Why Progesterone Is Both Good and Bad for Mood (and How to Treat PMDD)

Mood effects of progesterone.

Progesterone is usually soothing to mood but can sometimes cause anxiety.

A negative mood reaction to progesterone is called neurosteroid change sensitivity or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and affects about one in twenty women.

Here’s everything you need to know about progesterone and mood.

Contraceptive progestin drugs are bad for mood

Progestins are not the same as the body’s own progesterone, so shouldn’t come into this conversation. Unfortunately, many doctors, journalists, and even scientists confuse progestins with progesterone and so say “progesterone is bad for mood” when they really mean progestins are bad for mood.

Contraceptive progestins such as levonorgestrel, drospirenone, and norethisterone have all been linked with anxiety and depression, but mood symptoms from birth control are drug side effects, not PMS or PMDD.

Progesterone and the brain

For most women, progesterone is good for mood because it converts to a neurosteroid called allopregnanolone which calms GABA receptors in the brain. Progesterone’s calming neurosteroid effect is why progesterone capsules are usually tranquillizing and why times of high progesterone (luteal phase and pregnancy) can cause sleepiness. The progestin drugs of hormonal birth control do not convert to allopregnanolone, so are NOT soothing to mood. 

For women with PMDD, allopregnanolone does not calm GABA receptors but instead can produce anxiety and other negative mood symptoms.

It’s not that women with PMDD have more allopregnanolone; in fact, they may have less. Instead, women with PMDD seem to have an abnormal response to allopregnanolone because of a problem with GABA receptors.

GABA receptor PMDD
A GABA receptor with its five subunits, and showing where GABA and neurosteroids bind.

GABA receptors consist of five subunits that reshuffle and change configuration to adapt to the normal ups and downs of allopregnanolone. With PMDD, the GABA receptors are less able to adapt to changing levels of allopregnanolone. The result, according to researcher Tory Eisenlohr-Moul, is neurosteroid change sensitivity and the mood symptoms of PMDD.

Another factor is the new finding that progesterone can cause intestinal permeability leading to high LPS endotoxin and negative mood symptoms in the luteal phase. According to the research, women are more at risk of this endotoxin effect if they have an underlying problem with chronic progesterone deficiency and high estrogen. 

Conventional treatment of PMDD

Conventional treatment for PMDD includes:

  • SSRI antidepressants to modulate GABA receptors, and/or
  • hormonal birth control to shut down ovulation and progesterone.

The problem with this approach is that:

How to take progesterone for premenstrual mood symptoms

The better approach is to stabilize GABA receptors and therefore be able to tolerate the normal ups and downs of progesterone.

It’s also possible to take progesterone. For women with mild premenstrual symptoms (PMS instead of PMDD), low-dose progesterone (such as progesterone cream) can be helpful to offset the “progesterone withdrawal” that occurs at the end of the cycle. 

For women with neurosteroid change sensitivity and PMDD, it can be better to take an optimal “sweet spot” dose of progesterone (100 to 200 mg), rather than a higher dose capsule or a lower dose cream.  That’s because of the bimodal association between serum allopregnanolone and adverse mood, which means that women with PMDD can feel good on a medium dose of progesterone, but experience mood side effects from both lower and higher doses.

Unfortunately, there are only a few studies of progesterone for premenstrual mood and most used doses that were too high (400 to 1200 mg)

Natural treatment of PMDD

As I discuss in my summary post about premenstrual mood symptoms, other strategies include:

👉 Tip: For many of my patients, avoiding cow’s dairy is the fastest way to reduce a mast cell or histamine response. Another potentially beneficial effect of avoiding dairy is to reduce exposure to a casein-derived neuroactive peptide called BCM7, which affects levels of GABA.

👉 Tip: The therapeutic dose is 300 mg of elemental magnesium, so read the label carefully. Most magnesium capsules contain 100 mg.

👉 Tip: I get the best results with magnesium plus vitamin B6 plus the amino acid taurine (because taurine calms GABA receptors).

Dr Lara Briden

209 thoughts on “Why Progesterone Is Both Good and Bad for Mood (and How to Treat PMDD)”

  1. You link/site a paper from Andreen, which states
    ” It has actually been suggested that several GABA(A) receptor modulators, including allopregnanolone, have biphasic effects, in that low concentrations increase an adverse, anxiogenic effect whereas higher concentrations decrease this effect and show beneficial, calming properties. The allopregnanolone increase during the luteal phase in fertile women, as well as during the addition of progesterone in HT, has been shown to induce adverse mood in women. The severity of these mood symptoms is related to the allopregnanolone serum concentrations in a manner similar to an inverted U-shaped curve. Negative mood symptoms occur when the serum concentration of allopregnanolone is similar to endogenous luteal phase levels, while low and high concentrations have less effect on mood.”
    but then if I am reading it correctly, you claim the opposite:
    For women with neurosteroid change sensitivity and PMDD, it can be better to take an optimal “sweet spot” dose of progesterone (100 to 200 mg), rather than a higher dose capsule or a lower dose cream. That’s because of the bimodal association between serum allopregnanolone and adverse mood, which means that women with PMDD can feel good on a medium dose of progesterone, but experience mood side effects from both lower and higher doses.

    It seems the paper claims an inverted U phenomenon (pole levels best for mood), but you’re describing an upright U phenomenon (middle level best for mood).

    Can you clarify?

    • Thanks so much for your comment and for prompting me to read that study again. You are correct that their description of an inverted U phenomenon does not match what I’m saying here. I’m actually in a process of researching and preparing a new podcast about premenstrual mood so I’ll clarify it there and also update and correct this blog post. 200 mg does seem to be the dose most helpful dose for mood (compared to lower doses) and I’m now realising that is a higher than endogenous so potentially a pole level. Very high doses are also not good but that could be a different mechanism. Thanks again.

  2. Wow. This explains so much. I respond violently (literally) to alcohol, benzos, barbiturates & Ambien as well as the mini-pill and Seasonique which has a high dose of Levonorgestrel. Meanwhile, Premarin which is straight up horse estrogen makes me feel calm & lovely. This has me in a bind though because I’m entering perimenopause & having symptoms that can’t be treated with regular combo hormone therapy due to the side effects I get from progestins (yet unopposed estrogen causes endometrial cancer & other deadly issues).

    I’m only 38 and already having horrid hot flashes & insomnia that’re driving me INSANE, plus my PMS is getting worse every year. (I’ve tried every antidepressant and sleep aid under the sun). I fear that using Premarin this early in the game will leave me at risk for cancer later in life, plus I already used it for migraine control earlier as needed (only 0.3mg for a few days a month, but still).

    What to do when you can’t tolerate progestins but are going insane from perimenopause?!

  3. I’ve read both your books and so grateful for them. Would after taking g two months of prometrium I’ve started noticing anxiety and waking up at 4:00 am feeling very anxious and not being able to sleep. Although the first two months I was fine. I’m a 50 yr old taking prometrium because I was spotting off and on. Prometrium has helped with the spotting and I haven’t gotten any periods. Perhaps Going on to menopause. So could the prometrium be causing these side effects although I didn’t get them the first two months. I just started taking magnesium, B6 and zinc hoping this will help. Also do you take the b6 together with magnesium at the same time?

    • It could be the Prometrium, yes. And/or it could mean that you’re in menopause and perhaps no longer need the progesterone to control bleeding or you could need estrogen as well as progesterone. Lots of “it could mean,” lol. Best to check with your doctor about all the possibilities.

  4. I was just prescribed 2.5mg of Norethindrone (Aygestin) for PMDD and heavy periods. I’m 42 and had a fibroid removal surgery last July. I’ve heard about side effects to this drug and curious if it’s appropriate for me?

  5. Hi Dr Lara, I have been struggling with PMDD for almost 8 years now, it started after the birth of my son. I am 37 years old and my Dutch test showed low levels of progesterone and estrogen but my progesterone was lower than my estrogen. I wonder if my PMDD is caused by a hormonal imbalance. I’d like to know how I can treat my symptoms with progesterone my gynecologist wants me to try YAZ but I am not sure if it’s the right treatment option for me especially since I suffer from terrible migraines during the luteal phase. My symptoms include brain fog, breast tenderness, anxiety, muscle and joint pain and immense fatigue. So far I’ve tried Zoloft, vitex chaste berry and a few other supplements but nothing seemed to help. I’d like to know how I can use progesterone, should I use it in the luteal phase only and what dose would work best for me.

  6. Hi Lara, I believe I suffer PMDD from TOO LITTLE allpregnenalone as I do better on SSRIs which I have read increase the allpregnenalone but have no affect on progesterone ( whilst on SSRIs I noted at times low progesterone). I also was very stable and happy in my 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. I also seem to react fine to body identical progesterone so my questions are 1; how can we increase our allpregnenalone naturally? And 2; Is there a link between the 5a reductase and allpregnenalone because my 5a reductase is androgenic as seen via dutch test so I am wondering if that is causing allpregnenalone to be lower than optimal?

    • There is a link with 5-alpha reductase in that is the enzyme that converts progesterone to allopregnanolone (as well as converting testosterone to DHT). So, if you have high 5-alpha reductase activity, you should (in theory) have higher production of allopregnanolone. But as I discuss in this blog post, the primary factor in PMDD is not the level of allopregnanolone, but rather the sensitivity of the GABA receptor to the ups and downs of allopregnanolone. That’s why steady-state body identical progesterone (at a sweet spot dose) can be beneficial. The other strategy is to stabilise the GABA receptor by being fully nourished (especially with GABA-supporting nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6, and reducing chronic inflammation including high histamine.

  7. Thank you much for this article. I am 48 and dealing with suicidal ideation between day 15-21 of my cycle. It’s pretty awful. Away from those days, I’m great, steady, and no issues. It’s so odd. My MD has me trying out compounded progesterone 100mg a day. It was awesome this cycle and feels like a healing salve to my brain. But she wants me to take it everyday, is that too much? Also, just started on day 15-24 and feeling good but then my vision has gotten really blurry, pressure in my head and eyes, and my face feels swollen. Any thoughts on why? Is the dosage too high or maybe only take day 15-21? I will be meeting with my doctor soon. But I like your article here and just thought I’d ask. Thanks

    • I love your sentence “progesterone feels like a healing salve to your brain.” Yes, it can be like that.
      As for the possible side effects you are experiencing, the main thing I’d point out is that progesterone is sedating and should generally be taken at bedtime (which you might already be doing). But talk to your doctor. 100 mg during the luteal phase (as you’re doing) is a really good starting place for the dose.

  8. How long does progesterone take to work?

    I have been on 200mg a day for a month for a post-menstrual mood disorder and the side effects seem to have settled.

    However, I have experienced the same severe drop in mood after my bleed.

    Should I throw in the towel or persist for longer?

  9. Is a generic brand of prometrium which called progesterone does it need to say micronized? I’m sorry I’m new to this and just Been prescribed prometrium but the pharmacy gave me a generic.

  10. Thank you for this very informative article.

    I’m 46 and over the last few years have developed a PMDD-like disorder but POST menstrually. It began on days 10-17 but then has migrated earlier, generally now to days 4-11.

    I was put on oestrogel and micronised progesterone cyclically earlier this year and, whilst this helped with the mood dips, they were replaced with anxiety which culminated in two days of depersonalisation/ derealisation in the oestrogen only phase. I was then thought to have histamine intolerance so came off HRT and did a four week histamine-elimination diet before slowly reintroducing foods. This did not help and I had no previous reaction to or subsequent reaction to high-histamine foods.

    I have seen a different specialist and have now
    been started on a trial of continuous progesterone. This is very unusual in the UK but she wanted to try it as I have no symptoms of low oestrogen and have some suggestions that this could even be hugh (previous diagnosis of PCOS, two blood tests one showing 500 oestrogen, the other 800) 100mg made me feel completely loopy (extreme anxiety, uncontrollable crying) so my dose was upped to 200mg which is slightly better. But I still feel low. I am on day 16. The specialist has said that I am clearly hormonally-sensitive and that for those of
    us with a hormonally-sensitive brain it can take 4-6 weeks to adjust to a new regime.

    I read Kate Power’s reply on your treating PMS post which I found interesting but I truly do not think that I have a histamine reaction.

    Can other women be super sensitive to progesterone too? I am doing my best to tough this out and if I knew it would improve it would be easier!

    I am on all of the supplements you recommend for mood in your excellent book plus myo inositol, I eat virtually no dairy. I have been on metformin for about 18 years for PCOS but may still be insulin resistant as I am significantly overweight. The doctor has recommended upping my fibre and activity levels
    which I am trying to do but which is super hard when I feel so low.

    Many thanks

    • One thing to keep in mind is that your cycles are likely to be anovulatory. I’m thinking of your age (46) plus a history of PCOS. So it makes sense that you would not have the typical PMDD luteal phase pattern to mood symptoms (because you don’t have a luteal phase). Does that sound correct? (or do you think you were ovulating with your cycles?)

