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I am 44 and for the last 6 months have been suffering the following symptoms. Periods are reasonably regular, cycle vaies betwenn 27 and 31 days. Each month for 48 hours in the week leading up to my period I get some cramps, upset tummy and always a severe headache that lasts for 48 hours. My periods are longer and much much heavier. The second day is a nightmare. I pass big clots of blood for the entire period.
I have crushing fatigue and for the first time in my life have crippling anxiety. I am not sleeping well and wake several times a night. I have not had any hot flushes but will wake up in the night very hot and covered in sweat but not drenched just sweaty and clammy.
I have an appointment later with my GP and am not sure what to ask. Basically I want to know if this is the start of the menopause and what should I do if anything.
Any advice welcome.
Sounds like peri-menopause to me. I would ask about HRT. It was a life saver for me.
Thank you Aqua, I sway between thinking it is in my head but knowing actually something is wrong or not normal. Can you take HRT before you are in full menopause?
watching as I have all of same symptoms except for period's (mirena)
Hippy its not fun! I am seeing my GP later today so will see what they have to say. I was not expecting this for many years yet! I am only 44.
I went to GP mid 40s with very heavy bleeding, insomnia at night and shivering but not hot flushes and they said it wouldn't be peri menopause. They did refer me to a gynae who diagnosed fibroids, and did operation to remove - tbh not made much difference except loss of clots.
2 years on now and still getting periods but 3 in last month so suspect I am peri. Think it varies by doctor but worth going to see what they will do - if they won't do HRT may do gynae referral or tests. Mine said wouldn't treat for menopause until no periods for a year.
Can you take HRT before you are in full menopause?
Yes, and you should. It helps maintain bone density. I had horrific anxiety, which I had never had in my life, and it was gone almost immediately when I started HRT. Same with the insomnia, heat flashes, night sweating, etc.
This is a really informative article about peri-menopause. Whatever you do, do NOT let your gp dismiss your issues. I ended up going private because my gp, like many, are completely ignorant about peri-menopause.
Thank you Penguins. It seems experiences vary according to GP. I have a friend whose GP was very sympathetic and ordered blood tests to check hormone levels and discussed HRT, she had symptoms identical to mine but is a year older. Another friend saw three GPs who brushed her off before she saw one who would help. I think she may have had to see a private GP. Her own doctor said they would not treat any peri-menopausal symptoms due to cost and she would have to 'stick it out'! I have no idea what my GP will say. I hope that they will listen and offer advice. A blood test would show hormone levels and would at least show if I am per-menopausal or not.
Cross posted with you Aqua. Thank you. That is helpful. I will be assertive if I need to be.
A blood test would show hormone levels and would at least show if I am per-menopausal or not.
That's just not true, op, and that's the big problem and why go's are so useless.
"In most cases there's no reliable blood of testing for perimenopause because the primary underlying cause is hormonal fluctuations.
A woman whose hormones show as normal one week might experience a surge of oestrogen the next week or plummeting levels of progestogen another week."
Mine said wouldn't treat for menopause until no periods for a year.
Wow. Just Wow.
This is complete and utter bollocks and makes me so mad
How come these drs know nothing about women?
There are 2 types of HRT
1 For peri menopausal women
2 For post menopausal women (that is no period for a year)
-Read the NICE menopause guidelines
-See another GP who knows some basics about menopause
-Read about menopause on sites like Menopause Matters and MyMenopauseDr
As above-read the NICE guide ( easily found with google) .
It sounds like perimenopause. Blood tests are not used. NICE advice is treat the symptoms.
Treatment can be the Mirena coil for heavy periods, or drugs each month and HRT for all your other symptoms.
Aqua, I posted that before I had read your linked article, now I know!
Thank you Jingling. I realise that now. I had no idea. Shows how much I know about this minefield! Not keen on the idea of a coil! Just hoping GP is sympathetic and helpful.
loads of info here.
Thank you Jingling. I have just returned from the GP. She was good, very understanding. She suggested booking a blood test to check my thyroid levels and a hormone level test to check those although she did say that the hormone test is very unreliable due to the fluctuation of the levels. She told me to look up info on the minipill and coil to help with bleeding but explained that this sometimes has the opposite effect. Also to look up info on HRT for anxiety and mood swings but that this sometimes makes the bleeding worse. She also talked about general anxiety and gave me some websites to look at. She said that she was open to me trying whatever I wanted following the blood test results. So I have a blood test booked on Friday and it will take a week to 10 days for the results to return and be recorded. I booked another appointment with the same Dr but next one available is in 4 weeks. In the meantime I will have a look at the websites she suggested. It seems that it most likely is the start of the menopause but that I can choose how I handle it. I feel very positive and much better for going to see her. Thank you for your help and any more advice is appreciated.
Also she said to look at alternative remedies such as 'cohosh?' and other herbal remedies but check with a pharmacist before taking any.
It sounds as if you have had one of the better GPs giving you a good lot of advice.
Peri meno at 45 if it's 'severe' ( very infrequent or no periods before 45-47) is now considered an early menopause. HRT is medical treatment to protect your bone density and heart.
But you could carry on like you are for 5 years or more before periods stop.
You might get heavier bleeding with HRT which is why she's suggested the mini Pill or even a combined Pill (Qlaira is one that's used as a type of HRT for younger women.)
Black cohosh is okay but it can affect the liver and is not risk-free used long term.
Sounds as if you have some options to think about!
I'm on the mini pill for my peri, and my bleeding has stopped completely, which is beyond amazing because it was a nightmare before. As I said before, all of my symptoms have stopped and my anxiety is gone. Even if nothing else had changed, just the anxiety stopping would have been enough for me to be very pleased. If I were you, I would start with only the mini pill and see how that goes. I know many women who tried the coil and it was a disaster for them all and it had to be removed. It's also invasive, so it's worth trying the pill before getting one inserted.
Aqua and jingling thank you for your advice. I will do some research but have already decided that the coil is a no! I have quite a few friends who have had endless problems with the coil and it is not something I really want to try.
However the mini pill seems like it might be a good option. I will look into it more while waiting for the test results.
Aqua the idea of stopping this awful heavy bleeding sounds like a miracle although I realise it may not work like that for me.
Update for anyone interested! I went on the minipill and six months on, my periods have stopped as did the symptoms! Worked wonderfully.