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New to the site but not to RA - hormones question!

Morning all! I have a question for anyone afflicted by both RA and monthly hormone cycles (periods, rag week, menses or menstruation, trying to hit all those key words).

It seems pretty well accepted that 'that time of the month' also brings more disease activity or pain. I'm currently not taking hormonal birth control, and I was wondering if anyone had tried balancing these monthly spikes by using the Pill or similar? It's been a while since my last pamphlet about how the cycles work - would it increase activity all month, or level it out to be more consistent, or is it just as much of a crapshoot as everything else to do with RA? Is it actually the hormones causing the problem, or is it just the added stress, low mood and increased body temperature mucking things up?

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It could be any of those things. Why not discuss that with your health professional - you might find that a contraceptive clinic specialist would have more knowledge?

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So would you think a rheumatology nurse would be a good idea to get the RA crossover, or a general practice nurse?

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I was thinking about a contraceptive clinic - it may be called family planning clinic in your area? The nurses and doctors who work there have a special interest and knowledge of hormonal contraception and usually access to a sophisticated query service which can access answers to unusual questions. That service is run by the sexual health and reproduction section of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. It may be preferable to seeing someone with no specialised knowledge of drug interactions and special prescription of hormones.

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I'll see where my nearest one is. I'm in reasonably rural Hampshire and can't say I've seen a clinic recently!

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try :https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/Family-planning/LocationSearch/1863

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Unfortunately, it may be hard to get an answer to your question regardless of whom you ask. You'd be surprised by how little those in the medical field know about unusual questions. I've walked in to my appts with a list of questions... And most were dismissed, which leads me to believe the doc didn't know or care. I say ask every medical person you can and see what they say say... Maybe you can arrive at a consensus.

Good luck

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Thanks. I've started by calling my local rheumatology advice line. I'm only 28, if I can possibly stave off the worst of the fluctuations by taking an easily available contraceptive then I'm going to push for an answer about it

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Sounds good to me! I'm sure it may take a month or so to kick in but I hope it helps with everything you're dealing with.

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This is really interesting. I have a client who's a consultant in hormone balancing. I did a finger prick test that showed my hormone levels were all over the place. Following treatment to rebalance them, I'm in a much better place. Unfortunately it's a private service that NHS doesn't offer.

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Wow! Glad to hear that you've been able to help balance your hormones and best of all... It's helped your RA!

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Oh, that's great news! I've got private health through work, maybe if I play my cards right I can get referred

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Now that’s worth knowing -thanks for sharing

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I think its hormones to be honest, from my experience anyway. I'm peri-menopausal and have been having issues with fluctuating periods for the last few years. Last summer I had albut a 7 week period apart from 2 days off after 2 weeks and then 3 days off about 3 weeks later but it did end eventually only to reappear about 2.5 weeks later but just last for 10-14 days. At the beginning of this year I went 8 weeks period free which was great but since then its been 2 weeks on and 2 weeks or so off. I ended up seeing one of the GPs at the end of May and she has given me the POP (progesterone only) pill Cerazette. I've been taking it now for 7 weeks but apart from the first 10 days I've now had a period constantly for over 5 weeks. Its not very heavy but just there all the time, sometimes going very light but not enough to stop, although its never as heavy as had been previously. The pill has got rid of the night sweating which is great, especially in this weather, but unfortunately hasn't so far regulated the periods. I gather it does very much vary with each individual and there is only about a 20% chance they'll stop completely, and a 20% chance they'll get far worse, the remainder is apparently somewhere in the middle which its now looking is what I may be sadly. Its possible I just need to continue a bit longer to see but after 5 weeks I've had enough of one constant period. Interestingly I don't think its been affecting my RA as much as in the past, although I've become somewhat tearful in recent weeks but that is possibly more down to other circumstances more than just the pill. I would definitely recommend talking to someone about it but what sort of response you get remains to be seen. I'd previously raised it with one of the rheumatology registrars (until recently I'd rarely seen the consultant apart from when first referred) but they didn't want to know and told me to speak to my GP in spite of the fact it was affecting the RA badly. Seems to be a bit of a run of the mill attitude with many of them sadly.

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I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble at the moment. Ages ago, pre-RA I went on the contraceptive sub-dermal implant. I was on a full-blown bleed for 6 months before they agreed to take it out! I hope you find an even keel soon

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Hello Chrissy,

Your symptom increase has propabljy to do with the fact that the hormonal balance in estrogen/ progesterone is shifted too much in favor of estrogen. Supplementing with natural progesterone like Progest-E usually decreases symptoms. Here is a link with some info.

natural-fertility-info.com/...

This link has a lot of info on progesterone not just on fertility.

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Huh. Estrogen dominance would answer an awful lot of my background problems too

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Yes it's really too bad that the info on the importance of progesterone is not more spread. Here is another interesting link to understan the function and importance of progesterone.

raypeat.com/articles/articl...

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Really interesting, thank you! This should help in my future conversations

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Hi, I've been on pop cerazette and I don't get a bleed at all, everyone's different, but to me it's great, have a break through once or twice a year but for less than a day probably. Also on methotrexate, pred and naproxen. Was thought I was pre menopausal, but symptoms have disappeared since diagnosed and started treatment for RA. Hope this helps. X

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