      If your cycles have been high-estrogen and anovulatory, I might be tempted to persevere with the specialist’s recommendation of daily 200 mg progesterone.

      The other thing to maybe consider is the iodine recommendation that I discuss in my PMS post. Especially if you’re negative for thyroid antibodies. And especially if you have breast pain. It can be really helpful. Also, do you notice if you feel better on an antihistamine?

      • Thank you so much – I hadn’t seen your comment until now. I didn’t have any change to my mood or post menstrual syndrome after the histamine elimination diet.

        I suspect you are spot on about anovulatory cycles and why I no longer experience PMS. I haven’t been tracking temperature etc and I still get ovulation pain mid cycle but no fertile mucus. My mood is much better around mid cycle these days.

        I have now been on the 200mg progesterone for three weeks and the side effects have subsided (hooray!)

        It’s now day 1 and I am bleeding lightly but my mood has dipped again.

        You have replied to me on Instagram to say that you’d give it three cycles before deciding whether it has been successful and my specialist says the same. She has also suggested myo inositol which I am taking and I have started on iodine after reading your excellent book. I take mag and b vits and have done for a while.

        Is it your experience that mood symptoms improve with time on progesterone? Could it be that an even higher dose might be needed?

      • I replied earlier today but I’m not sure if it has come
        through or not: please delete this one if so!

        Thanks for your reply – I have thought the same about anovulatory cycles. I haven’t tracked temperature but don’t have fertile mucus. I do however still get ovulation pain and my mood is much better mid cycle but I guess this could just be higher oestrogen?

        I don’t really feel any different on an antihistamine but so far have only tried loratidine twice daily.

        I will up my iodine as I’ve just read your book and don’t think I’m taking enough. I also take myoinositol at the recommendation of my specialist.

        The side effects from the progesterone have now subsided three weeks in (hooray!) but I am still experiencing my usual dip in mood / change in perception.

        You have replied to me on Instagram and said that you would usually give it three cycles and my specialist said the same so I guess I’ve got to stick it out and see.

        Do you happen to know why it can take this long? Surey if it’s a deficiency and you replace it, things should level out almost immediately?

  11. “ Another factor is the new finding that progesterone can cause intestinal permeability leading to high LPS endotoxin and negative mood symptoms in the luteal phase. According to the research, women are more at risk of this endotoxin effect if they have an underlying problem with chronic progesterone deficiency and high estrogen.”

    How is a woman with chronic progesterone deficiency also getting (more) intestinal permeability caused by progesterone?

    Wouldn’t all ovulating women get intestinal permeability?

    • The paper talks about chronic progesterone deficiency leading to more progesterone receptors which then leads to an abnormally high permeability effect from even a small amount of ovulatory progesterone. I think the idea is that with regular normal levels of progesterone, there is downregulation on the number of the receptors, and a lessening or mitigating of ovulatory progesterone’s intestinal permeability effect.

  12. Thank you for the wealth of good information!! I wonder what is your take on taking quercetin to reduce histamine response?

    My PMDD is likelt hereditary (my mother’s mood swings are legendary) and mine have me facing intense anxiety and suicidal ideation roughly two weeks of every month. It is especially hard on those i am closest to, the relationships i most want to protect and NOT damage.

    I already take B vitamins and magnesium (though not the form your reccommend). I am reluctant to experiemnt with progesterone supplements of any kind (mainly because i think i worsened my symptoma by taking the Jubilance so-called “emotional support” supplement for 2-3 months (which is just 100 mg of thermally stabilized oxaloacetic acid and 150 mg ascorbic acid) – it heightened my anxiety to the extreme and led me to begin taking low dose (10 mg) generic Prozac (fluoxetine) daily (which i have since stopped because of unaffordability. Now that i read that SSRI can increase risk of osteoporosis, I’m glad i stopped it (because my mother has osteopinia).

    I would love to find a local OB/GYN and/or PSYCH who can help me sort this out because it is a very debilitating disease.

    I am also an endurance athlete, which I’ve read can worsen symptoms and upset the estrogen/progesterone balance, but it’s not something i understand well in relation to my own body chemistry (and how it’s changing with age, i am 41).

    Exercise and diet are essential components of my mental health self-care. I gave up dairy years ago, and yet here i am with some of the worst anxiety/depression of my life, always on the verge of snapping somebody’s head off. I have even experimented with CBD/THC, which provide some relief, but is more of a liability and a crutch i don’t want to habitually lean on.

    I’m going to read everything i can on your site and try to devise my own treatment plan. I welcome with the deepest gratitude any insight or advice you might offer me regarding my situation.

    Thank you again for your work. Women make up more than half of the world’s population. It’s a crying shame that not more is understood about women’s health. Thank you for your efforts to move the needle toward equality.

  13. Hi Lara. Do you have any advice on what to do about sleepiness caused by progesterone? I don’t have any of the usual PMS symptoms right before my period and I definitely don’t have any of the anxiety symptoms associated with PMDD, but I’m persistently very sleepy in the third week of my cycle. I go from buzzing with energy right before ovulation to tired and sluggish right after, not wanting get out of bed in the morning and feeling like I have brain fog at work. This is usually worst in week three and gets a bit better in week week four before my period. I definitely ovulate each month and my periods are otherwise pretty normal.

  14. Hi Lara

    Please help !
    I am 44 , think I’m perimenapausal as my once 28/30 day cycles changed to 21 days .. my periods have always been heavy , but in the last year or more became excessive where I leak everywhere , changing pads every hour or two on heaviest days .. and severe in pain. I can’t work on the first 3 days , I pass very large clots. I have been diagnosed with fibroids too so not sure if this is why or whether it’s peri ?
    I also have anemia with serum ferritin very low.

    I have pushed for utrogestan to help manage the flow and pain and not sure whether to take it daily or not .. when I’ve taken it I noticed I get bloated and feel uncomfortable in stomach and sure it makes me more anxious as already suffer with anxiety and depression.. . I also suffer IBS so maybe this makes the stomach more sensitive ?

    Could you advise on the above please ?
    My main issue is the flow and pain , how would I take utrogestan ? Also can you advise any further on other things to try?


  15. That’s great information! You have put lots of efforts into preparing this wonderful material! It helps lots of people! Useful information. I am very happy to read this. Thanks for giving us this useful information.

  16. Can you give more guidance on how to choose a magnesium supplement? I don’t see any brands that show how much is elemental. Can you recommend a brand that has the right amount?

  17. I have transdermal progesterone oil (Progessence Plus) and have read that women use 4 – 8 drops a day every day of their cycle and get great results. Is it ok to use it like this and not just after ovulation? The product had 0.5 mg of progesterone per drop.

  18. Here’s the research about eye inflammation (uveitis) and the menstrual cycle. Women’s health needs more research!

  19. Is it recommended to take Omega-3 fatty acids (one 900mg capsule per day) in follicular phase to deal with the onslaught of anxiety symptoms coming in the 2nd half of the menstrual cycle?

    I took the fish oil pill with my vitamin D drops but noticed pain in the middle of my chest around the time I ovulated. What do you think about supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids to support the drop in hormone levels?

  20. Have you heard of menstrual red eye? One of my eyes get red and inflamed anytime after ovulation and stays red for 5-10 days until my period is over. What could be causing this phenomenon?

    In other PMDD news, I stopped dairy completely (no yogurt, cows milk, or cheese) and noticed the biggest improvement in my PMDD migraines! I also started magnesium nightly in my luteal phase and b-complex (b50) once a day. I had only one migraine the day before my period compared to multiple migraines that lasts for many hours everyday for up to 2 weeks before my cycle. It shows dairy is not essential in the adult’s diet!

  21. Just started taking Progesterone cream 3%. Noticed that silent reflux returned (had same symptoms couple of years ago when I tried cream before.. although did not put two and two together), presents as slight sore throat and allergy upon waking up in the morning, and a mild allergy feeling through the day. Drowsiness even though only pm dose. Unable to think clearly. Dark rings under eyes, blurred vision.

    • That is really interesting because I too noticed reflux when I began using progesterone cream again. Did you stop taking ? if so did your reflux subside?

    • Same with reflux and it also gives me vivid scary dreams and causes major depression and anxiety, unreal bloating and I have tried creams, orals and troches and played around with dosages. Even the lowest dose causes these issues and I am low progesterone.

      • I just started using Progest-Avail because of low Progestrone and high Estrogen. It has given me high anxiety, acid reflux, insomnia, nausea. I went down to the lowest dose and am still having symptoms just not as great.

  22. Hi Lara

    My doctor was only able to prescribe Utrogestan for me by saying I have PMDD she did this for me knowing it was requested for perimenopausal symptoms in general and to help with what i believed to be high estrogen so to steady it out a bit. I was 44 now 46. One note I would say is that the doctors and nurses for women’s health concerns have not known what i have learned from Lara- in short my Dr prescribed the progesterone to be taken from day12 of my cycle which may actually fall before my ovulation and could prevent it as i mostly ovulate on day 13/14 so i wait until later to support my own natural progesterone coming in after ovulation. I do natural contraception and take my basal body temperature when i wake. I do feel a lot better since taking the progesterone alongside magnesium, taurine, B vitamins, zinc, DIM and Sam-e! One thing shows my improved health since finding your work, my hair is coming back! My hair was thinning really badly, most notably at the sides and was really getting me down but it has been slowly but surely coming back. I can’t really say in this comment how much a difference you have made to my life Lara! Thank you so much 😊

  23. I’m 41. My doctor prescribed 5mg of progesterone day 15-25 of my cycle. My body does not tolerate SSRI’s, why would starting a low dose of progesterone be problematic?
    Thank you 🙂

    • are you sure it’s real progesterone? Or is it Provera or medroxyprogesterone? Because progesterone is usually given at a dose of at least 50 or 100mg.

      • I’m not sure, but I decided not to take it. (afraid of panic attacks if dosage is too low or high). Instead I’m working with a nutritionist and modified diet—GF, SF, DF. Which helped kick my UC into remission and improved my moods. (Reduced inflation I imagine) But Pmdd symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety still occur during period day 1-4. Hoping to reduce histamine during period…hoping that’ll help. Thank you for the article! 🙂

  24. I started OTC progesterone cream and seems like each day I take it, my mood is bad in the days I do. Is it better just not to take it all or will I get used to it? I am 48 and was told I have low progesterone.

    • I tried OTC cream and I also had compounded progesterone and both made
      Me depressed and gave me anxiety . I was crying a lot and also had bad breast pain. After I stopped using it within two months I felt much better .

  25. Hi Lara,

    I would so appreciate it if you could provide me with an answer or theory.  I’ve searched and searched over the years.  Today I am searching again which brought me to you through an article I found online about Progesterone that you wrote.

    My simple question is it possible that the IVF drugs(Progesterone and estrogen) I was on as a gestational carrier, to have caused my extreme anxiety, which started at 6 weeks of pregnancy?(When I say extreme, I mean I didn’t know if I was going to make it)


    -I believe I had a miscarriage as a teen.  

    -4 kids of my own(no postpartum anxiety) 

    -3 gestational surrogacy attempts with 1 family.  All embryos were 8 cells or less.  That’s all they had left, she had a hysterectomy. 2 miscarriages/1 successful pregnancy.   Used injections of hormones. No postpartum issues.(Still close with the family)

    -1 gestational surrogacy attempt which resulted in twins with a different family.  Great embryos.  Used injections.  1st postpartum anxiety situation.  Thought it was because of the twins and extra hormone dip.  Used Lexapro for a while, came out of it.(Still close with the family)

    -This is the problem gestational surrogacy.   41 years old, last possible journey with a different family.   Great embryos.   Used Progesterone cream this time and estrogen injections.  First six weeks, everything seemed great.  Only worry was that I felt so good.  Kind of like the two miscarriages I had with the first couple.  The numbers were great on the hcg, unlike the 2 miscarriages I had.  When I was 6 weeks pregnant I started to go into a dark hole. Within a week or two, my anxiety was so extreme I couldn’t function.  I found myself pacing through my home screaming I’m not alright, I’m not alright.  It never went completely way until after I lost the pregnancy at 10 weeks. Well I still have some anxiety and depression but nothing like that.  Still on Lexapro.  

    I’ve never seen or heard of this happening to another person.  I assumed it had to do with the pregnancy or hormones I was on.  I had no words to describe how bad it was.  I could only say it was bad.  From the time I woke up, every second of every minute of every hour, every single day.  There was no distraction that worked.  The thoughts running through my head would send me into despair.  I’m talking the simplest thought would quickly escalate into doom and tragedy second by second, over and over and over.  I couldn’t calm down.  There was no peace even for a moment.   I really have no idea how I made it.  My thinking was skewed and not normal.  I didn’t want to die, but I knew I couldn’t survive like that.  Sometimes I will ask my mom how bad it really was, and she will say it’s as bad as it can get.  She was going to put me in the hospital.  But I was so afraid that they would force Progesterone into me.  My phone at the time recorded all my phone calls, I deleted them after each call because I never wanted to remember how bad it was.  Now I wish I hadn’t.  It would serve proof to me that it was as bad as I think it was.

