Thyroid UK
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Questions to those who have gone through peri-menopause

OK, so I would like to ask all of you who have gone through this and experienced the well-known problems...how did it all start for you???

I am asking because, for the past four or so months, I have had the impression a lot of things have changed and I have completely lost control.

Since May, I am sweating terribly. It happens all of a sudden; I feel fine one minute and, the next, sweat is pouring down my spine, my face (worst of all), my legs...most nights, I wake up several times (despite taking melatonin), drenched in sweat, and need to change my bed sheets almost daily.

I had a normal period in June, then nothing happened in July and I thought "Good riddance", but now it's back...I am 48. I have been on bio-identical progesterone (Utrogestan, 200 mg) and Estrogel since 2012...not because I was peri-menopausal, but because I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue.

I realise some problems could be thyroid-related as well...I have been stable and well on Thyroid-S (5 grains) for the last couple of years. Last year, my doctor said my FTs looked lowish but that I should not change anything if I felt well. In fact, my FT4 levels were close to the lower normal limit and my FT3 levels midrange 24 hours after taking NDT (so ca 20% higher the previous day). This year, on the same dose, my FT4 levels were above midrange and my FT3 levels through the roof...

My FSH levels in August 2016 were 1.3 IU/L (day 14 of cycle; ref 0.2-4.0). This year, they were 10.4 on the same day of cycle...when they are >22, you are considered menopausal in Belgium. Until then, peri-menopausal.

I have decreased Thyroid-S by one grain daily and already feel improvement after 48 hours, but I am still sweating profusely from time to time. When I say improvement I mean = not sweating all the time, just sometimes.

But I don't like the idea of decreasing NDT if that is not really what I need...however, I doubt peri-menopause would mess with my free Ts...?!

This has all happened so fast that my head is spinning...and that is the reason I'd like to hear from others who have gone through peri-menopause. Did you notice symptoms like these which were or were not thyroid-related? I am not sure why all of a sudden I seem to require considerably lower doses of Thyroid-S than before, just when I thought I had found the right dose for me that I would stay on for at least another 20 years...but I realise there is an intricate interaction between hormones at play here, which I just cannot figure out, and that is why I'd be very interested in other members' experiences.

I hate this sweating. It's really beginning to affect my quality of life. I feel like I have just come out of a sauna most of the time...I have learned how to dress, and bring along a change of clothes and even a towel if necessary, but how can you ignore sweat pouring down your face or even dripping into your eyes...?! Not possible.

Most conventional doctors would say I brought this on myself by taking T3 (NDT), so causing drug induced hyperthyroidism, but I was fine until about four months ago when something changed drastically...and I am still trying to figure out what. That is another reason why hearing about other people's experiences would be invaluable to me at this point in time.

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Ugh that sounds so unpleasant for you.

It's all a (fairly!) distant memory now (I'm 61) but at around my mid 40s I started feeling slightly warm at night, after I'd gotten up to go to the loo. Normally I'd feel cold and need to warm up under the covers. As the months went by, that 'warmth' increased and after a couple of years I was full on into hot flushes. Horrible! And what's worse, I had those flushes up until last year, when I went gluten-free they pretty much subsided, although alcohol will aggravate milder ones. I always had irregular periods so that wasn't much of a clue! My main symptom, pretty much my only one, was intense hot flushes, multiple times a day, but that was bad enough! I was fortunate in that I didn't sweat that much, it was just intense heat.

I don't think I had thyroid problems back then, but then again, who knows? I wasn't on any medications at all at that point of my life. I finally stopped periods at 51, but as I said the flushes continued on, just like they had for my mother (who went on to develop Graves). I now have Hashi's, I think there's a family thing going on there!

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Interesting, thanks for replying...! Yes, I have read about others having this going on well into their 60s...I just cannot imagine living another 10 or 15 years like this...!

