estrogen and progesterone

I hope it's OK to ask about HRT here:

The so called Hormone doctors in Belgium seem to prescribe progesterone and estrogen for all their female patients over 40. I was put on both P and E five years ago, at age 42. At the time, I was not nearly as informed and knowledgeable about hormone replacement as I am today, so I just started taking them as prescribed (estrogen cream day 5-25 of cycle, Utrogestan first 100 mg, then raised to 200 mg, from day 15-25 of cycle).

It's only in recent months that I have noticed the first signs of peri-menopause: my periods now tend to come every 24 days instead of every 28-30 days. I have also been having some hot flashes that I first attributed to being hyperthyroid (from taking too much NDT), but I have no other signs of an overactive thyroid.

I have read a lot recently about how you are not really estrogen deficient during peri-menopause, but rather suffer from estrogen dominance, and therefore should use progesterone alone.

It's not really easy to question your doctor, especially not one trained by T. Hertoghe who is often described as the best hormone specialist in Europe.

Also, many US sites recommend that you don't use HRT for more than five years, and I have been on it for almost five years now. Had I known back then what I know now, I don't think I would ever have started least not estrogen.

When I was put on these meds, peri-menopause was never mentioned, but I was told that since I suffer from adrenal fatigue I would need to replace all adrenal hormones, not just cortisol.

I have just started taking Agnus Castus which is said to raise your own progesterone levels. But I am currently asking myself I should stop using Estrogel altogether...and possibly Utrogestan as well...?

Last edited by

17 Replies

  • Would you be willing to stop for a while to see how you feel? I was told I was oestrogen dominant and tried progesterone/testosterone creams but they didn't do anything for me so I didn't continue to use them.

    It's so hard to know what to do about hormone replacement. It is a really big health issue, both for good and bad reasons, and there is so much politics about it w women being used as pawns. The old advice - 'grit your teeth and bear it' - isn't all that helpful but nor is the knowledge that all you have to do is show up w a 40yo vagina and you'll be given loads of hrt. I dread the day I have to square up to this (and I'm a year older than you so that day is coming).

  • If you're concerned about breast health maybe an idea to tell your gp about the hrt as well and see if they'll do a referral. You're almost at the age for breast screening anyway.

  • Yes, I have been considering lately doing just that; that is, stopping HRT and just take angus castus which is a supplement and can be taken for as long as needed as no side effects have been reported. It seems all it does is stimulate your body's own progesterone production...I have found glowing reviews on this product, and it may be all I need.

    I have to admit that I was puzzled by hot flashes appearing out of nowhere although I was already on HRT; which made me wonder if I should have been put on it in the first place...

    I also have to admit that I never had debilitating PMS symptoms like some women who appear more or less dysfunctional in the days leading up to their, in retrospect, maybe I was put on HRT a little too fast. I hate to admit it, but I no longer trust my doctor's judgment blindly, but rather prefer to double-check with members here as the expertise you find here is hard to find elsewhere...!

    Thank you so much for your input and advice, I really appreciate it!!!

  • Ha not much input or advice I fear, just expressing comradeship. I was compelled to respond because I recognised something in your tone. We're all kind of at the mercy of the people we ask to help us; even if we're well-informed, proactive and assertive we have to approach the gatekeepers. And the knowledge on this stuff seems to change constantly.

    My mum did really well on hrt but she came off it after about a year because she was concerned about the long-term effects. She did develop breast cancer years later, but it's hard to know how or why and if hrt was involved. She was assured that she didn't take it long enough for it to have that influence. There is an epidemic of bc now and not all those women took hrt.

  • I know what you mean...we are at the mercy of these docs. Also, I cannot say HRT has made that much of a difference in my life so far. That is why I am going to take your advice and stop it. It will be interesting to see how I guess is I will not feel that much of a difference...

    I hope and pray my periods will just stop at some point, like they did for my mother who never needed HRT of any kind (but she's not hypothyroid). If I go off HRT now and don't feel worse, I will stay off it.

    To me, there are basically two ways of administering HRT: either to replace what your body should be producing at a given age (and is unable to do, for instance, because you are thyroid or adrenal deficient), and adjust treatment accordingly, or to replace what your body would be producing if you were in your early 20s...even if you are in your 50s or older. And that is what I am having issues with. I don't want to look like I was 20 when I am approaching 50; but, then again, how am I supposed to know if what I am going through is completely normal, or is happening just to me because, after being hypothyroid for +/-25 years, I also ended up with adrenal fatigue...?! (I was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr infection at age 26, diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis five years later).

