Need advice for my mom...

Mrs_HJanuary 11, 2002

I told my mom about this forum but don't know if she will ever visit...anyway, I'm concerned about her. She's in her early 50's and we think she's going through menopause...irregular, heavy bleeding, then nothing for several months...and all the sudden crazy bleeding again. I think she said sometimes she has to use two tampons at once, not sure though. She hasn't had a gyn exam in probably three years or more, including mammo. She doesn't smoke and drink and does get exercise. I have tried to convince her to at least go to the doctor and get checked out but she is reluctant. She is really into alternative medicine and went to see a intuitive healer or whatever it's called (someone supposedly called a "doctor") and the first thing he said was, "No, don't go to a doctor." I was shocked, since she hasn't had a PAP in a few years.

Also, like another poster asked regarding major dental problems as a result of menopause, mom has had major work done in the last two years or so, including root canals, problems with caps, etc. and a possible abcess. I'm so worried about her. Any advice you can offer?


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Hi Mrs. H., I think it's so wonderful that you are concerned about your mom. I can understand why people get so frustrated with conventional docs, but I think it was a bit irresponsible of the intuitive healer to tell her not to go to a doctor. Pap smears are such an easy, early method of detection for cervical cancer. Maybe you could talk your mom into at least getting one every few years?
Alot of women in perimenopause start having irregular periods with lots of bleeding. It's my understanding that they are low on Progesterone. When we don't ovulate, we don't make enough progesterone to keep our uterine lining thin. You could probably talk her into using some Progesterone cream. I'm not sure how well that works to keep the lining thin, but she's probably likely to be willing to try that, since it's an "alternative" method of progesterone delivery. Also, maybe you could encourage your mom to see an alternative medicine doc who also believes in some of the conventional stuff (like pap smears, mammograms, etc.) She might be more open to that suggestion. Good luck, and keep looking after your mom!!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 7:05PM
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is this what Lauren Hutton calls "denial" in all her commercials?? LOL

I just want to be prepared with as much information as possible the next time we have another "talk". (now who sounds like the mom? Ha) I sometimes wonder if her apprehension is from not knowing that much about something and being afraid. I don't know. I guess I'm just one of those selfish kids who wants her mother around for a long time!

I'm also interested in my family's OB history as DH and I might be trying to concieve this year. My grandmother is in her mid 70's and had a hysterectomy at 40 - MASSIVE bleeding, from what my mom recalls - that we think may have been fibroids. I guess they removed an "8 pound tumor" so it sounds like fibroids...she was also quite heavy at the time. Her dr. never put her on HRT but thyroid meds instead..and she doesn't have a thyroid problem. Is this common? I was glancing at other posts where women are post-hysterectomy and not taking HRT...I'll have to read those. I know I have a while before menopause hits, but there's no reason why I can't educate myself in the meantime!


    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 8:46PM
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You must encourage your mother to have a pap (thin test) it is more sensitive to irregularities and a complete exam. It is fine to be holistic, however, use the technology available to determining one's condition is a great benefit. I am certain that after she finds out what is going on-there will be decisions she can make on her own with what treatment she is open to. First she needs to find out what is going on. My mom's friend did not like doctor's and she is no longer with us because she waited to long to get tests and her delay allowed cancer to spread beyond control or cure. That was a lesson to all who knew her.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 11:32PM
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Your mother is having what are very typical signs of approaching menopause. Her refusal to see a doctor may indicate that she is very aware of this process and knows that it doesn't need medical advice or treatment. There is no need for a gyn examination in the absence of anything other than very typical perimenopausal signs such as delayed periods and occasional heavy flow after a missed period. Any benefit of a doctor visit has to be set against the dangers of overtreatment, primarily the danger that she will be poked and prodded and tested until something supposedly abnormal is found requiring drugs and/or surgery.

Few ethical doctors recommend yearly pap smears to women at low risk. Some continue to do so because it creates anxiety and therefore dependence, and even more important, it creates the need for a yearly office visit. This low risk group includes all women in long term mutually monogamous relationship who have had three consecutive negative tests and who do not smoke. Irregular periods are not a sign of cervical cancer in any case.

