New To Site & Need Help - Many Questions & Confused

balthusNovember 14, 2001

Hi - I'll try not to write a book! I'm 48 1/2 & have had irregular periods for almost 2 years. Up until this summer, symptoms were mild & tolerable. Since this past July (going on 5 months) they have gotten severe & in past 2 months intolerable. I haven't had a good night's sleep in months - i wake up every 30-60 minutes & when I do sleep I have awful nightmares. Night sweats are awful. I wake up drenched. Then I get chills. Hot flashes not too bad in daytime. "Foggy" feeling. Burning in genital area. Headachey. Dry vaginal area. Hemorroids. And very depressed - none stop crying. I lost my job in February & am still looking. I am primary breadwinner in the family (husband gave up his career formine when we made a geography move for me). We are living on severance (now gone) & savings (soon to be). So I am panicking. We are putting our house up for sale. The only reaosn I mention these things is that I do have some real issues to be depressed about but it's all a big vicious cycle now. I feel like crap, am totally unmotivated & constantly crying - not a great state to go interview in! Anyway, I went to see my gyno today. He did not examine me or run any tests. In 1999, my fsh was 54 & estrogen was 37 so who knows what they are now 2 years later. He gave me a month's free sample of FEMHRT. I asked him couldn't I start on a patch version of HRT - isn't that the lowest dosage? What actually is the difference between birth control pills & HRT? I have done a lot this year since I got downsized to improve my physical being: lost 40 pounds (from 170 to 130), stopped drinking alcohol, stopped drinking Coca Cola, started exercising (mostly walking - 2 mile walks 3-5 x's a week), brought my blood pressure down naturally & have lowered my chloresterol to good levels with the help of Lipitor and my greatest accomplishment - I quit smoking (pack a day plus) after 30 years. I should be feeling good & instead I feel the worst I ever had. I had a bone density test in January & tested well above average (although my maternal grandmother had osteo). I have fibrocystic breasts (so does my mom & sister) and have had 3 benign fibroid adenomas removed (1971, 1972 & 1994). I have a mammogram annually. Never had children. No actual history of breast cancer. So, is HRT right for me? Is Fefhrt right for me? Why are there so amny different brands & types of H? What makes one woman react well to one & not to another? Is FEMHRT a low dosage HRT? Gyno said I may have some spotting. He also said I should start getting some relief of symptoms in the next week. He said to come back in a month & we'd go from there depending on how I'm doing. Is this always trial & error? Will I gain weight (I'll be real pissed after working so hard to get it off & putting some back on when I quit smoking)? Anything else bad to expect besides spotting? Will this make my natural period stop (were I to actually get it again)? Should I try other/alternative treatments first? Should I insist on any tests? My mother is angry with me for going on HRT. She's 72 & never did (she had a hysterectomy at about my age) & said her breast doctor told her he wouldn't see her anymore if she went on hormones! I know I can't go on living like this but I'm scared that I'm just opening up another can of worms. Thanks all.

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Hi Balthus
The non-commercial site below will point you to the answers to many of your questions. I think you would find particularly useful.
Best wishes, Tishy

Here is a link that might be useful: Menopause basics for newbies

    Bookmark   November 14, 2001 at 10:52PM
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Tishy, thanks for that site, love it! Really relate to "menofog"...I may have to visit there more when I'm having a particlarly Crazy Harpy Day.

(((Balthus)))...hugs. I don't have much advice to give you. Yay for you quitting smoking. It's my last vice...every time I quit my depression gets utterly horrible, it's so hard. Quitting booze was easy compared to quitting smoking. I'm in denial, totally. Run, work out, eat well, take vites, still smoking like a chimney. Oh well. So good for you.

