Hormone Balance in 3 Steps and How to Find a Doctor

Mental Health

I followed the Dr. John Lee’s 3 Rules of Hormone Balance to get well.  Dr. Lee wrote the best-selling books, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause” and “Dr. Lee’s Hormone Balance Made Simple.”

Below are Dr. Lee’s Rules of Hormone Balance:

Rule #1: Take Progesterone Only if you Need It (If you have clear symptoms or your levels are measurably low). *Click here for Dr. Lee’s low progesterone symptoms list.

Rule #2: Take Bioidentical Progesterone Instead of Synthetic Progestins

and

Rule #3: Take Progesterone in Physiological Amounts Only.

I discovered I needed progesterone based on my symptoms. I read through Dr. Lee’s progesterone deficiency list and I realized I had most of the symptoms! Headaches:  check.  Fibrocystic breasts:  check.  Fatigue:  check, check, check!  It was clear my body needed progesterone.

I also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), this is a syndrome where ovulation doesn’t occur regularly.  If there is no ovulation, progesterone isn’t produced.  So taking progesterone made sense to me.

You don’t have to have PCOS to have a progesterone deficiency.  You could have luteal insufficiency.  Luteal insufficiency is a condition where you ovulate, but progesterone production is still inadequate.  If you have PCOS or luteal insufficiency, you may experience heavy menstrual cramps and/or heavy menstrual bleeding.  Fertility problems are also common.

So how can you tell if you need progesterone?  Take a look at the “progesterone-deficient” symptom list found here. And discuss these symptoms with a doctor who has experience correcting hormone imbalances.

If you don’t know a doctor who does this type of work, try contacting your local compounding pharmacy.  Many compounding pharmacies keep an associated list of doctors who use their pharmacy.  Ask your local compounding specialist to refer you to a doctor who prescribes progesterone and specifically to one that works with people with mood disorders.

To find the compounding pharmacy nearest you, contact the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacies at www.iacprx.org or you can call their toll free referral line at 1-800-927-4227.

If you are taking medications, keep taking your medications as prescribed and work on getting your hormones balanced at the same time. Only your prescribing doctor can wean you off of your medications if and when appropriate.

Continue to educate yourself about hormone balance.  Read all you can.  The more you know, the more confident you will feel when you approach your doctor.

Best of luck to you!

Doris

8 Responses to “Hormone Balance in 3 Steps and How to Find a Doctor”

  1. msrin Says:

    You are an amazing person to share your history and helpful info. Thank you

  2. Doris Says:

    Hello msrin,

    You are an amazing person! Thank you for your kind words. Doris

  3. Rebecca Says:

    Hello Doris! I came across your story just last night and I cried! Your story is my story. I too was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 19. I had to accept it and complied to drug treatments. I never felt balanced on any of the drugs and most of them made it worse. I too was diagnosed PCOS when I was 26. The Endocrinologist put me on a new contraceptive pill to help balance the hormones and it made things worse again. It wasnt until I was 29, pregnant, then not pregnant due to miscarriage that I went to a mood disorder clinic for a reassessment. I felt that whatever was going on with my hormones played a part in the loss of the pregnancy. The doctor I saw was a specialist in mood disorders as well as womens health concerns. See right away ruled out bipolar disorder and diagnosed me with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) she at the time wanted to put me on an antidepressant combined with another contraceptive pill which was so discouraging for me. I never did follow her recommendations because shorty after that I became pregnant again…with twins. Fraternal twins run in my family. It is a hyperovulation gene that gets passed on. However the fact that I had PCOS and now was pregnant with twins was a true miracle. I was so nervous because of the miscarriage prior, and had read some articles on progesterone suppliments to help sustain a pregnancy when you have PCOS. I insisted my OBGYN give me the progesterone and she did. I know this is the reason why I was able to carry my boys to term. Well, that brings me to now. 2.5 years after the birth of my boys and I pretty much feel terrible 3 weeks out of a month. Before I had children I never had a regular cycle. I couldnt ever tell you when I would get my period. But after the children it became a regular 28 day cycle. As soon as I start ovulating the terrible mood sets in followed by headaches, insomnia (its is now 3am) bloating, confusion, anxiety…I too, like you, have a strong faith in Jesus Christ that has saved both my lives on earth and the one eternal. I am so grateful for the grace and mercy He lavishes on me. I thought if I could just keep praying into the symptoms all would be okay over time, and the reality is that it is not okay. It is far from okay. Then I came across your story:) I have an up coming appointment for bioidentical analysis, and I wanted more information. I am so thankful that you wrote your story. I believe that this is God hearing me trying to pray it away!! He is SO GOOD. He has heard my cry and has used you to help me. Thank you sister!

  4. Doris Says:

    Hello Rebecca!

