Testing testing

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?"

Testing testing

Postby danmia » Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:39 am

Hi,
Well three days ago I stopped my progesterone pills which I have been taking for like 6 years!!!! Originally they were for my heavy periods and then my doctor decided ah stay on them, life is better for you without periods. No arguments there, but after a year or so of menopause symptoms I decided now is the time to stop adding chemicals to my body and try au naturale. So if any of you are thinking of doing this, these are my observations of it so far. The first three days, horrendous bouts of cramps, gas, ibs, and panic. Then last night my period started, but it's very very very slight, so far so good, I am in dread of the flooding experience but day two is here, cramps are not quite so bad but still around, period is still lovely and light. So I'm wondering, will I now get the menopause symptoms big time or none at all? I'm kinda waiting for a hot flash to justify it all. I am going to take a home test next week to see if I really am where I think I am.
Anyway just wanted to share that with you all, any comments of similar experiences would be welcome.
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Postby minniepauz » Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:21 am

Thanks for sharing this info.... what is your age?
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Postby drjudy » Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:48 am

Thanks for update Danmia.

Progesterone has potent effects on brain, especially calming (makes evolutionary sense--don't pregnant mamas, rolling in progesterone, need to be calm?). I'm not surprised by panic. Cramps make sense too, as progesterone withdrawal, i.e. dropping levels of progesterone, is what precipitates a period. Interesting about increased irritable bowel symptoms, but the bowels are also full of smooth or involuntary muscle just like the uterus, so perhaps they respond to progesterone withdrawal as well.

I have no reason to think that your period will become heavy as progesterone is the very hormone needed to keep the uterine lining in check so that we don't flood under the influence of estrogen.

You may well experience some menopausal symptoms as progesterone can be useful in controlling hot flashes. In fact, it is prescribed for that reason to some women after breast cancer treatment.

Keep us posted.
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Postby danmia » Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:12 pm

Hello again
My age is nearly 55 well in May at least. I like the sound of 55 better than 54 for some reason, 5 is my lucky number. Sorry rambling. How long do you think it would be until I start getting hot flashes et? Or is it that if I haven't now I won't? IBS is something I have had since I was 15 so a flare up is not unusual for me, especially with hormonal changes and anxiety. I wonder then, if the progesterone kept my period light this time, does that mean next period will be heavy if my estrogen starts to get itself going again?
Any advice for the home test kit? I have ordered the Estroven one. Not quite sure what I'm looking for?
Best wishes
and thanks
mia
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Postby minniepauz » Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:06 pm

danmia....most professionals don't think the home tests are worth anything, but I tend to think they may be useful in certain situations like when you don't have insurance and just need a little assurance that there's definitely something hormonal going on.... I also think they will become more popular, just like home pregnancy tests did.

Here's some info on the one you mentioned:
Accuracy of test: Precisely determines menopause with accuracy in excess of 99%.
Sensitivity of test: Test is a semi-quantitative test designed such that a positive test indicates the presence of FSH at a concentration over 25UL/L (units per liter).
Test precautions: Test must be performed twice, with a week between tests, to be sure those positive results are not due to ovulation.

That one costs $20 for two tests. Some of them are more expensive, but I'll be offering a free test in the next month or two, so please don't buy any before then. This is a promotional campaign by a company and the only cost will be $4.95 for shipping. I'll be announcing it in my newsletter and of course, here, when the offer is available.
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Postby danmia » Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:10 pm

Oh cool I will be there on the list for one of those then, because I'm sure even if this thing says positive I will still need to see it again and again maybe hehehe. Am I weird actually wanting a positive test, the not knowing has been driving me nuts!!!
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Postby danmia » Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:01 am

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Hi Girlfriend... Don't worry, you'll get it figured out. We've all gone through this kind of confusion and upheaval! You ARE lucky to have a hubby who is at least considerate and will listen to you. You should have him look at this page: http://www.minniepauz.com/male-menopause.html It will give HIM some relief!!

