Reader Post Q & A

Mental Health


My daughter was diagnosed with bipolar last year at age 17. The reason was for her extreme mood swings and incredible anger, violent and some depression. I started to notice that she became 100% worse the week before her period. She has been on ortho tri cyclen since about age 12 for bad acne. This past may she was in a mental health facility due to her violence and was given lithium, and lamictal. Recently she has been complaining about lack of concentration and was now given propranolol. So at 18 she is now taking 61/2 pills a day! I keep bringing up the thing about the week before her period but no one is doing anything about it. She has no side effects from all the meds but I’m not convinced they’re working either. So my question is, do you think it’s could be hormonal. I do think it is but I’m very nervous to take her off everything and try something new, especially since she will be leaving for college in 8 months. Help!

Doris’ ANSWER:

Based on what you have told me, it sounds like your daughter may have a hormone imbalance called estrogen dominance.

Estrogen dominance is a term that was coined by the late Dr. John Lee, it means that estrogen is dominating in the body due to low progesterone levels. Estrogen is not a “bad” hormone per se, but it becomes extremely toxic when not properly balanced by progesterone.

This imbalance caused my bipolar disorder and I’m convinced its causing the bipolar, schizophrenia, and mental health problems of many others.

Is there a history of mental health problems on your side of the family? Or on your daughter’s dad’s side of the family? I ask because hormone imbalances tend to be genetic.

If there is no history of mental health problems on either side of the family there is a possibility that the birth control pills your daughter has been taking for acne treatment have altered her hormone levels as Ortho-tricyclen contains synthetic versions of estrogen and progesterone.

I have attached a photo below for you to view.

Menstrual Cycle

This photo shows what happens during our monthly menstrual cycle. If you look at the bottom left and right corners you will see the word menses, which is of course when menstruation occurs. If you could please look at the corresponding estradiol (yellow) and progesterone levels during menses and then also look at them through days 7 and 28 when menstruation doesn’t occur.

If you look at the photo you see that both estradiol and progesterone increase during this time (days 7-28). Estradiol spikes just before ovulation and then progesterone dominates after ovulation.

If your body can not make enough progesterone due to inovulation or luteal insufficiency, estrogen (estradiol) is left to in the body unbalanced and this causes all kinds of mental and physical health problems.

If your daughter’s mental health problems are caused by low progesterone, only progesterone will give her the relief she truly seeks. Psychiatric medications aren’t progesterone and they can never take progesterone’s place. They simply mask the symptoms caused by low progesterone.

To help your daughter, I suggest that you find a doctor who knows how to balance her hormones. I would suggest that she try a non hormonal treatment to deal with her acne and go off the birth control pills. Progesterone will heal her moods, if low progesterone is the cause of her symptoms.

Once she finds an effective way to manage her symptoms, she can go to college and do anything else her heart desires.

I hope this helps. x Doris

4 Responses to “Reader Post Q & A”

  1. Barbara Says:

    Hi Doris so glad to have found you. I have been going through everything you have described. I am 57 years and estrogen dominant. When you said that you use progesterone does that include estrogen to. My bio-identical hormones have E1E2 0.5/E3 4/P 100. If I am estrogen dominant why do they add estrogen. I was just wondering and wanted your opinion. Thank you Barbara!

  2. Doris Says:

    Hello Barbara,

    Nice to meet you. I use progesterone only. I do not take any estrogen. Before I knew what was happening in my body, I took birth control pills to regulate my cycle. The pills made me crazier than I already was because birth control pills contain estrogen. If you are estrogen dominant, it is not a good idea to take estrogen. The estrogen you are taking is more than likely making your symptoms worse. Your doctor may put you on estrogen even though you are dominant because he or she has been trained to prescribe estrogen and progesterone together or they can prescribe estrogen because the prescribe estrogen to all of their menopausal/premenopausal patients or if you have had one or both of your ovaries removed, they may prescribe estrogen for that. Whatever their reasons, it doesn’t make sense to give estrogen to a person who is estrogen dominate. It will just make you sicker. Ask your doctor if you can take progesterone alone. And then ask them why they prescribed estrogen when your estrogen levels are high? I think it’s a fair question and I’d love to know what they said. Please read Dr. Lee’s book called, “Hormone Balance Made Simple.” It helps A LOT. Read it twice. Good luck and let me know what happens, Doris

  3. Debra Says:

    Hello Doris,

    Thank you for your reply and all the great information you provided.

    I am not sure if hormone imbalances or mental illnesses runs in my family. I know my mother and my aunt, who are twins, have hypothyroid problems (my mother is deceased now from pancreatic cancer) and I also have thyroid nodules and cysts but my levels are ok. As for mental illnesses, there is one of cousins who has depression and tried to kill herself when she was young but other than that I am not sure about anyone else. My mother may have had depression because of the hard times she had with my father but she was very religious. I am not sure about my biological father. I was very young when my parents separated and don’t know a lot because I would not want to bring up the past to my mother because she would get very upset and I didn’t want to upset her. I do know that my father might have killed himself when my mother remarried and we moved away in 1982 (he died 2 weeks later). He may have had mental illness but not sure.

