Fibro and Menopause

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by SusanEU, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. SusanEU

    SusanEU New Member

    This is truly a new kind of hell. Can anyone give me some advice and/or empathy. The doctor doesn't want to give me hormones as my aunt died of breast cancer at a very young age. The effexor was helping with the hot flashes for a while, but, after 4 years, it just isn't doing the trick for anything anymore. It was my wonder drug for a while, helping the pain and anxiety and depression. I'm starting Cymbalta again today. I had switched for a bit last year, but thought the effexor was better.

    I am getting hot flashes at least every hour which makes for a worse sleep than usual. I'm hot, I'm cold, covers on, covers off....well I'm sure many of you know the drill. Thank God I work from home, but yesterday I was too tired to even read - that's a first.

    Sue in Ontario
  2. loto

    loto Member

    Have you looked in the vitamin/supplement aisles? I forgot what supplements there are by the way of natural stuff, I looked it all up once, thinking I was starting meno (thank goodness I'm not yet).
    I know there are natural, safer supplements out there other than prescriptions that claim to help menopausal stuff! Hope you find some that will give you much relief!

  3. jojo666

    jojo666 New Member

    Hi, i have the same probleme plus they are telleing me that i im bipolaire type 2 on top of the rest. I am talking premarine 0.625 1 time a day no more hot flash. My doc say that i will take that for a couple month and stop for a couple month
    I tock effexor i did not have a good experience very ard to stop
    I am taking Lyrica 300 mg a day it help whit the mood but not for the pain and welbutrin
    All that but not crying no more but still in pain always in pain
    And it seam to get wors and wors
    now i im sorry for my rithing i im french
  4. simonedb

    simonedb Member

    my 20s and 30s were hell pms, and finally I found vitex (an herb also called chaste berry) studied in germany and taking that most of the month helped pms moodswings, it takes a month to work and you need to get pharm grade, good quality.
    I stopped it around age 43 and then abruptly though at age 45 complete menopause for last 5 years, no more moon. strange, docs didnt predict it as my hormones looked premenopausal when they checked every year. things are easier without that up and down adding to the problems of cfs/fm but certainly not cured, but dont have to plan trips around it etc

    oh and I tried bioidentical hormones, progesterone very small amount helped for a while in 30s but too much sedated me in gross way, and then tried hormones again a couple years ago and can't tolerate any of them even bio ones, progesterone caused instant fibro pain, strange but with cfs didnt they discover estrogen activates xmrv or something....cheney cautions against the pill etc
    [This Message was Edited on 02/23/2010]
  5. Elisa

    Elisa Member


    Vitex is a great idea and....

    Emerita makes over-the-counter progesterone one of Dr. John R. Lee's books first or go to his website - it's VERY helpful. It will help...

    God Bless,


    Use progesterone cream only at night if t makes you sleepy - which is a good thing for most of us!
  6. SusanEU

    SusanEU New Member

    I really appreciate the advice. I ordered some natural progesterone cream and will give that a try.

    Sue in Ontario
  7. munch1958

    munch1958 Member

    They are the BEST thing I have ever tried for menopausal symptoms. They are implanted under the skin and last for 3.5 months.
  8. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    Hi Sue - You are better off getting a prescription from your doctor for compounded progesterone cream. The cream you order from the US OTC doesn't always contain the amount of progesterone that it says on the label. When you get the prescription cream, you know exactly what you are getting.
  9. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    black cohosh is a supplement that can be helpful for menopause symptoms, esp the hot flashes
  10. proteinlady

    proteinlady New Member

    Your doc is entitled to his opinion. How do you feel about HRT?

    There's a lot to consider and you need to educate yourself. Docs are infamous for cherry picking data and scaring the hell out of women to manipulate them into to doing what they want.

    Heart disease (25.8%) and breast cancer (22%) are the leading causes of death in women. You sacrifice your heart, bones, quality of life, etc. when you reject HRT to keep your breast safe from a cancer you may or may ot ever get. You need to weigh the pros and cons and decide what's important to you and what risks you can live with.

