New member, who desperately needs advice

For those of you who are just beginning this wonderful process, here we can narrow down the symptoms and ask questions like "am I starting perimenopause?"

New member, who desperately needs advice

Postby michelilow » Wed May 11, 2005 5:40 am

Hi,
I came across your site a few months ago & have been reading all your posts & I am really in need of some advice.
I have been a depression sufferer on & off for most of my life & after I had both my children I had post natal depression & was perscribed antidepressants.
I suffered from really bad PMS when I was younger & went on what was called the mini pill here in the UK.
Anyway, as soon as I hit 40 my problems started. I started to suffer with depression really bad again, even though my GP had kept me on antidepressants for 13 years( I am off these now, after a long hard battle) reoccurring vertigo & balance problems, really bad headaches, tension in my shoulders, head & neck, hair loss, unbearable anxiety & moods swings which are getting so bad I get violent,
hypoglycaemia in the second half of the month, cold hands & feet, loss of esteem, bloating. The list is endless. One thing that someone else mentioned, is the electric shock type sensations in my head which are awful & I get a feeling as though something is crushing my head. I know what the Man In The Iron Mask must have felt like!
I am still getting my periods each month, even though they are different, as they may be a couple of days early or late & they are lighter. I get two days of what I would call normal bleeding & then it is very light.
I tried to speak to my GP about all this is what is happening to me but he does not seem interested. To be honest I have no faith in him, after he what happened with a previous incident involving my depression.
I have noticed that my symptoms seems to start after I should have ovulated & I am wondering if it is shortage of progesterone & I have been searching the web for answers. Could this also be why I had the postnatal depression twice? I have sent for some Serenity progesterone cream to see if this helps as a last resort.
I feel no longer in control of my life, as everyday seems an uphill struggle & I can guarantee that every couple of weeks I have caught some sort of virus or other. I have tried supplements like magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, cod liver oil & a combined supplement supposedly for before & after the menopause but had no luck.
I always knew my body so well, so this has come as a shock. I feel as though I have aged 20 years in the space of two! Please tell me I am not going through this on my own!
Michele
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Postby Zero » Wed May 11, 2005 6:45 am

Michele, bless your heart...you sound like the poster girl for a really rough experience. Of course, it may not all be due to your hormones, but damn it, with so much stuff going on, something is out of balance and your physicians should keep trying to help you figure it out!

I'm sure Dr. Judy will have something to say when she sees this, but you might also want to check out Dr. Larrian Gillespie's site: http://www.hormonediva.com I think she would tell you to kick that doctor off a cliff!

Here's an email from a friend of mine that might give you some ideas too:

Did I tell you that I was seeing a Dr. who specializes in Alternative treatments. She is with Wellness Works in Brandon Florida. They have a website that you can look at. I am seeing Erica Bradshaw—she is much more available than Carol Roberts who is the founder of the practice.

Of course the first thing I got was compounded hormone replacement. But the other problem that I had was lack of energy bordering on being a potato—especially in the AM when it took me 2 to 3 hours to get started. The thing that I love is the amount of testing that she did before prescribing anything. She tested for allergies, hormone levels, heavy metals, and glandular function. What she found was non-existent adrenal function in the morning then rising afternoon to a high in the PM. I knew that was what happened, but could not get a doctor to investigate why it happened. She has tried various treatments, one at a time, until she has got me on Cortisol and adrenal supplements that are really helping. She has addressed sleeping, fatigue, cholesterol, weight and everything problem I had with natural remedies and actually takes the time to talk to me. I don’t know why I waited so long—probably fatigue and lack of time! I have never felt better and feel like I am getting back to myself again. I have always been into natural medicine but until you have someone who can diagnose the problem it is just hit and miss. Many of the links in your newsletter combined with all the books and newletters I take finally encouraged me to find someone who took the time to heal me rather than medicate me. Thanks for the networking that you do—it is a great resource for we who need it.
Zero
 

Postby Guest » Wed May 11, 2005 8:45 am

Michele,
I am in my forties too! You post sounded very familiar to me so I thought Id let you know that you aren't alone. I had terrible balance and dizzy spells for months. I ended up at an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor who put me through all kinds of tests and a Cat scan! Everything was normal. She suggested food based Vitamin B. I have been taking it since January and my spells have gotten better but I can't say if it's the vitamins. My symptoms are also worst from the time I ovulate to the time I get my period. They used to be bad the week before I ovulated. I can't keep up with them! :) I also had Post partum depression and usually got a good bout of PMS every month. I think the best thing I have done for myself is exercise. I feel so much better equipped to handle the ups and downs of menopause when I feel physically strong. I hate exercise but I love the way I feel when I am done. I just started Pilates and have found that after a workout I feel relaxed and strong but not wiped out. It also helps me with my back and neck tension. I am forty pounds overweight but have never felt more fit. I throw my shorts on and get myself to the gym and hop on those machines right next to those tiny 20 somethings-hey with my excess weight and raging hormones they're dead meat if they look at me sideways!

