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ask: I had a bad experience with bioidentical hormones. What information can you give me on this topic?

By Anonymous
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I ended up in the hospital with severe panic attacks and delusional thoughts after being given too little estrogen and way too much progesterone by an N. D. here in the valley. I have had a full hysterectomy and was told by three other doctors that I never should have been given the progesterone. This episode caused a chain reaction in which I was then put on too high of a dose of Lexapro and many other anti-anxiety drugs for the next two years. All of the side effects made me feel horribly worse and I ended up being weened off of everything except some Adivan. I feel better now, but still not right.

I need some help with my hormones, but don't know who to get it from or who to trust. Any info that you have would be helpful.

Thanks, Debbie O'Donnell

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EmpowHER Guest

I went on these natural hormones almost 1 year ago. I had a hysterectomy when I was 34 and had my ovaries removed when I had Colon cancer and they removed part of my Colon. That was 4 years ago. I am 57. My doctor told me I had very low hormone levels when I had the blood work done. My question is, can I get along with not taking any hormones? I have a severe sleep problem, but the hormones have not fixed that. I was thinking the hormones were going to be my shining light, but I'm not sure they have helped at all. Anyone else with the same question?

July 30, 2015 - 1:25pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thanks for reaching out to us!

I know several women who, due to a history of reproductive cancer, had no hormones at all and while they had uncomfortable symptoms, they were HRT-free all the way.

There is no medical need for hormones. Women take them because their menopausal symptoms were so severe.

From talking with many women, I think insomnia is the symptom they find most unbearable and understandably so. If you can work with your doctor on this issue, then you might be just fine without hormones.

Please stay in touch with us!


July 30, 2015 - 3:43pm
EmpowHER Guest

Well. I have been off progesterone since the beginning of May. I did it in 10 days. I was on progesterone all the time and no other hormones. I was ok for about a week. The heaviness in my chest that felt like I was having a panic attach went away and I have not had it since. However, I started having terrible symptoms of anxiety. I had read on this forum that someone had to go on xanax for 2 - 3 months till the progesterone was out of her system. So I went to the doctor (not the one who prescribed progesterone) and told him what I thought as my bp was hard to control. He said I needed to take a anti-anxiety which I didn't really want to do. He didn't want to prescribe xanaz so he suggested a SSRI and let me pick. Since my daughter had been on Effecor, I went on a low dose. He told me not to read the side effects so I thought ok. I have to get this anxiety under control. I went on the Effexor on June 6. On June 20 I was to leave for a month long visit to Peru. I was supposed to go back just before I left but didn't because I didn't want a higher dose. So I started taking it but it supposedly doesn't work for 2 - weeks. I still had anxiety including the first week in Peru. But I was putting pressure on myself to get things done around the house and was nervous about my trip as I was going alone. By the second week in Peru, the anxiety was gone. I actually felt myself relax and handled everything quite well. So I didn't want to stay on it too long and started reducing the dosage (the doc said take a month to get off it). I did great. I had NO anxiety with taking it every other day. Last week I went to every 3 days which was the same week I returned to the US. Well, I thought I had a parasite. I have not felt good at all (nauseous, dizzy, headaches, can't sleep). So I looked up Effexor and the same effects. However, NO anxiety. So I guess I will try to deal with this and continue to decrease the dosage of Effexor! I am going back to Peru. I don't think western doctors know what they are doing! Very frustrated.

July 27, 2015 - 12:24pm
EmpowHER Guest

I was on 3 ssri's over the course of 3 months along with 5-htp and was on many supplements that did not work I then started taking natural hormone replacement progesterone and when coming off the two weeks you do not take it I have experienced crazy moods anxiety horrible intrusive thoughts of my family of myself the SSRIs I believe contributed to many things that I already have affected me I was taking the progesterone to help with anxiety because they thought maybe that was causing my anxiety however it is actually made my anxiety worse I've just stumbled upon this forum because I'm just lost and don't understand why all the stuff is suddenly making me so ill and is taking my body a long time to bounce back does anyone else have the same situation going on with them

July 27, 2015 - 11:06am
EmpowHER Guest

I keep wondering how long it takes to stop the symptoms! It has been 3 weeks now since I have been off (on for 14 months). I still get the anxiety and can feel it coming on. Sometimes I am ok. I have been taking magnesium citrate 3 times a day at the suggestion of a Hungarian doctor friend of mine. It helps to calm. I also am taking B complex. I think that getting enough sleep makes a difference, too, exercise and lots of water. I spoke to a friend of mine who has no thyroid and is on hormones for that. She goes to an endocrinologist for them. He won't have anything to do with bio identical hormones! I think too many health practitioners are getting on the band wagon and they don't know what they are doing. If makes sense to go to an endocrinologist who knows about hormones. I didn't think of that when I tried them.

June 1, 2015 - 8:27am
EmpowHER Guest

I had a thyroid test done in January and it appears ok. From what I am reading, it sounds like I am going through a "withdrawal" even though I was told that I could go off the progesterone cold turkey with no withdrawal. . I am taking Serenagen for the adrenals. I still am having stress in my life, so I guess that doesn't help. I am doing vipassana meditation which is amazingly helpful. I am back to being able to do it at a half hour at a time. I couldn't for a couple of days because I couldn't sit still for that long without feeling a panic attack coming on. I also find regular aerobic exercise helpful and when I have that tingling and panic feeling, I do 5 minutes of arm swings. I also started drinking a lot more water as someone had suggested. When I am not in panic mode, I feel pretty good and can do things.

May 23, 2015 - 5:56am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I was on Progesterone cream 30 mgs plus 200 mgs Prometrium for 5 years and quit cold turkey no problems. For me it was beginning to give me high cortisol and making me feel exhausted. It's been a month and I'm feeling back to my old self. I quit estrogen and testosterone too. It's all garbage. Let the body heal itself and stay away from hormones. It's impossible to figure out exactly what each individual needs. All it did was ruin my life for 5 years. Turns out I have sleep apnea and within a week of using cpap I felt a lot better. I'm always sweaty though so I'm getting off thyroid pills too hopefully. I was prescribed them but I never had low levels. It was high cortisol and high Progesterone blocking thyroid. Everyday an improvement. Bad sleep and low oxygen was causing my hormone imbalance. I threw all those creams and pills in the garbage.

July 28, 2015 - 5:30am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I think your thyroid has to really be nonfunctional before it shows up on those tests. Mine didn't show up for a long time. A little test you can do to see if it's slow is put a thermometer on your nightstand and when you wake in the morning, take your temp, before you get up or even raise up. If your temp is 97 or below, it's probably low functioning. I had a wholistic doctor tell me to do this. I think it was 97 and below. I'm on synthroid and my temperature is still always below normal.

June 4, 2015 - 8:57am
AngieW (reply to Anonymous)

Hello! Sorry your going through this.... I had my throid checked multiple times due to the symptoms, and they always came back normal. Reaching out to other women and reading their experiences is what first opened my eyes to the negative effects of progesterone. It will get better! Give yourself some time

May 25, 2015 - 2:56pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am getting off bioidentical progesterone which was prescribed for anxiety about 14 months ago. But I think it is making it worse as I was feeling all the time like I was going to have a panic attack. It was a heaviness in my chest. I went off it completely on 5/12/15 and am having trouble sleeping. I get tingling in my hands and sometimes feet. I can be fine one minute and then feel like I am in a state of panic. I am taking a supplement to help the Adrenals as I was under a lot of stress when I started taking them last year. My bp was up and I had NEVER had a problem with that. I just don't feel right.

May 22, 2015 - 1:53pm
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