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Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!


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Old 06-29-2017, 08:27 AM   #1
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Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

Looking for thoughts, advice and ideas. I'm 52 and as far as I know am post-meno as of 51. Had FSH and estrogen levels tested multiple times; estradiol less than 10 and FSH 90. Progesterone non-existent.

I read a lot of scare stories about all the horrors of menopause so before I'd even passed the full 12 months of no periods, I got so concerned I started a low dose patch a year ago (vivelle 0.05) using the natural progesterone 12 days/month. Although this regimen seems good and I feel okay, the progesterone part really is awful. Makes me sluggish, slows my digestion, I feel lethargic, etc.

I really never felt completely comfortable using HRT. Despite the newer versions of it, we do not have good, long term, large controlled studies of women using natural estradiol/progesterone for extended periods of time. I'm not convinced of long term safety. So many factors play into how our bodies respond to hormones and to use these standard dosing regimens seems to me like a chemistry experiment that has no real confirmed evidence of long-term safety.

I want to go off the hormones for good (wish I'd never started!) and dropped down to the 0.0375 patch a few months ago. Planning to drop down yet again to the 0.025 in another few months.

For those ladies who went without HRT or have since stopped, can you offer suggestions? Let me say that in my year on HRT, i DID stop twice - for 5 weeks each time. The only symptoms I noticed were mild hot flushes at night, and generally poorer sleep. Really not much else.

Thank you for reading and I appreciate all comments or thoughts!

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Old 06-30-2017, 04:27 AM   #2
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

Hi. I'm post menopausal 4 years and I do not take anything. I am a big medication and doctor phobic. I drag myself to the doctor for my annual check ups and when I go I tell him my symptoms and he would like to start me on HRT but I just can't do it. I would love some relief. Over the years I have had all the symptoms. It's a day by day thing. I will be honest and say it has been hard for me. Im currently struggling with high blood pressure, major anxiety and horrid hot flashes. I have tried natural remedies and they have helped somewhat like Sage, Black Cohosh, L-Theanine and Gaba. I also take multi vitamins , vitamin D drops and fish oils. I have eliminated caffienne and alcohol from my diet, I've cut down salt and sugar. I have a wonderful husband who is very supportive and understanding, especially in the bedroom as sex is not the same, we are still active , it's just different.
I wish you all the best. I do know people who have gone through it without any drugs and have survived and are happy and normal again.

Hugs to you,
Mary

 
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Old 06-30-2017, 05:50 AM   #3
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

Mandarra, thank you so much for responding! Just getting a response from someone meant the world to me. I'm scared about what might happen as I go off the patches and yet, I don't think that's a healthy way to look at it. I need to just live my life and deal with the symptoms day to day as they come. I understand what you mean about doctor and medication phobic. I have had life-long (30+ years) of health anxiety and it makes going to the doctor a living hell. I am better than I was in my 20's and 30's thanks to finally relenting and taking a low dose SSRI. I resisted FOREVER, but finally caved when I felt that I was so lost I didn't know how to function.

As for menopause symptoms, my thought is that why bother with HRT unless you plan to NEVER go off of it? If anyone currently using it stops, the symptoms will come back. The symptoms are the body's way of working through the extreme drop in hormones. As long as you bandaid that with hormones, your body never adjusts. I'm all for women using HRT for relief, but it needs to be put into context and used with the knowledge that you are not avoiding menopause.

Every case I have read about woman who stop HRT have had to go through their individual symptoms all over again (some well into their 60's and had been on it over a decade). It's a natural body response to the drop in estrogen. I think some people have this false idea that after they stop HRT, say 5, 10 years after using it, that they will be 'past' it all. Sadly, it doesn't work that way. As long as you've been providing your body these hormones, it has had no opportunity to adjust to life without them.

Sex is not the same, sleep is not the same, a lot of things aren't. But I know MANY postmeno women who are older than me and they are doing well and enjoying life. In fact, I had never seen or heard of a horror story about menopause until I started googling.

I hope your symptoms improve over time. I am not one to push the use of antidepressants, but they were a life saver for me! I loathe the idea of taking them but I had to function for myself and my family. I know you are medication phobic, but it's good to keep all options open and on the table. Just a thought. I hate hearing of others suffering with anxiety as it has been an all-too-familiar bedfellow in my life for so many years.

