Perimenopause and anxiety

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Hi ladies

Hoping for some advice or personal experience with perimenopause and increased anxiety or panic attacks.

I'm 44 years young and have had symptoms for last 3 years, in particular, varied menstrual cycle lengths (and I was always a regular 28 day gal), occasional night sweats (waking up at 2am very hot and sweaty ), increased sweating and being hot during the day, random panic attacks very rarely and instead of pms (which I suffered from before which was sore breasts, bloating and irritability)I have anxiety for week after my period and also headache at start of my period (never had that before).

I saw dr on Tues and she said classic sYapton of perimenopause and unstable hormones. I am having blood tests in 2 weeks at start of period to check hormones.

Any ladies out there experiencing increased anxiety or panic attacks during perimenopause? I would love to hear your story and experience and any solutions.

Sydneymum

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  • Posted

    Hi

    wow that's easy...YES!! Unfortunately it's a common symptom of declining hormonal levels. You won't be alone on this site. Different women try different things. Not everything works for everyone, we're all wired/react differently to medicines/herbal remedies. 

    However it's something we can get through, & it does end eventually. Some people do well on HRT others don't. Lots of ladies reccommend vit B6 & vit B12 to stabilize mood. I'm about to order some myself smile

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  • Posted

    Hi Sydneymum,

    Sorry to hear your having a rough time, never ever  knew Peri existed until Nov 2012 for me.

    For me this started when a friend of mine who is the same age as me was dignosed with throat cancer, got me thinking and then into a worrying mode that I could get the same as at that time I had a lumpy throat! Anyway long story short my anxiety really kicked in when it was so bad for me that it prevented me from going into the office, we were and are under going major renovations to our home and I felt trapped as I couldnt even sit out in the sunshine for the builders having their caravan in my garden, we run our business from home also, so always surrounded with people! It was all so overwhelming for me. These anxiety blips lasted for two weeks at a time and appeared only when my periods started to become out of sinc or even missed, or came really early.

    For me mine it was health anxiety and over the last 2 and bit years it has got better but I was still getting these fearful thoughts up until recently when I decided to visit a homepatic who has helped turn round my fears(fingers crossed as this is the first month of feeling more like my old self) around.

    I do use Oestrogel and Utrogestan which was most natural HRT on the market and I do have regular acupuncture and take Busy B's which have min of 100, omega 3, liquid iron. B12, magnesium Solgar, all have helped improve things for me.

    I never knew that anxiety is such a common peri symptom and once our hormones start to balance out then I am sure things will improve for us.  I never suffered with anxiety until my peri journey hit me like a lead balloon so all very daunting and frightening because I started to feel so different overnight and had no warnings or signs that this could or would happen!

    You have found this forum so read all of our experiences and the way each of us have found ways to improve things. As we are all so unique what works for one may not work for another but with trial and error you will find something that will.

    Massive hugs to you my sweets,

    Joy x

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Brymbo and Snatchpiece

      Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement! Happy days!

      Interestingly, my GP did blood tests early last year (not for hormones) just to check thyroid and iron, magnesium and vitamin D. Here in sunny Sydney, Australia the medical profession is currently obsessed with vitamin D and before they diagnose or prescribe anything, they ask if you are taking Vitamin D!

      I was told my vitamin D levels were low and must take supplements as Vitamin D has mood enhancing properties and other health benefits long term (apparently link with mental decline, such as dementia etc).

      To be frank, ha b in taking Vitamin D religiously since Feb last year (nightly and Max dose), I cannot say I have noticed any improvement in mood or memory. To be fair, I am quite a happy positive person 99% of the time (apart from the yucky anxiety and odd panic attacks of late). But I will continue with taking it as benefits long term outweigh any inconvenience in taking 2 silly tablets.

      I know we have solar magnesium brand here, so will get my little paws on some chelated magnesium and vitamin B6 and 12 as that is sensible and practical advice.

      Thank you lovely ladies across the big pond for your help and advice!

      Will definitely keep smiling!

      Sydneymum

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  • Posted

    All I've got to say is........44 yrs young! You are so bloody right!!

    I'm 10yrs on from you, still regular as bloody clockwork, and feel like I've been in Peri for all those 10 years....and some:-) !!

