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How long does it take to give up if you go cold turkey?

(28 Posts)
vole3 Tue 07-Aug-07 00:29:02

DS is 7 weeks old and I have exclusively bf him.
I am not giving up because I can't bf, but because the high prolactin hormone levels have caused inflammation in all of my major joints and I now can barely move so caring for him and myself is damn near impossible. Tonight it took 10 minutes to walk a distance that normally takes 2 mins and I can't bend my right knee at all.

I am hoping that once hormones are sorted out that I will recover, but how long could that take?

mears Tue 07-Aug-07 00:31:46

vole3 - have you had joint problems before pregnancy? I am not sure that your problems can totally be attributed to breastfeeding - sounds as though you need anti-inflammatory medication that can be taken whilst breastfeeding.

Have you seen a specailist?

VeniVidiVickiQV Tue 07-Aug-07 00:32:42

Agree with mears - i think you need a second opinion.

hunkermunker Tue 07-Aug-07 00:44:37

And a second opinion from somebody who knows something about breastfeeding too...

I had joint problems [understatement - I had arthritis so badly I couldn't move when it flared up] before I had DS1 and they flared up again after I had him for a while - couple of months, maybe - but I put that down to the pregnancy hormones leaving my body, not breastfeeding, which I continued to do for nearly 17 months.

Go and see your GP, explain you want to keep breastfeeding (if you do!) and see what they suggest. Perhaps ring the Breastfeeding Network's Drugline - 08700 604233.

You can take ibuprofen which should help - it's an anti-inflammatory as well as a painkiller.

vole3 Tue 07-Aug-07 07:50:14

I had a few infrequent carpal tunnel like symptoms before and during pregnancy, but the current state of affairs hit me like a ton of bricks when DS was about 2 weeks old and affects all joints in both arms and legs.

I'm already taking Diclofenac, paracetamol, omega 3 and rosehip supplements and have been for over a month, but symptoms are progressing rather than easing. If I rest things hurt, if I do anything 'normal' then I pay for it. Reading up on the web it says that prolactin can cause such an inflammatory response in some women.

I am due to see a rheumatologist tomorrow, but I wanted to know what may be in store for me if they decide on a course of treatment which I cannot take if still bf. On the other hand, if they can come up with something that keeps me a little more mobile and relatively painfree then I really want to continue.

Last night scared me. I know that my symptoms get worse during the evening and night, seemingly in tune with the fact that the hormone levels change in order to change the formula of breastmilk, but they have never been so bad that I was almost immobile before. I didn't know if I would make it up the stairs and also found I have very little in the way of being able to compensate if I overbalance slightly and didn't want to risk carrying DS. Thank goodness DH is on 2 days off from work and was able to fetch DS to me during the night.

It just seems so unfair that the pregnancy and birth were so easy, but the last 5 weeks have really been marred by this problem. DS is growing like a weed, putting on 13 oz last week, and as he gets heavier I am more afraid that my grip / strength will fail or I will get stuck unable to stand up from the sofa or loo!

My nightmare situation would be giving up bf if advised it was necessary and my symptoms not improving, but as things currently stand I am finding each day a little tougher and can envisage a time in the not so far off future when I will need looking after as well as DS.

mears Tue 07-Aug-07 09:56:46

I am really sorry to hear you are feeling so unwell vole3.

The symptoms you are describing sound much more like a reactive arthritis rather than prolactin levels. I have a midwife colleague who had similar symptoms which were controlled with medication while she still breastfed. There ws ad rug they wanted to try which she couldn't have while breastfeeding. She delayed trying it till she stopped feeding at over a year and then found it didn't help.

Wait and see what the rheumatolgist says.

If discontinuing breastfeeding is advised (is rare to need to) then you are better to gradually drop feeds to prevent excessive engorgement which is very painful. If you cannot do that you would be better to express milk off and lengthem the time inbetween expressions as your milk supply goes down.

If you go cold turkey, you will be very engorged for a few days and find it difficult to lift things. You would need regular pain relief and cabbage leaves. Everyone is different but the worst part would be the first 2-3 days and then it would gradually ease over the next 2 weeks.