    I reached out to try to see if anyone else ever felt this way.  Nothing online.  No answers from my family doctor.  He didn’t feel comfortable prescribing any meds because of the baby and the fact that it was a surrogacy.  Totally understandable.  I read on the Progesterone pamphlet that if I was taking this and I started to feel life was not worth living to discontinue using it. It was at a point that I didn’t think I could continue living with the suffering.  The clinic that did the IVF kept telling me to absolutely continue taking the hormones.   That it had zero to do with them.  I felt of course that they had their success rates and their clients best interest in mind(and the babies) and didn’t care about me.  The mother seem to begin to hate me. She didn’t want me to get back on the Lexapro I took years before that.  Kept talking about the money involved.  I can tell you that if you offered me a million to feel like that again for a week, I would turn it down.  I would never make it a week.  So sorry this is long and if you are still reading I thank you so much.  The clinic allows you to start seeing your own gyn at 6 weeks.  Some clinics stop hormones at 6 weeks but this one wanted me to continue.   At this point, all was well with hcg and hormone levels.  But within 2 weeks I was not functioning.   Couldn’t work, the situation was dire to say the least.  I told my gyn what the pamphlet said(he was not an IVF expert but was my doctor for all my pregnancies).  He knew the situation was dire.  He prescribed the Lexapro against the mothers wishes and told me he felt I should discontinue the Progesterone at 8 weeks.  He said that he felt at this point there wasn’t enough proof that it prevents miscarriages and my hormones should be taking over anyway.  I’m not sure that I agree with this as my hormone level did drop and I ended up having a miscarriage at 10 weeks.  Honestly though, I think the miscarriage saved my life.  The mother accused me of getting an abortion. 


    After I stopped taking the Progesterone,  I slowly began feeling better in the evenings.  I dreaded the thought of waking up in the morning because it would be back in full force.  But it started to get better throughout the day.  I thought I was actually going to be able to do it.  The day before the miscarriage I had an ultrasound that showed everything was good.  I left and went to the bathroom and there were spots of blood.  Told my gyn, he had me come back in, everything seemed fine.  That evening I started getting pains in my stomach, went to the bathroom,  baby came out.  Called my doctor,  went to the hospital because I was bleeding very badly.  Stayed the night.   It was over.  

    Mother immediately blocked me, said it was disturbing that I asked what she wanted done with the baby.  I buried it in the backyard.  Her own mother suffers terribly from anxiety and she was actually kind to me when I went for a visit in the throws of all of this.  The twins mother felt a visit with all of us may help.  They were a couple of hours away from each other.  The plane ride was unbearable, I cried and was tormented all the way there and all the way back.

    The guilt I still feel is extensive.  I search and search for answers online.  I just want to know if this is my fault, if I murdered this baby.  Once I replied to a story similar to mine that I found, and it was actually a story that I had written a few years before on a site.  It’s like either this has never happened to anyone else, no one talks about it or there’s very little research.   

    Today I saw an article on a man who committed suicide from what they are calling covid psychosis.  His symptoms seemed similar to mine so I researched pregnancy psychosis.   Most of what I found were UK studies in medical journals.  But then I saw your article.  Saw there was a way to email you.  I hope you can provide me with any answers or theories.  Just to know I’m not the only one, that this was a condition beyond my control.   I’ve looked up the family since, they have twin boys through another surrogate.  Even though they hate me, I am happy for them.  I know this was probably harder for them, I know.  I try not to look too much because I see the child that could have been if not for me, in those boys.  I know I had good intentions,  it wasn’t purposeful,  but the guilt that I feel is overwhelming at times.  If I had a diagnosis(which I know you can’t provide) or a theory, or someone else this has happened to.  Of course I can’t just throw this out there to anyone, people would call me a murderer.  Mothers that think they would suffer as long as it takes for their child to be born.  I wonder if it would have been different if it were my own child.  Would I have fought harder?  I’m not sure I could have.  But maybe my age and number of pregnancies put me at higher risk?  I don’t know.  

    The peace in my life returned faster after the miscarriage, as far as mentally and physically, then the darkness took to overcome me.  I still feel guilty when I see my gyn, like I involved him as a co-conspirator in the killing of this baby and the end of the life it would have had.  What if I would have taken the hormones one more week to week 9, would that have made the difference?   So many questions run through my mind.  I couldn’t ask the clinic because she was their client.  And of course I didn’t want to ask my doctor because I felt guilty for involving him.  As you can imagine, he received a lot of phone calls from the clinic and the mother.  My first couple was supportive and seemed to care about me, even through the miscarriages.  I think they knew the with the poor quality of embryos they had, they were so fortunate for one to make it.  I felt bad for them, but I didn’t have the guilt I do with with this situation.  Perhaps because the pregnancy with their miscarriages were showing bad results from the beginning.

    Sorry, I will end this.  If you have any answers or theories, maybe something else I could look up, I would be so grateful.   Or if you know anyone I could ask.  I hope you don’t think ill of me, I really did try.  Even now, I can’t remember how bad it really was.  It was indescribable.   Had it not been for my mother who is a counselor and the love and support from the twins mom who both took my calls at any minute of the day and talked me through the times where I thought I was done, I would have never made it.  Thank- you, thank-you, thank-you, for any help you can give.  Laura Taylor Adams.  My email is [email protected] phone number is 7406835689

    • Laura Adams I hope you are doing much better now. Know that you can turn to God who gives and takes away life and any guilt you have over this child you can give it to the Lord and repent for any wrongdoings committed. As for the mum blocking you that was extremely unfortunate and uncompassionate of her, and she will have to answer for her own heart.

      As for your possible suicidal ideation, hope you can find a bible and read it and fill your mind with “whatsoever is true, lovely, pure, of good report”, if there be any virtue and praise, think of those things. Suffering is a fact of life and sometimes these are the ways we are humbled to know our limits and weaknesses. Medical advice cannot possibly prevent every single bad thing from happening to us even if we had the best info all the time. To be grateful for the life we have 🙂 I just prayed for you 🙂

    • Did you ever get a resolve? I just started Progesterone a couple of weeks ago as I was getting anxious and having OCD and feel better. I am also on Lexapro and trying to get off as it sending me mad and was causing me more issues and I cannot function. I have ADHD so it was giving me low energy and even Parkinson type symptoms
      I have a feeling it my have been the on and off of Lexapro and not the hormones?
      I could be wrong?

    • Laura Adams, what happened to you is not your fault. You do not have to feel like you are a murderer or feel major guilt for what happened when the pregnancy miscarried. You absolutely had to take care of yourself (and not in a selfish way) in a survival way. Starting Lexapro might have saved your life and stopping the progesterone was all approved by a doctor. Actually, good job getting the resources you needed. You did not know beforehand that you would have such a severe psychological response – not your fault! I recommend getting some EMDR therapy now to help you clear up the trauma from it all. Stay strong and keep marching forward!!!!! Shed that experience into the last and leave it there!

  26. I just had surgery in December for endometriosis. I also have PCS and pending results of a venogram due to renal issues scheduled next week. I have severe pmdd and have had this since I began menstruating. The physical symptoms have been present as well as far as itching, bloating, swelling of hands legs abdomen enlarged pores and redness and tiny bumps on my face. This all begins when I ovulate and then subsides for about 5 days or so then gradually picks up again about 1 week and a half before my period and all symptoms are at their worst around 3 days before. I’ve tried many psych meds and BC but have only made symptoms worse. I also have hashimotos urticaria asthma and allergies. My asthma flares when I begin ovulating as well as allergies then it will go away few days later. I also experience the ringing in my ear. I am in treatment for anal and vaginal spams due to pelvic floor dysfunction. I take a low dose testosterone cream that has done wonders for my energy levels but fails to work when I ovulate and before my period. Otherwise I usually get energy from it. I also have severe adhd and my adhd meds don’t work when I am ovulating and pretty much thereafter. They only seem to work the week after my period. I am interested in bio identical progesterone but my doctor gave me an IUD after the endo surgery. I haven’t noticed any difference in my symptoms yet but they say it’s too soon to tell. I have had success with the bio identical testosterone cream which my doctor Is against as well. I get it from a functional medicine doctor and I will at some point see about the bio identical progesterone as well. I also have bouts of tachycardia when I am ovulating. I should also mention I have low ferritin and just had 5 iron Infusions that my docot said should last me 4-5 months before I need them again. Although it’s possible I won’t if I don’t bleed as much after the endo surgery . I also have a vitamin D deficiency that I supplement for. Anyone have similar issues or can provide and insight and or advice? Thank you.

    • Hi Nicole, I’m not an expert by any stretch but have had a lot of similar issues and was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (the hypermobility type). Maybe look that up and see if any of that seems familiar.

      • I’ve Ehlers-danlos as well. This is all me. I feel almost psychotic when ovulating & again 1-2 weeks before my period until 3-4th day in. It’s awful. I’m gluten free, dairy free, avoid FODMAP & nightshades. I’ve tried almost all SSRIs and multiple SNRI. I’ve ADHD as well.

  27. I bleed every 14 days, for 5 days, with flooding and clotting and excruciating pain. A laparoscopy didn’t reveal endometriosis. Unfortunately they didn’t do a hysteroscopy at the same time so we don’t know if I’ve got adenomyosis. We do know I’ve got a 5cm haemorrhagic cyst on my left ovary. I also have symptoms of perimenopause, the worse being the inability to sleep. The Gynae wants to do a hysteroscopy and then fit a coil (I’ve been waitlisted for 18 months so far due to COVID). The GP wants to give me body identical oestrogen patches and progesterone capsules. I have histamine intolerance and migraine with aura. I end up in the emergency room from the pain regularly. I can’t take NSAID’s, Codeine or SSRI’s. What would you do if you were me? Thank you if you have time to reply. Stay well.

    • The hormonal coil plus progesterone capsules (ie. Utrogestan) could be a good option for adenomyosis (if you have adenomyosis). My patients in a similar situation also use treatments such as dairy-free diet, zinc etc. See the huge adenomyosis section in Chapter 9 of my new book Hormone Repair Manual.

  28. This is so informative. I had no idea SSRIs increased the risk of osteoporosis. I really should reduce the amount of cow’s dairy in my diet (too many cups of tea), but it is so hard (love those cups of tea!) Thanks Lara

  29. I am in the medical field and I can tell you the allopathic community does not know how to fix this because they promote the avoidance of inflammatory triggers such as gluten etc. My area of expertise is in mens health hormones, however, I diagnosed my wife with PMDD, she is in her mid 30’s and she’s struggled for about a decade now with it. I believe there is a way to reduce symptoms to normal PMS but it takes 100% dedication to a healthy lifestyle, the medical community DOES NOT KNOW how to handle this, very, very few doctors do. My wife and I appreciate you doing this for the small cohort of women who struggle with this.

    • Agreed. I’m in medical as well. This is a tough one. Most are likely diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. No gyn has ever listened to me. It’s just a pat on the back & oooohhhh, yes that’s tough. That has yet to work… I’m in my 40s and believe that it is getting worse…. But stress has been worse as well. 🤷‍♀️

  30. I have been using supplements many years, and i did get many benefits from them. I also got a lot of benefit, lowered inflammation by doing the AIP Paleo diet. I have had histamine intolerance, gut problems, and Hashimoto’s. I am recently learning and doing a detox from “vitamin A”. I know this is strange and maybe wacky, but those of us who have been doing health recovery for 15 years and have “PMDD” maybe haven’t found the root cause. Ive dropped most of my pills (supplements, low dose naltrexone and progesterone). I eat a very simple diet based on the guidelines for slowly, safely detoxing “vitamin A”. There are ups and downs—hopefully controlling the speed of detox and severity of symptoms /damage. If nothing else is working, this could be it. All i can do it’s try, at this point. What i can say is that prior to this diet, i was already much helped with PMDD by lowering inflammation. I don’t know where i will end up. Good luck and Good Bless Everyone.

  31. Hi Lara, I have both versions of period repair manual and waiting for your new book. I’ve studied your Books and posts for years And tried a few times for the b6 40 mg and magnesium Glycinate 300mg but both make me moody , sleepy and wild nightmares. Last try I added the Taurine suggestion 1/2 suggested Which I felt made me not be able to think or function properly, made me feel spacey and stupid . Hmm Now what 🙂 ? I’m going to my Dr again and I know a pill or SSRI will be suggested which the SSRI also made me worse when I tried it years ago. Hmm And I don’t want to take the pill due to the risks. I’m really stuck and jeopardising my marriage and job with PMDD And pos perimenopause (38) I’m really Hoping to find answers in the new book. I tried St. John’s wort , horrible nightmares, sleepy and snappy mood , ashwaghanda knocked me out too. I have low blood pressure every visit to Dr so not sure if that’s why plus insomnia most of the past 2 years .