    Seriously can't say when I started feeling the onset of the myriad of symptoms as I had so many other stressy issues to deal with (bereavements of 3 parents/in-laws: bloody awful times),

    Got the more obvious Peri symptoms. Grateful for not getting too much by way of hot flushes, but haven't missed a period since 1987 - pregnant!! Think I'd know things were moving on if I did actually get a late one or, joy of joy, I actually skipped one!

    Don't feel ready for HRT at the mo but taking vits/ mins supplements and a bit of Bioidentical Progesterone Cream. Feel really OK most days, aside from when have a P.

    Sounds like your GP's on-side, so good luck with the blood tests.

    Welcome to the best club in town:-) !

    Sx

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  • Posted

    Oh, to be living anywhere but the UK and have doctors that know about hormomes and peri-menopausal symptoms!    I hope that you can get things resolved, and at least you know what it is which I feel makes everything easier....

    This is my list :o(

    I started feeling unwell at 41.

    My periods which had always started every 4th Monday at 10.30am and lasting 5 days became sporadic, sometimes lasting 23 days.

    Headaches and migraines every two weeks that last up to 5 days.

    Metalic taste in mouth during headaches and post migraine about 3 days feeliing foggy and confused.

    Complete body clock change; gone from sleeping 5 hours a night and feeling great and leaping out of bed at 5.30am feeling amazing, to feeling constantly exhausted,  waking up on the hour every hour and during my period sleep less than 2 hours a night. 

    Spending 2 years on anti-depressants which had no effect.

    Being told I am depressed and need CBT, when I am actually very positive and don't have anything to worry about apart from wondering what is wrong with me healthwise!

    Being forgetful and having to write everything down whereas my memory was excellent before...... 

    Weight increase going from 72kilos to 98kilos over that period

    7 years of this before I had the lightbulb moment to realising it is all related to hormones ..... Still haven't got any headway medically, but just feel more positive knowing I am not a lunatic! 

    x

     

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    • Posted

      Hiya Helen

      GPs. Me and you together girl!

      I watch '24 Hours in A&E' and fall in love with all the docs for their obvious love of their job and their compassion they show.

      Then I ask myself: how long before this lot shift into GP for the £££s, and lose all those people skills and start looking at us just as a pest taking money from their massive pots of funding??!!! Truth is our NHS is only good and at its best at A&E level: world-leading there. Just when you're well enough to move out of their/home it falls to piece

      I rarely see a Doc. Fortunately I've never really been that ill to warrant going.

      You won't be surprised to know ADs are almost one of the first offers to treat Peri/Meno symptoms new. Not for me, ta.

      How about getting you GP to check you blood for vit/min deficiency and any other probs, and maybe your hormone levels (not that they're that accurate!).

      I' not taking HRT - yet! But I take a good multi vitamin/mineral supplement that's made me feel 100% better since taking them since January.

      Sx

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    • Posted

      Hello, yes, I agree with you :l(  NHS is amazing for urgent care, but then it seems to fall short on the day to day stuff.  I have had blood tests which are all "normal" and I do ask "normal" compared to what!  Also accupuncture has helped the migraines massively x
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    • Posted

      Hi Helen,

      I am in the US and believe me, the majority of our docs including GYNs are clueless in the management of Peri and Menopause here as well. Had to laugh when I saw your first sentence. Not sure where intelligent medicine is being practiced in this area, but I guess we can X US and UK off for sure! biggrin

      Annie

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    • Posted

      Omg Helen this is me!!!! I stupidly didn't realise there's anything called peri menopause and two years ago my gp just put it down to depression and also referred my to CBT

      As in the discussion I started earlier a different gp very matter of factly told me that I was and had been in menopause for 2 years and told me to read the site and go back when I'd decided what I wanted to take!!!!!

      I've been making a list of all the different vits etc I've read in all your posts !

      Not sure what to do about HRT before I was thinking Id come to that point in my life, everyone I know swears by it!

      M xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Helen and Shaznay, and other beautiful ladies in the forum

      So lovely to read your individual and varied experiences from all over the world! Wow who knew 10 or 15 years ago we could connect with each other with the touch of a button and have instant connection with sisters across the globe! Talk about a global connection! Just reinforces in my mind the wonder of humanity and nature, how us gals from all different continents (in this chat I think we have one in US, UK and lille ol me in Australia), from different backgrounds, cultures, experiences all share fundamentally the same biology and biological and emotional challenges!

      I think we should give ourselves a good old fashioned global pat on the back! We tend to forget how important we are as wives, partners, mothers and how many different hats we have to wear whether it is the working woman hat, gourmet chef (that's right sisters any meal you put on the table for others is gourmet), home executive/ cleaning specialist, encouraging mum of little people or teenagers or adults, loving wives...my goodness the list is endless....