I honestly think the sweating is the worst part...I think I could live with hot flashes, as long as they did not lead to excessive sweating...because that is something that is visible to others, and makes me feel extremely uncomfortable in most social situations.

When you read about women experiencing what I'm experiencing, the advice offered most of the time is: "see a doctor about HRT". But I have been on HRT for five years and it's no longer working...what do you do when your problems start after years on HRT...?!

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My Mum had the awful sweating too, especially night sweats. I only ever had a very few of those but they are so unpleasant! I don't think Mum ever got over hers, I think she went straight into Graves 'heat'... and that was undiagnosed until she was... mid 70s? Looking back I think her thyroid was overactive for many, many years.

I think if HRT isn't doing what it's meant to do then the answer must lie elsewhere, I always think it's diet-related but throwing in a dysfunctional thyroid as well is a nightmare.

Unfortunately I can't really advise on the relation of thyroid hormone to estrogen but perhaps some other knowledgeable person here can. :)

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Thanks for your input;-)

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I assume that dose is now wrong.

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When browsing the internet, I find so many articles stating:

1. HRT is dangerous and

2. natural remedies won't help.

The same articles tell women of my age to be happy not to have to worry about pregnancy any more, to eat a healthy diet, exercise, to embrace life...but what if that does not help in the least...?!

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Yeah, well I'd like to see some of the article writers live with the symptoms I had. Some people have very few problems, others loads.

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Anna69..I'm 50 now ...my bloods diagnosed peri a few years ago and I had last period 2yr ago....all this time my periods were regular but didnt last more than a day or 2...then all of a sudden they stopped ...!I went almost a year without one and thought good that's the end of that...!..however then I had a one day period and had to start counting againas the criteria is 1 full yr without periods to say that you have gone through it !My early symptoms were anxiety/insomnia/mood swings/ to name a few which seemed to increase as time went on .My gp prescribed hrt as he said I was a little early for it and it could ease my symptoms and protect my bones even though I was still having regular periods. ..anyways it didn't help and I tried a few different kinds including patches!...So I stopped it ...nothing herbal helped ..I just "rode the storm".My flushes (intense heat not sweating several times a day)started not long before last period and lasted until a few weeks ago which stopped after I started an adrenal glandular!I don't know ..but ..maybe your adrenals for some reason are working better,as when they're kicking in your body uptakes thyroid hormones better and doesn't need as much medication.Overmedication can cause excess sweating. I hope things calm down for you it's debilitating and another bum deal that us women have to suffer and really throws a spanner in the works when we are hypo.

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Thanks:-)

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I guess what I am really wondering - not replying to anyone in particular - is if this could go on indefinitely...?! When reading some posts, I see women who have been (peri-)menopausal for 20 or 30 years, with still no sign of relief...is that even possible...I mean, that this ordeal will never end...?! Is there any way of having your ovaries surgically removed if nothing else helps...?

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Sometimes not being on enough medication can cause periods to cease and can be. Infused with thinking early menopause. Just get all medications retested and post results and ranges. Someone may spot something that could help.

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I just checked my lab results from two weeks ago and, strangely enough, there are no reference ranges. However, I found reference ranges for estradiol and progesterone elsewhere which seem to be pretty standard in Belgium.

During the ovulatory phase (I went to the lab on day 14 of cycle, following my doctor's instructions), my estradiol levels were 342 ng/L, and ref ranges are 95-600. But, unless my lab uses other ref ranges, my progesterone levels seem a little high; 6.1 ug/L, whereas ref ranges seem to be 0.5-4.5.

You read very little about excessive progesterone levels, as it is always stressed how important it is to take P with E to avoid estrogen dominance...I have been taking 200 mg of Utrogestan from day 15-25 of cycle, but recently moved that to day 12 of cycle instead since my cycles tend to be shorter nowadays (21 days instead of 28, which would mean only taking P for six days per cycle instead of ten...but maybe that wasn't such a good idea).

