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Old 04-05-2012, 10:38 AM   #1
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Sleep study? Post-menopausal insomnia

I am a 64 year old woman who slept very well until menopause. When my hormones changed I have had problems sleeping. (I usually--not always--get to sleep okay and then wake up a few hours later and stay up for several hours before going back to sleep.)

When I went on HRT I slept better. It is inadvisable that I go on HRT because my estrogen history is long, etc. I have tried every sleep aid known (maybe I didn't give enough time to each possible dosage of melatonin but I sure did try a bunch--they seemed to work only at first). Anyway, I am taking 5 mg of valium and now I need to increase that. Of course, I also need to nap to sleep off the aftereffects. Two 7.5 restorils will give me a good night sleep, but all benzodiazepams effect memory and at my age I care about that. I am wondering about doing a sleep study, but I wonder at the end of it if it will really tell me anything I don't already know: my hormonal changes have caused insomnia and I haven't found a sleep aid that works. So why spend the time? Anyone think otherwise.

 
Old 04-12-2012, 12:50 PM   #2
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Re: Sleep study? Post-menopausal insomnia

Have you thought about supplementing with progesterone? It would advisable to have your hormone levels checked first. But if you are still producing even the slightest amount of estrogen, you could be estrogen dominant. You most likely are producing no progesterone at all. You only produce progesterone with ovulation, and you no longer ovulate. But if you haven't had a hysterectomy, your uterus and ovaries still might be producing small amounts of estrogen which is the excitable hormone. Progesterone is the calming hormone. I am peri-menopause right now but dealing with pretty poor sleep and I can tie it to hormone fluctuations with my cycle. I have been seeing a BHRT doctor who prescribed me progesterone cream. I have to say I don't sleep sound like I used to, but I fall asleep and I can fall back to sleep in the middle of the night if I wake. I can tell within an hour of applying the cream before bed. I begin to get relaxed and sleepy. I do take melatonin and another supplement to help keep my cortisol levels from spiking during the night. That combo has afforded me 6 1/2-7 1/2hrs of sleep where I was getting 4hrs mostly - on bad nights, 3hrs. After 5mos of this, I finally realized it was probably hormones so made the appt with the BHRT doctor.

You might be ok to get the lower dosage of progesterone cream from a health food store and give it a try for a month. You apply it on thin skinned areas like inside of your arms, backs of knees, tops of feet, chest/neck. Try to steer clear of fatty areas because the progesterone can build up in fatty tissue. You may not see dramatic results because the dose is so low and it might take a week before you do see something. I get prescription progesterone because the health food store cream didn't have a high enough dosage to counter balance the estrogen.

 
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:19 PM   #3
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Re: Sleep study? Post-menopausal insomnia

Quote:
Originally Posted by irisrose View Post
Have you thought about supplementing with progesterone? It would advisable to have your hormone levels checked first. But if you are still producing even the slightest amount of estrogen, you could be estrogen dominant. You most likely are producing no progesterone at all. You only produce progesterone with ovulation, and you no longer ovulate. But if you haven't had a hysterectomy, your uterus and ovaries still might be producing small amounts of estrogen which is the excitable hormone. Progesterone is the calming hormone. I am peri-menopause right now but dealing with pretty poor sleep and I can tie it to hormone fluctuations with my cycle. I have been seeing a BHRT doctor who prescribed me progesterone cream. I have to say I don't sleep sound like I used to, but I fall asleep and I can fall back to sleep in the middle of the night if I wake. I can tell within an hour of applying the cream before bed. I begin to get relaxed and sleepy. I do take melatonin and another supplement to help keep my cortisol levels from spiking during the night. That combo has afforded me 6 1/2-7 1/2hrs of sleep where I was getting 4hrs mostly - on bad nights, 3hrs. After 5mos of this, I finally realized it was probably hormones so made the appt with the BHRT doctor.

You might be ok to get the lower dosage of progesterone cream from a health food store and give it a try for a month. You apply it on thin skinned areas like inside of your arms, backs of knees, tops of feet, chest/neck. Try to steer clear of fatty areas because the progesterone can build up in fatty tissue. You may not see dramatic results because the dose is so low and it might take a week before you do see something. I get prescription progesterone because the health food store cream didn't have a high enough dosage to counter balance the estrogen.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. In the past I had terrible and pretty immediate depression with progesterone. I wonder if the over-the-counter stuff might work? I was taking the lowest possible dosage (cream) that the bio-identical hormonal pharmacy could mix up. I will check with my gynecologist.

 
Old 05-08-2012, 05:01 AM   #4
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Re: Sleep study? Post-menopausal insomnia

Menopause is associated with a number of problems and sleep dysfunction is one of them. Irregular sleep pattern is caused mainly by hormonal changes and hot flashes. Women in their menopause are advised to reduce the consumption of sugar, caffeine and alcohol in their daily routine. Doctors advise estrogen therapy which helps in controlling sleep disorders along with mood swings and anxiety.

