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Old 05-10-2003, 10:32 AM   #1
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Post Bleeding to much during my period

This was the problem that made me anemic in the first place: I bleed too much during my period.

I have it under control now with iron/folic acid supplements. I was also taking birth control pills and that helped normalize my period, but now that I am not on bcp the problem is back.

Has anyone experienced something similar?

 
Old 05-10-2003, 10:49 AM   #2
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Low thyroid function is a common cause of heavy periods and other menstrual disorders. Has yours been tested?
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Old 05-10-2003, 02:25 PM   #3
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I had a hormonal profile done. Actually two, and both came out OK. Would that have included Thyroid hormones?

[This message has been edited by Janik (edited 05-10-2003).]

 
Old 05-10-2003, 07:54 PM   #4
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According to the lab test website I use as a reference, a "hormone levels" test would include thyroid testing. However, I'm proof of the fact that many doctors don't know how to interpret thyroid lab values. My PCP did a TSH test and pronounced it "normal"; but I had already done my homework on what "normal" should be, and I knew it wasn't OK. Just six weeks later, the endocrinologist I saw diagnosed hypothyroidism and prescribed medication. My sister has had the same experience with her internist not knowing how to screen for thyroid problems. It's not rare at all. Many doctors don't even do a rotation in endocrinology during their residencies, therefore hardly know how important thyroid function affects every organ system in the body.

[This message has been edited by midwest1 (edited 05-10-2003).]
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Old 05-11-2003, 08:10 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info. I had never thought of thyroid problems. I understand that hypothyroidism also produces tiredness and excessive weight. I don't really have problems controlling my weight, and the tiredness stopped when I corrected my anemic condition with the iron supplements. Do you think I should still go to an endocrinologist instead of a gynecologist? So far, I've seen three gynecologists, and only the third one was able to diagnose ovarian cysts, which were corrected long ago with the birth control pills. Now that the cysts are gone (I was checked again in November) I wonder if there is another problem or if the cysts are back just after one month without bcp.

Thank you again for the tip.

 
Old 05-11-2003, 09:33 AM   #6
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Tiredness and weight gain are probably the most focused upon symptoms of hypoT. But I don't have them to any large degree either. As I look back over three decades, I had very mild symptoms all along, which gradually got worse as I approached and passed menopause. That's the way it usually happens; the thyroid gland fails so slowly, one can be unaware anything at all is happening. The symptoms are often dismissed as being those of "getting older". My symptoms in those early years had been so mild, I never considered getting medical help for them - just lived with them. I currently have a sizable ovarian cyst that appeared after my menopause, which is an unusual time for one to them to occur. I believe it is directly related to my thyroid condition. And before my periods stopped, they were frequently so heavy that I couldn't leave the house on the first two days of flow.

Ovarian cysts are often a feature of hypothyroidism, due to chronic over stimulation of the part of the pituitary gland which produces the hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland. Because all the hormones in the body - not just the reproductive ones - must be balanced for the reproductive system to work efficiently, hypoT can also cause infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirths. Something to consider if you're at an age where you want to have children.

Here are some of the other symptoms of hypoT for you to consider. The list is far from all-inclusive. You needn't have all of these; but if you have several, it would be worth having a knowledgeable doctor evaluate your thyroid to be sure all is well. ~

Slow heart rate
Tiredness
Inability to tolerate cold
Weight gain (usually 5 to 10 pounds) or inability to lose weight
Emotional depression
Drowsiness, even after sleeping through the night
Heavy or irregular menstrual periods (in premenopausal women)
PMS
Muscle cramps
Constipation

Later symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Dry, flaky skin
Hair loss
Impaired memory and difficulty in thinking
Voice becomes deeper or husky
A numb sensation in the arms and legs
Puffiness in the face, especially around the eyes

If you have any other questions, I'll try to answer them for you.
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Old 05-11-2003, 02:32 PM   #7
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Wow, under the risk of sounding like a hypochondriac, I do find some symptoms from this list apply to me.

Quote:
Originally posted by midwest1:
...

Tiredness
Inability to tolerate cold
Emotional depression
Drowsiness, even after sleeping through the night
Heavy or irregular menstrual periods (in premenopausal women)
Constipation

...
Though the tiredness, like I said, is under control now. And I have recently recovered (to the extent this is ever possible) from mental depression through therapy and a big mess of antidepressants, some of which I am still tapering from.