I am seeing my doctor tomorrow so I guess I'll find out then...but I am beginning to realise how complicated hormones are, and how they interact all the time, so that the tiniest imbalance can have huge consequences...

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Hi Anna69

I dont have any answers unfortunately as i am searching myself. Are you sure the reference ranges are correct for the timings of where you are in your cycle? I must admit i struggled to find answers for myself too about when i had testing done. i thought i had estrogen dominance when my estrogen was 48 pg/ml on day 3. My progesterone level was 0.01 7 days after my period but clearly taken at a different time to the estrogen which my GP said was too low at any time so i guess i am too low in E & P but i still cannot seem to balance this problem myself. I ended up taking E everyday and was told to add P for 12 - 15 days but i have now given up with both as i was feeling really irritable after my period and am waiting to go back to my GP and will ask if both can be retested at the same time as i feel i'm trying to chase a moving target! Your posts are so well written and i can really identify with how you feel and the questions you have...just sadly i cant help you!

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Just reading your post helped me a lot, so don't worry about that:-)

I see the posts in this forum as pieces of a giant puzzle; you have to figure out which pieces fit together...

As someone here pointed out, adding DHEA (and possibly pregnenolone, which I understand can be converted to a number of different sex hormones) might be a good idea...

I could live with the current situation if it were to last only for a few months...I hope that the horror stories you read about 71-year-olds still having hot flashes more than 20 years after their last period is an exception rather than the rule...

And no, right now, I am not sure about anything...! I am seeing my hormone doctor tomorrow and hopefully will have some answers after that.

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Thanks a lot for your input!

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It's such a long time ago, it's hard to remember. It started with just burning feeling from feet to head occasionally, especially while resting. Then I would swing from burning (like when you accidentally splash your hands with paint stripper) again rising from feet up to head and buckets of sweat but so painful I wanted to rip my skin off, then very soon after freezing cold with chattering teeth (about every 90 mins). Permanently tired but couldn't sleep. Moody, fed up. Never had regular periods so didn't notice much there. Dreadful itching down below and instant bleeding if touched. I put up with it for nearly 7 years and then went on bioidentical Hrt.

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And HRT helped...?

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Yes. Almost immediately. I'd have killed myself without it.

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I'm very happy for you it worked so well and fast!!! Also, it makes me wonder how I can feel so lousy, since I've been on HRT (bio-identical) for the past five years...? I hope it turns out at my doctor's visit tomorrow that I'm either testosterone deficient (I don't take T) or just need to raise E and P...because I recognise the feeling of despair you describe. There is no way I can live like this with no end in sight, and I'm already using Estrogel 20 days a month and progesterone ten days a month...however, it seems very strange that you would develop symptoms of peri-menopause while on HRT, doesn't it...?!

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PS. This sentence stood out in an article in the Daily Mail a few years ago; it almost sounds to good to be true...?!

Eight out of ten women will experience menopausal symptoms, with three-quarters having hot flushes. For many, these last only a few months while the body adjusts

I am not saying I will be that lucky, but at least it's good to know that not everyone experiencing what I am experiencing right now will have to suffer for years to come or even indefinitely...

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I think that's true for most people. My mother had few symptoms but my cousin was like me.

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I couldn't take Test as it makes me very, very angry, but my levels are always near the top of the range anyway. I have DHEA instead. I have the same dose every day (perhaps because I was post meno when I started), but I've had my progesterone raised a couple of times.

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OK, thanks for the tip...! My doctor has prescribed DHEA for me but I can buy that much cheaper online. Good to know there are options...!

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Mine is all hormones in one lozenge.

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PS. Has anyone tried switching from using HRT a limited number of days per month (E day 5-25 and P day 15-25) to using it on a daily basis? I think that with certain products available OTC, such as Wellsprings 20-1, you are supposed to use them daily, right...? Not sure if that would make a difference, though, which is why I'd be interested in hearing from those having used HRT on a daily basis instead of cyclically.

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