Found help with Fluoxetine

soinspiredDecember 8, 2008

Hi, everyone!

I've been a lurker here for a long time and I so understand everyone's struggles. I am 57 and have had menopausal symptoms for over ten years: not sleeping, not staying asleep, muscle pains, migraines, hot flashes, extreme jitters, heart palpitations so bad I thought I was having a heart attack, mood swings, etc. etc. etc.... At the time, I thought I was going crazy and didn't associate menopause with the issues.

I changed doctors about four years ago and found a woman general practitioner. I just don't think men understand! (I also have a woman gynecologist.) She suggested from the start trying a low dose anti-depressant which she has found to help menopause symptoms.

I didn't want to try any anti-depressants and held off till a year and a half ago when I just came to a point that I'd try anything! She started me on 10 mg of Fluoxetine (generic for Prozac)once a day. She said it would take three months before I would really see an improvement.

After just a couple weeks, however, it helped immediately with the sleeping problems. After a few months, then I just kind of leveled off and the symptoms came back. She then increased it to 20 mg a day which has just turned my life around. I'm now sleeping thru most of the night and getting a good six hours without waking and no more heart palpitations! She also started me at the same time on a low dose of Xanax to get my jitters down. I no longer have to take the Xanax which she didn't want me on for a long period anyway.

She also encouraged me to exercise (which I still find hard to do) but do find it helps. It's just making exercise a priority in my busy life since I work full-time at a very stressful job and have for 15 years now.

Because of my family history of breast cancer, she didn't want me to try any hormone therapy which I didn't think would be good either.

So far, I am feeling so much better and my doctor insists on seeing me every 3 months to follow-up on my medication. And being able to sleep for a good six hours is a drug in itself! I have even lost 12 pounds (40 more to go)which I think also helps with my "grazing" issue with food.

Another plus is that I can get a 3 month supply for $15 with my insurance.

So, please do a little research on anti-depressants and suggest it to your doctors. I so hope it will make a difference in your well being as it has mine! I will continue to read your submissions and keep in touch.

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catherinet

I'm happy for you soinspired.
I started on zoloft (very low dose) about 4 months ago, and it was helping alot. Then, I tried to go up on the dose (since I was barely at a therapeutic level, and got horrible diarrhea 4 times a day for 3 weeks! So I went back down on the dose. Then I developed palpitations much worse than I'd ever had before. I worried that it was the zoloft causing this, so I weaned off the zoloft.
its been 2 weeks, and my heart is still going crazy........so I'm beginning to think it wasn't the zoloft. But since it takes SSRIs so long to work, I'm thinking it might take them awhile to get out of our systems too......so I'm waiting a bit longer.
Anyhow......I have a new bottle of prozac on my bathroom counter that I was going to try next. You've encouraged me to do that. I'm afraid it will give me diarrhea too though. I have IBS, and I'm thinking all the SSRIs might cause that.
I'm 58 and haven't had a period in 4 years, but know that my hormones are still jumping around, because of other PMS-type symptoms.
Its funny.........as I've come off the zoloft, I could feel myself getting into that black emotional hole again. I'm getting more angry again, and becoming fixated on my physical symptoms again........so I'm looking forward to going back on something that will help with all those feelings.
I'm so glad that you found relief! People just don't understand what its like living a life filled with anxiety, bizarre physical symptoms, sleep problems, etc.
Oh.......I just wanted to bring up the possibility of you having sleep apnea?? I think I developed mine during perimenopause. I'm using a cpap machine and its helped alot with fatigue.
Thanks for sharing your story and I wish you continued good health!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 3:31PM
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soinspired

Thanks for responding catherinet! My physician also said sometimes we need to try other drugs that work best. I hope the Prozac can help you and not cause further disturbance with your IBS. (Boy, its always something isn't it?!)

I never thought I seemed to be "down" but after adjusting to this level I now have an inner peace and happiness I didn't really have before. And, that is good as dealing with my job and some of the people grates on my well being.

I had thought for some time I may have sleep apnea as I wake often with migraines. I've discussed this with my doctor but she wants to try this medication for awhile before going further with testing. I get 2-3 migraines a week! Thankfully I've found Axert helps the most and is the easiest on my system. And, I've also thought the lack of rest and stress causes them too. Just my body's way of saying "OK, slow down and relax!" which is exactly what I have to do when I get one.