So I don't know if I should go see a endocrinologist yet. These don't seem like enough reasons to suspect hypothyroidism. Should I wait until my next period, or should I see my gynecologist first?

Thanks a lot for your input.

[This message has been edited by Janik (edited 05-11-2003).]

 
Old 05-11-2003, 08:54 PM   #8
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You needn't worry about looking like a hypochondriac. Like I said, there are many other symptoms besides the ones I listed, and I had over two dozen symptoms to present to my primary doc. Incredibly, he didn't want to do a thyroid screening test at all. [When I cried, he gave in. Being female, I know a little about tears' affect on men... LOL]

If you're still on anti-depressants, that could account for your constipation, as could the iron supplement.
I'm unsure what kind of doctor to recommend you go to next. The gyno might be aware of the thyroid connection to heavy periods, but may still be unable to interpret the lab tests correctly. If you have a primary care doc, he/she might recognize a problem. An endo probably would; but occasionally, even an endo who sees a problem with the lab scores will sometimes refuse to start treatment. If you have no insurance problems that might keep you from easily seeing an endo, it sure wouldn't hurt to let one take a look at you.
The basic tests that should be run are TSH, free T4, free T3, and antithyroid antibodies. The first three tests can result in so-called "normal" values; but if antibodies are present, it's likely that the gland is failing and will eventually show abnormal test values. Enlightened doctors usually start treatment if both antibodies and symptoms are present, even if the other tests are within range.
I've learned to never accept a doctor's word that a test is "normal" unless I've seen the report myself and have done my homework to know what the lab range for normal is, what other factors might throw a test off, etc.

If you have or can get the lab results of the tests you already had done, there are some very knowledgeable folks on the Thyroid Disorders Healthboard who are expert in deciphering what they mean, if you care to post them over there. They've helped me tremendously in figuring out the approach I needed to get treatment in spite of a clueless doctor.

At the moment, I'm battling the same doc to find the cause of my apparent anemia. He just did a slew of blood tests for numerous different conditions, everything but an anemia panel. Go figure. That's why I've been hanging out here lately; trying to find the right things to ask him for. In the meantime, I'm doctor-shopping.
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Old 05-12-2003, 02:30 PM   #9
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Thank you for the information. I do have the results from those lab tests but left them in my parents' house. When I retrieve them I'll check the T3, T4 and TSH. I am not sure if the antibodies would have been checked but I'll take a look.

I've also decided to wait until my next pap smear and discuss this with my gyn... unless the problems worsens during my next period.

As for crying at a doctor.... I'm not sure. When my first gynecologist said this excessive bleeding was all in my head he really made me cry, and then referred me to a psychologist who dictaminated that I was depressed and completely disregarded my anemic symptoms. Can you believe I was anemic for years without anyone knowing?

 
Old 05-13-2003, 05:47 AM   #10
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Your experience of being referred to a psych is so typical. As a matter of fact, at the OV where I used tears to get the TSH test I needed, instead of doing a thyroid panel, he wanted to refer me to a psych, a sleep clinic, an ENT, and an ophthalmologist! I told him I was too sick to go chasing symptoms all over the globe, and that I wanted thyroid tests. Very, very reluctantly, he said, "We-ellll, we can do a TSH, but we won't treat until the level goes up to 6.0." (Most endos now believe most women feel best at a level between 1 and 2, and mine was nearly 5 on that day.)

Right now, I have symptoms of pretty advanced peripheral neuropathy, I believe from B12 anemia. So far, I've had no luck in getting him to look at the reasoning behind my self-diagnosis. I want to think this guy is on a huge ego-trip and deep into the pockets of the drug manufacturers. It's more troubling to think he's simply incompetent. Unfortunately, he is far from the only one practicing the way he does.

If thyroid is your problem, it's easy enough to fix. I've already gotten substantial relief from several thyroid-related symptoms in the three short weeks since I've been on meds. With more time, it should get even better.
Here's hoping we both find good health very soon, Janik.
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Old 05-13-2003, 02:23 PM   #11
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Thank you very much for being so supportive. I also hope your medical problems get the help and attention required.

Cheers.

 
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