The perimenopause/menopause journey - #$&@!!! - Advice SO Welcome!

Desperado

Well-Known Member
Messages
926
I have moved into perimenopause hell. Considering seeing my doctor about progesterone at least, but my body doesn't do well with any medication. So I'm not sure it would be worth it.
I have heard many good things about Prometrium. This would be my way too if my symptoms get worse. Curious to see what your doctor says. Good luck !
 

puglover

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,972
I went through menopause with very few symptoms but am left with terrible insomnia. Sometimes it is crippling. I know so many women of my age or younger who struggle with sleeping. My own GP, who I consider a genius and is very compassionate, does not seem to take this seriously. I feel like a drug addicted low life every time I ask for sleeping pills and he has now got me on tryptophan - which makes me very nauseous and I am not sure it helps at all. When we lived in Samoa, we could buy just about anything over the counter. I took 1 sleeping pill a night for two years there and felt amazing. I realize they are need to be concerned about addiction and people acting irrationally while taking sleeping pills but fatigue is very debilitating as well. Any suggestions - I have tried all the oils, antihistamines, meditation and even went for a year to a sleep coach. Nothing!!
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,845
I’ve never been a good sleeper, so with night-time hot flashes I sleep even worse. Takes me forever to fall asleep and I wake up numerous times each night. I have never taken anything to help me sleep - too afraid it will make me groggy and sleep through my alarm, which means I won’t get up on time to go to work, get fired, and have no money, which will stress me out and then I will really have a problem sleeping. :shuffle:
I probably average 4-5 hours very broken sleep. My work schedule fortunately allows me to have an afternoon nap most days when I need it. I also dream a lot - so even when I am sleeping, I’m still busy doing weird things. :p

And then there is the snoring husband issue, not related to menopause of course, but yeah, thats a thing too. :yawn:
 

Peaches LaTour

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,293
At 44 my tests showed I was inching closer all the time to signs of ovarian cancer so I had a complete hysterectomy & then went on HRT (not pre-marin but I can no longer remember what it was).

Everything went swell for 5 years & then was diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer (it was there but had not yet travelled out of the milk duct) so the HRT was gone overnight.

For the next 5 years I took anti-cancer medication whose side-effect (for me) was hot flashes. They lasted about 2 minutes & I could feel them coming on so I knew I had to be still & let it pass. I had six fans in my little office to cope. Only had one night sweat in all that time.

After 5 years I was off the medication & the hot flashes slowly disappeared & have never returned.

When I had the flashes, I would envision myself standing naked on a freezing cold night in the arctic on top of an ice berg (like the one that sank the Titanic). I would then float downward on my stomach into the freezing water. I had read that cold images were useful during hot fashes. It worked to a small degree.

Overall, I have been very lucky dealing with The Change Some idiot once asked me if I felt less like a woman after my hysterectomy. Are you crazy? I replied. No more periods, tampons nor birth control. Free at last! :)

Hope everything works out ok for all of you who haven't been as lucky as me.
 

tracylynn

Well-Known Member
Messages
921
Due to having cancer and having a hysterectomy, I went through surgical menopause. I suffer from hot flashes like crazy. My oncologist prescribed an anti-depressant for it because she said that studies showed that this medicine control hot flashes. Well, it does control hot flashes. However, the side effects from this medicine are enough for me to stop taking it. The generic name of the medicine is Venlafaxine.
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
23,268
I went through menopause with very few symptoms but am left with terrible insomnia. Sometimes it is crippling. I know so many women of my age or younger who struggle with sleeping. My own GP, who I consider a genius and is very compassionate, does not seem to take this seriously. I feel like a drug addicted low life every time I ask for sleeping pills and he has now got me on tryptophan - which makes me very nauseous and I am not sure it helps at all. When we lived in Samoa, we could buy just about anything over the counter. I took 1 sleeping pill a night for two years there and felt amazing. I realize they are need to be concerned about addiction and people acting irrationally while taking sleeping pills but fatigue is very debilitating as well. Any suggestions - I have tried all the oils, antihistamines, meditation and even went for a year to a sleep coach. Nothing!!
Some people find that Trazedone helps them sleep.

I have had insomnia most of my life, but it was much worse when I was younger. I sometimes went several nights in a row without any sleep - can't remember the last time time that happened.

I take Zopiclone (think it's the same as Ambien in the US) very occasionally. It mimics a benzodiazepene (i.e. Valium), but is not a benzodiazepene. It doesn't give any high, but does give one a bit of a hangover. But preferable to a really bad night of no sleep.

But I have really had to jump through hoops to get the prescription. I've been told that the Ministry of Health has advised doctors to be wary of prescribing it, because of the opioid crisis - which makes no sense, given that Zopiclone is not an opioid.