    • Hey!

      I’ve had an adverse reaction to a couple of the medicines you’ve tried as well – one which made a big difference for me was 800-1200mg Vitex Berry, but it does take about 2 months to start working.

      It’s just a suggestion based on my personal experience, but good luck – PMDD is tough.

      Sending warm warm wishes <3


  32. Hi Dr. Briden,

    I’ve learned so much from your book, and would appreciate if you have any advice for my situation. I’m fortunate that birth control (iud and oral) suppresses my sever stage 4 endo pain but I suffer horrible mood disturbances from them. On the IUD they seem to occur less versus on oral which was everyday, but they still happen and can go on for as long as a whole month. No history of mood disturbances or issues with OCP prior to endometriosis diagnosis. My doctor and I both agree I should try to use birth control as long as I can before moving on to surgery but these mood disturbances are doing a lot of damage to my life. I have a good team of docs and I’m working with a psychiatrist with a background in women’s mental health specifically; but I’d like your advice on what I can try or do that can possibly lessen these mental side effects without involving ssri etc. Thank you!

  33. Hello, I am a 45 yr old mother of four. I had my first child at the age of 16. After giving birth I had the neuroplant implanted in my arm for birth control. (At that time I was also taking Lithium for antidepressant) I developed a pseudotumor cerebrum and lost vision In My left eye and decreased peripheral vision in my right eye. (Following an Optic never sheeth decompression surgery) since then I had an IUD and then 14yrs ago I have my tubes tied. Since then my periods have been heavy, I had a uterine ablation which didn’t help. Just about a month ago I saw a new OBGYN. She checked hormone levels because of my extremes moods and cramps. She prescribed Progesterone. I started it a few weeks ago, no bleeding but cramps and anxiety and moodiness persist. Any suggestions???? Thank you!

  34. Hi Lara,
    Thank you for this very useful article and for everything you do. I have your book, it’s such a gold mine of information! <3
    I was wondering if you could redirect me to reliable info (or a link on your website), on fertility/infertility rates/chances of conceiving naturally for cases similar to mine: I am 37 (38 in Jan), was diagnosed with endometriosis (2017), adenomyosis (2019), PCOS (2017) AND PMDD (2018). I stopped taking the pill in Nov. 2019, and have been taking SSRIs since Jan. 2019.
    My partner and I decided we were ready to have children at the beginning of this year, but no surprises there, I am still not pregnant. I refuse to go through medically assisted reproduction – it's far too expensive and I don't want to put my body through the hassle of heavy hormone therapy. So in addition to asking you for reliable information, my question is this: do you think there is any hope for me to conceive naturally and what do you reckon I should make my number one top priority to heal naturally (and increase changes to get pregnant)?
    Thank you very much in advance for your time.
    Tamara (from Switzerland :)).

  35. Thank you so much for sharing such helpful info. I have endo and fibroids but regular ovulation and periods (albeit painful heavy and with clots). I also have mood issues/anxiety/PMDD – I had a large endometrial cyst recur within 2 years and have had lapro to remove it twice now. I need to do something to slow the endo down to avoid more surgery, but we tried 100mg of micronized progesterone and it rendered me a complete zombie (I felt like I had been drugged in a bad way) and made me feel terrible/affected my mood poorly. There are so many options and variables – I don’t know what to try next in terms of hormones that will be effective without negative side effects. FYI I am also now taking all the detox supplements (DIM detox, melatonin etc). any ideas I could propose to my doctors? I have an ND and an MD.

  36. I too have added the supplements, some of which I discovered by accident. About 5 years ago I found that glycine was important for me. I continue to make sure I get glycine and B6. Collagen is also high in glycine. I suspect that many humans are now deficient in glycine because we have lost nose-to-tail eating of animal meat which our early ancestors did, getting a higher amount of glycine. The glycine buffer is important for methylation also, as taught be Chris Masterjohn PhD in his MTHFR /methylation protocol which includes attention to betaine, creatine and choline. These have all helped me tremendously as also going grain free (AIP Paleo diet because it drastically reduced my inflammation which manifested in my joints as well as my mood). I also take 5htp. I have overcome my histamine intolerance and the supplement that I believe has the biggest effect on me was Megasporebiotic.

  37. This article has helped me tremendously! I’ve struggled with pmdd since adolescence but it skyrocketed after having children. I am prescribed medication for depression & anxiety but I was still noticing severe symptoms up to 14 days before my period! The only thing my ob/gyn recommended was birth control. I have tried probably 15 different types & NONE of them agreed with me. I would experience severe depression & physical symptoms such as heavy bleeding/clotting & sickness. Since this article I’ve added these supplements to my daily medication & have noticed significant improvement. The symptoms are still there, but much more manageable. So thank you for giving me an alternative that doesn’t just make things worse! The world needs more women’s health advocates like you! <3

    • Very similar situation for me, it is encouraging to know that you noticed a change with the use of supplements. Terrible anxiety and depression since I was little but just noticed the connection to hormones since having my first child. I can basically predict I will have four days of fighting off constant panic attacks about three days after I ovulate. I feel like it’s kind of insane that more doctors don’t talk about this. Have you tried adding natural progesterone? I’ve done some of these supplements on and off but not religiously so I’m thinking of adjusting that and adding progesterone.

  38. Hi Lara, my situation is unique. I am 38 weeks pregnant, and I have had great difficulties since the beginning of the 2nd trimester (mood, sleep, energy, appetite, irritability) that I believe are attributable to issues with progesterone intolerance. Have you heard of this and what are your thoughts? This is my second pregnancy, I did not have these issues during my pregnancy with my daughter. We are expecting a boy this time, I am not sure if that makes an impact as well.

    • I had the same issue in my second pregnancy (both girls). I suspect a progesterone/gaba issue. I would love to see her response as i felt very depressed in pregnancy so im hesitant to take progesterone now.

  39. I have taken prometrium (bioidentical progesterone) for years.. maybe 12 years or more. It use to work great but the last 2-5 years I find not so much. I decided to try Lo Estrin birth control pill and to my great surprise my mood was better. I only took it for 4 months and I got very bloated and weight gain with sweating. I went back to prometrium but feel depressed, irritable on it so I am going to try Marvelon after my next period.

  40. Hi Lara, I have PMDD and hormonal migraines which are getting worse now I’m into my 40s. Another new symptom for me is nausea which hits with fatigue and crushing depression about 5 days before my period. I’ve been searching your site for nausea-related information but not having luck – can you offer any advice please? I’m getting pretty desperate as it’s so debilitating. Thank you

      • Me too, I am 39 and ever since my period returned in January after 14 months postpartum it has been a mess of nausea, depression, fatigue, and sore nipples most of the month.
        I am about to try natural progesterone cream at the suggestion of my doctor.

  41. This is interesting. How does progesterone resistance fit into this picture? I started on bio identical progesterone cream a few years ago to help with endometriosis….this greatly exacerbated my mood issues, and I became depressed. Now when I look back I think this might be due to progesterone resistance. Can this occur with bio identical creams?

  42. This is so interesting- I have PMDD and the only birth control that’s ever helped is Nexplanon (uses etenogestrel which I believe is progestin). It’s the only thing that helps my mood and keeps me from getting a period as often. It’s literally saved my life, but I’ve heard so many horror stories about the implant. I had no idea progestin was usually considered bad for mood!

  43. My PMDD was not that severe, at times I wondered if it was “just PMS” but my only symptoms were mental/mood and it was literal phase. Two things have helped. Lowering histamine and inflammation. My histamine intolerance is related to low DAO in gut and general gut health, including gram negative bacteria from mouth going into stomach, plus maybe a low level SIBO ( a medium threshold for FODMAPS). I just started putting my toothbrush head into hydrogen peroxide. Floss twice or more per day. No sugar.

    I use a lot of supplements. I used Seeking Health brand of DAO, probiotic histaminX, B Minus, and B6. Added zinc. Used Lara Briden’s book for supplementation. Manage vitamin D status due to inflammation. Got my Hashimoto’s diagnosed. Stopped eating grains of all types. No more xanthan gum, guar or carrageenan or any gum additive including acacia. No Grains and gums were HUGE improvement. ****
    When my inflammation went down, it was noticeable because my knee had swollen for 3 years. When my knee stopped swelling, my brain felt better. It was beer clear that my brain was not happy with inflammation. ****

    I also went on oral progesterone, but I’m not sure it’s helping all that much. 200 mg. I am in peri menopause and I am getting short cycles, so the progesterone doesn’t seem enough to hold back my periods.

    It matters what YOU are sensitized to—your allergies. I am now on Microbiome Labs Megasporebiotic and taking other supportive supplements for my thyroid, and low dose naltrexone for the autoimmune/Hashimoto’s.

    Vitamin D status is a big one for any type of autoimmune. It’s often low on labs. Must get it up to lab value of 60-80. This helps with the autoimmunity.

    Isabella Wentz books for autoimmunity.

    Dr Gundrys Plant Paradox book for gut health, plus the Megasporebiotics.

    Vitamin C and Quercetin 3-5x per day to lower histamine.

    Find a functional med doctor who can prescribe. In Colorado, NDs cannot prescribe and I wasted 2 years and a lot of money because my ND couldn’t prescribe and was too narrowly focused.

  44. I feel like I’ve exhausted all options in attempt to have a “normal” period and as a last result I saw a naturopathic nurse practitioner. She has me on 600 mg natural progesterone continuously so I never bleed or have a period. Before I was bleeding constantly, so not having a period now is nice but I wonder if I am damaging my body by consistently taking such high doses of progesterone every day. I feel like a zombie, but hey, at least I’m not bleeding all the time. 🤷🏼‍♀️

    Do you have any advice for a woman in her late twenties diagnosed with PCOS? I am desperate for help.

    • There can be situations when it’s helpful to suppress cycles or bleeding with high dose progesterone. But even so, that would usually only require 300 mg at the most. And if you’re only in your twenties, I can’t see that mega-dose progesterone can be a long-term plan. Do you have insulin resistance?

  45. Hi Dr Briden, thank you for this and all of the other posts you share about womens’ health. I have experienced pmdd to varying degrees over 20+ years. For the last six months I have been taking a daily 150mg dose of sertraline and have been much better (I.e., no longer taking to bed for weeks at a time, perhaps only having one decent week in any cycle), but I still experience severe PMS symptoms prior to my period; extreme mood swings (from numbness, low mood to anger and back); and high histamine. I wanted to ask: in relation to taking natural progesterone, should I be taking 100mg every day, or only when pms symptoms start to show? Many thanks.

  46. This is such a helpful article. I’m being treated currently for abnormal uterine bleeding and have been on megace a progestin for the past month. My PMDD symptoms are generally well controlled with an SSRI, diet and exercise, and a few weeks into taking it I felt psychotic. My doctor said she had never had any one report mood “stuff” on the medication and that It sounds like the condition was preexisting. She got a mouthful and a bunch of evidence based research sent her way. She said if I didn’t want to take it, she can schedule a d&c and ablation. Needless to say I’m hoping to find a more holistically minded ob with better bedside manor. But that you for writing this, I feel validated.

  47. Hi
    I get really upset and paranoid anxiety, way too analytical about things that usually don’t bother me literally from day 14. I can feel the cloud descending until maybe two days before period starts. I’m 51. What should I do? We don’t drink cows milk. Non smoker. Eat fairly healthy food and exercise

  48. Hello Lara, I am a big fan of your blog and I now need your wisdom and knowledge, as I am so confused. Is a progesterone level of 6,88 ng/ml (luteal phase) low if I’m trying to recover from hair loss? I know it’s within the normal range but still, is in the lower end.

  49. Hi Dr Lara,
    Thanks for everything you work and share for womankind. I read your book and followed taking mg and b6 for symptoms of pmdd (that appeared when I stopped antidepressants). Later I went to a registered dietitian who added a multinutrient+ probiotics+ omega 3 and 6 + dairy free + gluten low. In many ways I’m better. But twice in the last 4 cycles I have had my boobs very tender and swollen (my usual symptoms of pms) the whole month!!!! With my pms they would start after I ovulated, then go down on day 3-4. Although I even had a cycle recently where I had only two days of breast minor discomfort now in August and now my breast have just kept on going with pain and tenderness.
    I am also under huge amounts of stress, going to therapy.
    My gp has checked my thyroid, and hormonal levels (on day 21) and he said everything was fine.
    The only thing they helped in August was a manual lymphatic drainage, but I can’t afford that all the time and I would lie to have a more sustainable answer. What do you think? Thank you !!!!