      What do we get in return? Tons of physiological challenges whether it is pregnancy, monthly issues, uti's, breast issues, invasive and unpleasant investigations with foreign instruments launched into our nether regions in the na me of medicine, hormonal ups and downs our whole reproductive lives and then just in our beautiful sunset years where the kids are more independent and you have more time for you and you and your spouse or significant other, than wham bam you are hit with the perimenopause roller coaster which seems interminable. At least if we knew we had a time limit like pregnancy, we could nod our heads and grimace and say hang on it only lasts for X time. Not perimenopause! Oh no, it is teaching us the meaning of infinity in real terms!

      Apologies fellow lovely ladies, I digress....

      I wanted to answer some of your comments and ask some advice...so here goes..

      1) Here in Australia, thumbs up for lady doctors. I know you UK ladies mention your difficulty in receiving understanding for perimenopause as a "real" condition. I wonder if that is from male doctors?

      I have been seeing a lovely Polish lady doctor the last 5 years or so and she has been lovely, but a little wacky! She recently went overseas so on Monday after last week's horrid anxiety and panic attacks with heat sensations, I decided to find another doctor.

      Went to see a male doctor at a new practice. What an unfortunate specimen and excuse for a doctor with the bedside manner of a hobbit. Didn't acknowledge my suggestion that perhaps my hormones are to blame or perimenopause. Offered me tricyclic antidepressant as they are effective for anxiety. I said no thanks as I am already on low dose Effexor xr for moderate anxiety (which I have suffered from for last 15 years since my last child was born) and this new anxiety and panic feels different.... Then he offered me a betablocka and again I said no (didn't want a drug to lower blood pressure and heart rate when I feel this is hormone driven). He then got annoyed with me and literally said "Well what do you want to do.I have given you two options. What script do you want." I replied well I don't know what I want as you are the doctor and I am seeking your advice and professional help...

      I left with no script. Made appointment with another female doctor in that practice for the following day. What a difference. Beautiful lady doctor who immediately recognised my symptoms and acknowledged the word "perimenopause' and used it! HAlleluia!

      She ordered the hormone blood tests to provide a good picture before treatment options. Scary thought is she said doctors are quick to prescribe the AD (which respectfully have a place for independent mental health issues) for perimenopause anxiety, panic or mood issues, and sadly they are ineffective as it is not a lack of serotonin which is to blame, but oestrogen or progesterone imbalance. You can top serotonin up as much as you like, but if your hormones are whacky, you will still get the anxiety, panic or mood issues.

      Sad thing, is I realise now that perhaps my anxiety over last few years may well be hormonal and I probably would have been better off with low dose contraceptive (have not required one as hubbie had snip snip 13 years ago). She offered the opinion that post birth our hormones are unstable as they realign again and often causes mood and anxiety issues. This is a sad indightment of our medical profession that us women do not receive recognition for the biological and hormone hand we have been dealt and get treated in the medical speak of "broadspectrum" such as AD's instead of biological and hormone appropriate treatment.

      2)Annie, my new best lady doctor recommended meditation.... going to do a little hunt around today. Can you give me name of the tapes please?

      3)Helen, I too have weird sleep patterns around my period, usually awaking hot and sweaty and wide awake for ages not being able to get back to sleep. Less caffeine after 4pm has helped slightly, but each flipping rollercoaster month is different! Doctor had given me a benzodiazapine (xanex, xanor) years ago for panic attack or insomnia. Obviously, benzo's must be used judiciously as they are addictive, but my new lady doctor said they are perfectly safe to use at lowest dose (0.25mg) a couple of times a month if you have insomnia or early morning awakening or a panic attack you can't talk yourself down from. She told me you would need to take it daily for 6 months to get addicted. Taking it 2 or 3 times a month or week before or after period is fine. So that's my safety valve if I can't talk myself out of panic or can't sleep. Just knowing I have a tablet on standby helps me (I am that perfect placebo trialist).

      3)I want to sing the praises of Omega 3 fish oils for all us sunset gals...Obviously us post 40 young lovelies have increased risk of cholesterol etc especially if weight gain is your challenge. My husband road-tested omega 3 fish oils as his cholesterol was getting to the trea t ment-necessary levels. First blood test his level was 6.4 cholesterol. After trusty Google research by me, I started giving him 1000mg omega 3 daily. 3 months later, blood test, his cholesterol was down to 5.2....

