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Can we talk about early peri-menopause and what (if anything) to do about it?

Janie Grace

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I had a partial hyst 2.5 years ago (kept my ovaries). At the time, I didn't know that women who have partial hysterectomies often experience early peri-menopause (the ovaries are there but were sufficiently disrupted by surgery to kick things into gear). I started experiencing night sweats about a year ago, at age 42. I was also quite depressed/anxious for that time, although that coincided with our first child leaving for college, so it's hard to parse that out. The night sweats have stopped but now I have almost constant br*ast tenderness and my hair is thinning. Plus I have that thing where you wake up at 3:00 and are just wide awake. According to my gyn, I am in peri-menopause. He didn't take blood but he said that's what these symptoms mean.

He is recommending I consider estradiol. I winced at the mention of hormones and he said that the study showing a link to breast cancer was faulty, that actually you have a lower chance of breast cancer on estradiol. In addition, it protects against osteoporosis and heart disease and maybe Alzheimer's. It can also decrease the unpleasant effects of peri-menopause (the ones I have mentioned). 

So I guess I want to know -- what have you heard about it? What have you chosen in terms of treating early peri-menopause? I'm usually a very "natural" person and obviously menopause is a natural part of life. However, it happening this early is not (it's a result of the surgery, which I don't regret because I was bleeding a dangerous amount due to fibroids). But I am wondering if I should be protecting myself against the risks of going through peri-menopause/menopause this young. (My mom and her sister were both 60 when their periods stopped!)

Finances are an issue in this too. We have a cost-sharing plan (like Samaritan) and I don't think this would be covered. So that could be the deciding factor there if it's astronomically expensive.

Edited by Janie Grace
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I was thrown into premenopause at age 38.  It was HORRIBLE!  I would feel a pop in my head, and feel seething anger course through my veins, then suddenly find myself snarling at my children for very minor infractions.  My bOOks would become so tender, I couldn't wear anything by nightgowns over a nursing bra (even though I wasn't nursing any babies -- I was happy to still have a couple nighttime bras).  Hot flashes would stop me in my tracks.

Anyway, natural progesterone cream was a life saver for me.  I read books by Dr. John R Lee (What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause, and What You're Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause), and that helped me to understand what was going, why my symptoms were probably due to a lack of balance between progesterone and estrogen in my body, and why natural progesterone was much better and safer than taking synthetic progestins or estrogens.  They also taught me how to use the natural progesterone cream effectively.

I used the natural progesterone cream for a few years, then I got pregnant at age 41.  I carried my baby to term, and delivered her at age 42.  Interestingly, the Peri/Pre-menopause symptoms didn't come back!  The pregnancy cured me, or jumpstarted my system, or something.  I didn't have any symptoms until I reached age 51, then my period stopped at age 53.  

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