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Diagnosed with Ovarian Failure - menopause. Out of the blue and confused

(20 Posts)
BrighterLight Sat 24-Jan-15 15:38:47

I am 44 (45 in a couple of months) and had a 'funny' period a month ago with extended spotting at the end of it and PMS symptoms at all the wrong times in the cycle. Previous to that the period was different in flow. This happened 2 years ago and was advised it was just one of those things.

My cycles have shorted a bit over the last couple of years by a couple of days, they were always 25/26 and went down to 22/23/24 but pretty regular and bleeding was slightly less with less clots. This is all that has happened with pattern of bleeding, no missed cycles. Maybe one late 30 days ish.

I have been having real issues with anxiety in the last year and weird skin reactions with redness and flushing - doctors advised this wasn't hormones at the time.

Long story short, I went to the GP about the spotting and saw a locum who advised checking my thyroid and FSH/LH. This was last Thursday and yesterday my regular GP rung me to say I had very high FSH that indicated menopause and this was considered early as before age 45 and I would need a second blood test in a couple of weeks and then HRT.

That was it - he called it ovarian failure and from what I can read this is different from menopause in that the symptoms don't gradually ebb and flow and wind down - things just stop!

I am in shock and can't get it out of my head that something is really really wrong. No warning, nothing. I did ask if a cycle where I didn't ovulate, which I know happens could raise the FSH - he said not to these levels.

I have never even thought of HRT, I don't even take paracetamol. I am really in shock and wondered if anyone else has been diagnosed with this and feels totally abnormal, scared and confused as to what to do next.

I keep trying to step back and just take it in and wait for the second blood test and also look at options for other ways to support my body as I presume a sudden shift will bring on symptoms now.

pinkfrocks Sat 24-Jan-15 16:17:32

I can see how upsetting it is. Have a look at the Daisy Network website where there is lots of info and support.

BrighterLight Sat 24-Jan-15 17:17:15

Thank you Pinkfrocks - I did find that site last night, but to be honest I couldn't really make head or tail. When I calm down it might make more sense.

I just feel very confused, my periods have been happening, hardly any symptoms of menopause and Dr was quite adamant I am menopausal and when I said don't you mean peri - he said well the levels say not but you have to go a year without periods. My logical brain is having a hard time computing this contradictory information.

Ovarian Failure seems to mean I can still have periods but no eggs are being released - I think that's right sad

pinkfrocks Sat 24-Jan-15 18:09:16

This is from the Daisy Network site:

Premature Menopause

Early menopause, premature menopause and/or premature ovarian failure are terms that are often used to describe the *same condition, whatever the cause.*

I think your dr is a bit premature with his diagnosis!

If you are still have periods even if they are different to before then you are in perimenopause. Only when you have not had one for 12 months are you 'menopausal'.

The average age of meno is 51 so at 45 it's an early meno but not that early as the range is 45- 56-ish. Premature menopause of prem OF is if your symptoms start before age 40 ( see Daisy Network)

Are you still having periods?

One blood test ( or two in a month) is not conclusive. This is because your FSH levels are all over the place in peri. FWIW I was told I was post meno at 52 after a blood test yet went on to have periods for almost 2 more years.

I'd wait and see how you go. If your periods continue to be far apart you may want to think about HRT to protect your bones and heart as well as relieve the symptoms you are having. But this could be a blip and you could carry on having periods as normal for a few more years.

BrighterLight Sat 24-Jan-15 19:31:44

Thanks again Pinkfrocks - you have helped my overwhelmed brain a little bit smile

It also seems premature to me, but then again the levels - he said in the 80's are definately menopausal and not suggestive of perimenopause from what I read on the Daisy site.

The shock of his definate diagnosis is making me clutch at straws as to why, is there something wrong (he mentioned more blood tests smile ). Basically I feel quite upset he overwhelmed me with words about HRT, bone and heart risk, tests etc and didn't respond to my jibbering that my periods are still regular!

As it happens, my period was due a couple of days ago and it is only very light and brown and it just seems ironic that I had the blood test now - had I not, I might have thought about this possibility what with this light period. It does seem like everything has just stopped.

My cycles had not lengthened at all and I have only had symptoms of increased anxiety and the occassional feeling of being hot. As you say a period could come again, I know that happens in perimenopause but I fear the Dr is suggesting this is different, this is kuput!

pinkfrocks Sat 24-Jan-15 21:10:39

In some ways the dr is being correct to suggest HRT because so many don't for early meno.
But one reading from your blood tests are not definitive so he is not right in that respect. FSH levels rise and fall in peri and you could well have several more normal cycles. Cycles in peri can be anovular- no ovulation - for many years then the ovaries can chuck out one more egg- which is why some women in their 50s get caught out and end up pregnant!
Try not to worry - you can't control what is going on so 'go with the flow' (!) and see how it develops in the next few months.

SquirrelSwarm Sat 24-Jan-15 21:22:25

Sorry you've had such a shock, but life carries on, and joy of joy, periods go away ;). You can have still drink wine, have sex, and faff around on the internet.
Rushing, but with early menopause HRT is usually recommended as other risks are raised.
You can get patches you change twice a week.
Ask you GP to call gynae consultant for specialist advice unless they are certain. There are lots of options and you want the best one for you.
The other good sites are:
The Menopause Society
Menopause Matters

BrighterLight Sat 24-Jan-15 22:08:11

pinkfrocks you are right about not worrying because I can't control it, that's what I hope will happen when the shock subsides.

He seemed sure that FSH 80 was not a rising and falling number, but my instinct does say that although it might be true, I should wait for a second test in a month or so (he said 2 weeks which I think isn't time to let one odd cycle adjust if it is going to). With this mindsight, I hope I will lesson the worry.