  50. Hello Lara,
    Thanks for all the work you do, I have read your book and followed it. My breast have been tender non-stop. Usually stop after I menstruate but they have carried on (it’s been three weeks since they started) Second time this happens in the past few months. What could it be? Here is my story:

    I started with symptoms of pmdd after stopping antidepressants a few years ago. Had taken bc before starting antidep and stopped it a few months into the antidepressants. Doctors put me on Prozac only 10 days before my period. Sort of improved but my period wasn’t really ok.

    Stopped the Prozac in May last year and started dairy free diet. Things improved but slowly. Periods got a bit better.

    Then went to acupuncture and took Chinese herbs for two months. Didn’t work, and after I stippped I had a very painful breast cyst.

    I read your book in March. Then I started mg and b6 and probiotics. things kept improving but not fully.

    I went to a reg dietitian- she added a multinutrient. This was in late May. At that point my tsh was 3.67mU/L (.35-5.5).

    I added tumeric everyday, since I also get pretty bad period pain.

    I’m sure I ovulate, but I don’t feel it’s on the same day every time. Also, my cycles are very short (like 24 days- this started after I stopped the antidep). Oh I’m 36 not been pregnant.

    In August, my breast got tender and very swollen after I ovulated, they carried on after I had my period. It was almost 6 weeks that I was like that. The only thing that helped was a manual lymphatic drainage- but can’t afford to do that all the time.

    In late August my gp did another test. Tsh was 2.24 mU/L and finally a hormone test (exactly 7days before my period). Lh: 3.4U/L fsh:5.2U/L
    Progesterone: 20.4nmol/l
    Oestradiol: 261pmol/L

    My cycles continued to improve, in fact I had a cycle when my breast only hurt for two days before!! Cyclical headaches are practically gone. Period pain still there.

    This past cycle my breasts started hurting a week before. Haven’t stopped since. (I’m on day 15).

    I’m also under Lots of personal stress and seeing a counsellor.

    The probiotics I take have garlic and grapefruit seed in them. Also I’m gluten low- have it very rarely.

    Don’t know what’s going on, it is really hard and really uncomfortable. I went to the gym and things got worst. My upper back also hurts because d all the weight it is carrying.

    Going to the gp in a few days, what shall I ask for? Can you tell what might be going on?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Many thanks


  51. Hello Lara,
    I am grateful to my ND for recommending your site. I am 45 and have been experiencing uterine bleeding pretty steady for around 100 days (with about 12 days break as the 60 day mark). I have been prescribed oral progesterone (troche) by my ND. As I don’t have a clear cycle at the moment I am unsure when day 24 is to take a break. Any tips on how to figure this out? Could I assume that when it is at it’s heaviest that this is my actual period and go from there?
    Thanks so much

  52. Lara – THANK YOU !!!! I am 48 and diagnosed with PMDD 6 years ago. I (and those closest to me ) knew I had extreme PMS from the time my period started at age 12. The only time in my life where I was “emotionally stable” for more than 3 weeks was when I was pregnant and breastfeeding! About 15 years ago I realised there was a pattern to my emotions, anxiety and reactions so I began to calendar this. I would get my period, count 25 days on the calendar and write “Warning” so we all knew what was coming up! :o) (And that it would pass) The anxiety, irrational thinking and reactions, vivid dreams, poor sleep and feelings of desperation would pass the moment my period began….and all was wonderful in the world again….until day 25 of my next cycle….. but the consequences of my words or actions during those pre-menstrual days remained…After I turned 40 my “calendaring” ceased to help as my cycle started to become so irregular…anywhere between 22 days to 31 days.

    I finally found a medical team, including endocrinologist, who understood what was happening physiologically and prescribed for me “Zoely” , a contraceptive pill containing nomegestrol acetate (a progestin) and estradiol. Finally, after 33 years I was off the emotional rollercoaster I’d been on for so long. I cannot describe how thankful and relieved I am. I have been wondering in recent months though the potential long term effects of being on a synthetic drug and was sent last week details of your work Lara from a friend.

    I have spoken to a new GP today who is willing to prescribe for me “Prometrium” which was mentioned in the article. One concern I have is that the dose of progestin I am on is 2.5mg which is so much less than 100mg of progesterone (Prometrium) mentioned in the article. I am also wondering how much fluctuating levels of estrogen contribute to PMDD and if should remain on estradiol?

    Thank you sincerely for any advice or comments regarding these “wonderings” about doses and estrogen.

    • I hope she answers you, because your life sounds a lot like mine, only I’m on Premari. Increased fro .3 to .6 two and a half months ago, got all my pre-Ovarectomy symptoms back even much worse, about to go over the edge.! So confused, not sure whether to try to get a script for prometrium, try to get a histamine test? Or what. 1/8 mg Xanax used to work, but now .25 doesn’t touch it. So desperate.

  53. Thought I should add that since the time my periods have seemed to be bimonthly, I have cycled through the following: the mini-pill (while reastfeeding ), mirena , and of course no contraceptive while trying to conceive. Even when ttc thus on nothing synthetic the cycles came that rapidly.

  54. I have never been diagnosed with PMDD but as I read sounds like it could be me. When other women described the euphoria from breastfeeding, I felt a sense of hopelessness and separation. Climaxing makes me nauseous and sleepless. And while I am a very positive, emotionally intelligent person half of my life, I am completely over run by negative emotions that seem to drown me the other half. This used to be a 2 week on 2 week off cycle but ever since my first baby was born I have had my cycle every 2 weeks. I use an IUD which basically erases the bleeding which I’m grateful isn’t happening every other week, but my emotional roller coaster continues to whip me around at a rapid rate. This morning I prayed to know what to do, I can’t keep living this Jekyll/hyde life, and tonight I found this. My doctor has only been pleased that the IUD stops the bimonthly bleeding and prescribes me antidepressants/anxiety meds when I cry to him that I hate being a woman. Do you have any thoughts about my bimonthly cycle? My first child (out of 5) is now 13. Do you think pmdd is the answer? Thank you!

  55. Hi Lara – I had adenomyosis and i had/have endometriosis. So i had a hysterectomy and have only my ovaries. But because of that, I’m having a heck of a time managing my pmdd now, even more than before, because I dont have periods anymore which was helpful in tracking where I was in my 27 day cycles. With that being said – 2 things…1) I cant seem to find progesterone capsules that can be purchased without some sort of prescription or am I searching wrong? In which case, what would be the appropriate dose of natural progesterone in a cream (I’ve used source naturals cream and emerita creams)? And 2) because I am having a horrible time tracking cycles, is it appropriate to take it daily all month with a break of a wk or so every couple months or so if needed etc?

    I’ve used chasteberry, rhodiola I think was the other…honestly I’ve used a lot of things with no real obvious helpful change. But it is definitely pmdd and not something else.


    • yes, progesterone capsules need to be prescribed. But many doctors are open to it if you make the case.
      Some women do take them as you describe (daily, but with a few days break every month or so — choosing days when they’re feeling well– so probably follicular phase)

  56. Hi, I want to try taking 100mg of natural progesterone for PMS with a lot of anxiety and insomnia. Should I start taking it just after ovulation until my period starts/ during 14 days?
    Thank you in advance

    • Generally, with my patients, I recommend starting a few days after ovulation and continuing until the period actually arrives.
      And it causes sleepiness to generally needs to be taken at bedtime.

      • Hi there. This month I have taken 100mg progesterone, taurine, vit b6, and magnesium since pmdd symptoms started to show (around 5 days before my period was due). It has worked extremely well, so I’m very grateful, thank you. I wanted to ask though, could the progesterone be delaying the start of my period? I’m overdue three days and wondering if I should stop the progesterone now. Thank you, I hope you are safe and well.

  57. Hello Dr. Lara,
    Thank you so much for all of this wonderful information, thank goodness for you help with all of this! I just recently turn 44, I had two miscarriages last year (no previous pregnancy) . I was having trouble with my hormones, energy, UTI’s and weight gain. I found a great doctor for bio-identical hormones and he put me on “mild doses” to help. I am taking 50 mg of progesterone every evening and 10ml of testosterone every morning. I feel great and my health and self have returned to normal so its working but I have one concern…..everything I read says take Progesterone on a cycle, I am the only one I know who takes it daily. I still have my monthly cycle. Just wondering your thoughts please?
    Thank you!

  58. I had been casually given a fast diagnosis of PMDD about 3-4 years ago, and offered to take an SSRI. I have never done so. Things that have helped me:
    1. Glycine probably becuase of it’s support of methylation (I have histamine intolerance) and because of the reasons Dr. Lara Briden recommends it as magnesium glycinate.
    2. lowering histamine in general (I didn’t know this at the time. I was just trying to lower histamine symptoms and heal from histamine intolerance, but in retrospect, getting it very low has really helped my mood and the “PMDD”)
    3. After much reading of Joan Mathews Larson and Julie Ross’ The Mood Cure https://www.juliarosscures.com/mood-cure/ plus The Chemistry of Joy and Dr. Mark Hyman’s Broken Brain book and docuseries… I decided to take 5htp. I really noticed the difference at first and continued. Worked with my ND and she is a fan of 5htp and as a result I upped my daily dose, which I spread out over 3 x per day. I am considering switching over to Griffonia simplicifolia seeds now that I am feeling very emotionally stable.

    Best Wishes!

  59. I was using progesterone cream for about 6 months before I went on the oral progesterone just 2 cycles ago. When I started the progesterone cream, I got tender breasts at first, and after a few months the breast tenderness was either gone or it would sometimes only occur close to the end of my cycle. If you haven’t been on it for a few months, why not stay on it and see if things level out for you? I don’t know about the weight gain because I’m 45 years old and I can’t tell what’s making it difficult to lose belly fat–but, I know I have to eat less than I used to and that seems to be the general consensus among people my age. I am doing the dietary advice from amongst the functional medicine doctors who write on the internet and books (intermittent fasting, restrictions, Paleo, Wahls protocol, etc.). I hope Lara catches your question on whether it’s good for you to be on the oral prog. with the endometriosis. Have you read her book?

  60. I think those are symptoms of progesterone excess. Either you need to give it six weeks, or get progesterone checked around the time of ovulation.

  61. My integrative health practitioner prescribed me 100mg capsules of progesterone. The result is significant breast tenderness and enlargement and almost immediate weight gain around my stomach (which I’ve not had before). Is this normal? The weight gain and breast tenderness (and noticeably larger) is making me self-conscious and unhappy. Do the benefits outweigh the side effects? I have endo and excess estrogen.

  62. Lara, I love that you are so open to learning from others. Your curiosity is admirable. When should one dose progesterone cream? I’ve been splitting my daily dose morning and evening, but this makes me wonder if morning would be best?

    • Progesterone has quite a short half-life so I still think morning and evening is the best. But I will look into the above-mentioned issues with evening dosing.

  63. I am on second cycle using oral progesterone. I stop it on Day 24. I feel like my mood was bad from stopping the progesterone. Is there any way around this? We have to stop the progesterone to mimic the natural drop in progesterone, but whether it’s from natural or a pill, the drop in progesterone causes me to have a bad mood. Do we just deal with it because “it’s natural”?

  64. Would like to know more about the timing of taking oral progesterone. This article says:

    “Take Hormones Once a Day in the Morning by Joseph J Collins, RN, ND

    Your body makes testosterone, progesterone, estrogens, DHEA, cortisol, thyroid hormones, etc., on a 24 hour basis. The science on this is indisputable. So, twice a day dosing is one of those things that have become common practice, even though twice a day dosing is not grounded in good science. Your hormone levels are naturally higher in the AM and lower in the evening. The drop in hormone levels at the end of the day actually signals the body that it needs to make “another batch” of hormones. The daily cycle of hormone production is described as a “circadian” rhythm – a 24 hour rhythm.

    The daily high and low values both signals the need for more hormone production, and help decrease the risk of developing hormone resistance – a situation where the cells of the body become resistant to hormone messages because the hormones do not drop as they should.

    If hormone levels do not drop, and send too strong a signal – like they are yelling at the cells all the time – then the cells start to resist the hormone message. If some of these hormones are too high in the evening, they interfere with the release of night-time hormones. Elevated evening estrogens interfere with growth hormone release. So, it does not make sense to take estrogen twice a day if a woman wants her skin to stay young and healthy.

    More detail and references are included on page 277 – 280 of Discover Your Menopause Type.

    And yes, some women are given progesterone at night to help them sleep. This means progesterone is being used as a sleeping agent. Does it work? Apparently it does. But using progesterone this way is counter to the design of the body because progesterone is naturally higher in the morning. There are other ways to restore healthy sleep. ”


    • Interesting. He doesn’t actually specify which night-time hormones are triggered by the drop in progesterone. Do you know if he specifies it in his book? It is an interesting argument for morning dosing but oral progesterone makes most women so groggy that I would be reluctant to recommend that.

