peri-menopause signs and symptoms...? - Thyroid UK

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peri-menopause signs and symptoms...?

I'm sorry if this is not the right forum for this post, but I really hope someone will know something about what is happening to me:

I got my first period three months before my 12th birthday. Until a year ago, I had my periods every months. They were heavy, but regular. I turned 47 a month ago. I was diagnosed with mononucleosis in 1995, at age 26. Five years later, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease. Since then, I have tried every thyroid medication known to man. I am currently on Erfa Thyroid. I have also been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue.

About a year ago, my periods started changing. I had just turned 46 when that happened. I have read that, very often, periods start coming more often, before becoming more rare. For me, they went from completely regular to very irregular in no time at all. My periods just started coming every other month, instead of every month.

I saw a Hertoghe doctor (one of the best, according to a French forum) two weeks ago. This doctor told me it's a bit early to be going through menopause, but did not really suggest any treatment.

About eight months ago, I saw my OB-Gyn who prescribed the drug Primolut-Nor to start my periods again. That was successful but, ever since, they have been highly irregular. My OB-Gyn (sorry if this is not the correct term in British English) also examined me thoroughly, but found nothing wrong with me.

My last period started right before Christmas, on December 20. Since then...nothing.

I would love to hear from anyone who has gone through this. How did peri-menopause start for you? Has anyone gone from having regular monthly bleedings to having bleedings every other month, only to have them stop all of a sudden?

24 Replies

Anna69, your doctor can do a blood test which will determine whether you are peri or menopausal.

google.co.uk/search?q=peri-...

in reply to Clutter

The fact is, she did. She said both my estrogen and progesterone levels are low, but that my E levels are proportionately higher than my P levels...but also that it's very rare to start having these problems before age 50...???

As soon as I get the results from the lab (I have requested them), I will post them here.

Clutter profile image
Clutter in reply to

Anna69, I thought mid-40s was when peri menopause was likely to start. I had full menopause <42.

Anna,

Sorry to hear you are having these problems.

There is an intricate connection between the thyroid and female sex hormones.

Post any thyroid hormone or nutrient blood test results complete with ranges

(numbers in brackets) for members to comment.

Flower

Hashimoto's and female hormones.

hashimotoshealing.com/hashi...

Female Hormone Update

drcherylkasdorf.com/2015/04...

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..………..

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

..

in reply to

Thank you, Flower!

Here are my labs (from Feb 8). Since I have not had my period since 20 December, I am not sure which phase I am in, so I include reference range for them all:

Oestradiol:

ovulation 95-600 ng/L

luteal phase: 41-300 ng/L

menopause: 11-49 ng/L

My levels, almost seven weeks after latest period: 331 ng/L

Progesterone:

pre-ovulation: 0.5-4.50 ug/l

luteal phase: 5.50-27.0 ug/l

menopause: <0.50 ug/l

My levels: 0.33 ug/l

Which means, if my understanding is correct, that my progesterone levels are menopausal, whereas my estradiol levels are not...?

I started having peri menopausal symptoms not long after my 40th birthday. For me it began with irregular periods, followed by hot flashes at all times of the day. I also became very emotionally unstable and anxious. It's now been 2+ years since my last period (I'm 46) so I'm done. I did go on HRT for a while, but although it eased the hot flashes, I came off the meds after a year. Could never remember to take the pills anyway!

My GP tested my thyroid at the time, but said i was fine. However, within 3 years I was having awful hashimoto's symptoms, so I suspect the two events are linked. My mum also had premature menopause, followed by graves, so there's probably a hereditary connection.

The only fixed factor within Perimenopause is an observed change in the monthly cycle however shapes or forms it may manifest itself with.

This could be an increased bleeding and/or decreased bleeding while still being regular.

You can start skipping periods and all of sudden return to their regularity, and for this to change again.

You can have an absence of periods and for several months but as soon as you thought you are only a few months away from being declared menopausal (12 months of no period) all of sudden then it may all start again.

There are cases of women, within this pattern, that continued to have their periods until the age of 57-58.

Within only very few known cases, within medical records, to pass the age of 60 by a little.

Perimenopause can also drag for about 10 years.

At the age of 47, the good news is that your examination revealed nothing within your uterus and ovaries and it may be a very strong case that you may be approaching menopause.

I hope this helps!

in reply to

Yes, it's very helpful, thank you! Don't get me wrong: I'd love to get rid of my periods, the sooner the better! However, I realise this may only be the beginning of many years of irregular bleedings, and periods coming and going...I guess only time will tell.

