Estrogen Use with Progesterone
Cut down and Eventually Stop
Estrogen Use with Progesterone
Women after menopause produce 40% of
the estrogen that they did before menopause. Progesterone levels fall to less than 1% of premenopause levels. Progesterone
resensitizes the body's cells to estrogen. So estrogen pills can be cut back and eventually stopped over a period
of 3-6 months. Stopping estrogen
pills suddenly ("Cold Turkey") will cause hot flashes.
by Elizabeth Smith, M.D.
According to Dr. Lee, Theo Colborn, and other researchers,
women in America and developed countries are getting too much estrogen. John Lee, MD coined the term Estrogen Dominance
to describe too much estrogen. Too much estrogen can contribute to migraine headaches that occur right before the
period or during the period. If the migraine headache varies with the period, then it is linked to being hormonal.
Where does this estrogen come from? First
of all, before menopause the woman produces estrogen by the follicle on the ovary. Second, the woman produces estrogen
herself before and after menopause in the body fat cells. Third, she may be taking estrogen by pill or by skin
patch for hormone replacement or for birth control. Fourth, she may be getting estrogen effects from chemicals
that mimic estrogens known as xenoestrogens. These xenoestrogens include estrogens fed to agricultural animals that we in turn eat,
detergent break down products, plastic containers used for food and water, pesticides, and even spermicide found
A woman produces estrogen in mainly two places. The follicle on the ovary produces estrogen.
The fat cells produce estrogen. The more fat you have, the more estrogen you produce. When women go through menopause
(after age 50), their estrogen production goes down to 30%-50% of premenopause levels. However, progesterone production
goes down to less than 1% of premenopause levels. A heavy set woman after menopause will actually produce more
estrogen than a skinny woman before menopause.
Usually, during premenopause (before age 30) multiple eggs get ready to ovulate and form follicles on the ovary.
The follicles on the ovary produces estrogen. One follicle becomes dominant. That follicle ruptures, the egg is
released, and all the other follicles become smaller and eventually disappear. The ruptured follicle is called
the corpus luteum, and the ovary produces progesterone.
Around menopause, perimenopause (ages 30 - 50), a woman may have periods, but not ovulate. During perimenopause, sometimes the dominant follicle DOES NOT rupture,
the egg DOES NOT ovulate, the corpus luteum is NOT formed, and NO progesterone is produced. Thus, around the age
of menopause, perimenopause, estrogen is produced, but LITTLE or NO progesterone is produced. This is known as
an anovulatory cycle.
Thus, around the time of menopause (perimenopause) and after
menopause progesterone levels drop tremendously. However, during perimenopause estrogen levels do NOT drop. Thus,
this is a time in life where the woman is naturally estrogen dominant and Migraine Headache are
stimulated to grow.
After menopause, estrogen levels drop to 40% to 60% of premenopause
levels produced by the body fat. Progesterone levels remain at less than 1%.
To get relief from migraine headaches it is critical to get rid of too much estrogen.
Avoid all the sources of estrogen above to treat and cure your migraine headache. If the headache
varies with the cycle, then it is hormonally related. This is common sense.
I Started Progesterone and Now I Feel
Constant estrogen ingestion in the form of pills or xenoestrogens
causes the estrogen receptors to down regulate. In other words, the woman's body has so much estrogen that the
estrogen receptors become less sensitive. A good analogy would be when you enter a noisy room. When you first enter
the room you notice the noise. However, after being in the noisy room for a while, the noise becomes less noticeable.
Your ears become less sensitive to the noise. In effect, your ears down regulate. Thus, if you take estrogen supplements
or get doses of xenoestrogens, after a while, your body will become less sensitive to estrogens. This is because
your body has too much estrogen, and the body tries to become less sensitive. However, when you take progesterone
the estrogen receptors are resensitized to their original sensitivity. In other words, when you begin to take progesterone,
you regain your original sensitivity to estrogen.
"When you begin to take progesterone, you regain your original sensitivity to estrogen."
The solution is to cut back on the dose of estrogen. Dr. Lee recommends immediately cutting back
the dose to 1/2 of the normal dose. He recommends stopping the estrogen dose
altogether over a period of 3-6 months phasing out the dose of estrogen slowly. Also, CUT OUT the xenoestrogens
in your environment. He maintains that women's bodies
produce enough estrogen already. See the graph above!
Some patients have enthusiastically have stopped
their estrogen suddenly - cold turkey. These "Cold Turkey" patients frequently experience Hot Flashes.
Phasing out the estrogen gradually prevents Hot Flashes.
In summary, women already get too much
estrogen. They produce estrogen themselves from the follicles on their ovaries and from their fat cells premenopause
and perimenopause. After menopause, the woman's fat cells produce estrogen. Women also get estrogen from birth
control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Women get estrogen from chemicals that mimic estrogen know as xenoestrogens. These chemicals are present in everyday materials previously thought to be
inert such as detergent break down products, plastics used to store water, varnish in food cans used to prevent
the "metal" taste, pesticide, and even spermicide. It is important to note that anything put on the skin is 10 times in
potency to what is taken by mouth. So shampoo, make up, cosmetics, laundry detergent is 10 times more important
than what you eat.
In summary, taking progesterone will resensitize
the estrogen receptors so that your body becomes more sensitive to estrogen supplements or xenoestrogens. The solution
is to immediately cut the dose of estrogen to 1/2, and DISCONTINUE
supplements altogether over a period of 3-6 months. Cut out
as much xenoestrogen intake as possible. The body's internal production of estrogen is more than sufficient. Also, CUT OUT
the xenoestrogens in your envrionment. Stopping your estrogen pills suddenly or "Cold Turkey" will result
in undesirable HOT FLASHES!