I am also working with my doctors, my GP who I love and my GYN (who I don't even like!) I'll be trying BCPs next month. Good luck and remember there's someone here in the US who has alot of your symptoms-you're definitly not alone!
Tracy
Guest
 

Postby Guest » Wed May 11, 2005 3:46 pm

Hi Tracy,
I am so glad to find that I am not alone in my suffering! I find it hard to try & make anyone understand how horrible it is to feel this way all the time, so I am so glad I have found this site.
I have tried yoga for relaxation & it did help a little bit, then come the week before my period the headaches & tension would still come along.
I would so love to be able to able to go to a gym or try some exercise, but I don't seem to have the energy anymore. In my younger years I could work out for an hour or two with no trouble & I could walk for miles, but that all seems a long time ago. When the dizziness is bad, like it is now I can hardly do anything.
I am so glad that you have a Dr you can trust. I used to think that way about mine in the beginning, but he let me down badly when I needed him most.
I think it is great that you go along to that gym & show those 20 somethings you are as good as they are. You go girl!
Thanks, Michele
Guest
 

Postby michelilow » Wed May 11, 2005 5:38 pm

Hi Dee,
thanks for the site you recommended as it was very interesting reading.
I feel dreadful most mornings when I wake up & it is such an effort to get out of bed, as I feel drained. I put it down to all the anxiety the night before, as it starts up for no reason. Maybe one day I will find out what is wrong with me, when I can find a Dr who listens. I am going for my three year pap smear next week with the nurse, so I will mention all these things that are happening to me & maybe she will suggest some more tests. Here's hoping!
Thanks, Michele
michelilow
On Fire!
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 4:35 am
Location: Nottingham UK

Postby Guest » Wed May 11, 2005 9:20 pm

Michele,
I know how you feel. I had dizzy days when I would walk into the equipment as I moved from one exercise machine to another-quite a sight! If you can't go to a gym, try walking up your stairs two at a time or doing curls with cans of tomatoes! Anything, as awful as you feel you will feel better with a little exercise under your belt. Believe me I hate exercise, but unfortunatley it works. I wish eating bread and pasta was the magic bullet! It's just not right!

I started taking calcium / magnesium capsules when my headaches got bad and it really helped-like almost a miracle. I was taking 4 advil and then chasing it with two tylenol and hour later. Nothing helped until the calcium. Maybe it would work for you? I have the "granulated?" calcium in the capsule, not the solid horse pill.

Good luck with your appointment, I know it's hard to believe that hormones can make you feel so bad but they can. I hope you have better luck with the nurse than your doctor. I am lucky to have a great GP but my GYN is useless. He got mad at me for presenting my list of symptoms! What a massive jerk! Hang in there!
Tracy
Guest
 

Postby Guest » Wed May 11, 2005 9:26 pm

Michele,
One more thought. Have you had your thyroid tested? Mine crapped out after baby#2 and we ate take out for six months before I had my levels checked. I was just too tired to cook anything, I don't think I even got off the couch after 2pm. It was awful and I got depresssed. Maybe you should ask about it?
Tracy
Guest
 

Postby drjudy » Sun May 15, 2005 11:42 am

Dear Michele,

Here is a passage from a textbook on brain chemistry and mood disturbances by a well-known expert, Dr. Stephen Stahl:

"There is an increasing risk that a woman will have a recurrence of a major depressive episode after any shift in her estrogen status across her lifetime, a phenomenon some experts have called 'kindling.' For example, a woman's risk of having a postpartum depression increases several fold if she had a depressive episode after a previous pregnancy. A woman who has a depressive episode triggered by any endocrine shift is quite vulnerable to a recurrence of depression after another reproductive 'event' later in her life cycle which include puberty, miscariage, postpartum, perimenopause, taking oral contraceptives, and taking hormone replacement therapy, especially progesterone."

So those of us who struggled with mood disturbances before periods and after pregnancies are much more likely to hit another slump on our way to menopause. Depression is an absolute show-stopper and deserves our attention as much as any other medical condition from diabetes to cancer.

I know the NHS is a frustrating system to deal with, but I hope you are able to find the strength and support to work through this to a solution, if not with your disinterested GP, then with someone else. I like the exercise suggestions from Tracy. Dr. Stahl recommends some hormonal support and/or antidepressants which you might find helpful through this difficult time.

You certainly have company in your difficulties; this is a common and serious problem we face at a time when our plates are already full with a load of other nagging concerns at work and at home.

