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Old 01-29-2009, 04:59 PM   #1
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DLouise59 HB User
Question New here with Questions

Hi. I'm about to turn 50 and am (have been for awhile now) experiencing symptoms of menopause or peri-menopause. I haven't had a since March of last year. Night sweats, even during the day, tired all the time.

I'm new here and I have a few questions about menopause and peri-menopause....what's the difference in the two?

Who has taken hormone treatments? Why, I mean, what made you decide that was the best way to go for you?
What are the side effects to taking hormones?
Did you try anything else before deciding on hrt? Did you bring it up to your Dr. or did you Dr. suggest it?
What tests were involved before hrt was suggested?

What would you suggest I do before considering hrt?

Please tell me a little about yourself when replying to this.

 
Old 01-30-2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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Re: New here with Questions

Welcome, Well for me I did go on a HRT but it was after much thought. My Dr. didn't want me to but I was having so many hot flashes and night sweats (along with many other symptoms) that I couldn't stand it anymore. I have since backed way off them and am managing pretty good. I did try many OTC supplements but never found one that made much difference for me.

The difference between peri and menopause is peri is leading up to the menopause. You are in menopause after you have not had a period for 1 year.

Hope some of that helps you, check in and ask more questions if you need to.
Julie

 
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:37 PM   #3
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Re: New here with Questions

<removed> Anyway...what they say about knowledge is power. Its true. It doesnt make it go away...but it identifys why you are feeling this way. Once i knew these things were part of menopause...it did make things easier and took away a lot of stress and worry.

Last edited by mod-anon; 01-30-2009 at 09:18 PM. Reason: do not instruct members on how to find websites.

 
Old 01-30-2009, 08:43 PM   #4
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Re: New here with Questions

no two women have all the same symptoms. Some have no symptoms. Some have every symptom in the book. I cant believe any doctor would give hormone treatment after all the test findings. The insurance i have (medical) wont even let doctors give out hormone therapy. They believe the risks are too hi and all the evidance supports their decission. My doc says....hold on tight...its about all you can do. I'm not willing to risk a stroke or heart attack to keep from having a hot flash or night sweats. It will go away sooner or later. Heart disease wont. Its not debateable...hormone therapy can cause both...when they did that five year test....they had to stop the testing, two years in...too many women were having strokes or heartattacks. I'll pass. My hot flashes and night sweats are horrid. But, so is a stroke or heart attack

Last edited by mod-anon; 01-30-2009 at 09:19 PM. Reason: Please use the Quick Reply button instead of Quote Reply.

 
Old 01-30-2009, 09:32 PM   #5
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Re: New here with Questions

I agree there is risk involved, but I was at the point I was getting close to no sleep at night from so many night sweats and during the day the hot flashes were so bad I thought I was going crazy. Every woman needs to decide where her breaking point is I guess. I tried a few different AD's first and they just wouldn't help me, I am very sensitive to meds. I would recommend looking into natural supplements first though.
Julie

 
Old 01-30-2009, 10:11 PM   #6
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Re: New here with Questions

There are some women that need to take Hrt. That's just the way it is. The testing they did on hormones for heart issues were for the fancy hormones...like prempro. However, if you and your doctor decide a hormone like plain ole Premarin or any of them are the way to go then that is a decision for each individual. There are some doctors that are scared so they refuse to even give it out...they are afraid of being sued(not for the sake of their female patient but because of a lawsuit). Women are not being treated fairly in any of this and any doctor that says to just hang on and ride it out is nuts. I would like to see any doctor suffer the wrath of menopause for 10+long years. And personally I stopped after 10 years and rode it out...LOL...that lasted 8 months and I just went back on Premarin. I took Premarin for 10 years without problems and my mother (40 years ago) took Premarin without problems and I personally don't know anyone that has had heart problems from just plain ole Premarin. My doctor requires a mammogram to continue usage but to just not give someone that is suffering severe symptoms ...well I would have to go to another doctor. Some women don't have such severe symptoms so they don't really know how some of us suffer. But this is how I and many suffer and we have tried allllll the over the counter lotions and potions: I can sit in one place and just sweat roll down my face every hour 24/7 ...the nose runs constantly so you have to have a handkerchief in your pocket at all time, the body is so hot you think you will explode, you don't sleep and if you do manage to sleep with the fan blowing on you constantly you still wake up every hour to take the blankets off or put them on. You sweat to the point of changing your clothes throughout the day and your pants cuz your crotch sweats too. You are tired all the time because you can't just sleep for more than an hour before the heatwave strikes...it is such an effort to get from one day to the next. You don't even bother fixing your hair because it sweats so badly just the humidity from your own body flattens it out. No makeup it just makes your face sweat even more. When you bundle up for the winter weather you are REALLY sweating under all that so you are also freezing after awhile. All you want is for it all to stop but everyday is just another sweaty hot day. So believe me there are some of us that just don't care if there are any heart issues that MIGHT happen....at this point I don't care. It took about two weeks of getting back on Premarin and I can't tell you what a relief it has been and after 8 months I slept the whole night ahhhh heaven. Science hasn't given us anything more so we all do what we gotta do.