Hugs back at you and feel free to vent! I welcome the comraderie and support!

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Old 06-30-2017, 08:45 AM   #4
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

Hi there. I am in menopause right now and have been for the last year. I take absolutely no drugs. I agree with you about the studies and the long term effects, but I also come from a high incidence of cancer including breast and ovarian, and my GYN does now want me on hormones.,

I do take black cohosh twice a day. Without it, I have night sweats and toss and turn, with it, I sleep fine! Even missing it one day I notice a difference.

I think allot of this is truly mind over matter. Not to say that the symptoms arent real, they are- but depending on how you deal with them determines your outcome. I also deal with Multiple Sclerosis, so dealing with aches and pains and the unknown is "normal" for me. I cant be bothered worrying about menopause because in my mind- its not worth worrying about!

Best of luck in your quest to do this naturally. You can do it!
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Old 06-30-2017, 09:58 AM   #5
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

Oh Weathergirls we have a lot in common. I tried antidepressants and I cannot deal with the side effects, I've tried several times.

I pray this passes soon for us all. I worry for my two daughters and what they will go through. Let's take it one day at a time and try to find humour in whatever we can.
Hugs
Mary

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Old 06-30-2017, 02:41 PM   #6
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

Yes,you can still experience symptoms if you stop taking HRT. My gyno informed me of that. However, I don't intend to stop unless I have a medical reason to do so. Sex is still great for me at 71 - 14 years after my last period. My sister who is 70 has been on HRT since her mid 30s. THere is no female cancer in our mother, grandmothers, great grandmothers, 1st cousins, aunts, great aunts. So we feel comfortable taking it. Also,we both have excellent bone density scans. I went thru the osteoporosis clinic at UAB medical center and was cut loose by the director because not only is mine great for a 71 year old petite white woman but it has increased with each scan which she attributes SOLELY to the HRT. Both grandmothers and one great grandmother had several bone/spine issues due to osteoporosis so I feel I am doing a positive thing for my long term health as long as I get my yearly exams. HRT helps in many ways for many people. I understand it's not for everyone.

 
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Old 07-01-2017, 06:52 AM   #7
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

Titchou thanks for your thoughts. I'm glad this has worked for you and your sister, and you both are brave! I wish they would do some long-term, large studies on extended use of current gen HRT. It would help many women decide about risks and benefits.

I have been doing my own research (in concert with some other meno friends) for at least a year now, on every reputable medical publication I can get my hands on, and they really cannot decide about the severity and extent of risks beyond 5 -10 years tops. That's not good enough for me. If someone can accept those risks, though, power to them! Seriously - brave pioneers willing to venture into uncharted territory.

My sex life is fine, but honestly it was better and my experience was more intense off of HRT than on it. I think sometimes estradiol almost overrides or masks testosterone - at least in me. I found my sex life more satisfying without the HRT. I suspect that the complex feedback loop between the pituitary, ovaries, thyroid and adrenals is just so sophisticated that we really can't know how adding in exogenous hormones is going to affect each person. It's a very individual experience - biologically.

I do weight bearing exercise and have been a lifelong exerciser so my doctor is not concerned about osteoporosis issues as none seem to be in my family. I think it does tend to be familial to a degree, but there are plenty of nutritional an lifestyle factors that can offset this.

The way I've seen it on many menopause boards, is women who are suffering badly would gladly accept the added risk (or less years), to have better quality of life and I completely understand that. It is such a personal decision and one we have to be able to make without reservation. For me, the current information available is not enough to convince me of long-term safety. I would rather not take the risk, and feel I can approach this naturally from many angles - and just hope for the best.

MSNik I could not agree with you more! Attitude is everything and how we perceive a situation will determine how we experience it. My life is very busy at the moment and my work is demanding. I really don't have the time or energy to focus on menopause....to the degree that I am coping adequately. I think when we zero in on symptoms and feelings, they tend to magnify. When we are busy and purposefully engaged in life, it's interesting that they generally seem to disappear into the background (within reason). I've not yet looked into black cohosh but plan to. I know several women who have used it with fantastic results.

Thank you ladies for such wonderful thoughts and support. Any other thoughts and ideas are welcome!

