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To ask for Perimenopausal horror stories and ask if there's any respite?

(199 Posts)
celestialbows Tue 27-Aug-13 10:57:02

We touched on this subject in the hideous wedding story thread and I think that the responses and shared experiences warrant their own thread.

I believe that I started perimenopause 5 years ago aged 35. My periods became heavy and erratic. I was ttc and the only solution GPs could offer for the erratic bleeding was to put me on the pill.
Luckily I saw an amazing locum who referred me to the fertility clinic and I now have two beautiful children.

Since having the kids my cycle has got worse, periods are either really late or bunched together. I have embarrassing flooding, crazy mood swings, inappropriate crying at work and in public places as well as 'middle aged spread' dry hair and skin (dry everywhere...) and the list goes on.
Once again the. surgery has been unsupportive, my GP says that I'm too young for menopause and I'm only presenting with PMT and it is the same for all women!

I resorted to private hormone testing which showed that my oestrogen is persistently low. The GPs won't acknowledge the tests as they are notoriously unreliable and have offered me anti Depressants and the pill to counteract the mood swings and irregular cycle.

Has anyone else tried these methods and found them helpful or do you have any experience of other things which helped you?

Please wade in with your tales and help me to see I'm not alone!

Nanny0gg Tue 27-Aug-13 11:13:46

You do not have to put up with this, it is affecting your day-to-day life. I'd switch GPs or ask for a referral to a gynecologist.

my GP says that I'm too young for menopause and I'm only presenting with PMT and it is the same for all women!

Um. Bollocks.

gordyslovesheep Tue 27-Aug-13 11:15:54

get a new GP and complain to your NHS Trust

I am going to try some herbal stuff - I just spent 20 mins cursing and chuntering to myself because the kids wouldn't help put the shopping away - whilst sweating like a pig - I am such a joy to be around

TylerHopkins Tue 27-Aug-13 11:16:58

I second Nanny's Bollocks.

You need to see another GP.

ThePost Tue 27-Aug-13 11:18:26

Night sweats. My god, the night sweats.

Birdsgottafly Tue 27-Aug-13 11:23:57

I am in my middle 40's and have been in peri-menopause for about four years.

I have gone vegan to control my weight, it is the only thing that is working.

My night sweats, burning feet etc have gone, my emotions (and periods) are all over the place, though.

I have chosen not to have any treatment and am using meditation, CBT etc as i have had a massive lack of confidence and felt quite low.

I was offered a referral to my local women's hospital, so definitely go back to your doctor and insist on a referral, some GP's are really dismissive of women's health problems and out of date on what's available.

DidoTheDodo Tue 27-Aug-13 11:24:18

Hot flushes. I have had ten years of them.
And a final period that lasted five months.

mkmjimmy Tue 27-Aug-13 11:26:34

Yes. ask for another gp. I started peri at 35 and struggled for 6 years after gp told me to put up with it. Year ago when really struggling went to new gp . straight on hrt and, for me, working really well (new poster and on phone so hope what I posted is ok!). I should have gone back to gp years ago!

celestialbows Tue 27-Aug-13 12:24:19

Aw thanks for your replies, I forgot to mention the night sweats and occasional hot flushes, interesting to read that at my age it isn't that strange to be going through this.
I'm in the process of composing a letter (mentally) to the practice manager because every time I try to assert myself with the GPs I end up in tears of frustration which only compounds their anti depressant prescription!
They are patronising in the extreme and on one occasion I saw a woman who at least agreed to refer me for a scan as ovulation is excruciating to the point of disabling. The scan showed no abnormality for which I am grateful but in their eyes that means that there's nothing wrong. There's no women's health specialist there and I don't believe that the ones that I've met are rushing to update their knowledge anytime soon!
I take various alternative remedies including agnus castus but nothing is having any effect. Of course the outcome is that I am low in mood and my (existing condition) anxiety is sky high which again justifies the ad prescription!
Also I'm impatient and snappy with kids and dh and the irregular periods have a knock on effect of exacerbating an existing joint problem.


Abra1d Tue 27-Aug-13 12:28:43

Doing the 5:2 has helped keep my weight stable, and perhaps reduced the stress levels, too. As has doing as much exercise as I can.