I have read online that Ovarian failure can sometimes be due to autoimmune diseases and endocrine problems which sent me worrying a bit, but I will try not to.

SquirrelSwarm ha, thanks for the light side, it's true smile And the web links. I use complementary medicine usually and don't know anyway to address this other than HRT right now, so I will have to research the pros and cons because I want to do the right thing. Talk about mind scrambled.

pinkfrocks Sat 24-Jan-15 22:50:17

complementary things might work for some of your more minor symptoms but you really do need oestrogen for your heart and bones - it's a no brainer. You are almost 8-10 years away from the 'average' meno and that is too long to be depleted of oestrogen. By the time you got to 55 or 60 you could have osteoporosis. If you don't want to go the HRT route then your options include having a bone density scan now to check your level, then repeat this every 2-3 years right up to 52-53. You might have to pay for this to be done though because your GP would regard HRT as the best and safer option. I think you need to try to worry a bit less- 45 is not that young for menopause - it's not as if it's 35 or 40 which happens to some women.

Re. blood tests- you are supposed to have 2 tests in one month; one around day 3 of your cycle and one after day 14. Obviously this could be repeated after a few months.

BrighterLight Sun 25-Jan-15 16:10:33

I have made a list of questions for when I meet my GP and one of them is what things I should regularly test, including the bone scan. I have a family history of various health issues that may raise my risk of using HRT - hopefully the GP will have options for me to think about.

My worry has subsided, I just feel out of sorts - to loose the estrogen so suddenly has subtley changed many things which in hindsight I had mentioned to the doctor - this 'change' for me isn't slow, it's been about a year of weird things and then suddenly no periods. Nothing has arrived and I have never missed one - so it's all very surreal - yes 45 isn't that young ;)

pinkfrocks Sun 25-Jan-15 16:53:08

You need to look at this differently. First, ignore the 'name' your GP has put on all of this. Most Gps are not menopause experts and sometimes get things wrong! The facts are you have had one high FSH level and are still - you say- having periods, albeit slightly closer together and lighter. This, you said has been going on for about a year? How then do you or your GP know for sure that you are still not in peri and will continue to have more periods? Your GP ought not to have rushed in with a diagnosis of POF after 1 high FSH reading. The FSH reading shows how much your body is trying to stimulate your ovaries and push out a few more eggs. Your ovaries are in decline but I think you are jumping the gun to think you won't have another period, because during peri high FSH levels are the norm, some of the time.

You haven't had a fast 'change'- so far you have a year or two of dwindling periods and now you are a bit further along the line. You and your GP can only consider you post menopause when you have not had a period for 12 months. Until that day has arrived you are still in peri!

BrighterLight Sun 25-Jan-15 17:12:01

I do hear what you are saying pinkfrocks and the GP did say the same about post menopause being 12 months after no periods at all.

I guess I am coming to terms with things being as they are - I really didn't think I was anywhere near periods changing or stopping or sputtering. Looking back at the last two years and reading about the difference between the two situations POF and natural menopause, it does appear I am following the first course. There are far less changes in periods to warn you and less general symptoms. I definately have sudden signs of drastic estrogen levels dropping, my skin has changed overnight, breasts and no cervical mucus at all. Either way something has stopped.

However, it also means that as you say the ovaries can intermittently start to work again. Regardless of the course this takes the last 3 weeks have been horrendous, I have felt awful in many ways.

Thanks for reading

pinkfrocks Sun 25-Jan-15 18:13:46

FWIW I had identical symptoms to you- but at 52-53. My periods were never erratic and neither did I have flooding, flushes or any other symptoms of peri meno. I had regular periods to 53 almost, bar a couple of shorter cycles ( 17 days) in my early 50s. I then missed a couple of cycles, had a run of regular ones for several months, missed 4, had 1 light one and that was it. I may have had a couple of light ones aged 54 but we weren't sure if they were that or an HRT 'hiccup'.

Bear in mind that although you have had 3 horrid weeks you may find things go back to 'normal' for a few months. There is no rhyme or reason to hormones!

BrighterLight Sun 25-Jan-15 19:40:20

I appreciate you sharing your experience pinkfrocks - I do hope that things calm down a bit as I feel all over the place with aching body, emotions and cramps! Good to hear about someone else not following the path of ebbing and flowing as it were.

I really don't need this right now - I know it's to be expected but I wasnt ;) I have just had a really rough few years and was thinking things were an open road this new year - this blip has got to me - fingers crossed it's a bump in the road that recedes for a while smile

pinkfrocks Tue 03-Feb-15 14:00:00

Brighter I have sent you a PM today if you are reading still.

mandmsmummy Tue 03-Feb-15 16:37:05

Interested to read this as I've just come from the docs having been told I'm menopausal! My blood tests were LH 82.7 and FSH 16.7. I called for the results last week and the doctor said normal but another doctor told me today it's definite menopause. Any idea how I can find out about these levels? X

pinkfrocks Tue 03-Feb-15 16:52:11

Google is your friend.

What do you want to find out?

Remember that a single blood test is often not accurate- you need 2 in one month . One around day 3 and one around day 14-16 in your cycle and maybe over more than one cycle.

mandmsmummy Tue 03-Feb-15 17:10:51

Just whether the levels are high? X

pinkfrocks Tue 03-Feb-15 17:35:56

You can find all of that out by googling FSH and LH levels / menopause/ ranges

mandmsmummy Tue 03-Feb-15 18:11:19

Thanks tried that and if I'm right my levels are really high! X

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