Full blown Perimenopause, low estrogen, low mood, HRT, Antidepressants or just sit it out?

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I so far just been active reader in this forum and soooo thankful to have found it as it really calms, helps to know that others go through the same thing....

I am just 41 and had 2 years ago started to have irregular periods, I had a swollen lymphnode under my right armpit so I eventually went to the GP about it. Since I was ÿoung he thought I was pregnant but I got him to do hormone testing as I just had "a feeling". Anyway the bloodtest result was that the FSH was on 110, can not remember the other values. Anyhow the GP said all is ok, nothing out the ordinary???! And left it at that. So off I went, but then did my research and found out FSH 110 is not ordinary. So I contacted a Gyno via email andhe suggested to go back to the GP and to tell him to take such and such bloodtests and also to have a pelvic ultrascan done. So I did that, and it turned out I had a quite large uterine polyp. Had that removed last year in Oct. through the public system (I live in Australia, no private healthinsurance). The Gyno at the Hospital is a very nice guy so he's been very concerned that I find out and get some help with my "mood" swings etc. Perimenopause that time has not been confirmed. Incidentially a few months later on I met a lady in her 50's and I said to her that I must have hormonal problems as I feel "off" (little crazy, irrational thoughts, anxiety etc, mind you I always have been prone to them, but not in that extend I have it now!). She gave me an address of a GP who also does bioidentical hormones, and is very in the Gyno side of things. So I went to see her in June and we did the full blood tests. As I havent had my period regulary we just picked a day. The FSH was on 125 , oestrogen 390 and progesterone 1.So I got prescribed 10% progesterone cream (bioidentical) and I then had every 4th week my period. Mind you, I went up onto 20% on my own accord as mind wise I feelt totally off. Like depressed, anxiety, irrational thoughs, ocd thoughs, brain fog and low energy.

I usually used to get better (not good but better as in acceptable) when I got my period, than the week after and then it all started again downhill. That was until about 2 months ago. The whole pattern changed, I got worst getting my period, and then better after the bleeding and then erratic throughout the rest of time until next bleeding when I go and hit rock bottom again. I supsected, and its now confirmed, that my estrogen levels have dropped also. On day 21 my estrogen is on 80 pmol/l and my fsh is on 125, I have rised the progesterone to 12 nmol/l

No I don't know but anyhow this all sucks big time. I am good and bad from day to day or changing within the day. Yesterday morning I was feeling like my old self, just to go down at 4 pm and still am crap. I have no energy and feel zoomed out, I cry on the drop of a hat etc. but as I said it can be better tomorrow again but all in all I wonder now what I should do.....????

I have been prescribed an antidepressant, but not taking it now. Mind you I have been on one the last few years (due to anxiety (knowing what I know most likelyl made heaps worst as I've already started peri then!)  and a few months ago, even upping the dose I figured it was not working. Not sure if it was not working anymore because I got imune against it or because of my hormones....

I take the progesterone cream but now am going lower on it as my estrogen has gone down. I have been given HRT Patch (combi) to see if that would help, but I am a smoker (yes I know I know...) so am a bit hesistant also.

The questions I have really is, what did you find helped you best? Did HRT (and here the questions is HRT advised in the perimenopausal stage or is it just delaying the whole process again? Is one meant to wait till menopausal and then start HRT?) help you also mentally? What experiences do you have with antidepressants? Do you find it helps?

So far I take vitamins etc, this is: Fish oil (actually a lot, 1620 EPA, 1080 DH (9 capsules, but I find it helps with the brain fog!), Vitamin B6 (240 mg), Vitamin E (500 IU), Vitamin B12 and l tryptophan (1000 mg at night (sleep good), and 500 mg 2x over the day.

Any input is greatly appreciated smile

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello manuela!