 
Old 01-31-2009, 07:13 AM   #7
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Re: New here with Questions

AnnD, I so totally understand with what you wrote here. I feel for you having to go through that. It does make life awful each and every day, so I to am thankful for Premarin. I have been able to back way off mine but scared to give it up totally again. My mother has been on Premarin for about 40 years and my aunt even longer. You take care,
Julie

 
Old 01-31-2009, 11:47 PM   #8
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Re: New here with Questions

it sounds like you're living in my body. I can relate to everything you described. I'm just not willing to trade one problem for another. We dont know who will be a victim. The ama (i believe) the one that puts out the reports, etc. Is the one that said. " that all women should quit taking them" it wasnt just my doctor that wont perscribe them. I have kaiser ins. None of them will and many of those doctors are women. But, like i said...i'm not willing to trade one nightmare for another. I know exactly what you mean about bothering to do your hair....i cant even get thru blowdrying it for all the sweating, let alone after i'm done...and have a hot flash or the constant " head sweating" then, after all nite of night sweats...omg, my hair is so matted in the morning. I have naturally curly hair. Its scary to look at in the morning. The lower part of my hair line (especially in the summer) stays wet. And thats just the sweats, never mind all the other symptoms. I spent two years with a, burning tongue. Just another symptom. Its in the list of " menopause symptoms" but, when its all said and done...i dont want to risk a heart attack or stroke. No, it doesnt happen to all women..but enough..to send up red flags. You're right, i tell my husband all the time. If a male doctor had to live this. Relief would have been found, years ago. But, we have female doctors and scientist. And they still dont have an answer. The only thing i'm curious about is....we are the only generation of women...that have had menopause..this bad. My mother, my grandmother and all the older women i know..say the samething. " they never had symptoms...and the ones that did...it was very mild and didnt last long. My sister never really had symptoms. Shes 3 years older than me. But, every woman i know, my age....has horrible symptoms. Especially when their doctors took them off hormones. And all the women i know...their doctors stopped their hormones...against their will.

Last edited by mod-anon; 02-01-2009 at 11:58 AM. Reason: removed quote

 
Old 02-01-2009, 03:09 PM   #9
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Smile Re: New here with Questions

Thanks all for responding.

There are times when enough is enough and I just want it all to stop, but taking a closer look, and looking at the risks with treatment, I guess I'll do the best I can with diet and exercise.

I know every woman is different with varying degrees of what ails us during this time of our lives and each will seek what is best for them. Good luck to everyone with dealing with these problems.

 
Old 02-01-2009, 08:56 PM   #10
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Re: New here with Questions

Julie and AnneD, I understand exactly what you’re saying. Sure, there are known risks in taking HRT, but at some point the quality of one’s life has to be considered. There were many times during those miserable, sweaty, sleepless nights when I caught myself thinking, “Well, I’m not going to live forever” and actually taking COMFORT in that thought!

A life of misery isn’t much of a life, and I don’t blame anyone who decides to take whatever measures they have to in trying to find what will work for them. Each of us is different: Premarin and I did not get along at all. My breasts were swollen and sorer than they’ve ever been, and my hips and knees were creaking and aching so badly that I felt like I was 99 rather than 49. On the other hand, you and many others have done well with it, and I’m happy that you’ve been able to find something that makes life bearable.

Thankfully, I’ve found an OTC product that is working wonders to relieve my symptoms, otherwise you can bet that I’d be back at the doctor’s office trying to find something that worked and didn’t cause the side effects.

One problem we have is that the media thrives on fear-mongering. They know fear and shock gets people’s attention, and that increases advertising revenues, so when stories like those about the dangers of HRT come out, they’re quick to oversensationalize, and perhaps to overstate the dangers, and there is no shortage of ‘experts’ willing to sell out for 30 seconds in the limelight.

But there is dirty pool being played by the other side as well: Wyeth, maker of Premarin is under congressional investigation for paying “ghost writers” to pen articles downplaying the dangers of HRT, and then paying unscrupulous doctors to sign their names to the articles and submit them to scientific journals- academic fraud.

Another investigation found that drug companies are quick to publish studies that are FAVORABLE to their product, while they hide and bury studies that show unfavorable results. Given the amount of money involved, should we really be surprised?

And in the course of all the politics, big money and skullduggery, they all seem to forget that there are REAL PEOPLE whose lives are being affected by all of these shenanigans! It’s despicable!

Another thing that drives me nuts is that almost every time you see an ‘expert’ (medical professional) quoted in an article on menopause and HRT, they’re quick to say that natural alternatives are ‘unproven’, ‘potentially dangerous’ and that their long-term effects are ‘unknown’. The truth is that these effects are ‘unknown’ because long –term studies cost millions of dollars, and as natural products are unpatentable, drug giants like Wyeth and Pfizer can’t make billions, so they’re not willing to pony up the dough.