All depends about how you feel about stopping.

mears Tue 07-Aug-07 09:59:48

you can check suitability of medicines here

mears Tue 07-Aug-07 10:03:19

another helpful site

dragonfruit Tue 07-Aug-07 10:30:57

your symptoms sound v similar to mine which developed a few weeks after birth. ds is 8 months now and my joints still hurt, some days really bad, other days bearable, but worse in the morning. blood tests have just confirmed that it is lupus, a form of arthritis, whcih apparently most commonly affects women during child bearing years.
would recommend you go get blood tests to determine this. in the meantime you can take up to 8 ibuprofen a day but my docs are reluctant to give me any other medication as i am still bf. i found acupuncture works, if you have a chance to try it.

vole3 Tue 07-Aug-07 12:17:02

Just had the GP call me with the results of my blood tests.
I have high inflammatory markers (no sh*t), and have tested positive for rheumatoid factor.

None of it has come as a big surprise, but it is still a crashing disappointment. I have worked in the NHS for 18 years, and whilst I know treatments have moved on significantly in that time, I have worked with enough people with rheumatoid that my mind is now cartwheeling over whether I will go back to work as planned, be able to work until pension age, be able to work until I have paid off the mortgage etc. I really should be concentrating on whether I will be able to get in and out of the shower today

Next thing I plan to do is talk to my HV as chances are the rheumatologist doesn't deal with too many bf mothers and find out what my options may be. Normal NSAID's haven't helped so far and the next option would usually be steroids which I'm not sure if I can bf whilst having.

hunkermunker Tue 07-Aug-07 12:28:57

Oh, sweetheart, what a shock.

Give the BFN Drugline a ring, honestly. Your HV is highly unlikely to have specific knowledge of the impact of drugs you can take on breastfeeding.

And I do hope you find something you can take that helps you - I know how foul it is to be so achey

vole3 Tue 07-Aug-07 13:17:51

Having trawled through BNF online it appears I can take co-codamol, so have done, and I can take oral steroids up to a certain dose with no effect on bf. Other than that, we shall see what the experts have to say tomorrow.

hunkermunker Tue 07-Aug-07 13:19:39

Really hope they can give you something to help you. Will look for your update tomorrow.

mears Tue 07-Aug-07 23:28:09

vole3 - I had an inkling when you posted that this would be the result.

My DH was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 2 years ago. Once he saw the rheumatologist he was started on sulphasalzine which has made a huge difference. He also sees a homeopath and takes her treatment too.

He is now off anti-inflammatories and is weaning off the sulphasalazine as he has been symptom free for over a year.

When he went though his first crisis we were so worried he wouldn't get back to work etc. The symptoms did settle and he went back to work with no problems. He preferred Brufen to voltarol and as I said has been symptom free.


We don't know whether homeopathy has helped or or but we are continuing with it anyway. Early intervention reduces long term complications. Hopefully your symptoms will resolve soon too. Best wishes, mears

mears Tue 07-Aug-07 23:29:01

Forgot to say he hasn't needed steroids because the sulphasalazine was so effective.

mears Tue 07-Aug-07 23:31:55

here is a link

mears Tue 07-Aug-07 23:33:17

better link

vole3 Wed 08-Aug-07 07:17:42

Many thanks for those links Mears.
I have printed out the drug info to take with me, just in casethe consultant hasn't got the info to hand.
Will update later, but it does seem symptoms are worse when I have less sleep. Diclofenac must be starting to work as I can see my right kneecap again!

vole3 Wed 08-Aug-07 18:01:47

Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis confirmed. Had a steroid injection today and will be taking sulfasalazine for the foreseeable future. Hopefully once the latter starts to take effect (may be up to 12 weeks) I can then wean myself off the diclofenac and paracetamol. Plan is for review in 3 months and then review again once LO gets to 6 months as may need to change drug regime if improvement not as good as hoped in the time elapsed.
At least it means we are making progress, I can carry on bf and now I just have to wait until things stop hurting.
Thanks for all your support

V

mears Wed 08-Aug-07 18:48:19

I am sorry to hear that you have tested positive for RA. I remember how devastated DH was when he was fist diagnosed. He had no side effects from the sulfasalazine and regularly has his blood tests to monitor liver function and white cell count. Everything has remained normal. He is symptom free as i said and is weaning off his medication. He hasn't had to take anti-inflammatories for months now.