  65. Hello Lara! I have endometriosis and was not wanting to go back on the pill (my gyno’s only option for me besides surgery) so after reading tips from your book I was able to lower my pain and correct my low progesterone by supplementing with b6, magnesium, and zinc. So my endo pain (which was literally ruining my life- could not function for half my cycle) has gone down from a 8 to a 2, but my Pmdd which was diagnosed at 15 (im 32) has gotten SO MUCH WORSE with these supplements as the endo has gotten better, so it seems to clearly be the progesterone. Like i am totally miserable and angry for a week to ten days before my period. Feeling like I can’t win and have to choose between pain or mental health. I went off the pill 3 years ago bc of high cancer risk and it aggravating another autoimmune disease. Any Suggestions?

    • is there anything else that could be worsening your PMDD? For example, an increase in fermented foods or other high histamine foods?

      How much vitamin b6 are you currently taking? because highish doses (50-100 mg) are often needed for PMDD.

  66. I go to Sound Clinic for integrative med in Denver. I see an ND but am tapering off of her consultations. I recommended internet search for city name and “bioidentical” or “functional medicine”

    Rachel (@) rachelernst.com

  67. Hi Rachel, I am glad that you found a solution, even if it`s partial. Could you please share the name of your naturopath? And yes, I`ve read in multiple sources that there`s a strong connection between vlood sugar and mood.
    Thank you very much!

  68. Try the book Magnesium Miracle by Carol Dean. I have stopped using Epsom Salt baths as a routine and am now using Magnesium Chloride spray “oil” and also lotion. It has really helped with the muscles around an injury. I seek to get magnesium in diversified ways.

  69. Dr. Briden, thank you very much for your blog! Can I use transdermal magnesium? How much B6 is it safe to add on the days of the mood symptoms? Is another 50 mg safe? Thank you very much!

  70. Would there be a hormonal reason oral Prometrium at 100mg daily would cause intestinal pain or distress? It has helped my mood and sleep, lessened my period, but now in my second month of taking it I am nauseous and my whole intestinal track is irritated or cramps.

  71. I just started oral bioidentical progesterone. Doctor said take it on days 12-24, but stop at the first sign of any pink (even very little flow, which is Day 1) even if that occurs before Day 24. .But doctor said for my cycle being typically from 23 days to 26 days, take the oral tablets on days 12-24 because if I take them past day 24 I could lengthen my cycle too much. I’m concerned about the drop in progesterone on Day 25… For PMDD isn’t this also yet a different way to end up with a drop in Progesterone?

  72. What I am personally doing right now, as part of a larger nutrient supplementation plan, is to take the B6 and mag every day. B6 helps with histamine (I have histamine intolerance, and as I’ve gotten histamine under control, what I thought was PMDD is now much more mild. I’m taking magnesium because of book by Carolyn Dean, MD, ND. I am adding the taurine next, to calm GABA receptors in general, improve insulin sensitivity, and because it’s safe to take every day at a lower amount (see Examine.com) Dr. Sarah Gottfriend also likes taurine and has put it into her “Crave Control” formula.

  73. Hi, Mary.
    Progestin is not the same as progesterone. The pill contains a synthetic progestin. Progesterone can not prevent pregnancy.

  74. Lara, I’ve read your book a few times and appreciate the information you’ve provided to women. After reading, I started taking magnesium, B6, and Taurine. I’m unsure on how I should take them though. Should they be taken daily or only during the luteal phase? Also, should they be taken in the morning or at night? Finally, would a PMDD sufferer benefit from Omega 3 supplement in addition to the supplements above? Thanks!

  75. Hi Dr Briden! I have one question. I am taking cerazette and noticed an increase in body hair since I switched from the combined pill to the progesterone only pill. I am wondering if the progesterone (or better saying progestin. In this case desogestrel) in this pill could actually contribute to increased body hair. I have been to several gynecologists, endocrinologists and dermatologists and they all ignore my complaints and tell me to accept that I’m hairy and it’s probably just genetics

  76. Talked to my (awesome) doctor about it today and think I will do that. It seems to be very good for so many reasons for me. Thank you for introducing me to progesterone and allo and also the idea that “women are not small men” – went to a neurologist and not once was asked if I felt my seizure and other temporal lobe epilepsy symptoms were exacerbated by my cycle – when it turns out that in many women with epilepsy it is a studied and important factor (and are also more likely to have anovulatory cycles).

  77. I am into my second month of taking natural progesterone and I love it. But perhaps too much. For the first time in forever my sleep is restful – I have sleep apnea and epilepsy (perhaps catamenial in nature) and wondering if it is providing a solution to both of these things with progesterone being a respiratory stimulant and allo being anti-seizure The problem is that I want to take natural progesterone in the first half of my cycle because I know what it can be to switch off my short circuiting brain and rest now. Looking into other ways in how allo can be boosted besides SSRIs as they do not agree with my sensitive brain chemistry either.

  78. Thanks, Dr Briden! I think I’ve exhausted everything on Dr Prior’s website (so helpful) and was planning to order her book for an upcoming plan ride 🙂

    IIRC, I think she definitely favors daily dosing for those with migraines (which I don’t have).

    If one were to start out with dosing during the second half of the cycle only, what symptoms would indicate that perhaps daily dosing is a better option? Guessing they overlap with symptoms that indicate that progesterone isn’t the correct treatment – period?

    Being perimenopausal w/out a uterus is so difficult, as most doctors keep telling me that I don’t need progesterone without one 🙁 And as someone with endometriosis as well, I don’t feel comfortable with the estrogen only treatment plans.

    • The “progesterone” the doctors are talking about is actually progestin.
      Most doctors seem to have no clue about the value of real progesterone for perimenopausal symptoms and general health. And so they say it is only to protect the uterus from cancer. When, in reality, it does so much more!

  79. Question: If one is sensitive to the ups and downs of progesterone (as mentioned towards the end of your article), is perimenopausal, and has had a hyst but spared ovaries, is it better to dose 2nd half of cycle only, or daily?

    • In most cases, I think the last two weeks of the cycle is the best dosing but I know that Professor Prior (author of the perimenopause book Estrogen’s Storm Season) makes the case for daily progesterone. I’m just reading her book again now.

  80. I have been struggling for the past year and a half (been on birth control for only 2 years) with PMDD-like symptoms due to my birth control pill (i am currently 19 years old) switched my birth control pill 3 separate times and also tried two SSRIs and nothing helped. currently i have been taking loestrin fe every day with no inactive days for the past two months per my gyno’s recommendation saying it should be an easy fix. my depressed moods have gotten better but the anxiety still breaks through,
    i don’t feel like myself. i have a doctors appt in 2 weeks & i plan on going off the pill & trying natural solutions. going to order your book to help along with the process. i am sick of feeling like i am crazy!!

    • I would also like to mention that i have had anxiety and depression for 4 and a half years and there was no clear pattern of pmdd symptoms until a year and a half ago (i know its different if they show up after being on bc) but also my mom had pmdd so it runs in the family

    • Short answer, no. There’s no clear relationship because PMDD is defined as mood problems that occur after ovulation. With true PCOS, there is no ovulation, and therefore no possibility of PMDD.

      That said, women with PCOS can definitely experience mood symptoms, especially once they start to ovulate again. I see that with my patients with the inflammatory type of PCOS. When they reestablish ovulation, they can start to have mood symptoms. The treatment is the same: to reduce inflammation and histamine.

  81. I’m looking to reverse my hormonal issues while trying to conceive my second child again.
    Background info I’m 28, 5’3 142 pounds, married with one child she was born at 25 weeks due premature rupture of my membranes but she has no major issues thank God!
    I have never had acne, but I have always been hairy everywhere (I was also born premature at 26 weeks and they had to give me steroids as a baby)
    I was recently diagnosed with PCOS again this year and I was told (I have a copy of the test results as well) by my obgyn that I had high levels of Androgens and my thyroid levels were a little high.
    He did tell me to make a few changes in my diet and start exercising and it’ll be reversed.

    I did have low progesterone and was prescribed prometrium while I was pregnant but I stopped taking it. Would this be something I can take as a cream or pill form along with continually eating healthy, exercising and of course not stressing to balance my periods and prevent another preterm labor?

    Also would spearmint tea lower my androgens which will in turn slow down the excessive hair growth?

  82. Hi Lara, my periods have been very out of whack since having my youngest son 3 years ago. I originally went on the pill but came off after about 6 months due to migraines. ever since I have a cycle length of between 30 and 35 days, my menstruation is 3 days of medium flow then 7/8 days of on and off spotting. From researching online it seems as though I have hormonal imbalance, which isn’t helping me with trying to conceive. After 8 months of trying, I fell pregnant in December (after taking Agnus Castus Vitex up to ovulation for one cycle) and I then miscarried in February at 11 weeks, it completely devastated me and I’m now finding it very difficult to fall pregnant again. Is there anything that I can do to help with my hormones so that I can conceive again?

  83. Hi I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue 2 years ago. I did a salivary adrenocortex 4 point test with sex hormones. Cortisol was flat lined, progesterone low, DHEA low and estradiol high. I took calmx, Plift, i3c, adrenotone and bio identical DHEA solidly for 8-9 months. Along with iron for anemia. My iron levels were very slow to come up due to I suspect the heavy periods I was having. In an attempt to reduce the bleeding I started on bio progesterone cream and only managed to take it for about 6 months. It initially helped with some pms symptoms but didn’t significantly reduce bleeding but did however reduce my cycle length to about 21 days. I’ve been off the progesterone for about a year now and my cycle has slowly crept up to about the 25 day mark but is a little irregular now which has never been an issue previously. I’ve read your book and I suspect I am either not ovulating or producing enough progesterone but I’m confused as to why the progesterone cream didn’t help me? Please help. One very confused.

  84. Dear Dr. Lara,

    I am about to come off the pill in 3 days time and a bit worried about the mental heath effect it might have? I am on an SSRI (problems may have been caused by the pill all along) but I am hoping that because of my proactive steps (adding Magnesium and Zinc) and the reintroduction of my own natural and calming progesterone, I will feel even better than on it! Any other suggestions to assist with balancing of mood during the transition?

  85. Hello!!!. I just read your book period manual repair and I liked it a lot. I suffer from menstrual migraines and they recommended the Tanacetum Parthenium as a preventive. In your opinion, do you think it is effective? I’m starting to take the food issue more seriously and even though I was already eating very little sugar, I’m going to try to eliminate it completely. A greeting from Spain!!!!!

  86. Hi Dr Briden, thanks for your response to my comment above. I am going to try mag, b6 and taurine and have checked out this brand on amazin UK. The label isnti entirely clear in that it states each tab contains magnesium (glycerophosphate, carbonate) 87mg/23% EC RI, so I assume that means I’d have to take 4 tablets per day. My concern with that is in doing so, am I under or over on the other two elements? The label states each tablet contains 150mg of taurine, and 2mg VB6 pyridoxine HCI, so presumably the latter falls incredibly short of your recommended dose of 50mg and as such, would it make more sense to go with separate supplements for each?

    Also, with regards to levels of histamine, would the effects of short terms use of anti-histamines be indicative of whether or not allergies are a problem for me? I used to suffer incredibly badly with stress triggered hives, or so I thought, but now wonder if hormones were the trigger instead. Fortunately, I no longer regularly experience these breakouts.

    Thanks in advance for any further advice you give, I appreciate that you must be incredibly busy. Kind regards.


  87. Lara, great article. I only recently started with PMDD severe hormonal symptoms after my doctor put me on Lexapro last year after my mom’s death. I never had these PMDD symptoms before, but something switched in my body? IDK. Lexapro made me feel worse and only exacerbated my anxiety and panic attacks. Hence I came off of it. I’ve been attempting to deal with PMDD now for the last 3 cycles based on your recommendations of magnesium, VB6, iron (my ferritin was 50), bioidentical progesterone cream. I also am using L-Tryptophan since my serotonin levels are very low based on symptoms. I tried 5-HTP but that may me feel unbalanced and gave me knots in my stomach. The tryptophan does make me feel better.

    I feel some improvement with my symptoms using vitamins & minerals. I tried the Vitex and that made me feel worse. That was a BAD reaction; couldn’t leave my bed all day. My quesiton is this, what do you recommend for my EXTREME ANGER? This past cycle when I got my period — I was a lunatic! I lost it at work (surprised I’m not fired yet because of PMDD) and at home the anger was so severe I was breaking & smashing things in my apt. Yikes! I feel like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde… it’s so not me but the worst comes out. I’m desperate – I’m trying everything. My GYN wants to put me on birth control but as you state Ode to Ovulation! So I said no. Help!