    I, like many here could have written your post. I know exactly what you mean about things changing lately where you don't improve after the period but feel worse. That's how I knew I was heading into hopefully the end sometime soon. I did try the combi patch (are you considering taking the biodentical progesterone cream with the combi patch?-I might be confused reading it). I did try the progesterone cream but about 4 months into it, I felt way worse and oddly enough, developed varicose veins on rt back leg-(eek!) This past year, tried the combi-patch-lasted 8 days due to a relatively large breast cyst, extreme fatigue and general lousy feelings to kick in. Moving on tried Zoloft, but then my periods started again on a regular basis and I felt like my old self, so discontinued the Zoloft (not sure it really did anything anyway) for a few months. Now I'm not having periods again and feeling like I'm slipping a bit emotionally. Usually do Yoga but had recent back issues so I'm in Physical Therapy for now with that. I should walk more and remain more active, hard to do when we feel bad, but apparently I must push myself a bit harder as for me, the pharma way hasn't been much help. I do take vitamins and supplements, but honestly after writing to you and a few others, I think I'm not only going to cut out some calories (gained some weight this year that freaked me out!) and really get serious about at least walking every day. I do understand your frustration. What's worse is when friends don't understand how we feel and I feel like if I hear one more person tell me how they just "breezed" through this time without any issues I'm going to cry! lol! Not really but it's hard when others don't understand this nutness.biggrin

    Wishing the best for you!

    Annie xx

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  • Posted

    By the way- I had several blood test drawn at the beginning of the year that stated I was POST MENOPAUSAL- Ha! Only 2 months later after not having a period for 4-5 months I had started regularly again.

    I question the reliabiility of those tests and my current GYN goes on symptoms and whether you are cycling vs bloodwork now. rolleyes

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  • Posted

    Hi Annie smile

    Thanks so much for your reply smile I'm glad to hear that that this "change lately" is indeed  what others experience. It say's everywhere before the period and so forth but I came across one article the other week which explained high vs low estrogen (on young woman though mind you) but anyhow what it said in there under low estrogen is exactly what I have. And I just experienced that the last two cycles....I am supposed to get my period now, I stopped the progesterone on Saturday, so far nothing...and no, I would not use the HRT Combi Patch with the natural progesterone cream, I think that might be a bit too much...

    I am just undecided to wether I should try the HRT Patch or not, or should I try the Antidepressant or not or should I just go with it as it is. I just want it to stop, just as all of us that have to go through this mess sad I am a bit apprehensive re Antidepressant as I have been taken them (just one, Lexapro) and it made nothing to my energy levels actually it made me even less interested in getting things done. Although mentally ok, I was more even level headed. At least for a while, not the last 2 months on it where I felt it didnt do anything at all. Just making me dumb (which is about the time when things really started to go pear shapped with me hormonal wise)

    Yes people dont understand it, and it seems that it doesnt get talked about anyway. Its "just" menopause. Pfft yeah right. No fun if one is lacking energy, doom bloom thoughts, anxiety and wants to stay and hide at home, feels zoomed out and just not quite here in the present. I get sometimes hot flashes, although they're not that bad, more warm/ hottish feelings, mostly on my arms and legs on the skin and then inside out a bit like fever. Followed at times with chills, but I read that is how it works...

    oh yeah, I know a few woman who just went through like nothing! Hot flashes but besides that nothing, wish we had it that "easy" sad

    I do believe that to be true what you said and your GP also, that its really based on the symptoms mainly. My GP agreed to that also. As the hormones fluctuate so often even during the day its sort of hard to treat according to readings....My last bloodtest which was just taken 1.5 weeks ago, with the oestrogen down to 80 and the FSH on 125 is, according to the labs guidelines post menopausal...it says even this pattern of high gonodotrophin and low oestradiol indicated the increased ovarian resistance of menopause. neutral In June my Oestradiol was still on 390...so a steep decrease if you ask me...

    Have you tried natural estrogen? I am also thinking, if I dont get myself on HRT or Antidepr. to use BiEst Cream, which is 80 % Estriol and 20% Estradiol (0.25mg each serve). of course I would have to take that then with the progesterone cream i guess....but yes at this stage I dont do much and really hope to see what other poor ladies have best success with....

    PS: Sucks (sorry the term) to have gone 4-5 months without a period just to get it again sad They say 12 months without it and thats it!

    Wishing you all the best also xoxox


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    • Posted

      Oh Manuela,

      The key is here, we all want it to stop-the madness of it all. What works for some, doesn't for others.

      I wish I knew the right combination that would work, but I guess if there were such a thing, this forum and others like it would not exist. And we would not have what I feel are (not really a fair assessment, other than of how my current mood is-haha!) clueless doctors, since they can't "fix" me properly. To be far, it is such a guessing game. 