I had an appalling experience flying home from holiday last weekend and getting a sudden flood. There was turbulence and we weren't allowed to leave our seats for most of the flight. Fortunately I was wearing dark clothes and just managed not to stain the seat.When we touched down I had to rifle through the suitcase of dirty clothes by the carousel and retrieve a change of clothes for the drive home from the airport to my parents', where we'd left the dog. They gave me a strange look as the assortment of clothes I had one was a bit peculiar. Then the next morning at home I woke to found that I had flooded the bed--right down through the mattress protector to the mattress. The mooncup just can't cope when the volume is so high--even with padding, as well.

celestialbows Tue 27-Aug-13 12:32:10

Birdsgottafly: I'd be interested to hear how your lifestyle changes impact on the condition longterm, I have considered going vegan or at least vegetarian but I have so much on my plate it's too hard to concentrate on anymore adjustments at the moment!

Mkmjimmy: glad to hear hrt is working for you. I'm so nervous of pharmaceutical drugs based on previous experience but my life is (almost) not worth living at the moment. That sounds dramatic and I would never commit suicide but daily life is pretty unbearable at the moment.

Didothedodo! Five months! That's horrendous but it must be a relief now it's finally over? Were you anaemic during the mega menses?

Gordy : what herbal stuff will you try?

ivykaty44 Tue 27-Aug-13 12:36:32

40 is the world wide average age for menopause. When I mentioned this at work my colleagues were shocked as one colleague had had her menopause at 40 and thought it was very young.

I was recently told by a gp that they only training she had had about HRT was from the drug companies that provide it. Which doesn't give me a lot of confidence in the knowledge available hmm

I am very interested in how the vegan diet has helped Birds I have given up milk and butter and eat very few eggs and very little meat as it is - about once a month for any animal meat. How has becoming vegan helped you and do you use soya products or not?

I do a lot of cycling and try to go to weights classes, in the hope that the exercise will help, it helps with weight. I have had a few night sweats but nothing else apart from periods getting less frequent

ivykaty44 Tue 27-Aug-13 12:41:47

sorry that should be 40 is the world wide age of menopause to start - it is very different in the western world alone

maybe3x Tue 27-Aug-13 12:56:58

I hadn't heard of 'perimenopausal' until recently but I'm wondering if it applies to me. I've had night sweats for years, and almost 38 now, my periods are regular but last year had a run of 4 months of really heavy ones them back to normal. Gp sent me for a scan in case it was fibroids but it was clear. Had another floody one this month. We're ttc no 3 at the moment without success so am worried maybe it's too late sad

celestialbows Tue 27-Aug-13 13:09:30

maybe3x it might not be too late depending on whether clomid works for you, worth asking for a referral for fertility treatment to help you to conceive.

DidoTheDodo Tue 27-Aug-13 13:10:56

Celestial - the great thing about post-menopause is no periods. That is REALLY good!

I started peri-m at about 40 and it was all over by 46 for me. I too had some difficulty getting a lot of help from GP as I was also "too young". I did have an internal scan and have seen my ovaries!

The mega period got me all the way to a specialist at the hospital, where I was offered a Mirena coil and some possible surgery which I refused. I had some norethisterone now and again (just for a break!) and eventually the period stopped and I have never been troubled again! Phew! I expect I was a bit anaemic, but did take iron supplements during this time to try to improve things.

elspethmcgillicuddy Tue 27-Aug-13 13:46:35

Just noticed that you say you are 'dry everywhere'. Vaginally dryness can be a real problem. As you have less oestrogen the tissues are drier, less elastic and it makes it all a bit sore. You could ask your GP for some vagifem. It's a local oestrogen cream which can be very helpful for these things!

celestialbows Tue 27-Aug-13 14:03:11

Hey elspethmcgillicuddy thanks for the tip and for reading between the lines!

Abra1d the aeroplane experience sounds horrible, it's so much worse than babies with nappy explosions because everyone expects grown women to be more in control of their bodily functions! I have had many flooding experiences in numerous circumstances despite being prepared and carrying supplies sometimes it is not easy to get to a loo in time!

Didothedodo I hope that mine will be over quickly, if my calculations are right I have already done five years of peri! I started my periods aged 8 or 9 and research suggests that this doesn't affect menopause but I wonder if anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise?