      Girls hop on the Omega 3 fish oil bandwagon! It works! My hubbie as voluntary lab rat proved it!

      Ok, I will stop jibber jabbering...anyone know what medication options for HRT? Only thing I know from lady doctor on Tuesday is that she said

      1) HRT is safe for women under 50 and

      2)new science from UK study (big nod to medics across the big pond of the motherland) suggests HRT for women post 50 is no more risky (cancer and other ugglies) than a placebo.

      I would love any ladies with any info about treatment medications as forewarned and informed is forearmed.

      Annie, enjoy a coffee with your milk with me....well cyber coffee anyway...chin chin!

      lots of love from Down under!

      Sydneymum

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    • Posted

      Hi again ladies...

      In my longwinded post above I forgot to mention my experience with UTi's. One of the ladies mentioned having trouble with repeated ones and I wanted to add my 2 cents worth based on my personal experience.

      I have had the odd uti on and off for years. Often, I would get one, undergo treatment with broadspectrum antibiotic (in Australia brand name Keflex 500mg X 3 daily) after urine test positive for E.Coli infection, only to get another uti a month or two later. Dr claims that one infection weaten bladder lining and makes you more susceptible to repeat infections for 3-6 months after one.

      I have tried the natural options of cranberry juice and tablets to no avail. Last few years on the dr's advice and prescription, I have used a prophylactic treatment of taking one broadspectrum antibiotic tablet (Keflex 500mg) immediately after intercourse. I have not had a uti in 4 years since I started this treatment regime.

      I continue to follow this treatment option as it is safe and I understand that in perimenopause with changes in our nether regions and hormone fluctuations, we are more susceptible than ever for uti infections.

      This has worked brilliantly for me. I highly recommend this option for ladies struggling with uti issues.

      Best wishes,

      Sydneymum

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    • Posted

      Wow Sydneymum!

      Glad to hear you found  a nice female doctor! Yea! I did go to a female GYN last year, but sadly she was probably more clueless than my regular male GYN was. It is funny, but you will find those lucky women that have not had an issue so it's hard for them to relate to us as well. 

      Benzos are ok low dose. I have the same low dose prescribed since 1997 (I started panic attacks long ago and found a benzo that worked initially until I learned other ways to help myself) and get a new supply once a year for those just in case moments-never have had to up the dose. I think for me it's more of a security blanket type thing. Once full menopause is here, I probably won't bother to get a refill, it's wasteful now.

      Yes, Omega 3 is excellent. I've been on it for some time for of all things, dry eyes. Works like a charm as I thought about 2 yrs ago, I was going to have to give up wearing my contacts. Even tried the widely advertised presciption drug for it only to find out it didn't work. A friend suggested I try Omega 3 and what miracle-it works. Now if I'd only stay consistent with it! I miss a day here and there but it's fine.

      I ended up in the hospital with chest pain/gerd last year and the doc was amazed at the bloodwork, clean as a whistle, so it was easy to rule out cardiac issues. All the cholesterols values are in a wonderful range for my age as he put it. It was easy for him to conclude along with other tests, my  issue was general gerd. 

      Can't help you in the HRT department, I tried it and I didn't do well at all. Wasn't on very long but the symptoms I got were enough to know I wanted to try other things. I do know of women who they work well for. I do know that using the patch form bypasses the liver, which is a good thing. If I was guarenteed there was one that would not give me crazy symptoms and improve the quality of my life, I would use them in a heart beat forever!!!! 

      Well, it's time for dinner and my darling husband is staring at me. Time to move away from the computer!

      Will share that cyber cup of coffee with you anytime, Sydney.

      Take good care and I am so glad you found the new doctor to help guide you through these wild days! 

      Big hugs the other side of the planet! biggrin

      Annie xxxx

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    • Posted

      Wonderful posts(s)! But for the sake of my own anxiety level, I'll reply later.....from the safety of my desktop (this Tablet, I now rapid, is only good for 'looking', not 'posting' as it reads like a cryptic message otherwise:-)

      Greetings from sunny - for now! - London, UK x

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    • Posted

      Hi Helen,

      I'm experiencing symptoms such as yours particularly waking every hour for the past 3weeks. I wondered how long this sleeping problem went on for you and whether you experienced a fast hear rate with it? Thank you.

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