      I have a cousin using the natural estrogen-she sees a physician that specializes in bioidenticals. It's not covered by insurance here and while the actual estrogen is not expensive, the testing prior to determine what is needed on the other hand, is quite costly. 

      Really the jury is out on that one, if she is an indication on how it works or not, may not be worth it for me. I am not certain from what she reports, that she's had an easy ride these past few months, with it.

      LOL!  You do not need to apologize for the term Sucks, yes it does. Stopping only to start again and now stopping again does Suck! cheesygrin

      I'm feeling a bit rough again these days. sad

      I am going to tried to ride this out, continuing on with the supplements, yoga, watching what I eat more carefully and pushing myself to get a bit more physical to shove off these ugly feelings. Not really crazy about exercise, but I'll give it my best shot first before resorting back to trying anything else by big Pharma. 

      Good night and Big Hugs to you Manuela!

      Annie xx

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  • Posted

    Hi Manuela, please how are doing now? Has anything helped. In this peri stage rift now by its awful. Would love to know if you have found anything that helps?
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    • Posted

      Hi Deirdre smile

      Wow that was a post long time ago.. a lot has happened since!

      I did give in an started HRT and still take it! But it's been a struggle for quite a while despite it.

      First I took femoston tablets, then estradot patches. Stayed on them for maybe 1.5 years but felt still not right with lots ups and downs and been on higher dose, like 1.5 patches at 100 mcg each.

      Since December I'm on injections but sadly they don't make them anymore so after my last vial I will have to look how I go. Honestly the injections BEST thing ever for me. No sweats, no menopausal symptoms whatsoever. Sometime a bit anxiety but nowhere near as much as it used to be. Drawback weightgain on hrt which I'm working on. I'm thinking of asking my doc for compounded pellet therapy as I feel I'm going the best with a relatively steady dose and I don't have to think about changing patches or muck around with doses etc

      I'm also still on lexapro 10 mg

      Back then I was a mess like I was riddled with depression and anxiety. Panick, sweats, chills, heart palpations etc. I lost heaps of weight then too I just couldn't do it without HRT.

      I think it's fair to say I'm post meno now as without progesterone I don't get a period anymore and even with its ever so slight.

      I think if you consider taking HRT i be probably start with patches. I found them better than tablets myself and if all else fails that's what I'm going back too.

      Personally I found for myself at that time 40/41 my life quality is important to me and still is now at 43. Obviously I wasn't aware that I was in peri menopause until just about to become meno and post meno for when to me symptoms just gotten way out of hand. It's horrendous I envy the ladies that just go through with not much issues


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    • Posted

      Thank you Manuela, I appreciate you replying to me. I must say that I am only 35 but I only get a period for 1 day a month and it's irregular. I know my anxiety and despressiob are hormone related because I came off birth control 2 years ago and plummeted into panic attacks etc within a month. It's an awful experience especially when doctors ignore my symptoms as well and dismiss me due to my age. Due to my age and my blood work not showing full menopause I can't get HRT prescribed. I can get birth control alright but my anxiety prevents me from trying it. Did you find the lexapro helped you? I didn't want anxiety meds because I feel the cause is hormonal but I'm at a loss as to what to try. I'm so scared to rock the boat as such.

      Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it . I'm sorry the injection is no longer available to you. I hope you find something suitable.

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    • Posted

      Oh my gosh manuela,

      I just got a notice about this post. I see that we wrote to each other 3 yrs ago! Wow, I too have recently resorted to HRT as my plans for other help didn't really work out as well or my body simply changed moreso and I felt it necessary to try the estadiol and prometrium route. The pills were actually working but darn it, I got a very bad migraine last week so now we are trying the cream form of estradiol and so far, I am not getting that same feeling. I was actually starting to feel sane. I wasn't anxious nor feeling low. The flashes were less and I thought finally I found a way to manage this. It's been a week on the cream and ughh..while the prometrium still helps me sleep through the night, I hope I don't have to resort to going back on the pills and dealing with the occasional migraines.   I was so glad to read your updated post, it's always good to see how others are doing through this wild ride! Stay well.


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