Estrogen dominance and high cortisol with hairloss

Hi! I have recently had a saliva test back which is showing estrogen dominance due to low progesterone as well as high levels of cortisol throughout the day. Could these be causing my hairloss I've had for the last two years? And should I start using natural progesterone cream or sublingual progesterone? My estrogen is within normal reference limits but my progesterone is very low. And the ratio has been flagged as low. Please help!!?


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20 Replies

  • Hello Abzieg,

    The endocrine system works in synergy and there is a distinct intricate connection between our thyroid, adrenal glands, and sex hormones.

    Estrogen dominance causes the liver to produce high levels of a protein called “thyroid binding globulin”, which binds the thyroid hormone and decreases the amount of thyroid hormone that can be assimilated into and utilized by the cells.

    Lack of progestesterone can also increase cortisol-binding globulin which will make available (active) cortisol low. (Only active cortisol can pass through cell membranes and activate receptors inside the cells and only a saliva stress test will show this.)

    It will also impair adrenal output by interfering with the release of cortisol from the adrenal cortex. Cortisol is made from progesterone and will steal to keep supplies going, compromising progesterone levels further. However if cortisol is high it can block progesterone receptors, making them less responsive.

    I am using Serenity Progesterone cream but am still suffering hot flushes although definitely not so bad.

    I don't know about hair loss.



    Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.


  • Did you do the Genova female hormone test over the month? This is my next stop as I too believe I have signs of oestrogen dominance. I have been losing my hair too for the last two years and I have tried everything. This is the challenge of private testing is what the heck to do with the results! I have read that you use progesterone cream two weeks before menstruation. There is the Marion Gluck clinic in Harley street but I should imagine charge mega bucks. I hope you find someone helpful x

  • Frazzie

    I am about to do a hormone urine test as believe I am oestrogen dominent.

    Serenity is made from saponins, a steroid-like substance in plants

    and should be dosed according to where you are in your monthly cycle.

    Progesterone naturally rises rapidly immediately after ovulation and remains high for 14 days. If fertilisation doesn't happen, it suddenly drops and menstruation takes place.

    Progesterone is found on the cells in many tissues of the body including the uterus, cervix, vagina, brain and bone cells and effect temperature control,stress response, fat metabolism and the immune system.

    Serenity should be applied daily except for five - seven days of each month in order to allow a bleed (if any lining has built up). This also prevents the receptors from becoming unresponsive.

    If your periods are irregular you should aim to have your break when your bleed was expected. Do not use the cream if bleeding were to suddenly start but just stop and restart the cycle again.

    I am menopausal and have been using Serenity for a while and believe it has helped alleviate my hot flushes a little. However, I am looking into something stronger.

    Don't use anything hormonal (apart from thyroid meds) if testing as will skew results.

    A good read is "Natural Progesterone" by Anna Rushton & Dr Shirley A Bond.



    Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.


  • Hi! Have you tried the progesterone cream yet and do you k ow if you are estrogen dominant? X

  • I have heard of this doctor over the years.

  • Dr John Lee is no-longer with us but his books are and they are well worth reading to understand the whole question of -and problems associated with- oestrogen dominance. I have "What your doctor may not tell you about premenopause". The fact that Abzeig's ratio was flagged is impressive. Any time I mentioned ratio in the same breath as any hormone I got a blank stare.

  • Hi, Abzieg..... I have used otc natural progesterone cream for twenty years now and wouldn't be without it. I was having heavy periods (unusual for me) and sudden-onset insomnia. The progesterone cream relieved those problems and also my irritability and moodiness. We never stop making estrogen (tho it drops to levels that no longer trigger periods) but our progesterone production can drop like a rock as early as ten years before actual menopause. We can still be having periods but may be no longer ovulating (producing eggs).

    You take 10 mgs each nite (I took it at nite or it could make me a little drowsy) starting 10 - 12 days after the start of your period. Take it for 10 - 12 days and then stop. Your period should start within a few days. Only use a natural progesterone cream that contains USP Progesterone. I think ProGest is a decent brand and is available in the UK. Another poster mentioned Dr. John Lee's books and they are excellent in guiding you in your use and understanding of supplementing progesterone cream.