The other thing I wanted to mention.....could you try not to start a new topic when you've got one going already and have an exchange of information going as in this thread http://www.minniepauz.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1688

It gets confusing when you start a new one (like this one today) because no one can remember what the details of your situation are. God knows we don't need any more confusion in our lives, right??? hahahahh.... If you want to you can copy and paste your post today as a reply to your other one and once you've done that, I could delete this one.
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Postby danmia » Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:07 am

Hello again
Thanks for the advice, confused is definitely where I am, and I seem to worry about every little thing now. I have posted your reply as you asked, I didn't think about where I should put my post today duh!!! pretty obvious really wasn't it.
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Postby danmia » Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:08 am

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Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 8:57 am Post subject: Testing Day four

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Hi,
Well last night my period got slightly heavier, and I was a little distressed at that, I so don't want to have the heavy horrible experiences I used to have. I became extremely irritable and moaned everything to my poor husband who openly professes to not understand anything that is going on, and doesn't really want to, he just said hugs I'm good at that, will that be OK. Bless him. He really hates anything to do with the female body and hormones. I debated taking the pill again and confess to giving in and taking one about an hour later. However, period was already lightening up again so today I haven't taken any but now I'm thinking wait, is it really that dangerous to take it, it is supposed to relieve hot flashes, and irritability and obviously no periods when you're taking it, so I don't know, what to do again, is it worth suffering just to find out if I am in deep peri or not?
Any advice would be extremely welcome I haven't experienced anything menopausal really since stopping, I am still waiting for a hot flash and really having one would make me feel better I think, at least I would know where I stand.

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Postby minniepauz » Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:30 pm

There you go! No problem, it just makes it easier for Dr. Judy and others to remember the beginning of the conversation without having to try to find earlier posts. :)
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Postby danmia » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:00 pm

OK that's it, day five and I give up, I am back on my pill, and thank God for that. It's been horrendous, the only thing I can think of is if you are going to stop it, do it really really really slowly not just stop it like I did. I have had the worst cramps ever in my life, diarrhea, and just general nastiness, with a slight period. The cramps were like my body was trying to strain the last drop of blood out every time, real double you over stuff. So I decided you know what quality of life and all that, I like not having to worry about periods, I like not having too bad of hot flashes, I like not being moody, oh yeah that's the other thing I turned into the bitch from hell every night since I stopped it. So yes it would seem I am in full blown menopause that much I learnt but that's it for me, give me the pill any day compared to how bad I felt without it. Obviously if I do give it up I will be tapering it off very slowly. Anyway if that helps anyone I am glad, but definitely not going through that again in a hurry.
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Postby drjudy » Sat Jan 14, 2006 11:10 am

Hi Mia,

I hope that your symptoms settled down back on the progesterone-only pill. This is not generally a long-term strategy for menopause, however, so you may want to consult your doctor about transitioning, at least for awhile, to a low dose combination therapy.

Going from the pill to nothing is rough. Adding a little estrogen and progesterone as you go off the pill should be an entirely different experience. When you feel back to your (not so) old self, please discuss a future strategy with your doctor.

Best,
Judy
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Postby danmia » Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:30 am

Hello Thank you for replying. I wonder, what are the problems with remaining on progesterone only as a long term therapy? Is it dangerous or are the risks the same or less than combined therapy?

Best wishes
Mia

PS Much better now, although still spotting slightly and a few cramps but nothing to speak of
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Postby drjudy » Sun Jan 15, 2006 5:17 pm

I don't know the answer to your question. The pill you are on probably contains norethisterone (NET), a synthetic progesterone-like molecule. Obviously, long-term continual NET use bears absolutely no relationship to the natural cycling of a woman.

I am unfamiliar with any long term studies on its use without estrogen, although it is contained in a combination product called Activella with estradiol, and femhrt with a synthetic estrogen called ethinyl estradiol. While these products have been studies regarding their efficacy in controlling hot flashes and supporting bone, there is a growing reluctance to using fixed dose combination pills over the long-term for the same reason I mentioned above--namely that it does not mimic at all a normal cycle.

I think your strategy now is a good one for the transition to menopause, as you have discovered by going off of it. Whether or not it meets your long-term goals for therapy depends on your long-term goals. It may support symptom relief, but you will miss out on some benefits associated with estrogen use, but also you may duck some of the downside of using estrogen along with progesterone.

Confusing, no? We fifty-something women are works in progress I think.

Judy
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Postby danmia » Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:46 am

I am in the if it ain't broke don't fix it mode right now. Although I'm still struggling to get my body back to being used to progestrone hehehe we can't win can we? I think in the future it is quite feasible that our grandchildren will not have to suffer any of this. They're already just having three or four periods a year now and I'm certain that will turn into none at all. So menopause will probably be a thing of the past in twenty years time. Either way, I think we are all kind of just figuring it all out for ourselves mostly, everyday is a surprise lol!!! Many thanks for your advice in all this, I'm sure I will be asking more when the next weirdo symptom appears.
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