    • Hey Natalia, sorry for your loss. I suffered really similar symptoms every month too, mine was from coming off the pill after 13 years. Replace extreme anger with extreme depression and anxiety (to the point I was crying hysterically for a week and couldn’t leave the house). Then once my period arrived I was back to my normal bubbly self. It’s like flicking a switch, I felt like every doctor I saw thought I was just depressed and tried to prescribe me antidepressants and counselling, but I was honestly fine the first 3/4 of the month and felt there was more to it. After seeing a naturopath for advice – I found I felt my best when I was eating organic food, no dairy, no processed food or sugar, increased my water intake and joined a fitness class, I also took Vitex and a B12/magnesium supplement and Probiotics (for gut health) and completely cut out alcohol (I’m not much of a drinker anyway, but alcohol can understandably affect your hormones). It took about 3 months to notice a change for me. I would highly recommend seeing a naturopath for guidance on supplements etc. I hope you feel better really soon, you’re not alone 🙂

  88. Hi, please could you suggest a brand that would deliver the required amount of elemental magnesium? I’d also be interested to try progesterone tablets for migraines – would this be on prescription only? thanks in advance

    • any brand of magnesium glycinate should be fine. For example, pure encapsulations magnesium glycinate.

      Their label reads:

      Amount Per Serving
      each vegetarian capsule contains:
      magnesium (as magnesium glycinate) 120 mg

      So 3 capsules = 360 mg.

      But, honestly, almost any brand of magnesium glycinate should be fine.

  89. Hi Lara! Is Berberine and some of the other pcos insulin dependent supplements safe to take while breastfeeding? Please let me know, thanks!

  90. Lara,

    I had a chance to finally get and read your book, what a wonderful resource for learning about our own bodies!
    I do have a question on units, in the book you mention that a mid luteal progesterone reading of atleast 3 ng/mL is required to point to ovulation having occured. I just want to make sure that is serum progesterone and not saliva? Also is ng/mL or ng/dL? I had both saliva and serum tests done and the saliva test is showing VERY different readings so I wanted to double check.

    Thank you

  91. Great article….. when I finished reading it I went immediately to Amazon and ordered your book! Thank you for providing such a useful resource for people (including fellow NDs).

  92. Hi Dr Briden. Your article has given me lots of new possibilities for alternative treatments, thank you. I’m in the UK, have pmdd (onset at ovulation, day 8 of cycle, and would last until my period started). Symptoms range from severe depression, suicidal ideation, painfully sad, very emotional, sensitive to noise, joint pain. My Dr is very nice, and is open to me making suggestions about treatment.

    I have been on two different SSRIs over many years, and honestly, when PMDD symptoms begain, it’s like they cancel out the effects of the SSRIs.

    My Dr asked me to try a contraceptive pill, the first of which made me worse. The second (yaz/eloine back to back) has helped, but I still do experience some lows which appear to be random, so I asked the question of the IAPMD foundation as to whether or not taking the contraceptive pill back to back means ovulation stops altogether, but they weren’t able to answer.

    I’m now at the point where I really want to stop taking both the contraceptive pill and SSRIs, but am afraid that doing so will set me back drastically. For the last three months or so, I have supplementing with magnesium oil and magnesium chloride flakes which has remedied my RLS. I decided to go transdermal because I have stomach issues. However, I recently read that taking lansoprazole could be affecting my liver function which I guessed would be affecting hormone elimination, so I stopped that, and started apple cider vinegar and collagen powder which has sorted out my leaky gut, and I instantly lost 6lbs in weight. I’ve recently started a super-B complex, but I’m only getting 20mg of b6 daily, so need to address that. I’m now keen to try taurine after reading your article, but I’m concerned that while I’m taking the pill and SSRI, the supplements won’t be as effective as they could be. I wondered if you could give me your thoughts please? Apologies for the mammoth comment, I’m just so desperate for some relief, and unfortunately in the UK, there is only one clinic that specializes in pmdd and it’s in London which is at the opposite end of the country from me. Thanks in advance.

    • As I explain in the post, mood symptoms on the pill are drug-side effects, not PMDD. And possibly will not respond to the treatments that I recommend for PMDD. So, correct, “the supplements won’t be as effective as they could be for the mood symptoms of a natural cycle.”

      And in answer to your question about ovulation, the pill (in any dosing) suppresses ovulation. There has never been any reason to bleed monthly on the pill. (ie. it’s just a drug-withdrawal bleed, not a cycle).

  93. Hello, I have had PMDD my entire reproductive life and it seems doctors are just recently starting to understand it as I was usually met with puzzled looks by my OBGYN and nurses when I complained of my symptoms. I am on an SSRI which helps some but I have been trying to taper off of it as I may become pregnant in the next year. Given this logic of progesterone sensitivity, would you recommend trying Vitex supplements? I took it for a few days but it seemed to make my mood symptoms worse. I know it supposedly increases progesterone. Thank you

  94. Thank you so much for your informative articles. I had a DUTCH hormone test done, and found that (amongst many other things being amiss), I am actually having HIGH progesterone during the later part of my cycle (and a cycle that can last multiple months), along with the same PMDD symptoms that seem associated with low progesterone (and I have now begun experiencing the same or similar PMDD symptoms, plus extreme fatigue, earlier in my cycle too. Is this anything you have any knowledge on? Thank you! It is debilitating right now, and seems to be getting substantially worse, every cycle.

    • When you say “a cycle that can last several months” do you mean three months between bleeds? in that case, you’re either not ovulating (anovulatory cycle — read 3 signs your period is not really a period) or your luteal phase is only the final 12 days or to before your period actually arrives. Is that when the test was done?

      Regardless of how long a cycle is, we can only make progesterone for the final 12-14 days.

      And as for the DUTCH high progesterone reading… A patient once brought a similar high DUTCH test high progesterone reading to me, and we found that it did not match her serum reading and it made no sense clinically so I just disregarded it.

  95. Yes, when I initially had an iron panel done my levels were low so I started a supplement. My repeat levels were normal. It’s more than fatigue for me. It’s crying, hopelessness and feeling completely worthless from pretty much day 1 of my period until right around my basal temp shows ovulation. Right around that time it’s literally like a switch goes off and all those awful feelings float away. I feel great the rest of the month, like my normal self. I just feel like something is out of balance but I don’t know how to fix it.

    • thanks so much for sharing your story. I have not encountered a similar situation with patients. Also, what’s interesting is that day 1 and ovulation are very different times hormonally. So, from a hormonal perspective, I’m not 100% sure what could be going on. Happy to have anyone else chime in here!

  96. Wow, this is an eye opening and interesting article, Dr. Briden. Thank you! I fit this paradox somewhat. My saliva hormone test (in luteal phase) showed low-ish progesterone and high estrogen (ratio was off). My doctor has been treating my high estrogen with DIM and Calcium D Glucarate for about a month since the test, and just last week she gave me a prescription for progesterone cream 10 mg because I complained of water retention in the face which subsides by the evening. I applied the progesterone cream before bed and experienced terrible hot flashes, racing heart beat, sleeplessness, agitation and the next morning I had severe brain fog and a very unsettling, floating feeling. I stopped the cream and within two days the symptoms went away. Is it possible to test low on a saliva test and still have a sensitivity to topical progesterone? I was expecting the opposite result and I am a little shocked. As a side-note, I have extremely easy, regular periods 31-33 days apart, no PMS or pain, normal bleeding and lasts about 4 days. I am starting to think the saliva test might be erroneous and I need a serum test instead? Any thoughts/guidance would be greatly appreciated!

  97. Hi Kelly, I am this way too. I used to be PMDD but I am realizing now that the real dip happens throughout my period. I get so weak and depressed. It’s debilitating. I wonder if the recommendations in this article apply to people like us too?

    • Yes! I have been suffering with PMDD for years and finally feel like my herbs and supplements are ironing out the luteral phase.
      But now I get suuuuuper depressed and even suicidal on the on set of my period. Literally blind sided me this month, when I thought I was doing so well…
      I also get fatigue, brain fog, blurry eyes, menstrual migraines.
      I have just got a script for the 100mg progesterone, but might not be the right case for it?

  98. What about mood symptoms that begin AFTER your period? I have noticed recently this trend that my mood and energy levels are extremely low (like depression level low) from the start of my period until around the time I ovulate – the opposite of what everything tells me I should be feeling at this time of the month.
    I am 32 and have no other health issues. Rarely sick and I’ve never even had a headache in my life. I have a very regular cycle which I track with basal temps and the help of two apps. I’ve never used any hormonal birth control. “Typical” PMS symptoms are generally mild and have improved even more since I started taking magnesium glycinate that you recommend. I eat a healthy and varied diet and have never had weight issues. Very little dairy. I talked to my doctor and had my hormone levels checked a few months ago. Everything was within range but I still feel like something is off. Every month I just wait for mid-cycle to come around so I can feel better, normal and happy again.
    Any ideas? I hate feeling like this 🙁

    • did your doctor check your iron? As in, your ferritin levels, not just your blood count. Iron deficiency is the obvious first thing to rule out for post-menstrual fatigue like you describe.

    • I have developed a similar ‘post-menstrual’ symptom like PMDD but usually days 4-11 in the last 2 years. It use to be day 10-17 but has gradually moved earlier. I just put it down to perimenopause. I take an iron supplement and my levels are fine.

  99. I had vaccines for multiple allergies for 5 years in my childhood. I read your article about histamine and estrogen, posted about endometriosis and antiphospholipid syndrome and it all started to make sense.
    I noticed that the pain is worse and all the complications appear in March – April, every year, when I also have allergies, but in winter I feel better – often on antibiotics, sick.
    My mother had endometriosis, multiple allergies and histerectomy when she was stage II endometriosis – 40 years old. I’m 30, stage IV endometriosis and had one laparoscopy.
    I would like to postpone Diphereline as much as possible.
    I’ m going to try again your treatment and I wonder…should I treat autoimmune diseases or allergies? Plaquenil or Xyzal …or berries, natural methods, natural cortisone? What do you think about natural blood thinners? What do you recommend?
    Thank you very much!

  100. I have not been diagnosed with APD but I do have PMDD and I used to have terrible urticaria which always flared up around menstruation. I had to take an anti histamine every single day, sometimes twice just to make it bearable. Also caused classic dermatographia – I could literally write my name on my arm with my nail. Once I got pregnant, the urticaria and dermatographia stopped completely. I knew it was hormone related but I didn’t have the knowledge I do now!
    PMDD is now my biggest battle (BTW I had endometriosis in my mid 20s (now 36))

  101. Thanks Lara I would prefer Prometrium so will continue to request that instead, I was so confused when they said a troche instead. I’m disappointed a clinic that specialises in women’s hormones would be saying this to their clients though. The prometrium side effects report on hepatoxitcity so maybe they ran with that but I couldn’t find any articles on prevalence either way though. Thanks again

  102. Thank you so much for this info! I’ve been following your work for a long time dealing with PMDD. For the last 3 months I started developing autoimmune progesterone dermatitis- an annoying and irritated rash in my left armpit and sometimes vestibulitis (during luteal phase at random months for the past 6 years).
    I always thought I had estrogen dominance because of my sluggish liver. I have histamine like reactions to alcohol – sinus inflammation, terrible migraines and mast cell degranulation attacks. Wondering if high estrogen leads to high progesterone- this the autoimmune reaction?
    I’m already aware of how bad gluten and alcohol worsen the autoimmune response and just started a vegetarian diet 2 weeks ago- UFF DA- looks like I should quit dairy too! 🙁
    Anyway that’s a super brief testimony to progesterone intolerance coming from someone with PMDD and autoimmune progesterone dermatitis. If you have a protocol on how to deal with this- I’d be all over that!

    • Interesting. This is the second comment about autoimmune progesterone dermatitis on this thread. Makes me wonder if maybe it is more common in women with PMDD. And if there is some link. In my previous response, I said that autoimmune progesterone dermatitis is a different kind of progesterone sensitivity, related to the immune system rather than the GABA receptor. But of course, the immune system could be involved in both.

      Also, for what it’s worth, I’m really not a fan of a vegan diet. Mainly because it’s deficient in zinc and taurine and vitamin B6 — all so important for mood.

  103. Hi Lara,
    Would natural progesterone (such as HRT cream) also cause Neurosteroid sensitivity? Or would only be caused/triggered by our own progesterone?
    I have endo and perimenopausal and was prescribed by my ND a natural compounded progesterone cream but sometimes I have noticed mood changes when I take it. I suspected it had to do with the progesterone but it could be other factors as well. As I read your article, it made a lot of sense for me!
    Thank you,

  104. Hi Lara I recently visited a natural women’s hormone clinic – I have endometriosis (now excised) and adenomyosis. I’m getting my hormones tested on day 21 of my cycle as requested by them. I asked about prometrium being prescribed. He said they prefer a progesterone troche as prometrium is harder on the liver? Do you have any information about if troches are as good? Or why he is saying this about the liver? I’m so confused as I asked about prometrium as per your recommendations but they are telling me not to? It’s a natural health hormone clinic with integrative GPs and naturopaths. Thanks Lara

    • oral micronized progesterone (Prometrium) is not hard on the liver and I find that it works better than a troche.

    • I wonder if this is why I have dark rings and blurred vision from my progesterone cream. In the past dr had said I had some fatty liver… maybe my progesterone cream is not being processed very well by the liver.