    To answer your question about my blood test, I went to an endocrinologist in December 2014 and she tested my hormone levels and all are within range: TSH: 2.84 (0.34-6.60), Testosterone Total: 18 (10-76), FSH: 82.80 (16.74-113.59 pre-menopausal), LH: 50.80 (10.87-58.64 pre-menopausal), Estradiol: 21(20-48 pre-menopausal), Prolactin: 9.97 (<50 years of age – pre-menopausal). I only got tested once so far because it is very expensive and my husband’s coverage is ok but not great and we have 80% coverage and we pay 20% after a huge deductible and co deductible. I really think I am in pre menopause now but not sure. Do you think I should go to a bio identical hormone doctor? I am not sure.

    I still have a menstrual cycle but it is getting very erratic. When I got off the bc pill in 2012, I didn’t get my period for 3 months, then I got it and it was on time every month with very very heavy bleeding and cramps and horrible pms. Then in the later part of 2013, it started to get erratic with less than 28 days, like 21 to 23 days and bleeding for 6 or 7 days. IT the end of 201, November and December, I didn’t get my period for about 2 months (I think also because I was extremely stressed after I went to the hospital for my attempt) and then I got my period in January of 2015, then in February for a 28 day cycle and then 14 days later I got it again and I spotted for 9 days and then on the 10th day I got heavy bleeding and I still have it today.

    I am trying not to be so hard on myself about my appearance but it does bother me a lot because I am not used to what I see in the mirror. I panic so much when I have to get ready because my skin and hair have changed. I even developed a phobia of going into the shower because I don’t like the way my facial skin feels, I can’t use my favorite soap anymore to wash my face (my face was oily for 35 years and now it is very dry) and I don’t like washing my hair because it is very dry and gray with all the changes and using semi permanent coloring made it dry and it falls out. I have very bad acne now all the time (sometimes it calms down but not for long) and I have very facial skin and increasing hair on my face (but not dark hairs). I can’t wear makeup anymore because of my dry skin (used to wear foundation and blush and concealer) and that made me very upset. I also have almost no eyebrow hair from over plucking for years and now the hairs don’t grow anymore and when I draw them they don’t come right because of my skin texture and a little sagging. I was thinking about getting permanent make up put on. I used to be so happy, smiling and wanting to go out. Now all I do is cry and I cry very intensely. I don't like going outside anymore. I am afraid of going outside. I don't feel the same because my life, face and body are all different. It is as if I have stepped into a new life I know nothing about and have to learn it all over. Like a baby has to learn to walk and talk and eat. I feel like I am afraid of my own shadow. I never had panic and anxiety like this about my appearance until this happened. These hormonal changes made me afraid of my life now and in the future. I keep asking God and my mother for help because I can’t do on like this. I want to be who I was before these changes. I met my husband in 2002 and we lived together and married in 2010. I had so much fun and than in 2014 all these changes happened and it all changed. I miss my life so much.

    Thank you,

  4. Doris Says:

    Hello Debra,

    Thank you for sharing so much of your family history with me. I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your mother and father. My condolences to you. Regarding your family history with progesterone, nothing screams out hormone imbalance. The imbalance may be on your father’s side as suicides and suicide attempts are common with the imbalance.

    At any rate, regardless of your family history, you are having physical symptoms consistent with low progesterone. Even though your estradiol levels are within a normal range, if you do not have adequate progesterone to cover the estrogen you are making you can experience estrogen dominance symptoms. Heavy bleeding, cramps and PMS are all caused by this condition. I read your test results and noticed that your progesterone levels were missing. Was your progesterone measured during this test? If not, not measuring your progesterone was an oversight or your physician does not understand how progesterone or the lack of it, is contributing to your symptoms.

    Before you make any permanent changes with tattooing, I would explore hormone balance and see what effect correcting your imbalance will have on your skin. You need to take progesterone to balance the estrogen you are making. Taking progesterone will reduce your heavy bleeding and should eliminate your heavy cramping and PMS. Your physical appearance should return to normal once levels are restored as well. You should be taking about 60 mg or so of bioidentical progesterone every day, stopping a day or two before your expected cycle. Continue with progesterone every day you are on your cycle, lowering your dose by 10 mg a month, until you can take 10 to 20 mg a month and not feel any of the symptoms we talked about.

    My response is based on the work of the late Dr. John Lee. I suggest you read his book, “Hormone Balance Made Simple.” It will explain the principals of hormone balance and it will give you the insight you need to take charge of your health.

    Hormone imbalance not only cause menstrual irregularities, but they also can affect our self-esteem, uprooting our self-worth. It is so important for you to look into hormone balance as a treat option so that you can start feeling and looking like your former self and be there for your family. Recovery is possible. Hang in there.