But, I keep telling myself to be thankful this is all I've got to worry about! I've seen so many women dealing with cancer and broken bones that don't heal that I know how fortunate I am!

Do keep in touch and let me know how the Prozac works for you. I do hope it helps relieves your symptoms.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 4:44PM
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catherinet

Hi soinspired,

Did you have migraines before perimenopause/menopause?
I had horrible headaches through perimenopause. I was also on HRT. Plus, I had a history of migraines through my life, but not as bad. In fact, there was about a year and a half when I had one every day! It was horrible. I was also on Acipex (a PPI for GERD). I finally weaned off the HRT and the Aciphex, and the headaches cleared up alot.
A few years later, my GERD acted up and I tried using PPIs again, and I got horrible headaches again!! I think I had most of those horrible headaches because of the GERD medication. I never even considered that!
I wanted to mention that, in case you were on that kind of medicine.
I used Maxalt for a long time, but it was really hard on my muscles. I eventually found that the judicious use of caffeine helped alot.
I was also on a beta blocker, which really helped with the headaches. They've eased up alot since my periods stopped, but I still get visual auras......which tells me my ovaries are still doing things. They just won't quit!! I, too, have been going through this for about 11 years.
Its strange how some women seem to breeze through it, and others (like you and me) have such a horrible time.
My sister-in-law developed migraines since menopause. I feel so bad for her! They say that if you've had migraines your whole life, they will probably go away with menopause, but if they start at menopause, you'll keep them.
I would wake up most nights with a migraine. It always seemed to happen between 3a.m. and 5a.m. Gosh, I have such sympathy and empathy for people who get migraines!
Nice talking with you!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 8:19PM
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soinspired

Sounds like we have the same aches & pains! I've had migraines for 20 some years now. Received the following poem from a good friend that fits us exactly. Let me know how you do on the new meds.

If I were ol' Santa, you know what I'd do
I'd dump silly gifts that are given to you
And deliver some things just inside your front door
Things you have lost, but treasured before.

I'd give you back all your maidenly vigor,
And to go along with it, a neat tiny figure.
Then restore the old color that once graced your hair
Before rinses and bleaches took residence there.

I'd bring back the shape with which you were gifted
So things now suspended need not be uplifted.
I'd draw in your tummy and smooth down your back
Till you'd be a dream in those tight fitting slacks.

I'd remove all your wrinkles and leave only one chin
So you wouldn't spend hours rubbing grease on your skin
You'd never have flashes or odd dizzy spells
And you wouldn't hear noises like ringing of bells.

No sore aching feet and no corns on your toes
No searching for spectacles when they're right on your nose.
Not a shot would you take in your arm, hip or fanny
From a doctor who thinks you're a nervous old granny.

You'd never have a headache, so no pills would you take.
And no heating pad needed since your muscles won't ache.
Yes, if I were Santa, you'd never look stupid
You'd be a cute little chick with the romance of a cupid.

I'd give a lift to your heart when those wolves start to whistle
And the joys of your heart would be light as a thistle.

But alas! I'm not Santa. I'm simply just me
The matronest of matrons you ever did see.

I wish I could tell you all the symptoms I've got
But I'm due at my doctor's for an estrogen shot.
Even though we've grown older this wish is sincere
Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 11:34AM
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catherinet

LOL........that's good soinspired!
The one line reminded me of something someone said to me once. She asked her doc if he couldn't just pull up all the loose skin on her body up to the top of her head, and just cut that top-knot off. haha

That's good news that you've had migraines for so long! what I mean is, its real possible that you might get rid of them, after all this hormone-fluctuation nonsense is over! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 4:43PM
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raejane

Thank you so much for posting this. I've been going thur menopause, and one doctor (who I am longer seeing by the way) put me on estradiol w/o even checking me out to see if I need it--I got very sick and it made my symptoms worse! I have been recently seeing a different doctor and I am now on flouexetine--it wasnt even intended for the menopause, just for my depression and it has helped me tremendously.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 3:08PM
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