In the 2000s, before the drug was seen as a 'bad drug', I took it every day for several years. I slept well and maintained a routine for those years, and was highly functional. But would doctors care about that? No, because it's a bad drug.

I had found that doctors don't care very much about insomnia. I've been told to have a warm glass of milk, or take a bath. :confused: If it were just that simple, I wouldn't have the complaint.

And as you say, insomnia is a really common problem. I understand that doctors are to 'do no harm', but they don't seem to understand how debilitating going without sleep can be.
 

puglover

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,972
Some people find that Trazedone helps them sleep.

I have had insomnia most of my life, but it was much worse when I was younger. I sometimes went several nights in a row without any sleep - can't remember the last time time that happened.

I take Zopiclone (think it's the same as Ambien in the US) very occasionally. It mimics a benzodiazepene (i.e. Valium), but is not a benzodiazepene. It doesn't give any high, but does give one a bit of a hangover. But preferable to a really bad night of no sleep.

But I have really had to jump through hoops to get the prescription. I've been told that the Ministry of Health has advised doctors to be wary of prescribing it, because of the opioid crisis - which makes no sense, given that Zopiclone is not an opioid.

In the 2000s, before the drug was seen as a 'bad drug', I took it every day for several years. I slept well and maintained a routine for those years, and was highly functional. But would doctors care about that? No, because it's a bad drug.

I had found that doctors don't care very much about insomnia. I've been told to have a warm glass of milk, or take a bath. :confused: If it were just that simple, I wouldn't have the complaint.

And as you say, insomnia is a really common problem. I understand that doctors are to 'do no harm', but they don't seem to understand how debilitating going without sleep can be.
I used to take Zopiclone as well but now my doctor is very negative on it. My husband's cousin who has suffered two strokes was on Zopiclone for years and they took her off it. The results have been absolutely terrible. She just doesn't sleep and so her husband/ care giver is up most nights with her - all night. It has been tragic to watch what has happened as they are trying so hard for her to be able to remain in her own home. Finally when she was hospitalized for something else they realized what had been going on and she is now prescribed it again. I have found exactly what you have - doctors don't care much about insomnia.
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
23,268
My husband's cousin who has suffered two strokes was on Zopiclone for years and they took her off it. The results have been absolutely terrible. She just doesn't sleep and so her husband/ care giver is up most nights with her - all night. It has been tragic to watch what has happened as they are trying so hard for her to be able to remain in her own home. Finally when she was hospitalized for something else they realized what had been going on and she is now prescribed it again. I have found exactly what you have - doctors don't care much about insomnia.
Wow.

It is so scary to be getting old in a world where doctors seem to be lacking in both comprehension and compassion. I know there are some good doctors out there, but I've not had much luck as of late.
 

Peaches LaTour

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,293
In the area where I live, vanity license plates are enormously popular. There is one middle-aged woman who drives a large van & her plate reads: ITS PMS

I always try to give her lots of road space when I see her.
 

once_upon

New condo owner
Messages
15,063
It's more likely that they are her initials. Like Pamela Marie Smith or something.
 

Simone411

Do stand. Do stand six. Do stand six feet from me.
Messages
16,833
I began having hot flashes at age 39. They only lasted about 5 minutes, and most of the time, I had them while at work. I thought it was sort of early for hot flashes, but my doctor told me it was normal in most cases. I went with Soybean Isotopes or Isoflavones. It could be purchased over-the-counter, and I believe it was made by Nature Valley. They did seem to help, and I also found out soybean protein enriched foods helped with my hot flashes.

I went through the menopause at age 47, and I was sort of glad I finished early in life. When it happened, my hot flashes stopped, and I've never needed any prescribed hormones, estrogen, etc.

I would suggest to eat soybean protein enriched foods for anyone having hot flashes, and it wouldn't hurt anything to try it.
 

Desperado

Well-Known Member
Messages
926
I have so much sympathy for all of you struggling and not being taken seriously by your doctor. Insomnia is the root of all evil when it comes to health.

It’s Day 18 of being off the pill for me. Outside of some palpitations and weird feelings once in a while, my sleep has gone out the window too and I don’t think it’s due to hot flashes (they’re long and more body-wide now but the weather is also much hotter) just turmoil in my body. Even the THC oil doesn’t seem to work anymore.

Not sure if it’s the norethindrone leaving my body or the herbal tincture an herbalist prescribed for me or a combination.