Sorry to say you sound as though you are having normal Pre-menopause symptoms to me and it could be early due to a failing thyroid, as you seem to have had continuous problems with your thyroid.

When I had stopped taking the pill in my 40's my periods were heavy then light, from 21 days to sometimes 56 odd. I now know my thyroid was acting up and taken my reproductive system with it. The very unsympathetic female doctor did no tests, told me I was starting my menopause and stuck me on a pill to equalise my periods. She should have checked my thyroid like all the other doctors before her, especially before prescribing Oestrogens as they deplete thyroid levels even more.

Years later, in the Menopause and 47 to 48 years old in a terrible mental and physical state a new doctor straight from Africa said I had Myxedema - that is severe undiagnosed Hypothyroidism to you and me and I was very young to be in such an advanced stage.

Once your on Thyroxine they can up your dose to enable you to be on HRT (but in my case it doesn't help hot flushes and night sweats).

Get them to check your thyroid again. Your adrenal fatigue and early menopausal symptoms sound as though its not functioning properly to me.

in reply to Terryldactyl

Thank you very much for these comments!

I would be happy if I this was "only" peri-menopause...so if it is, nobody could be happier than me.

I was recently on long-term sick leave (almost a year) for severe burnout syndrom. I cannot help but wonder if that can wreak havoc on an already fragile endocrine system, and actually cause you to go into peri-menopause...?

My thyroid treatment has never been easy. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's in late 2000, and put on thyroxine in January 2001. During the fifteen years since, I have been on thyroxine, synthetic combo drugs and NDT alternatively. Nothing has ever worked optimally for me.

The realisation is beginning to dawn on me that I seem to know more than doctors, even the so called Hertoghe doctors who are supposedly among the best in the world.

I have spent a fortune over the years on so called top doctors. I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue for the first time in 2004, and put on 2 mg of Medrol where I stayed for the next two years...until I decided it was not working, and went off it.

The doctors I have seen - and, as I said, they are supposedly the best in Europe - have all diagnosed me with hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue, but they have never been able to treat both conditions successfully. The doctor I have been seeing since 2011 has kept me on 4 mg of Medrol daily. I went to see another doctor known to prescribe HC. I have now been prescribed HC (have not started taking it yet, though), but this commented on my extremely low aldosterone levels (right at the lower normal limit), yet did nothing about it. It feels like for every step forward, I take one back...

I agree, my thyroid condition is not optimally treated. I admit to being at a loss here. I don't know where to go from here. Some say your adrenals need to be treated before you can successfully treat hypothyroidism. I am already taking NDT (I just switched to Thiroyd as Erfa has not been working that well for me in the past year or so, and Armour did not work at all...those are the only NDT drugs available in Belgium at this time). I would find it hard to go off NDT and back on T4 only, but maybe that is what I should do, in order to let my adrenals recover first...?

I could go on HC, no problem, but what about my extremely low aldosterone levels? Can you treat one deficiency and ignore the other?

My aldosterone levels at 8 am were 42 ng/L (reference ranges 40-300), free cortisol 14.1 (ref 10-30).

Thyroid labs in blood: free T3 (5.88 pmol/L (ref 3.23-6.47), FT4 15.01 pmol/L (ref 9.03-23.22). Thyroid labs in 24 h urine: T3 1120 pmol/24h (ref 800-2500; should be at least 2000 according to doctor)

T4 1380 pmol/24 h (550-3160; should be at least 2500 according to doctor)

I don't know how reliable 24 h urine analyses are compared to levels in blood but, even though my FTs in blood don't look too bad (I think), the T3 and T4 levels in 24 h urine are lowish...and this was when I was on 5.5 grains of Erfa daily.

I went to see one so called top doctor in 2011 who put me on Estrogel. I stopped taking it recently as I have read that you should not take it for more than five years, and I had already been on it for four and a half years and wanted to see if it made a difference...cannot say that I feel worse without it.

If estrogen can mess up thyroid hormone levels, maybe that is what happened to me...? At the time it was prescribed to me, I still had regular periods, was not peri-menopausal in any way, but was told I needed it because of my adrenal fatigue. Progesterone was also prescribed at the same time. I have been using estrogen day 5-25 of cycle, and progesterone day 15-25, as directed by physician.

Hi Anna,

Sorry that you having been having such an awful time, did all these health problems start because you were under extreme Stress at home or work etc?

Am going off the computer now, but will re-read your letter and reply tomorrow.

Good night.

in reply to Terryldactyl

Yes, more or less. The thyroid has never been optimally treated, possibly because my adrenal issues have never been properly sorted out...but everything deteriorated considerably when I was put on sick leave for exhaustion. That, for instance, is when my periods started coming irregularly, after being regular since my late teens. Now, it's been nine weeks since my last period, and that is the longest "period-free" period so far.