  • I don't want the same menopause my mother had but my gran's was trouble-free so I'm hoping that it skips a generation. :-)

    I'm with you, no desire to look younger, although I do dread the menopausal skin. I'd be happy to look like 'myself' for the duration but I guess that's not possible.

    May I ask if you're in the UK? You've had so many 'non-standard' diagnoses (ie not recognised by the nhs) I was just wondering if you've been treated elsewhere.

  • I'm in Belgium. No connection whatsoever to the UK.

  • Ah, ok. So many UK folk travel to that hormone clinic but when I read your history it sounded distinctly un-nhs-like.

  • sorry, not sure what you mean...?! Feel free to PM me if you'd like.

  • Oh I don't mean anything! :-) Just that I assumed first that you were in the UK (a lot of us are) and when I saw you had been diagnosed w adrenal fatigue I thought hmm, that sounds like either a private doctor or outside the UK entirely.

    When I hear that someone's issues have been taken seriously and/or they have non-standard diagnoses (the nhs doesn't go in for an awful lot of diagnoses and treatments that are accepted elsewhere) I often hope the doctor will be accessible to me (ie in the UK). Usually not.

    I hope my reply above didn't come across as untoward. I apologise if the meaning came across badly. I was just thinking out loud.

  • You were right;-) Never was in the UK to begin with...although, unless you choose US forums, you won't find expertise like this anywhere else:-) We may have great hormone docs in Belgium (I am not questioning that), but we don't have forums like this one...and I prefer European forums to discuss thyroid/adrenal-related issues, as there are so many differences between Europe and the US in this area...

  • I had non existent Oestrogen when I had my bloods done. I'm deficient in everything including Oestrogen. I'm 49 and have normal periods but my German Endo prescribed me the Oestrogen Gel and Progesterone tablets. I've been taking them for a month now. I'm thinking though do I really need to take HRT when I'm not having my menopause? Have to admit I don't feel as tired but I'm also taking DHEA , B12 and Iron combo, maybe it's that that's helping with the tiredness?

    Advice please


    Hels 😄💗

  • Anna,

    You are on bio-identical hormones which will work most sympathetically with your body but without testing sex hormones you have no way in knowing what you are deficient in.

    When we are low in oestrogen, progesterone is prescribed as well to encourage a bleed and discourage any cancer cells, etc from forming.

    All hormones are dependant on one another and a balance in sex hormone is important because any deficiencies can effect adrenal function which in turn affects the thyroid and how thyroid replacement meds will work.

    Because I have MTHFR issues, was menopausal and couldn't get thyroid meds to wholly work, I used private Nordic Labs Comprehensive Urinary Sex Hormones Test that tests Oestrogen & progesterone levels and metabolism (how your body uses it). Also androgen hormones and DHEA and an advanced adrenal panel.

    Armed with these results, I started HRT in feb and now feel so much better.

  • Thanks for your reply!

    I did have all hormones tested when I first went to see my doctor five years ago (blood and 24 h urine, but no saliva test as the Hertoghe doctors don't advocate that). The result was that all sex hormones were low and needed to be replaced. Now, I see my doctor once a year and only have hormone levels in blood tested. At my latest visit, a month ago, my doctor suggested I raise Estrogel, from two to three pumps a day, day 5-25 of cycle.

    I used testosterone cream for a while but thought I saw an increase in facial hair while on it, so I stopped taking it...maybe I shouldn't have, although I have to say I feel worse when I try stopping estrogen and progesterone.

  • I started to get a 'tache when I first took DHEA (I wasn't too worried as my gran had one and it's in my ancestry), but I checked when I read your post and it's almost gone - perhaps things take a while to balance them selves. I couldn't take testosterone as it gave me violent temper outbursts (aka 'roid rage).

  • My endo advises having a pelvic scan if you are taking HRT to check the womb lining, but I've been taking HRT longer than 5 years. it may be that most women are oestrogen dominant, but not all - it will depend on your diet and general environment. I was deficient in all hormones except testosterone. Remember that women who are well (or just slightly unwell) don't go to see an expensive Hertoghe doctor.

    I tried every non-HRT remedy for my symptoms (except acupuncture) and nothing really worked. However, I didn't start HRT until post menopause - I stuck it out with worsening symptoms for 7 years (and I wouldn't wish that on anyone).

  • It seems that, since most Hertoghe doctors are themselves hypothyroid and suffer from adrenal fatigue, they take all these hormones themselves and therefore prescribe them for their patients as well.

You may also like...