But you have to question the credibility of these statements when you see that drugs like NSAID’s, which are made by the drug giants and are FDA approved, are KNOWN to kill tens of thousands of people every year – many times more than all illegal street drugs combined - yet they remain on the market! Any natural product or ‘supplement’ would be instantly yanked from the market if it could be definitively linked to the death of TEN people, let alone ten thousand!

The way I see it, it all boils down to people protecting their ‘turf’. And as much as I’d like to believe that any of these really care about the welfare of the public, the more I look, the more it seems that they are much more interested in the content of our pockets than the quality of our lives.

I hate to seem so cynical, but the way I see it, there is only ONE person that you can be sure truly has your best interests at heart, and that is YOU. Do your own research, don’t take anything anyone says at face value, and look after your own well-being. If you won’t, who will?

(Sorry about the long rant! I’m sure I’ll feel better tomorrow!)

Lisa

 
Old 02-02-2009, 12:04 AM   #11
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Re: New here with Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by DLouise59 View Post
I have a few questions about menopause and peri-menopause....what's the difference in the two?
The difference between menopause and perimenopause is, in my not-so-humble opinion, mostly for the benefit of doctors. Basically, doctors will declare that you are officially in menopause when you have not had a period in one year. The years before are named perimenopause. In actual practice, from the point of view of the women who experience it, there isn't really much difference between the two.

Most women, during their reproductive years, have regular cycles of the various hormones in their bodies, producing more or less regular periods, with more or less fertility between those periods. When the production of hormones starts becoming irregular, our bodies have difficulty adapting. Many women have at least a few of those infamous "35 symptoms of menopause". Some women are lucky and merely stop menstruating. Others may actually continue with unpleasant symptoms for years after they have stopped having periods.

After reading the posts on this board for the last few years, I now think of women's lives as being on a continuum.

At some point our hormones start the process of puberty. This lasts for a while -- I started changing body shape before I started menstruating, and then I continued with body changes after that -- at exactly which point in this several year process do we declare that I am officially now a young woman and no longer a child? Do we count from when I produced breasts, or from when I started my first period, or from when I started having acne and unpredictable mood swings, or from when I received my first inappropriate attention from the father of the kids I was babysitting?

Once I became an adult, my periods were pretty regular. Not every woman can say this. Hormones do not always behave as the labels say they're supposed to.

When I was 39, my hormones started going wacko -- they turned off for a few months and I had obvious peri symptoms and no periods. Then they turned back on again and I had regular periods. Then they continued to turn off for longer periods and turn on for shorter periods. Exactly at what point in this years-long on-and-off cycle do we declare that I was officially menopausal? Some women simply stop menstruating and never start again, and some women have hormones that simply slow down and they have lighter and lighter periods until they don't have them anymore. For some, the label ("menopause") is easy to apply. For many women it isn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DLouise59 View Post
Who has taken hormone treatments? Why, I mean, what made you decide that was the best way to go for you?
What are the side effects to taking hormones?
Did you try anything else before deciding on hrt? Did you bring it up to your Dr. or did you Dr. suggest it?
Please tell me a little about yourself when replying to this.
Eventually my symptoms were so crazy-making that I asked my doctor for HRT. I've been taking one form or another of HRT for 18 years or so (I'll be 60 years old in 2 months). I take the lowest dosage that keeps my symptoms at bay. I currently use a patch with estradiol (similar to our own naturally-produced hormone), and I take progesterone pills every 6 months to induce a period, because I still have my uterus.

I don't have negative side effects to the estrogen. It took a long time to find a form of the progesterone that didn't give me side effects. But then again, considering that I had major pms every month just before my period, it would appear that my body didn't like its own progesterone.

Quote:
What would you suggest I do before considering hrt?
You need to discuss with your doctor whether you have any risk factors that would mean that you are not a good candidate for HRT. If you or your family have a history of heart disease or cancer, then it is NOT a good idea to take hormones.

You need to evaluate your symptoms both during your regular productive years as well as now when your hormones are irregular. There are books that declare, in all sincerity, that every woman would benefit from using progesterone cream -- this is all we need to regulate our hormones!!! Uh, hey -- we're all different, and if you happen to be someone with an imbalance of too much progesterone and too little estrogen, then using progesterone cream is the last thing you want to do!!! As I said above, I went crazy when my body produced its own progesterone -- so using this cream during peri was not the appropriate answer for me.

Quote:
What tests were involved before hrt was suggested?
I believe that my original doctor gave me tests for something called FSH (follicle stimulating hormone?) and thyroid. Thyroid problems can mimic many of the same symptoms of peri.

It's a very individual decision as to whether to take hormones or not. There are bazillions of women who have been blessedly helped by the hormones. Others can not tolerate the side effects. Others decide for various reasons that they do not want to take them.

I wish you well in your journey through life -- whatever stage you're in.

--Rheanna

 
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