A lot of women swear by taking magnesium glycinate as a supplement, but I see no difference. I’ll try an antihistamine tonight.
 

mattiecat13

Well-Known Member
Messages
366
For better sleep, I stopped my nightly glass (or two) of wine and started taking 3 mg of melatonin. It seems to have helped me fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep.
 

twinsmom

Active Member
Messages
128
Have any of you read the book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause by John Lee and Jesse Hanley (there are other books by these authors about menopause as well)? I started reading it at the suggestion of a friend who has been to a hormone specialist (I don't think she's a doctor, but has been working with hormonally imbalanced patients for years and years, and reading this book is a prerequisite to getting an appt.). A friend at work had gone through menopause, but was gaining weight, was very emotionally imbalanced and had other issues she was dealing with. She went to a regular MD (perhaps ob/gyn), and was given HRT and an anti-depressant. After a few months, my friend said her life was so much worse because of the side effects. She then went to this hormone specialist, and her life is completely changed for the better, and it's mostly due to taking natural progesterone. Another woman in my office had been on Ambien for years; she went to this same hormone specialist and is now completely off it. Both of these women have said it was the best thing they have ever done. I went through menopause about 10-12 years ago, and I haven't had the worst symptoms (especially hot flashes/night sweats), but I have had issues with depression, and the worst has been an inability to sleep and always feeling completely exhausted. I took anti-depressants and Ambien for a time, but didn't really feel like they helped much. I've got an appt. tomorrow to see this hormone specialist. I'm hoping for the miracles my co-workers have experienced. The book I mentioned is really interesting and might help, at least about where to find help. It echoes some of the comments I've seen in this thread about doctors not really being willing or able to get at the root of the issues and wanting to just prescribe drugs that may make things worse.
 

Peaches LaTour

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,293
For better sleep, I stopped my nightly glass (or two) of wine and started taking 3 mg of melatonin. It seems to have helped me fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep.
For sleepless nights I drink a tablespoon of dark, tart cherry juice. The one I drink is very, very tart & thick so it is more like syrup.
 

Simone411

Do stand. Do stand six. Do stand six feet from me.
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16,833
As far as sleep goes for me, I don't have a problem with it. Benadryl and Alka Seltzer Cold Plus is the only two antihistamines that help with my allergies. The rest like Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra doesn't help at all.

I usually take a 50 mg Benadryl in the evening or before I go to bed. The Benadryl works really well, and I've often fallen asleep while watching a show or movie on TV. I don't take the Benadryl in the daytime if I have somewhere I need to go because it would probably knock me out. I wait until I get home before I take it.
 

PDilemma

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5,667
As far as sleep goes for me, I don't have a problem with it. Benadryl and Alka Seltzer Cold Plus is the only two antihistamines that help with my allergies. The rest like Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra doesn't help at all.

I usually take a 50 mg Benadryl in the evening or before I go to bed. The Benadryl works really well, and I've often fallen asleep while watching a show or movie on TV. I don't take the Benadryl in the daytime if I have somewhere I need to go because it would probably knock me out. I wait until I get home before I take it.
I use Zyrtec and take it at night because it makes me pretty drowsy. And this spring & summer, I've been taking one Benadryl at bedtime, too, to help additional allergy symptoms. So I sleep fine.

I have had night sweats a few times, though. My biggest issue is irregular cycles--anywhere from 17-40 days in the last ten months. Totally unpredictable and miserable PMS symptoms--which go on for 20 days when it's a 35-40 day cycle. Of course, that's better than the two 17 day cycles I've had.
 

sk8pics

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,113
I am also no longer a great sleeper, but I try to only take a sleep aid when I have to get up very early and function. I have a prescription for Ambien that I use sparingly, and I will also take Zquill, which has the active ingredient in Benadryl in it.

The bad news is they have found a link between certain drugs and strokes. I forget where I read this, probably in a NYT article. Drugs are in one of 3 categories and they suggest avoiding prolonged use of category 3 drugs, or prolonged use of multiple drugs in categories 1 and 2. The active ingredient in Benadryl is a category 3 drug. :yawn::slinkaway Of course, correlation is not causation, but it is another piece of advise to minimize whatever drugs you are taking if possible.
 

Susan1

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Messages
6,960
My biggest issue is irregular cycles--anywhere from 17-40 days in the last ten months. Totally unpredictable and miserable PMS symptoms--which go on for 20 days when it's a 35-40 day cycle. Of course, that's better than the two 17 day cycles I've had.
Yep - that was bad. Here is the "days between" column from the word document I still have after I went off the pill, with constant PMS. Then I got the menopause symptoms that I still have. :fragile:
24
24
32
14
49
21
27
19
27
24
39
28
62
29
24
28
25
29
27
74
21
43
28
52
42
28
29
28
92
21
126
44
21
27
24
96
21
166
 

just tuned in

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,991
I had a similar list of "days between." They say when you've gone a year between periods, then you are done. That is how it was for me.
 