I have come to believe that I know as much, if not more, than my doctor, and that I don't need her for her expertise, but to write prescriptions...thanks to forums such as these, and the STTM, I feel I know more than most doctors, including the so called top doctors...!

Terryldactyl profile image
Terryldactyl in reply to

I think? - the mononucleosis (Epsom Barr, Glandular Fever), set off your immune system, Your immune system attacked your thyroid, Your thyroid probably went into overdrive mode (Hashimoto's) which naturally put strain on you mentally and physically, more stress with your body in Hypothyroid mode, causing your Adrenal exhaustion. You are probably beginning your Menopause ( with or without it being an affect of your thyroid or adrenal function - Average age is normally around 45 to 50) and this is making you feel even worse.

If you are taking Thyroid Hormones then your Oestrogen would be taken into account, so I don't think this is the problem. You will feel awful your periods are all over the place. My periods stopped a long time ago and I'm on HRT and I still have hot sweats and night sweats, such is life.

Are you eating properly?

What things are you doing to help yourself relax and de-stress?

in reply to Terryldactyl

I am trying to eat right. I am always told by doctors that my iron levels are low, and that I need to eat more red meat. However, lately, I have found it difficult to eat meat; it's like I have to force myself to eat it, and I sometimes even find the idea disgusting. I have no idea why, as I never had a problem with meat before. I do however, eat fish (tuna, salmon, cod) several times a week. I also eat a lot of vegetables, including starchy ones, like potatoes. I only occasionally eat bread and pasta.

I have lost almost 15 kilograms in the past year, after starting two supplements called Diabecon and Hyponidd. Before that, my insulin and fasting blood sugar levels were in the pre-diabetic range, but I managed to get them down with these supplements. I did not want to take Metformin (which one doctor suggested), and it does seem I need to (at least not right now...).

I try do relax by taking brisk walks (weather permitting), going to an aerobics class a couple of times a week, and weekly massages at a nearby institute. I also try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

in reply to

Iron levels - I have been anaemic around pregnancy times and also previous to that. My mum suffered from it too. I believe she was prescribed Guiness by her doctor!! Have you tried Floradix, which is a natural vitamin/mineral supplement in liquid form. I always felt that it helped me more than the tablets. However, I guess we need to be careful about taking extra iron if we are not deficient..

Warm Greetings

Breizh

I have been a vegetarian for 40 years, so I won't if you don't mind, comment on a dislike of meat. I have always taken a Vitamin and mineral tablet to make sure I have not been lacking in any essential nutrients, despite having a reasonably varied diet.

I used to eat loads of potatoes and bread, but I put myself on a diet, so won't allow myself more than a slice of bread instead of two or more, and instead of 3 or 4 medium potatoes I can only eat 1. The lost carbs have been replaced by more vegetables, I always count 3 or more during the day and at least 2 types of fruit. My protein is made up of meat substitutes or beans, nuts, and grains, which tend to add to my roughage and micro vitamin levels. Of course you can add to protein levels by adding eggs and cheese.

Your exercise levels are better than mine, and the weekly massages are brilliant (i'm green). Do you practice mindfullness or meditation these have been shown to have a marked effect on stress, anxiety and depression?

The problems with blood sugar levels (Metformin) you seem to have dealt with fabulously losing 15 Kilograms (2st 3lb) in weight ( I need to lose a stone in weight). Having extra weight on will add to stress on your Adrenal glands at any time. This along with everything else will add to your feeling quite awful at times.

I think you sound to me as if you are doing everything you possibly can to help yourself. Menopause, thyroid, pre-diabetes, will all add to your adrenal exhaustion and stress levels.

I wish I could get 8 hours sleep, last night I got to bed at 3am and I was up around 7am, probably napped on sofa a couple of hours too, not good, not happy.

in reply to Terryldactyl

Thank you so much for all your comments and suggestions, they are invaluable to me!

Thank you also for converting kilograms into stones and lb...I should have thought of that.

I have been unable to lose weight for years, and not even methods like Weight Watchers (which seems to work for everyone else) have really done much for me. When I added the supplements Hyponidd and Diabecon, suddenly things started to happen. I also eat less than I used to, simply because I no longer have cravings, and my appetite has normalised.

The only way to sleep through the night is to take melatonin...ten years ago or so, when a doctor first put me on it, I seem to recall it was illegal in Belgium, and had to be ordered from overseas. Now, you can buy it in pharmacies here and, when I was on a mission recently to a neighbouring country, I saw melatonin pills in the para-pharmacy section of a department store...! (sorry, I have no idea, if para-pharmacy is the correct term in English, but it's where they sell vitamins, minerals, beauty products, etc).