Best wishes,
Judy
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Postby michelilow » Tue May 17, 2005 5:34 am

Hi Dr. Judy,
thanks for your reply. I am going to go ahead & try the progesterone cream when it arrives, as I cannot go back down the anitdepressant road again.
You see, I was on them for 13 years after the birth of my first child & only came off them just before my son was born, but had to go straight back in them. I was ok, but a year & a half ago they didn't seem to work anymore & I kept collapsing in the night, so I went to see my GP who told me to swop straight over to the SSRI type, as I was on the tricyclics. I was really worried about the main side effect of feeling suicidal, as I was feeling that way already so I waited a month. I did in the end decide to try them but it turned out to be the worst decision I had ever made. I suffered from repeated panic attacks all night long, I felt so ill I could not get out of the chair & I used to beg my husband not to go to work everyday incase I did something to myself whilst he was gone. He kept asking for advice from my GP as he was really worried, but all the GP did was tell the receptionist to tell me to keep taking them. After four days I couldn't take anymore so I stopped taking them. My kids were having to listen to me during this period saying I wanted to end my life, which as you can imagine must have been pretty traumatic.
I then had to be practically carried into my GP's surgery & the first thing he said was ' you are really ill, aren't you!' He then told me to try St John's Wort, as it was as if my body had become sensitive to any type of foreign substance I gave it. He never asked me to come back to see how it was going & I was left to my own devices. I suffered withdrawal symptoms for weeks after & then I took the SJW for two months, but even they made me feel pretty awful once they had started to work.
So, as you can see medication for the depression is a no, no for me. I even have days where I cannot take a mild painkiller for the headaches I get every month. I have the repeated attacks of vertigo as well but cannot take anything.
I have asked my GP why I seem to keep getting a different virus every couple of weeks but he just tells me it is because I am prone to them. Could it be my immune system is just not working at all?
Thanks
Michele
michelilow
On Fire!
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 4:35 am
Location: Nottingham UK

Postby Zero » Tue May 17, 2005 8:12 am

Michele.... how did you get so lucky to find such compassionate doctors? NOT! This has been the problem for centuries that some dr.'s tell women "you're just prone to this..." because they don't have the time, the desire, the knowledge to help their patients FEEL GOOD! Unless you've got a diagnosed disease, how can they just brush off how bad you feel with comments like that? When there can be so many things out of balance, how can they just tell you there's nothing you can do, that you just have to live with it?

Judy, you're going to have to explain how some physicians get to this point! Most of them don't seem to want to be challenged to find out why a woman might feel so miserable on so many levels. All they want is something they can prescribe drugs for and have it just go away..... oh my, now I'm getting on a soap box, so I'll stop ranting.

Michele....at this point, I think you should contact Larrian Gillespie for a personal consultation. I think you have to sign up for her website to do this, but it's a whole lot cheaper than an office call and she seems to be able to zero in on things that others don't notice. Don't give up trying to find your way back to feeling like a normal human being. I wonder if you should see an endocrinologist? What do you think Judy?
Zero
 

Postby Guest » Sun May 22, 2005 1:45 pm

Dee~~When I read your post about your friend, it really hit home! When I read about her non-existant adrenal function, it sounds just like I feel! My mornings are horrible, it takes me until 1 or 2 in the afternoon to feel half normal. I thought maybe hormones, but awhile back I did do alot of reading on the adrenals. I see alot of women have this slow morning thing. I have always preferred the natural way, I don't want chemicals in my body unless I have no other choice. Thanks for posting that about your friend.

Girls~~ I see many of you talk about having the "dizzies" I've had them since I've been in peri, so I do think that's hormonal, at least for me. I don't like the off balance feeling, kinda feels like when your jumping on a bed..oh, the trials of peri.. I hope it ends soon.

Feel Better All

(((Hugs))) Fiona
Guest
 

Postby drjudy » Sun May 22, 2005 5:07 pm

Dee, I don't know how any doctors in the UK can function effectively in the best interests of their patients under the NHS. I'm afraid that the pitfalls of government-administered healthcare is my personal rant. The GPs there have a huge load and very limited access for their patients to specialty care.

I do think that you, Michelle, could profit from a visit to an endocrinologist. I also think you could benefit from treatment with estrogen, and evaluation for other imbalanced hormones. I hope that you are able to find the help you need. Clearly not antidepressants!

Best wishes,
Judy
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Postby michelilow » Tue May 24, 2005 12:33 pm

Hi,
just wanted to let you know, that I went back to see My GP this morning & he has ordered blood tests to try & find out what is wrong. I just hope something shows up this time, so I can get on with my life instead of worrying what else is going to go wrong next.
I do seem to be calmer since I started to use the progesterone cream last Friday & it seems to make the dizziness feel not so pronounced. Let's hope it gets better the more my body gets used to it.
Michele
michelilow
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Posts: 34
Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 4:35 am
Location: Nottingham UK

Postby drjudy » Tue May 24, 2005 7:04 pm

Hi Michele,

Be sure to see my post to you on 'ask the professional.'

Judy
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