PDilemma

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,667
@Susan1 I see the 14 and 19 in there. That's what sucks. Even with the PMS, the 35-40 ones I can live with.

And this 17 day cycle came so that it hit right as we are about to leave on vacation. Because of course it did. Why wouldn't it? :mad:
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,845
I had a similar list to Susan. I went off the pill at 28 to get pregnant, and then when I was done having my babies, I told my husband it was his turn to look after birth control.
Should have just gone back on the pill tho, as it was horror-periods from then on. Now it has been well over a year, I think actually maybe a year and a half and I am glad that’s over.
The sleep issues I am used to, the hot flashes are an annoyance, but not a huge deal, its the chin and upper lip hair that drives me right batty. I hates it. I HATES IT!
 

Susan1

Well-Known Member
Messages
6,960
Should have just gone back on the pill tho, as it was horror-periods from then on.
I went off the pill at 40, after years of knowing exactly when and how things were going to happen.
its the chin and upper lip hair that drives me right batty.
ha - I have one chin hair underneath that keeps coming back. I just use the disposable razor I use on my legs. Uh - guess what I am going to go do right now!!.....
Wait - there's a good thing. I hardly ever have to shave my legs anymore!

I had a similar list of "days between." They say when you've gone a year between periods, then you are done. That is how it was for me.
Yeah - I didn't have to keep track after 166 days because I would have hit 365 without anything.
@Susan1 I see the 14 and 19 in there. That's what sucks. Even with the PMS, the 35-40 ones I can live with.
yeah - wow 62 days! oops 29 days....... then at 74 days you think that was the last one, and then at 92, but next comes 21...........after 126 days you that's the last one, nope 44, 96 days is even better until three weeks later. Rats. After 166 days, that really has to be the last one. It was! The only thing that helped with the suspense was I always had a specific pain in one or the other ovary exactly one week before, on the pill it was a Tuesday, and off the pill, whatever day it happened I knew I was going to start in one week. Who knows.
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
23,268
I have one chin hair underneath that keeps coming back. I just use the disposable razor I use on my legs. Uh - guess what I am going to go do right now!!.....
Wait - there's a good thing. I hardly ever have to shave my legs anymore!
I use a razor for my facial hair also - and it has gotten less over the years. I'm 60 now, and it's been less for maybe 5 years.

I used to worry that using a razor would make the hair grow back more heavily, so I had my chin and the area above my lip waxed for quite a long time. These days, I just use the razor.

I hardly every have to shave my legs anymore also! Maybe once in the summer - in the winter I just let the hair grow. It's not very much.

The sleep issues I am used to, the hot flashes are an annoyance, but not a huge deal, its the chin and upper lip hair that drives me right batty. I hates it. I HATES IT!
As they say - surrender with grace the things of youth. :)
 

Desperado

Well-Known Member
Messages
926
I’ve been listening to a few menopause podcasts lately and though these were very good:

Newsom Health (hosted by a GP and menopause specialist Dr. Louise Newsom)

Menopodcast - Menopause for the 21st Century
Really enjoyed the last episode on nutrition with Ashley Koff and now off to buy some Sea Buckthorn oil products
 

Colleen

Well-Known Member
Messages
187
I had really heavy periods - to the point where some days I hated to be more than a few steps from a bathroom - so ended up having a uterine ablation. Best thing ever for me - it worked - I think I had one slight period a month later and then nothing. It was surreal - I was used to carrying an array of supplies with me at all times because my period had been totally unpredictable and would start like Niagara Falls. It took about six months before I stopped carrying that around in my purse. I had asked the gynaecologist to do whatever it took to decrease my periods - and sent him a thank you card afterwards!

The heavy periods were my only symptom - a couple of years ago my doctor asked if I had any of the typical symptoms of menopause and I didn't - so she did a blood test that confirmed I was menopausal. I remember asking my mom about her experience - and she said she thought she might have had one hot flash. So maybe it is genetic.

I did have some trouble with insomnia but Melatonin took care of that.
 

Husky

Member
Messages
32
When I got the first hot flashes my doctor told me to substitute meat and milk with soy-products and it was a major improvement. I also noticed that the hot flashes were hitting me hard when I suddenly ate a whole plate of meat in a restaurant. After 10 months everyhting was over and I can eat meat today without problems.

I never took hormones, because like others said, the menopause is a natural thing and I am a bit afraid of hormones since they change the whole system. I would only take them to get in a better mood. i notice that I get far more easily depressed than in former times. But maybe this is not physical but just age?
 

Husky

Member
Messages
32
Oh, I don't know if it's true but they say that Asian women have less problems with hot flashes because they don't drink milk and eat more soy-products instead of meat. I wonder if it's true. Is an Asian woman here who can confirm this?
 
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