    When it comes to HRT, docs like to tell you that it causes breast cancer and causes heart attacks. The estrogen causes heart attacks business came from a flawed study. In that study, HRT was initiated in women in their 60's that had been in meopause for quite sometime. When they started estrogen, it knocked the plaques out and did cause events. Similar results were seen in monkeys that had been given estrogen after being menopausal for 5+ years. All of the latest research shows that when estrogen is started during perimenopause, it does in fact have heart protective effects. Similar results were seen in monkeys that were given estrogen during perimenopause to initial onset of menopause.

    With respect to estrogen, all estrogens are not created equal. Research shows that oral conjugated synthetic estrogens and estradiol do affect the clotting protein pathways in the liver and do increase the risk of blood clots while transdermal estradiol bypasses the liver and does not affect these blood clotting pathways. There are quite a few clinical research studies out now that show that the risk of blood clots in patients taking transdermal etradiol vs. women who do not use HRT is the same. Likewise, the side effect profile for prometrium (natural progesterone) is significantly better than the risks associated with synthetic progestins.

    With respect to breast cancer, breast cancers are slow growing and can take years to grow to a point that it can be detected. If you don't take estrogen, a breast cancer may not be detected until your 60's or 70's. Taking estrogen will promote the growth of that cancer and it may manifest itself earlier. There are several clinical studies out now that show that the survival rate in women with breast cancer is greater in women taking estrogen (140+ months) than women who do not take estrogen (86 months). Breast cancers in women taking estrogen is more likely to be estrogen+ and/or progeterone+ and hence less aggressive and more treatable. The breast cancers in women who never took estrogen or only took it for a short time is estrogen and or progesterone receptor negative and more aggressive as a result.

    My ovaries crapped out when I was 41. I started on a patch when the hot flashes got really bad and am still on them now at 55. I had a breast biopsy in August that was beign. My breast surgeon was fine with my decision to stay on my HRT although I did lower the dose.

    When all is said and done you need to look at the positives and negatives and decide what you can live with. If your doc won't or can't help you look at all the issues and give honenst answers without trying to manipulate you, then you may want to look for a reproductive endocrinologist that will be up to date on a HRT and all the issues to consider.
  11. simonedb

    simonedb Member

    protein lady--very informative and you seem confident on your info.

    any advice? I am discouraged about all that and have just accepted my situation pretty much but here is the dilemma, my libido dropped way off since stopped getting my moon 4-5 years ago, and this isn't good for motivating me to date etc it also effects my overall interest/passion in other things I noticed, more complacent.

    but its complicated, the pros of no estrogen no menses etc is its a lot calmer, no up and down and no drama, no cramps, no bedridden same 2 days fer sure once a month etc

    but I would like that zest for life and other ahem stuff to come back but here is the other dilemma, I tried bioidentical hormones after reading suzanne sommers book about it a few years ago, and I just cannot seem to tolerate them even in small doses. put me in bad mood, can't recall all the side effects, even if put just a little cream on. felt bad with estrogen, testosterone progesterone and dhea. I could get the cream again and try again I suppose but am super chemically sensitive, lots of stuff don't have luck with. the progesterone seemed to give me immediate fibro symptoms too and that was weird. I even tried pregnalone have it from same good biocompounding place, its high quality womens pharmacy and felt weird on that. oh and didnt a kathleen post on here she got a heartattack from ffc when they pushed some hormones on her, i think hormones with cfs and fm can make you or break you...but I am tempted to explore it again, not sure what could help me tolerate it or if would get used to it.
    I think part of problem is I was on the pill when I was 18 in 78 for awhile and it was stronger back then and I think it could be tied into why I got a gallstone at age 29, I shouldnt have cus I was fit as an olympic athlete, anyway, all those hormones i didnt need 30 years ago may have screwed my system up.

    anyway, if any thoughts please share.
  12. proteinlady

    proteinlady New Member

    I never really paid any attention to Somers or her theories. She comes across as a flake and there's not alot of data to support her claims. I do agree with her however, that estradiol and natural progesterone or far superior and the way to go over synthetic estrogens and progestins. If the version of hormones found in horse peewere so great, we would have evolved with them intead of the ones we have - enough said. I guess now would be a good time to say that I'm a scientist (Ph.D. in biochemistry) and I tend to base my decision on data from reputable research/clinical studies.