Hoping you land a good job soon, too. You sound like you're right in the middle of all kinds of upheaval at a difficult time, I hope you get the breaks you need.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2001 at 2:52PM
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To Balthus, I am on FemHRT since Feb 2001 and have got along very well. I have no periods since being on FemHRT. I am 48 years old.
No children as well, two benign cysts (some of those that come and go) in one breast, the other has calcifications.
Basically all HRT's are trial and error. What might work for me, might not for you. My nerves are better. My sex life is better. I don't sleep well though, haven't in ages. Still have hot sweats, but not really bad. You've accomplished a lot by quitting smoking, exercising, cutting out alcohol, lowering your cholesterol. I'm sorry you are having a hard time finding employment. I feel that a lot of your symptoms are due to menopause, but a lot are due to your situation.
I'll be praying for you. I found prayer helps a lot of things. It has helped to save my marriage during the difficult time when I was on OrthoPrefest which about drove me crazy with nerves and constant bleeding. The FemHRT has been good. A lot of people say don't go on hormones, but I am on the low end of normal with my bone density and a specialist in the bone density area told me to go on HRT.
So good luck. This is a good site. You can read how others
have gotten along on certain medications and also know that you aren't alone in all the symptoms whether they've been through hard times with finances or not.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2001 at 11:31PM
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Thanks for the encouraging words. What do you do to get a decent night's sleep? I think that's the worst problem of all as it influences me on so many levels. I've tried sleeping pills but even they don't knock me out all night!

I'm so conflicted about going on HRT because I'm so anxious about developing new short-term problems in finding the right meds. I'm afraid if they make me sick or nauseous or more anxious or crazier or sicker that it will make it even harder for me to function & seek work & go interview - all of which would result in eliminating a lot of my stress if I landed a new job but would only serve to increase stress level the longer I'm unemployed.

I did take the pill when I was younger & had no problems if that means anything. Is FEMHRT a low dose? I notice most of the brands indicate x- amount of estradiol in mg's. The FEMHR says 5mcg. Is mg more than mcg (like teaspoon & tablespoon)?

Also most woman I know personally all ended up on the patch after trying pill form. I asked my gyno to give me a patch version. He said no & to do the FEMHRT for 30 days. Is that because the drug company gave him free samples to push?

They are still sitting in the box next to my PC. Thank you all.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2001 at 11:51PM
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Balthus, can't help you with the HRT issue. But several months ago I did go on the pill again (Loestrin) and it has helped with sleeping, mood swings, sweats, etc. I'm not really menopausal yet, though. Just in permanent PMS, it feels like!

I hate sleeping pills, and taking any sort of meds. But about a year ago when I was really having problems staying asleep, Mr Carina gave me "Ativan." (He's a doc.) It worked really well; no hungover feeling at all, and I stayed asleep. I used it a few times when I knew I had a challenging day ahead that I needed to be focussed for, helped a lot. Really good sex right before sleep helps too! Sleeping pills come in different formulations depending on your sleeping patterns. I was falling asleep fine, but waking up every hour or so after that. I'm the last person to be pushing pills, but as an *occasional* aid I think they can be really helpful.

And all the boring stuff like good diet, exercise, multivitamins, learning relaxation techniques...certainly can't hurt.

Best, Carina.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2001 at 6:24AM
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I can help you with the dosage thing. One microgram is 1000 times less than 1 milligram. In regard to FemHRT, why not take a look at Lou's post. She use to take FemHRT everly other day and was pleased with the results. Here's a link for another website you might like. They have very good info and message boards.

Here is a link that might be useful: menopause

    Bookmark   November 18, 2001 at 10:09AM
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You also need to know that the estrogen in FemHRT is not estradiol but ethinyl estradiol which is much more potent (thus the apparently smaller dose) and usually used in contraceptives rather than in HRT.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2001 at 11:24AM
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ROTFL. Cindy, sweetie, it's sometimes a good idea to check your link before you post it. I'm quite certain the owners of the site you posted are not in the least interested in the trials and tribulations of menopausal women.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2001 at 1:12PM
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So sorry Leigh, I forgot that you never make any mistakes, so you don't have much patience for us poor lowly mortals. I realized I made a mistake, but since I don't post as multiple people (like some others who use this forum) I could not immediately post a correction, which I now will. BTW, Leigh sweetie, I never see your posts on Power-Surge, could it be you are not welcome there?

Here is a link that might be useful: power

    Bookmark   November 18, 2001 at 1:40PM
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Posting a correction is quite easy. Add a hyphen or a period to the subject header and you will be allowed to immediately post a correction.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2001 at 3:07PM
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