 
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Old 07-01-2017, 08:29 AM   #8
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

Thank you for the understanding response. I often get jumped on for my story but I truly believe my sister and I have made well reasoned decisions that work for us. Best thoughts for you as you move thru this....

 
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Old 07-01-2017, 08:49 AM   #9
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

Titchou, no one should be jumping on you! These decisions are personal and everyone needs to do what's best for them. Whether we agree or not, is really not the point. It's whatever makes us feel healthy and comfortable.

I find that the whole HRT debate can get very ugly and I've seen it get pretty nasty in some other forums. I refuse to go in that direction. I respect all women and all choices! Hugs!!

 
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Old 07-02-2017, 08:06 AM   #10
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

I agree that this is a really personal decision and that it has to be made when you are fully advised about the risks and benefits....not everyone faces what I face, which is that most of my family has died from female related cancers!

Talk to your doctor, decide what is right for you and try it. You can always stop if you dont like how it is going....whether that means going natural, or trying HRT!

Keep the positive attitude! It will benefit you no matter what!
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:44 AM   #11
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandarra View Post
Oh Weathergirls we have a lot in common. I tried antidepressants and I cannot deal with the side effects, I've tried several times.

I pray this passes soon for us all. I worry for my two daughters and what they will go through. Let's take it one day at a time and try to find humour in whatever we can.
Hugs
Mary
Mary, yes that's really all we can do. I know it's so hard. 😞 I literally try to think only one day at a time for sanity's sake! Hang in there and hugs!!!

 
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:11 AM   #12
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

I wanted to report back as I know on many posts people do not follow up and I always like to see how people are getting on! I've been on the Minivelle 0.025 patch now for about 4 weeks. So far, so good. It is not entirely stopping hot flashes, but mine were very mild and not frequent to begin with. I plan to stay on this for another few months at least, and then consider extending the time between patch changes, or just stopping.

The Minivelle 0.025 is really only indicated for bone protection, but I am finding even this small amount of estradiol seems to be alleviating some symtpoms. My current GYN (a nurse practitioner) is really good and is allowing me to make the call as to how I want to handle this. She is not open to very long term use of HRT, but she definitely understand that each person's needs are different and every patient is an individual.

 
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:28 PM   #13
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

I have been post now a little over a month and I too do not like thev synthetic stuff at all. Some like it but for me....no! I won't say its an easy thing. I don't really get the hot flashes but I don't sleep that well, but a magnesium supplement seems to help, I do get anxiety from time to time, I have aches and pains which can be hard for me to deal with, but I have been told by so many people that if I don't have "debilitating" symptoms every day, to ride it out if I can. I have been doing that. I take vitamins and supplements and try to eat right (don't always) drink enough water (again, don't always) and keep stress down. One of the worst symptoms is health anxiety but I just heard not that long ago that fear is mostly things thought about that never happen....or you can think on it for a long time and it could possibly manifest itself so I try to divert my attention on other things. a tough road going natural, but I think the pay off is well worth it!:-)

 
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Old 08-11-2017, 04:53 PM   #14
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

I wanted to update this thread. I've been using the Minivelle 0.025 patch now for a few months. It is not indicated for symptom relief, only to help stave off bone loss. I have had a few hot flashes (minor) and unless I exercise regularly, my sleep is not great. But other than that, I'm doing okay. I think I've gained a little weight this past year but I have no doubt it's from my body trying to adjust to the reduced estrogen levels. I am planning to stay on the Minivelle 0.025 at least through the fall, then reassess. Because it yields such a small amount of estradiol, I only use Progesterone for 14 days every 8 weeks. And even then, I barely have any bleeding. Just a little brown spotting. So I'm apparently not building up a lining, according to my GYN. I probably will take the leap and go completely off in the coming months but just not ready yet. I wanted to step down to the lowest possible dose first. So far, so good I guess!

 
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Old 08-11-2017, 04:55 PM   #15
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Re: Please - advice from those going through meno naturally!!

smokeymtnrain, if you could post updates, too, that would be so helpful! I know we all get so busy with life, but being able to check in and let others know how we're getting along is sometimes invaluable. I plan to come back here monthly and check back in. I'd love to hear how you're doing as well!

 
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