    Tablets or pills require you to take 100 - 200 mgs of progesterone (insist on only bio-identical progesterone if you go that route) as only 10% or so of the progesterone survives it's trip thru your liver. Don't let your doctor prescribe synthetic progestin. That stuff is horrible with side effects.

    If progesterone levels are low, supplementing with natural progesterone can help to gently start balancing all your hormones (as it helped my body produce melatonin so my insomnia was relieved) and it can also help preserve and even increase bone density.

  • Thankyou for your response. I have read various places that if you start on a dose too low it can cause more estrogen doninance, and that 100mg is the best dose? Is that correct? Also I have read that sublingual is better than cream as cream gets stuck in fat layers? I just don't know what to do!! As I'm so scared

    About my hair and don't want to cause more hairloss x

  • Hi, Abzieg. You say that your estrogen numbers aren't high so... you don't have a high number count for your estrogen. In other words, the estrogen dominance or unopposed estrogen is just from lack of progesterone. Often struggling adrenals will push estrogen numbers inordinately high. This doesn't seem to be the case with you.

    Our adrenals use progesterone to produce cortisol so that could help explain the low progesterone altho almost all women who hit their mid-forties/early fifties will be low in progesterone regardless of cortisol or adrenal condition. This is perfectly normal just as lower production of estrogen (compared to production in our twenties/thirties) is nature at work and a normal part of the aging process (Ugh).

    I don't know of an over the counter progesterone pill or tablet. You have to get those from your doctor by way of prescription and yes... you need a 100 - 200 mg strength pill/tab in order to get at least 10% of that dosage delivered to your receptor cells. This is because the progesterone has to survive digestion and your liver. It is so important, if you choose this method, to insist that the progesterone rx be a bio-identical and not a synthetic hormone. I also have never heard of sublingual progesterone?? Are you sure you aren't mixing this up with thyroid meds?

    I don't pretend to know it all but I have never heard of low-dose progesterone causing more estrogen dominance. What can happen with a few women who first start using progesterone is this.... for a few months/weeks, they can experience symptoms of estrogen dominance. This is transitory and doesn't last long as progesterone begins to balance all your hormones. The cause? As you use progesterone, it begins to resensitize ALL the cell receptors both for progesterone AND estrogen (and other hormones like melatonin).

    See? It isn't really estrogen dominance, just your body reacting to feeling the effects of your normal estrogen again. Again, this won't last long and most women never experience this. I know I didn't.

    The main thing with applying the cream is to avoid applying it in the same place all the time. Rotate sites and apply it on the chest, the neck, (some women even use it on their, inside the wrists, forearms, avoiding fatty areas. And don't take it for more than 10 - 14 days each month.

    Here in the states, I have seen some doctors prescribing 200 mgs of progesterone to women every day with no break. Crazy !!!! You have to take a break in order to keep the cell receptors responsive. Just because a little of something is good doesn't mean that a lot of it is better. The 10 mgs will rarely cause any problems. This is about half of the usual recommended dose of 20 mgs for the 10 - 14 days. I am a firm believer in going low and slow with any supplement and tracking how you feel, when you dose, how much etc. Remember, we are just trying to mimic or restore our natural cycle. There is nothing foreign or weird about this.

    I can't stress enough how important it is that you educate yourself. Dr. Lee's books are a great resource and will give you confidence in moving forward with correcting your hormone imbalance. Or.... if you are lucky, you may find a gyn who is very, very skilled in hormone replacement therapy. They are few and far between unfortunately. Dr. Lee's books are available on Amazon, I am sure. By reading one of these you will be able to talk intelligently to a doctor about your condition, if you choose rx bio-identical progesterone.

    Just as a footnote, it is very helpful if you have a full panel done on your iron, B 12 and D3 levels. The progesterone won't effect these one way or another but if any are out of range, you need to be working on these also.

