Estrogen that doesn't cause headaches?

Kristy_37January 7, 2002

Hi everyone,

I had a total hysterectomy 2 yrs ago. I am 37 so of course I went on HRT. I went with Cenestin, since it is plant based, and heard it worked well. I started at .9 mg. 2x a day, then went down to .625 2x dy, and now am at .625 1x day. I have had headaches for 17 years on and off depending on my period, and thought that they would be gone after my Hysterectomy(done for endometriosis) or at least hoped they would subside. They did for the first 6months, and ever since have had to take med. for the headaches more than I'd like to admit. I want to work off the estrogen as soon as I can ( my mom had breast cancer at 59-postmenapause) but don't want the bone loss, night sweats, etc. etc at my age. Should I switch my hormone brand? Has anyone else had good luck with a certain one? Would quitting completely do it? I don't want to feel down in the dumps, drenched from hot flashes ,exhausted from little sleep, and anxious from the lack of estrogen either. I'm torn at what to do because of my age. If anyone has any advice I'd really appreciate it. My gyno. who has also been through an early hysterectomy already feels I am too low in estrogen for my age, although she too thinks I should probably heed the 5 year max. on estrogen because of the risks for breast cancer. Thanks for your help, Kristy

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Hi Kristy,
Some of us have hormonal headaches that we just can't get rid of, even after trying different types and amounts of estrogen. I am wondering what drugs you use for your headaches. I got in a bad situation using Fioricet too often, and it made my headaches worse ("rebound headaches") and sometimes other pain meds have the same tendency, if used more than 2-3 days a week. Have you been worked up by a neuro doc who specializes in headache management? That might be a good thing to do. I am in perimenopause and have been on premarin in the past, which, in retrospect, caused alot of my headaches. I am presently on combi-patch, but I still get headaches for about 10 days around my period (or even when I'm due for a period, but don't get one). I take Exedrine Free and when that doesn't work, I use Maxalt. There is a good headache forum at There are several women there who have really bad hormonal headaches who have tried tons of medications. They might be good people to ask. I haven't tried many different meds or hormones. It's a great site and you might get some good ideas there. Some of us there have found that during about 2 weeks around our periods, lots of things become "triggers" for our headaches, and we have learned to avoid them around that time. I have a friend who has migraines and she thought they would go away after her hysterectomy, but they didn't. My neuro doc said that this is often the case......That there are so many other things involved (like your pituitary and hypothalamus), that just by removing your ovaries and uterus many times doesn't stop hormone-related headaches. I hope you find something that helps.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 10:52PM
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Thanks Catherine!

Yes, I too have thought about rebound headaches. I have taken Imitrex ever since it came out 12years ago or so. I think maybe seeing a neuro might be a good idea, I saw a top headache specialist in LA years ago, and as a result started the B6, etc. I think I might try changing my HRT to Ortho-Est or Ogen, or Tri-Est..since I've been reading that Cenestin is made with the same breakdown as Premarin-minus the horse urine(Cenestin is plant based) I know one of the top complaints about Premarin is Headaches, so I'm hoping that's it. I do know what you mean though...I just might be one of those people who get headaches more often than some, but since I got my 1st one around 20 or so, I hope they're hormonal and I can figure this out. Thanks again! Kristy

Anyone try Tri-Est or Ortho-Est(Ogen) with good results?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 12:10AM
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Kristy, I would tend to agree with your gyn who wants you to stay on Estrogen for a number of years yet. You just need to find the one that works the best with your body chemistry. Cenestin contains equilin, one of the "horse estrogens" present in Premarin. Why the drug company would add this foreign substance to their product is beyond me. But it's there. I would suggest you look into compounded natural hormones. If you find a good compounding pharmacist who knows about hormone replacement, you will have found a gold mine. He/she will work with you and your doctor to find the exact dose/time/schedule of hormones that will help you as an individual. These hormones are bio-identical, ie chemically or molecularly exactly like the hormones your body makes. The Tri-est you mentioned is one of them, a combination of the three estrogens we make naturally: estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Also there are various routes to deliver the hormones: transdermal (through the skin), sublingual(through the mucous membranes of the mouth), vaginal, and oral. One route may be better for you than another. Please do some reading about this subject and see if it's something you want to pursue.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 4:46PM
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