Ivykaty I do try to exercise but I'm so wiped out I really lose motivation and can't stay in a regime due to my husband's shift work.

DidoTheDodo Tue 27-Aug-13 14:07:13

I started my periods late (15) but I did read so0mewhere that if you have had treatment for cervical cancer as I have) then you are more likely to have an earlier menopause. No idea why!

And as to worldwide average age of menopause, isn't it likely to be a lot earlier in countries where poorer nutrition is an issue? (ie the body cannot support a pregnancy). If that is the case then it would up the average age for those of us in the west. ( I don't know any of this stuff, I'm just surmising)

Blueandwhitelover Tue 27-Aug-13 14:16:39

I'm 49 and they still keep coming :-( Was hopeful this month because it was over a week late.
I've been on school holidays and this month had no stabbiness feelings at all!
I was discussing this with a friend this morning who is having long gaps between her periods now (despite being younger than me). I did wonder if the fact that I am very overweight might be making mine hang on!

myfriendflicka Tue 27-Aug-13 14:25:38

A slight digression but...If you are having really heavy periods, get tested for von Willebrand Disease, which is a mild inherited bleeding disorder which affects 1 in 100 men and women.

The other symptoms are easy bruising, frequent nosebleeds (sometimes, not everyone has all the symptoms), and heavy bleeding after surgery or dental extractions from vascular areas of the body, and abnormal blood clotting times. Sometimes these symptoms can be overlooked, and obviously they are more problematic for women because of periods/childbirth.

I was diagnosed after the birth of my second child and there are several effective treatments (DDAVP, Tranexamic acid) which help clotting and reduce bleeding.

Just thought I's post that as if you are perimenopausal and bleeding more and have von willebrand's it will help calm things down. And it's worth knowing about anyway in case you need an op, or you have concerns about your DCs and bleeding.

japonicabumsplatt Tue 27-Aug-13 14:28:00

This is soooooo interesting. I am 46 in October. I had a hysterectomy about 3 years ago but my ovaries were left. I have no idea what should be happening to me as I will have no last period.
I GENUINELY did not think I could be even perimenopausal yet. But, look at that, some women are through it and out the other side. I did have night sweats but they passed. Obviously no flooding for me. I had my last child at 39 and turned 40 when she was about 6 months old.
I have terrible panic attacks, anxiety and am bi-polar ( a diagnosis that has been ongoing since my late 20s). i don't think I ovulate at the moment. Totally in the dark as it goes.
So I can go to the pharmacy and check my oestrogen levels? Could i get away without HRT do you think? tend to have a nasty reaction to hormone of any type pill and so on.
do let me know. Very interested here and it might explain somethings. like the hair issue. on my head, whereas it is disappearing in places further south.

Abra1d Tue 27-Aug-13 14:31:05

'Abra1d the aeroplane experience sounds horrible, it's so much worse than babies with nappy explosions because everyone expects grown women to be more in control of their bodily functions!'

Yes--it's the powerlessness that's so grim. No matter how prepared you are you can be caught out. My only comfort is that it didn't spoil the actual holiday for me. In fact, I suspect that constant submersion in water (was windsurfing and falling off quite a bit) helped with cramps, etc, and the cool water possibly stopped the bleeding then. So it could have been worse.

It did affect my tennis, though. Does anyone else find that they are very sleepy and uncoordinated a day or so before the start a period?

sparklingstars Tue 27-Aug-13 14:34:50

I have been wondering about hot flushes - are they suddenly feeling sweaty and needing to have a drink of water or something?

I get really heavy periods and have done for some 4 years now. I tried Mirena but it didn't help for long, they got really heavy again so I got rid of it and they went lighter again. Now I have a wardrobe full of navy and black and double up on super plus tampons when I have to sad

celestialbows Tue 27-Aug-13 16:27:40

My 'hot flushes' have consisted of a really strange feeling in my chest, a bit like an adrenaline rush. Light and fast heartbeat that spreads from my chest to my neck, face and head. I feel really warm and 'rushy' and have light perspiration break out on my face. It stops me in my tracks and is over pretty much as soon as it begins.
A friend described it as being like a fast lift going up inside you from the chest to head!

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