    The first thing to remember about HRT, is that when they supplement you with estrogen, it is not to the level that you had before you were menopausal. HRT should not result in menses if the dosages are correct. You may spot slightly the first month or two as your body adjusts. When ever you take hormones, whether HRT, thyroid, etc., it is not an instant cure. The rule of thumb is it actually takes the body 3-4 months to adjust and have the tissues of the body come into some type of equilibrium with the the supplemental hormone. Both estrogen and progesterone are migraine triggers for me and it took be a good 3 months to adjust to them. Once I was adjusted the steady blood levels actually improved my fibro overall. It was not a cure all for the fibro, but it did seem to level it out.

    Having said all of that, after not having taken any hormones for 4-5 years, Waiting too much longer to start them is going to be really dicey. You've been without the heart and cholesterol protective effects for a while now so that becomes a concern and a good doc should be able to help you sort that out and whether it's safe to start at this point. If you were going to try, I would not take oral estrogen. At this point you want the transdermal version so you can bypass the clotting protein pathways in the liver. The patch is also advantageous in that it keeps you blood level relatively constant. For people whom estrogen is a migraine trigger that is important because it is the fluctuations in estrogen that tend to kick off the migraine.

    Estrogen also is really important in maintaining the overall muscle tone in the vagina which in turn helps to support the bladder. It also maintains the lining of the bladder itself. If I forget to put on a new patch and my level drops down, nothing works right down there. There's no lubrication, everything seems to drop down, my bladder burns and I have an urge to go all the time. Getting my patch back on and all of these symptoms disappear in a 4-6 hour span. It's hard to get enthused about be frisky when nothing works right.

    If you can't tolerate HRT or choose not to start it for safety reason, you still have some options that will improve the overall state of your urogenital tract. You can use estring or vagifem. Both of these products deliver very small doses of estrogen directly to the vagina which also results in direct support of the bladder as well. Neither product was found to increase blood estrogen levels and neither product was found to stimulate the uterine lining; therefore progesterone is NOT needed when using either one. The estring is a very thin silicone ring that slowly releases the estrogen directly to the vagina walls. You insert it and just leave it in for 3 months. Vagifem is a pill that you insert and it sticks to the vaginal wall and dissolves. You use one every day for two weeks (during this time there are some reports of breast tenderness) and then you use it twice a week from there on with no other symptoms reported. In post menopausal women that get recurrent bladder infections, putting them on estring or vagifem is becoming the standard of care by urologists. When estrogen diminishes during menopause, the pH of the vagina increases (becomes more basic) which causes gut bacteria to colonize there. It is this bacteria that is mostly responsible for bladder infections. When you supplement with estrogen directly to thee tissues, the pH of the vagina becomes acidic and suppresses the growth of these bacteria. Replens also helps with moisture and makes vagina pH more acidic, but it doesn't do anything for the bladder lining. For those with breast cancer concerns or are breast cancer survivors, most oncologists are fine with the use of both estring and vagifem.

    HRT isn't a cure all for zest of life. A lot goes to status of mind and how it is connected to how you are feeling overall. I just recently became away of the technique of strain/counter strain positions and it's use in fibro patients. As someone who has been doing this since Aug., it's pretty effect. It works on shuting down pain pathways in muscle receptors. Sever drops in air presure would put me in bed for 2-5 days. I hardly notice pressure drops now. When I start to get that achy feeling that comes with a flare, I can do strain/counterstrain and short circuit the flare. I will try to get a post on this board later today or tomorrow about this technique.

