny »

Yes, it can be expensive but I wouldn't let that stop you, especially if it means feeling and sleeping better. Currently, my progesterone pills cost $30/month and the tube of cream costs $30 and lasts me about two months. From my experience, I'm at the starting level because I haven't reached menopause yet. I know people who have reached menopause &/or have had hysterectomies and they take more because they need more. All I've ever heard from others is that they couldn't live well without the use of bioidentical hormones. I've found that too.

veldon75
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:45 pm

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by veldon75 »

I've been using 100mg capsules, my migraines are better it may be from the Progesterone

yawny
Posts: 255
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:20 pm

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by yawny »

Veldon75, I've heard and read of all sorts of improvements in health after taking bioidentical hormones. Glad your migraines are better!

yawny
Posts: 255
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:20 pm

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by yawny »

Update: I recently had a telemedicine appointment with my hormone doctor and she convinced me to increase my progesterone dosage. I’m always so hesitant to change anything as I’m concerned about losing whatever sleep I already do have. I was taking 75mg oral progesterone pills from the local compounding pharmacy. My pills are 25mg so I can increase slowly. My doctor said that dosage is highly individualistic. Some women take half a milligram while others take 800mg. She said that on average her pre-menopausal clients take about 200mg the week before their period starts and then lower the dosage. This increase can help a variety of problems. Also, as we age, we lose progesterone and become estrogen dominant, which can also cause a variety of problems. Eventually we reach menopause and estrogen also goes down. The goal is to maintain balance.

So I increased my dosage to 200mg (taken an hour before bed) and my sleep has been remarkably better, and my chronic anxiety lessened. My husband commented that he hadn’t seen that level of calmness in me for 15 years. After my period started, I noticed that each day I became increasingly lethargic and overly relaxed (not wanting to do anything). After reading about a women’s cycles, I suspected that my body’s own progesterone making abilities had kicked in its own contribution and it all added up to too much for me. So I cut back to 150mg and have maintained that dosage with the same positive effects. I’ll increase to 200mg each cycle and then go back down.

So far, the only things that complicating this new found good sleep are stress (this pandemic ain’t helpin things), and my diet. I’m convinced I’m Histamine Intolerant. What’s interesting is the relationship between histamine and hormone imbalance. I’ve read several doctors that mention a correlation between middle age, hormone imbalance, and histamine intolerance problems popping up. As with most things, histamine intolerance has a variety of symptoms. But I know that when I eat anything on the histamine lists, my sleeping medications don’t work as well on a sliding scale relative to the amount consumed and how full my histamine tank is at the time. If I’ve eaten very carefully for days, then I can consume high histamine foods and it’s just a matter of guessing when it’s too much. If I guess wrong, then I have insomnia...I have RLS in my arms/legs...I have several to 50+ sleep starts throughout the night as I start to slip into sleep but PLMs jolt me awake.

badnights
Moderator
Posts: 5761
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:20 pm
Location: Northwest Territories, Canada

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by badnights »

How interesting! I don't know much about this stuff. Thanks for sharing.
Beth - Wishing you a restful sleep tonight
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I am a volunteer moderator. My posts are not medical advice. My posts do not reflect RLS Foundation opinion.

ViewsAskew
Moderator
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Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 6:37 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by ViewsAskew »

Fascinating.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

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Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

XenMan
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Bioidentical Progesterone...improved my sleep

Post by XenMan »

This is an interesting area that I have studied extensively for men, but with the same principles for women. This will be another one of my long ramblings, so you may want to stop now if you have better things to do.

Aging is noticeably different in humans if you compare them to other animals. If you have pets such as cats and dogs, they generally have a short youth then an extended healthy middle age before an often rapid decline in the short elderly years. As cats and dogs are a product of genetic selection, and some of those being not particularly good, wild animals are a better example. If you have watched nature documentaries, such as with big cats in Africa, you can see this clearly. I recall a female leopard that held territory, was breeding and a fierce hunter up until her death around the average maximum lifespan of around mid-teens.

The theory on humans is that we are ‘detuned’ not to compete with our offspring by having less strength and cognitive ability as we age. Some of you may have read of the ‘grandparent hypotheses’ which is based on an extended lifespan for usefulness in human communities. This may seem a contrast to detuning, but is still consistent with the theory.

One way your body from an evolutionary perspective manages this is by hormone changes. Women get the worst deal with the body almost abandoning them after menopause. For men it is the gradual reduction in free testosterone at first, and then that combined with significant levels of growth hormone and testosterone decreasing from middle age. The counter argument is that this hormone reduction assists with reduced susceptibility to cancer from the accumulated DNA damage associated with aging, allowing for an extended lifespan.

So as highlighted by yawny in this post, you can do two things. One is bioidentical hormones and the other is the real thing. As I have only studied the male versions I can only comment on them.

One of the best bioidentical hormones for men is phytoestrogens, mostly from soy. These are similar in molecular appearance for some biochemical processes, but not enough to be real oestrogen. These block the conversion of free testosterone to oestrogen, and if you combine this with DHEA or pregnenolone, you can maintain similar hormone levels as you progress up to late middle age. The latest study on tofu and dementia has scared me away from anything soy for now so I no longer use soy phytoestrogens. Also due to steroid use I think I broke something and they didn’t give me the boost I previously had.

The other tactic is with aromatase inhibitors that also stop this conversion of free testosterone to oestrogen. There is a long list of supplements that do this with a theoretical limit of effectiveness and some slight increase and combined effectiveness when using multiple products. As you get older you need more as your body detunes more, and then there just isn’t enough base testosterone to maintain youthful levels so actual testosterone is needed in senior years.

There is vast information on the hazards of using real hormones, so I won’t go into that, but it comes down to risk vs reward and in many cases the rewards are well worth it. Also there are many other things that impact aging and hormone levels that I haven’t touched on for simplicity of just addressing the subject at hand.

I won’t go into my protocols, but they have a noticeable impact on a feeling of general wellbeing and of course what we are interested in most here; sleep.

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