Times most definitely do change, sometimes for the better:-)

I have decided not to worry about my sudden dislike for meat, but instead eat more vegetables, including beans, lentils, and pulses which I love, but I have sometimes worried about their carb content. However, since I have lost so much weight, I don't think that will be a problem.

Because of my blood sugar levels, I have also avoided fruit (with the exception of berries), but I love fruit, and maybe I should include one or two servings of fruit daily...?

I can only hope that my periods will not come back. Good riddance, I'd say...!

in reply to Terryldactyl

xxooxxoo

Hi Anna, I tend to buy my vitamins and minerals on line or get in a Health Food shop like Holland and Barratt's, my beauty products I get in shops such as Body Shop or lush here in Britain.

When I asked the doctor for something to help me sleep, he never bothered to entertain the request, so I don't bother to ask any more, half the time I try to avoid the doctors and I know I should have my blood tests done but I don't have much faith in doctors now. If I want to know something I read various sources including the NHS and look it up on line in various places too, I don't think the doctors here (by experience) have the time or the interest to bother that much. I am not saying this is what you should do, if you have a good doctor then stick to them.

Carbohydrates found in Potatoes, bread and pasta should be reduced and sugar should be cut out completely. I use Stevia (Truvia) a sugar substitute, it does not get seen as sugar in the body and causes no spikes in sugar levels. Your body needs Carbohydrates for energy so try to get it only from 5 (6 or 7) a day fruit and veg. 1 apple, or 1 tomato or 1 tangerine, 10 berries, is 1of your 5 a day, fruit juices are a not in fashion at the moment. When I'm feeling lazy a small collection of frozen mixed vegetables does for 2 vegetable portions. Have you got any lose weight suggestions?

I am pleased that I don't have periods any more but the hot flashes and hot sweats do get me down at times.

in reply to Terryldactyl

The so called hormone doctors in Belgium are supposedly among the best in Europe, and it is so much easier for me to stick to them than to find someone thousands of miles from where I live. In order for me to be willing to accept the extra time and cost, it would have to be a truly great doctor, and I doubt anyone would be worth that sacrifice...

I am trying to reduce my carb intake as much as possible, and the supplements I have been taking to control my blood sugar and insulin levels have certainly helped doing that. Before, I used to eat potatoes, pasta, or rice every day; now, it's maybe once a week.

Stevia sounds excellent; I have been using Canderel, but it does not seem very healthy, and Stevia sounds like a more natural alternative.

Terryldactyl profile image
Terryldactyl in reply to

Canderel will mimic ordinary sugar in the body. Stevia/Truvia doesn't. A Health programmes on the British Television (Trust me I'm a Doctor - you should be able to access it on line) analysed all the sugar substitutes and gave Stevia an all clear for complete safety.

Your English is excellent.

in reply to Terryldactyl

Thank you on both accounts:-)

in reply to Terryldactyl

Terradactyl - pears are supposed to be great for supporting thyroid function. If you are interested check out Medical Medium online - great info on foodstuffs to support our health.

I was vegetarian for 15 years - unfortunately I did not know that soya milk was bad for the thyroid - in fact all soya products except for Tempeh which has undergone a different process.

It was only when I started eating meat again that I started to put the weight on....actually....it also coincided with my peri-menopause.

Have you read any of Dr Christiane Northrup's books The Wisdom of Menopause etc

Sage tisanes are good for hot sweats -there are a number of herbal books around on menopause too.

Warm Greetings

Breizh

I saw doctor yesterday. She said FSH and LH levels show that I'm indeed peri-menopausal.

When I described my most troublesome recent symptoms, such as profuse sweating and waking up several times at night drenched in sweat, she said that I can use Estrogel every day, but not use progesterone more than ten days a month. Since my cycles have been shorter lately (21-22 days instead of 28), she said that I should still start using P on day 15 of cycle, and that it's OK to use it only 6-7 days per cycle.

However, out of pure desperation, I started using a bottle of Wellsprings 20:1 I ordered some time ago but not yet opened, and...wow! The difference was immediate. 24 hours without hot flushes and I slept all night and woke up this morning with dry bed sheet:-)

It says on bottle that you should use the cream (which contains E and P) differently depending on whether you have regular or irregular/no periods, whereas my doctor will only treat me differently once I'm menopausal (right now, I cannot imagine living like I have been lately for 12 whole months without any kind of bleeding). So the way I feel now, I'm sticking with 20:1.

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