  13. simonedb

    simonedb Member

    PL--thanks for the plentiful info, its nice to have friends with skills :)
    Lots to think about. It is good to know about the other options, like estring etc might be easier for me to contend with. There are several treatments I am contemplating this year that might be a bear so hormones would be another one to tip the scales to a very hard year. I work parttime and so trying to stay together enough for that makes experimenting with treatments hard because when I for example just take artesunate/hepasunate one day (saw DrCheney couple years ago and he likes that one, I dont take it regulaly but contemplating working upto it) I am flared up in some ways for days after taking it, more pain, more constipated, but it does seem to help some for awhile, same thing with wormwood/black walnut, not so for insoine. This is the year I want to make sure I have ruled out all infections and figure out whehter I should try course of antibiotics or antivirals, but likely would have to take a medical leave given how just art. affects me.

    I would like to hear about the strain counterstrain technique, as I am a fragile flower like many of us and I on the average probably lose the better part of 2 days every week and the other days I am not that efficient due to needing to lie down intermittently, so many things can set it off. Anyway will go back to the friendly local doc who deals with the biohormones she also does thermogram vs mammo and I think thats great and talk it over, she probably gets discouraged working with me though as we try so many things and then I dont stick withit because I cannot afford to feel worse because of the working parttime.
  14. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I would talk with your doc again and see if you could try the Premarin 0.3 (estrogen) for a short while to see if it helps, as long as he monitors you often.

    My daughter had a total hysterectomy at the age of 33 which put her in menopause immediately and she began the hot flashes. She was put on Premarin until she developed blood clots, then she had to quit. No more hormones ever again. But, her doc told her to take the Black Cohash for the hot flashes. It bothered her somehow, I just can't remember. So now, she just suffers!

    I've been through the hot flashes naturally, while I was still working in a hot office, and it was murder and would never want to re-live that time again!! LOL

    Hope you can find something to help you!

  15. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member

    These were recommended by my GYN. My older sister SWEARS by the Remifemin for stopping her hot flashes. Remi is a pure, standardized form of black cohosh. I guess there are different levels of purity/concentration (?) found in herbal remedies, so this is supposedly a good one.

    I've tried Estroven and it helps sometimes. I'm still having a regular cycle, but only 21 days apart. Terrible PMS, and the FM/CFS flares always coincide with this time of the month. I get totally drenched every night, and during the day my scalp sweats terribly. Hot/cold constantly. I need to be a bit more diligent at taking these, I don't always remember for some reason. I'm taking probably a dozen supplement pills everyday and I just get so sick to my stomach from them sometimes.

    I've also tried the OTC prog cream, but never noticed a difference. Again, I probably didn't use it long enough. I am ready for all of this stuff to be over, but it sounds like it lasts several years. Us women seem to have gotten the short end of the stick, huh??????????

    Stay cool...........Hermit
  16. granmaw09

    granmaw09 Member

    A question for you. How did the progesterone cause Fibro. pain for you in the bio-ident. hormones? Did it make it worse or what? How did they know it was from the progesterone?
  17. Gingareeree

    Gingareeree New Member

    for approx. 15.years. I'm 57,post menopausal for almost 6 years. While I did experience hot flashes and night sweats,I didn't suffer with the mood swings and depression many experience with peri/menopause. I attribute this to the progesterone cream. Also I never had the "big nasty period" that so many have. My cycle just tapered off!I still use progestrone on 25 days/off 5. Yes,it does help with sleep,I notice I don't sleep as well when I'm off for those five days.~~~Jeanne
    [This Message was Edited on 02/28/2010]
  18. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member


    What type of Prog cream do you use? Just curious. I have a book by a Dr. Lee that claims this is the answer, Prog derived from wild yams. A friend of mine also swears by it, but now she's using a compounding pharm for hers, she had started w the OTC stuff.
  19. Gingareeree

    Gingareeree New Member

    I've only used the "Progesta-care"by LifeFlo. I get that @ my local vitamin store. I have thought about bio identical progestrone. A former neighbor was a pahrmacist,she worked@ a compound pharmacy. I've just never gotten around to it.~~Jeanne
  20. crickett

    crickett New Member

    simonedb. I have been reading alot about chaste berry . I struggle with the mood swings and panic attacks. I have read that chaste berry was good for this you said to get a pharm grade good quality. if you could let me know where i would like to look into this more. thanks crickett