 
Old 02-07-2013, 12:49 PM   #5
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Re: Sleep study? Post-menopausal insomnia

Quote:
Originally Posted by irisrose View Post
Have you thought about supplementing with progesterone? It would advisable to have your hormone levels checked first. But if you are still producing even the slightest amount of estrogen, you could be estrogen dominant. You most likely are producing no progesterone at all. You only produce progesterone with ovulation, and you no longer ovulate. But if you haven't had a hysterectomy, your uterus and ovaries still might be producing small amounts of estrogen which is the excitable hormone. Progesterone is the calming hormone. I am peri-menopause right now but dealing with pretty poor sleep and I can tie it to hormone fluctuations with my cycle. I have been seeing a BHRT doctor who prescribed me progesterone cream. I have to say I don't sleep sound like I used to, but I fall asleep and I can fall back to sleep in the middle of the night if I wake. I can tell within an hour of applying the cream before bed. I begin to get relaxed and sleepy. I do take melatonin and another supplement to help keep my cortisol levels from spiking during the night. That combo has afforded me 6 1/2-7 1/2hrs of sleep where I was getting 4hrs mostly - on bad nights, 3hrs. After 5mos of this, I finally realized it was probably hormones so made the appt with the BHRT doctor.

You might be ok to get the lower dosage of progesterone cream from a health food store and give it a try for a month. You apply it on thin skinned areas like inside of your arms, backs of knees, tops of feet, chest/neck. Try to steer clear of fatty areas because the progesterone can build up in fatty tissue. You may not see dramatic results because the dose is so low and it might take a week before you do see something. I get prescription progesterone because the health food store cream didn't have a high enough dosage to counter balance the estrogen.

 
Old 02-07-2013, 01:08 PM   #6
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Re: Sleep study? Post-menopausal insomnia

This is a message for Irisrose or anyone else going through Perimenopause. I just signed up for this thread and read your experiences going through Perimenopause. You posted in 2009 so hopefully your symptoms have gotten better. I too am going through Perimenopause. I think I started a few years ago with some of the beginning symptoms, irritability, extreme mood swings, etc. The most noticeable sign for me that I was entering into Perimenopause was last year when I had been sleeping fine then all of a suddern literally over night I went into full blown Insomnia and night sweats where at the worst point I was only getting a half hour of sleep at a time. I had no idea what was going on with me. I was only 39 so the thought of Perimenopause didn't even cross my mind. I was terrified to put it lightly. After four months of extreme Insomnia and no relief no matter what I took to help me sleep I went in and had some blood work and found that my Progesterone dropped over the cliff, basement low. I started taking natural compound progesterone which took time to work but then started sleeping very well up until the last month. Now I feel like I am going back into Insomnia again and having hot flashes. I go to sleep ok but wake hot and unable to go back to sleep for a while then it is very broken sleep if I do. It is really affecting my quality of life again and I am having a difficult time not having anxiety over having to go through the whole process again. Have you had this experience? Does your Insomnia come and go? Does this nightmare ever end? I was hoping that once you reached Menopause this ended but most say that it doesn't. Does the symptoms at least get better during post Menopause? Anyone's impute that is going though this is greatly appreciated.

 
Old 02-07-2013, 03:41 PM   #7
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Re: Sleep study? Post-menopausal insomnia

Hi Angelaakataz,

Sorry to hear things are getting wonky again Have you talked to your doctor that prescribed the progesterone cream? Or has he/she re-run any of your labs?

The only thing I can think of is you are having a hormonal shift again and the dosage of progesterone cream isn't working like it had been. When I first started taking the progesterone cream, it actually caused my estrogen receptors to "wake up" and I had more severe symptoms - night sweats, breast tenderness for no reason. I did sleep well but those things increased. I was actually absorbing it too well really increasing my progesterone levels and so my estrogen was sort of increasing to balance against the progesterone.

I'm not saying that is what is happening with you. But it might be wise to have your hormones checked again. Because when I went back and had my checked, my progesterone got fairly high. You might just need to adjust up or down the dosage.

I can't say my sleep is perfect. I'm hoping once I go through menopause it will go back to the way it used to be. But I at least sleep where before I was living off of 2,3,4 hrs of sleep for months. My sleep is ok. I do wake up every 2hrs or 3 if I'm lucky but I do fall right back to sleep. But I never used to wake up, consciously and look at the clock to know what time it is. I've gotten used to it and it doesn't really effect how I feel during the day so I'm ok with it for now. I'm still getting 7-8hrs of sleep so I'll take it compared to where I came from.

I don't take RX progesterone cream anymore. I took it for about 6mos then I quit. I began exercising more vigorously and consistently and that seemed to help me far more than anything I was taking. I always wanted to try and find a way to make my body function and adapt more efficiently to the hormone changes and I think exercising a bit harder has done that for me. Maybe my liver functions better to break down and clear the excess estrogen or maybe I produce more happy hormones like endorphins etc to combat the crazy female hormones.

I think my first step if I were you is find out what your hormone levels are. You could be supplementing too much or too little. Since you initially improved so much with the addition of progesterone cream, I'm pretty sure with some tweaking you can fix this. Just don't panic about the sleep because that in and of itself can perpetuate the sleep problems aside from the hormones. Just keep in your head that you got better before and slept well, you will again. You will just need to do a little detective work to figure out what to do to get there.

Last edited by irisrose; 02-07-2013 at 03:43 PM.

 
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