    Yes, God is good! I’m happy you stumbled across my blog. You’re not alone. Yes, low progesterone can cause bipolar disorder and as we know, PCOS causes low progesterone due to infrequent ovulation. Psychiatric medications and birth control pills do not address the underlying imbalance instead they make things worse. I’m happy you were able to carry your boys to term. When you have PCOS, progesterone must be taken during the first trimester to keep the uterine lining in place and sustain the pregnancy. It’s well known within the medical community that progesterone is essential to pregnancy, but not much attention has been given to the role progesterone plays in our mental health. Healthy premenopausal women make 20 to 30 mg of progesterone every day for the two weeks following ovulation. This progesterone is used by the brain and throughout the body for our mental and physical health. The three weeks of horrible symptoms you are experiencing are caused by low progesterone. When your body isn’t making the progesterone it needs, you are left to feel the full effects of estrogen and a condition Dr. Lee called estrogen dominance appears. For a complete symptoms list click here. Your symptoms alone are proof you have the imbalance; however, if you want test results to confirm your suspicions, it’s best to look your estradiol and progesterone levels as well as your LH and FSH levels. To fix this hormone imbalance you must give your body the progesterone it needs. Once you give your body what it needs, your symptoms will disappear. Hang in there Rebecca! There is light at the end of the tunnel. Please let me know how things go for you at your upcoming appointment! Doris

  5. MARIE Says:

    Hi Doris I have been reading the help you have been giving to people. it is so kind of you. You feel helpless in these circumstances. My son developed a very odd illness in early twenties and they thought he may be suffering with depression etc and given anti depressants and other psychotic medicines. They don’t help.Every month around the middle of month or sometimes at the beginning of the month he has a bad turn – mental instability. It is horrid and his thoughts are distorted and he gets exhausted. It really is holding him back. Reading the discussions he is going to get ask for a hormone imbalance check. Please let me know if you have heard cases like this. Thank you very much.

  6. Doris Says:

    Hi Marie,

    Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I’ve heard of hormone imbalances in men and these imbalances can cause fatigue, anxiety, depression and other mental, mood and physical disorders. I have created a video where I talk about hormone imbalance in men here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsNapU6ADds. Here in the US, hormone balance is not a common therapy for mental health problems for men or women, I hope doctors are more open in the UK and your son is able to get the answers he is looking for during his hormone imbalance check.

    The type of imbalance that I had was low progesterone, men and women can have this imbalance. It’s usually genetic, but it can also be due to external/environmental reasons such as birth control pills, IUDs, removal of gonads etc. Do you know if anyone on your side of the family or his dad’s side of the family has hormonal/mental health problems?

    If your low progesterone is causing your son’s fatigue and mental instability, taking progesterone can help him get his life back. Please let me know how things go at his checkup. If you would like to speak to a physician regarding this matter, you can reach out to Dr. Michael Platt. His website is http://www.drplatt.com/platt/resume.htm and his email is questions@plattwellness.com. I wish you the best! Keep in touch. Doris

  7. Kayte Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and making this information more available! I confess I’m a bit overwhelmed, but feeling very hopeful that I may finally find the answer and help I’ve been seeking!

    Since puberty I’ve experienced irregular periods, nausea, digestive issues, bloating (now mostly helped with a gluten-free diet), and memory issues, etc. Cycles of ever-worsening depressions also began at puberty.

    Ten years ago I had a full manic episode and was diagnosed with Bipolar I. Since then no psychotropic medication has succeeded in keeping manic symptoms at bay (let alone depression).

    Then, I got pregnant and had a successful pregnancy. During the 9 months of pregnancy and year of regular nursing, my Bipolar symptoms entirely disappeared!!! It was amazing. During my pregnancy I researched hormones, pregnancy and bipolar and found a Canadian doctor online who wrote about this, but when I contacted him he told me that there was no research yet and no money to conduct such inquiries. My Obgyn said that hormones during pregnancy fluctuate too much for any lab work to be helpful.

    A year and a half after giving birth, my mood and energy shifted. Mood imbalances became unmanageable once again and I decided, after learning at my insurance won’t cover bio-identical hormone therapy, to turn to psychiatry again. The medications dampened the mania. However, I am concerned that they will not continue to be helpful moving forward. (As my past experiences with these meds have borne out.) I also want to find out why I was so stable during my pregnancy (more stable than I have been with the medications). I’ve heard anecdotally of other women for whom mood imbalances disappeared during pregnancy, only to return again after birth.

    Thank you for your response to the woman whose progesterone levels necessitated supplementation in order to complete pregnancy. My question to you is, can it also be that hormone levels cause Bipolar symptoms that pregnancy and regular nursing resolves?

    Thank you again!

    Also, what’s the most cost-effective way to successfully manage hormones?

  8. Doris Says:

    Hello Kayte

    Nice to meet you. Your bipolar disorder and other physical symptoms (bloating, digesting issues, memory problems, etc.) were all caused by low progesterone, especially since they disappeared during your pregnancy. It’s during pregnancy that progesterone increases up to 400 mg a day during the last trimester. The placenta takes over the production of the progesterone offering much needed relief to progesterone deficient mothers.

    After you had your child, you were thrown back in to hormone imbalance because the placental progesterone ends and estrogen can continue to peak.

    So to answer your question, yes pregnancy can resolve progesterone-deficient bipolar disorder, but only temporarily, due to the placenta taking over with progesterone production. After pregnancy, the underlying imbalance/metabolic problems are still there so bipolar disorder returns. I think nursing can resolve bipolar disorder symptoms in some cases because hyperprolactinemia (high prolactin levels) have been linked to mood problems. Nursing reduces prolactin levels (versus not nursing over a 12 month period) so nursing alone can resolve causes that stem only as a result from pregnancy, but not for causes that existed before. There is not much information on prolactin levels, nursing and mental health. The prolactin articles I’ve read on this topic are over 30 years old. More research needs to be done in this area for sure. If you want more information on hormone balance in general, you can watch my Hormone Balance and Mental Health Videos on YouTube.

    If you have low progesterone, it’s very affordable to treat with or without insurance. It’s available over the counter and by prescription. It comes in a transdermal cream, oral capsule (to swallow), lozenges to dissolve under the tongue and there’s a vaginal application. You will need to work with a doctor to determine which method will be best for you. I hope this helps!