As I said he saw a homeopathic doctor as well who specialises in homeopathy and has ceased general practice. She specialises in arthritic conditions so he takes what she prescribes too. We don't know if that is what is working or not - he just continues to take her pills and powders as well as conventional medicine.

I really hope you start to feel better soon.

Annie12 Fri 10-Aug-07 20:49:01

Hi, Just wondering if anybody can give me any information on high prolactin levels and RA. I seem to think that these high levels are the cause of what the consultant thinks is RA but not totally sure yet. DD has been given a steroid injection and has been told to return in 6 weeks. Does anybody know if once the prolactin level decreases then does the RA do the same? She has stopped bf now so perhaps that will change the prolactin levels. As nobody knows what sparks RA then it seems that hormones play a great part. Also heard of a somebody whose husband of 20 years left her and the next morning she awoke stiff as a board and found she had RA -caused by stress/shock. Have been advised to take fish oils which are supposed to help. Can anybody testify to that? Your help will be much appreciated. Annie

vole3 Fri 10-Aug-07 21:22:00

Try this link www.rheumatoid.org.uk/article.php?article_id=69

I was taking omega3 during pregnancy as DH anaphylactically allergic to fish. I'm now also taking Litozin, more omega oils, but have only been taking it 2 weeks and it can take up to 5 before effects seen.

I'm starting to feel some results from steroid injection 2 days aqo and am on salazopyrin and due for review in 3 months.

Annie12 Sat 11-Aug-07 11:34:05

Hi vole3 Thanks for the information.Sorry that you too were unlucky enough to contract RA. What did your specialist say re. the disease? DD did not get much information - I think consultants think we know as much as they do re. these things! I seem to remember that DD was told that if the steroid injection did not work then she may have something else. Does that ring a bell with you? Think she was a bit shell-shocked really. I still don't know if the disease will abate once the hormone levels drop. I know here prolactin levels were very high before conceiving. What we are unsure about is how do you know if the symptoms have stopped if you are taking the medication all the time? You could be in a long remission and not know. It seems mad to be taking medication needlessly. What are the side effects of the medication? It is so bizarre that many women have exactly the same symptoms as RA but they test negative. Some with the disease are told that they don't have it and when it is finally diagnosed years later a lot of damage has been done. Take care. Annie

vole3 Sat 11-Aug-07 13:22:35

I'm a radiographer by trade and have worked with people with RA, hence why my mind immediately jumped to worst-case scenario.
The important thing is to diagnosis quickly, treat aggressively and prevent joint damage for as long as possible.
My consultant didn't say much about the hormone influence, but was very supportive in keeping up bf until DS is 6 months and then reassessing.

Some people will test positive for rheumatoid factor and others won't, but will still have active disease. Eventually it can burn itself out, but obviously you want to still have working joints.

What I am finding tough today is the tiredness that goes with it. Being tired makes things hurt more and things hurting stop me sleeping, not that DS helps much! I have tried to get DH to understand by saying it's like man-flu, but for real.

Annie12 Sat 11-Aug-07 15:26:41

Hi Vole3, I take it your joint pains have gone completely now and you say you are left with tiredness. DD is not tired at all. In fact the only thing different with her is the stiffness in her hands and toes. It is still really odd how some people are diagnosed and others not but they are suffering. Will be trying Rosehip/Fish Oil ASAP.Cider Vinegar is supposed to be good too mixed with honey.Certain foods should be avoided too I believe, tomatoes, aubergine and potatoes.

How long have had your symptoms now and where did the pain start. DD's started in her shoulders/arms.Do you not think also that certain drugs can give a false blood test?

2 Diclofenac seem to help the pain so as long as it is controllable and we can STOP the disease progressing that is the main thing. It won't be long before there is an injection you can have to cure it! It is a pity that the new drug has not be passed by N.I.C.E.

Hoping that once hormones calm down everything will be back to normal.

Take care

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