  105. Thank you!!!
    I also posted there. I like your articles and I tried the treatments.
    Could you tell me how to take Prometrium? Maybe it wasn’t enough…or the NAC dose for optimal effect? I have constant high ESR -inflammation and recently diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome. Estrogen and progesterone – ok. Selenium and magnesium somehow alleviated my migraines during summer. Would you recommend something for horror pain, please? Endometriosis stage IV- nerve pain

  106. Hi
    Don’t understand why the amount of magnesium differs from label to what u r stating? I also take this brand and find it concerning.
    Thank you!!

    • The issue is that glycine is the bulk of the total mg count. So, 1000 mg of magnesium glycinate contains only 100 mg magnesium. Most labels include the total (~1000 mg) plus the amount of elemental magnesium (~100 mg per capsule typically).

  107. Please keep 5htp supplementation on your radar. I didn’t want to go straight to an SSRI, and I never have because I felt different with taking 5htp. It wasn’t complete resolution for me, because there are other nutritional and psychological and lifestyle that comes into play. But 5htp, St John’s worth and SamE should be compared with SSRI eventually for PMDD. I may eventually take an SSRI, but I’m not desperate now. My Naturopathic Doctor believes most women, globally and all ethnicities, have lower serotonin as we age. She encouraged me to try a higher dose of 5htp. She even takes a high dose of it herself. Interestingly, and possibly significantly, my blood sugar seems more stable. Could blood sugar be at a root for causing or exacerbating mood symptoms? (This could be epidemic level across the population). Do SSRIs also work partially because of an effect on blood sugar?

    IlI’be following this discussion!!

  108. “The amount of magnesium in Pure Encapsulations Magesium Glycinate capsule is 120 mg. The total amount of magnesium glycinate in the capsule is 1030 mg (910 mg glyinate).” From an email from Pure Encapsulations

    I have histamine intolerance . But I discovered magnesium glycinate before I knew I have HI .I also resemble PMDD. what I found by trial and error is that I have a high need for glycine. When I stopped taking it, within 3 days I was back to agitated, picky, angry, aggressive, out of sorts. When I took it again, within a day I was feeling better. Now I have learned why from Chris Masterjohn PhD. Look at his methylation supplementation guidelines. I also am taking the small amounts of creatine. And some beets for betaine. And phosphatidylcholine because it has a marked effect on my cognition, brain fog, memory… Also involved in methylation.

    For glycine, it works out to one capsule of mag glycinate with each meal. Or, if you want to take collagen, don’t take too much. I have recently adjusted to talking 1 tsp collagen with a high protein meal or shake. If it’s a big piece of meat, I’d do 1 tbsp of collagen. Again, guidelines are on Masterjohn’s website.

    I take a lot of supplements, but for years, mag glycinate had been foundational, a lifesaver for me.

    Notice how amazing the 300 mg of magnesium works out when you take 3 capsules of mag glycinate per day!!

    • thanks so much for sharing your story. Yes, glycine is wonderful, not just for its role in methylation but because it directly calms GABA receptors and also assists with the healthy clearance of both estrogen and salicylates.

      and yes, 1030 of magnesium glycinate giving 120 mg of magnesium sounds about right. So, 3 capsules per day to get the 300 mg.

  109. Hi, Lara! What do you think about Diphereline 3.75 mg (Triptoreline), 1/month – 6 months for inducing menopause in stage IV endometriosis? I’m 30, had one laparoscopy and recent antiphospholipid syndrome suspected. I don’t want a ” big surgery” and I’ve tried plant extracts, magnesium, B6, therapies for 15 years… What can I do to minimize the side effects?
    Thank you for everything!

    • Did you see my blog post Endometriosis? Treat the immune system. It’s possible there are some treatment ideas there that you had not considered.

      The other treatment possibility is Prometrium. Check out Nina’s comment in this comment thread where she says: “I was finally able to get my doctor to prescribe progesterone for my endo symptoms and flooding… and it is helping IMMENSELY.”

      As for “minimising” the side effects of chemically-induced menopause…there’s no easy answer. Again, progesterone might be possible, but a simpler plan would be to just try progesterone plus the zinc, NAC etc I describe in my endometriosis post. But do speak to your doctor of course.

  110. Thank you for your validating reply. Yes, I am having anovulatory cycles, and feel so much better when I have them, although I still do everything I can to promote ovulation.

    I’m so glad that you are researching and writing accessible information about this topic. You are helping so many women!

  111. Dear Lara,
    I tried a course of magnesium and vitamin B complex supplements after reading your book a few years ago, but it didn’t seem to help much with my PMS. I was glad to see your recommendation in one of the comments here for a product combining magnesium, taurine and B6 (Relax by NutriAdvanced) – and delighted to see it is available in UK. Can taking this supplement for prophylactic reasons do any harm?.. I do not think I have a PMDD, but definitely a PMS. Thank you.

    • Autoimmune progesterone dermatitis is a different kind of progesterone sensitivity, related to the immune system rather than the GABA receptor.

  112. Hi there! It’s great to see an acknowledgment and discussion of these important individual differences in sensitivity to hormone (and neurosteroid) changes! I have a paper coming out soon that demonstrates subtypes of PMDD– some with early-luteal-onset and some with late-luteal-onset. It’s very possible that those subtypes represent different subtypes of PMS/PMDD that could respond differently to progesterone surges, withdrawal, and supplementation. I think that more reasonable (lower) doses of perimenstrual progesterone supplementation need to be evaluated against placebo for those with premenstrual mood changes who develop symptoms late in the luteal phase (potentially in response to hormone withdrawal). I’m working on that in my clinical trials now.

    A new study shows that for women with PMDD who have neurosteroid change sensitivity and develop emotional symptoms when P4 is added to GnRH agonist (ovarian suppression), the mood symptoms go away after one month of stable addback (Schmidt et al., 2017 American Journal of Psychiatry; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28427285). That suggests that once the GABAARs have had a chance to adjust, progesterone and its metabolites (allopregnanolone or ALLO) are tolerable and could even be beneficial for women with PMDD.

    Now, about SSRIs. People (especially in the PMDD community) love to hate on them, but there’s no denying their efficacy and first-line status in the general population of women with PMDD. Let me explain. It is true that when you’re dealing with treatment-resistant women with PMDD who spend a lot of time on the internet searching for new treatments, you find that most did not respond to SSRIs (if they did, they wouldn’t be on the internet looking for other treatments, because they’d be happy with the SSRIs). However, we shouldn’t let that biased sample fool us– a large number of unbiased, NIMH-funded (non-pharmaceutical) clinical trials now suggest that about ~60-75% of women with PMDD respond beautifully to SSRIs– it can be a lifesaving treatment for so many people (https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jwh.2006.15.57?casa_token=OxodEFSvLBoAAAAA%3A3L5BI2JORDZeAUJxLMS0LAQuqXFiQ1lJQlp0tyWc60BvZBYgfceABHAgNc32iJHNF9ZIl6wQe4H4gw&amp;).

    SSRIs don’t work for everyone, and they may have side effects (sexual dysfunction is the most common reason for discontinuation); however, I don’t agree that the link with osteoporosis is well-established (the study I found actually found that women were protected from the SSRI-osteoporosis link), and if SSRIs are a hugely helpful treatment for a given woman, bone mineral density can be easily monitored to avoid problems if someone is concerned about that. Given the severe suffering that women with PMDD often go through, often including suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and given that SSRIs are the best-supported scientific treatment for PMDD, I think SSRIs should be used as the first line treatment when PMDD is causing significant distress or impairment. They aren’t perfect, but they can be a lifesaving tool for many.

    Finally, to bring things full circle: many people think that SSRIs work in PMDD in part by increasing levels of the enzymes needed to convert progesterone to ALLO; therefore, it is possible that SSRIs work for some not only due to their ability to reverse the luteal serotonergic abnormalities in PMDD, but also because they stimulate creation of ALLO (and create ALLO stability) in the brain. See here for a discussion: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0269881113490327

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    • I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear the results of that study. Currently two weeks into 200mg continuous progesterone and feeling awful. Everything crossed that it will pass.

  113. Hi Lara, thanks for this post – I suffer terribly from PMDD. Before I discovered what I had – everything I read said it only affected 3% of women. Now you say it’s 1 in 20 – but I have to say that I think it affects so many more of us than that. People don’t talk about it that much and so doctors perhaps don’t hear about it. I now tell every woman who will listen about my battle with PMDD and almost ALWAYS – the answer is – “yeah me too, I have really similar problems”. Thank you for creating more awareness on the topic and for pointing out Tory’s work. I will be following it too from now on.

  114. Love this informative article especially since I was finally able to get my doctor to prescribe it to me for my endo symptoms and flooding. However she prescribed me 200mg nightly – I saw in your earlier posts you’d recommended a lesser dose. Should I get her to lessen it. Only negative I am seeing thus far is some breast tenderness – it is helping IMMENSELY with my endo and of course the flooding. She said I’d see results right away and I am. What took them so long to give it to me!

  115. I am familiar with Violet per your referral in previous posts. Have not tried as I’m nervous about the high dose but will discuss with my doctor. It isn’t available at any store where I live so I’d have to online order if I decide to try. I’ve had my thyroid tested and it’s in normal range but is there a specific test for thyroid other than the basic one in a general health profile? I’d love to get this breast pain under control. Thanks!

  116. Thank you for yet another great informative article, Lara! Do you happen to know of any supplement that contains magnesium bisglycinate, vitamin B6, and taurine altogether that could be taken during the luteal phase? Particularly a Canadian supplement brand? Thanks. 🙂

    • The simplest might be to start with the therapeutic dose of mag and B6, and then add in taurine if you need it. (The food source of taurine is meat and chicken.)

      But there is also the product Relax by Nutri Advanced that has magnesium glycinate, taurine, and a small amount of B6.

  117. I am confused about the magnesium. I thought, from previous posts and/or your book, that 300 mg of magnesium bisglycinate was a therapeutic dose and a good form of magnesium. That’s what I’ve been taking for a year or so. Is this a different dose for a different purpose?

    • yes, 300 mg of magnesium in the form of magnesium glycinate. But it needs to be equivalent to 300 mg of elemental magnesium. What does your label say?

  118. Another informative post. When I was in my late 30s and from 40-43 or so, during what I believe was my early perimenopause, even a little progesterone did not seem to help. In fact, it seemed to make things worse. Now that I’m 46 (and think I’m entering late perimenopause), a little progesterone DOES seem to help. Is this my imagination? It seems as I get closer to menopause, things are evening out a little. However, with hormones, who can tell? : )

    • very interesting comment, thanks. Yes, it makes sense that GABA receptors change with age. It’s actually possible that in your late 40s you are not having ovulatory cycles so not experiencing the neurosteroid sensitivity I describe in the blog post.

  119. Thank you for another very informative post Dr. Lara. I am currently taking 200 mg of Prometrium. I started with 100mg and my very heavy, flooding periods did not change for two cycles on 100 mg Prometrium ( in addition to magnesium and Taurine!) So far things seem better as my last cycle was manageable and a bit lighter. I was hoping the Prometrium would also help breast tenderness and swelling but so far it has not. (I’ve also tried Kelp for the iodine and it hasn’t helped either! I have a upcoming mammogram that I will have to reschedule due to breast soreness. ) Is this higher dose of Prometrium safe to take to carry me through my peri menapause? I will be turning 50 in a couple months.

    • natural progesterone or Prometrium is generally a very safe medication but of course, please speak to your doctor.
      And with regard iodine and breasts, kelp cannot provide the necessary dose. Did you see Violet’s information?

  120. Thank you for this post, Lara! I have been wondering why I feel so bad when I ovulate, and I wonder if that is why I experienced increased anxiety when trying a small dose (<10mg) of micronized progesterone during the second half of my cycle? It really helped with my spotting and heavy bleeding, but was not good for my mood.

    Anyways, given that, would it be worth it to try the 100mg Prometrium tablet? I am in very early perimenopause, and my most troublesome symptoms are insomnia, anxiety, and mild hot flashes clustered around my cycles….though the hot flashes have improved since my excision surgery for endometriosis and hysterectomy for adenomyosis, but the anxiety and insomnia have worsened. I just wonder that if a small amount = bad, does a larger amount = worse?

    My second question: For my hysterectomy, I kept my ovaries. How would someone like me dose Prometrium (assuming it is worth a try)? Every day? Try to guess the second half of my cycle with temp charting??

    • For some women with PMDD, a small or moderate amount of progesterone = bad, but a larger amount = good. Because of the “bimodal” or “biphasic” sensitivity of the GABA receptor I describe in the blog post.

      So, it’s possible the bigger dose of 100 or 200 mg would help you. There is also a chance it will not. I hope to see more research on the topic. And please do speak to your doctor about it.

      And yes, luteal phase dosing would be ideal, if you can track it with temperatures.


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