  • Thankyou so much on your response I feel very lost in all of this. I have had my d3 levels they are 26ng my b12 levels are 411 and my ferritin levels 47. Will increasing these help my progesterone levels?? X

  • Hi, Abzieg... I don't have your lab ranges but.. it they are similar to the ones I am familiar with, the D3 and B12 looks low to me. Not sure about the ferritin. You also need the other iron labs. You don't want a super high ferritin level because this can often indicate an infection or inflammation issue. Like I said, a full iron panel will tell you more and I am not that familiar with iron issues. These items won't affect actual progesterone production or levels but some of the symptoms of deficiency in one or the other might mimic or mask other symptoms.

    All our hormones are so intertwined with one another. Are you on thyroid meds? How are you feeling? How does your body temp run? Getting ourselves straight is like working on a jigsaw puzzle..... a little piece here and a little piece over It is almost like peeling back an onion. You get one thing ironed out and something else will then reveal itself. But it is well worth the time and effort.

    Without doing your homework and your own research, you will be like a leaf in the wind, blowing whichever way until you get some hard facts under your belt and an understanding of how the hormones interact with one another.

    Read Dr. Lee's book(s) and ck out the 'Stop The Thyroid Madness' site. Just google search with ... STTM progesterone ... term, for instance. The site touches on most things that effect our thyroid and adrenals, iron etc. There are probably equally good sites in the UK for information, my friend. Don't panic, don't feel lost. Knowledge is power and gives one the ability to hold one's own with docs and to be proactive in regards to your health.

    ps. You would probably benefit in taking 2000, 5000 units of D 3 per day but be sure to take K2 (that includes MK7) also. The K 2 with the D 3 insures that whatever calcium you consume goes to your bones etc and does not go to soft tissue and arteries. This assumes your aren't taking any blood thinners for afib or CHF.

  • Thankyou for all g this information I will begin to educate myself fully. I feel generally ok in myself a part from my hairloss. I have always suffered gyne pains though. Full aching in my womb and sharp pain now and again. I've had a pcos scan of my ovaries and they seem fine! Could this be from estrogen dominance? X

  • That is a good question and one I can't answer. I was going to ask if you have been checked for uterine fibroids but if you have had a scan and your periods aren't heavy (that can be caused by low progesterone), it probably isn't estrogen dominance. Some women have a tilted womb etc. I am totally unfamiliar with these conditions. Maybe you can research them and your symptoms and see what pops up and run these concerns by your gynecologist when you have your next checkup?

    I am so glad that you feel relatively well. Hopefully, you will be able to resolve your hair loss issue because that loss does mean something is going on.

  • Thankyou very much I find people on this site very helpful and caring and more helpful

    Than anyone I've come across in 3 years! I


    Going back to the doctor to get referred (hopefully) to a specialist in hormones. Would you say an endocrinologist or gynecologist would be more helpful?

  • Hi... here in the states, we women usually depend on our gynecologists for sex hormone help and agree that endos are pretty useless particularly when it comes to thyroid therapy. I honestly have no clue how things would work in the UK. That might be a good question to pose to this group? You might get some useful feedback as to which route to take.... gyn or endo? Or, if you have a good GP, ask him/her who you should see?

  • Thankyou I will do! X

  • Abzieg,

    I had pelvic pain and aching that came and went before I was optimally medicated on thyroid hormones.

    Having thyroid meds balanced and working well has remedied a lot of my problems.

    Its just a puzzle trying to found what is causing what sometimes ! ! ..


  • I had same problem. Try Serenity cream from Wellsprings in Jersey. They have a website; it is a plant based progesterone cream and it has helped me. Jx

  • Thankyou did you have hairloss? And did Using the cream stop the hairloss? X


    "Progesterone is an important hormone produced by the female body. Progesterone also serves as a precursor in the production of other important hormones, including estrogen and cortisone. Progesterone-based hormone therapies can also be effective in treating hair loss. Progesterone inhibits an enzyme, 5-alpha reductase. Progesterone prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT that is a biologically active metabolite in the body. DHT is considered to be responsible for damaging hair follicles and an important factor in hair loss."

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