As for Lauren Hutton - she is a paid spokeperson for the biggest manufacturer of post menopausal hormones in the world. Her ads are ridiculous. The woman is an anorexic smoker who drinks heavily and lives dangerously. I think someone who smokes, drinks, keeps her weight at pathologically low levels and rides motorcycles at 100 miles an hour without a helmet is not exactly a postor child for healthy living YMMV.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2002 at 9:12AM
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I see you live in New York, do you live in Manhattan or nearby? New York Presbyterian hospital is doing some research studies on alternative health treatments for menopausal symptons. I saw them advertising, I think in New York magazine. Besides the studies, they and others are offering alternative health facilities. Beth Israel is one of them. This may be the way to get your mother to a conventional doctor. I relied on alternative type approaches. Turns out I had cancer. Sometimes doctors are the way to go, sorry to admit.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 10:57AM
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hi jifrah, No, I live in Buffalo. My mother lives in another state. Thanks for the tip, though!

As far as the intuitive healer versus traditional medicine, I don't think there is anything wrong with blending the two to work together. I am trying to convince her of this.

I know I am still a "lurker" and just getting info, but what is the basis for hormone therapy being necessarily "evil"? If it helps you (and your loved ones) get through an otherwise intolerable time, then why is it bad? Just asking questions. I'm not sure, that as a relative of a former doctor, I like the image that doctors are all "bad". I agree, you have to make the final decision and listen to your own body, but after all, they dedicated a good deal of their lives to the study of medicine for a reason...and it probably wasn't solely just to get rich off of their patients. Just my thoughts...maybe in 30 years when I'm going through this, my ideas will change...who knows?

As far as Lauren Hutton, I wasn't exactly being serious! :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 1:14PM
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HRT isn't evil. Just not the panacea the drug companies want everyone to think it is (although Lauren Hutton does look good she's not a person I would go to for medical advice.) My personal opinion is you need to blend alternative and traditional medicine - neither should be taken carte blanche. A little bit of acupuncture for the chronic pain along with advil for the now and again headache.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 3:49PM
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Where did you read that "hormone therapy" is evil? And where did you read that all doctors are '"bad?"' I can't find a post that says any of this in this thread but perhaps I don't have all the posts.

Estrogen is officially classified as a known human carcinogen. This includes all forms of steroidal estrogen. Don't you think that the use of a known human carcinogen should be confined to those problems where the danger of not treating is significant and immediate and the expected benefit is substantial? As for the effect on one's loved ones - asking your mother to risk ovarian, uterine and breast cancer for your benefit strikes me as rather bizarre.

It is possible to do serious harm with the best of intentions. Much of medical treatment, especially when it involves interference in normal life events like pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause falls into this category.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 4:06PM
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At the risk of sticking my neck out, I think Mrs H's "Mom" needs to be left alone to make her own decisions about her medical care and future from her own perspective, even if that isn't the same as her children's.

I'm around "Mom's" age and would really resent either of my children laying down the law on how I should be medically treated. I wouldn't dare have treated my own Mother in that manner. Its more likely to make an older lady dig her toes in properly.

With my tin hat on to deflect paper darts - I say leave "Mom" alone to make her own medical decisions, even if they are not the decisions you would have made yourself. Each of us is entitled to think our way of doing things is the right one.

In the meantime - stop worrying about "Mom". She probably has things together more than you know without telling you the details.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 4:42PM
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Geez, ladies, sorry I asked. So shoot me for being concerned.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 5:20PM
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Its always a dilemna to know when to "interfere" or not in someone else's life. But I think its logical when you are concerned about someone to at least be able to provide information so that they can make an informed choice. Making choices is what life is all about. Of course, once the person, in this case Mrs. H's mother, makes the choice and says bug off - I guess its time to do so. I know when my mother had breast cancer her kids supplied the research and she made all the final decisions based on the best available information and her doctors advice.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2002 at 11:28AM
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