Speaking of Menopausal Symptoms....

  1. Dear Allnurses

    What medications and treatments are being used today for menopause? If you are menopausal, what symptoms do you have, and what do you take for it -- if anything. Have any of you tried the herbal medications that are on the market today for menopause? If so, how well are they working for you?

    Do you know of any patients (or any other woman) who takes estrogen replacement medicatons who have side effects from them? Are doctors giving patients who have any type of cancer (breast, ovarian, etc., risk of cancer due to hx in their family) estrogen pills?

    What are the risk of a woman having a heart attack if she doesn't take estrogen replacement therapy, or getting breast cancer if she does?

    I'm not menopausal yet, but I would like to be prepared for it ahead of time as it must be around the corner since I'm fifty years young already. Thanks for your comments! They will be very much appreciated. :kiss
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   ktwlpn
    Good for you for getting educated about the changes you will experience in the future......I can tell you that in my experience the symptoms really run the gamut from the typical such as hot flashes ( mine are only noticeable at night-meaning on a bad night I am awakened 8 or 10 times because my head is on fire) and the rarer symptom of "formication"-itchy skin(feels like things are crawling all over me) I was 38 when my periods suddenly stopped and now we think that I was having peri-menopausal changes in my mid thirties.Menstrual irregularity and often very heavy flow was a big one....I have had an occasional period the past year-am not on any meds at this point-not until I have been without a period for a full year and then will probably start playing around with some..That is a big factor-finding the right med and dose for you can take a lot of trial and error.I think of hormone replacement tx as returning something to your body that used to naturally occur there-we live a lot of our lives in menopause now since we live so much longer-we have to take care of ourselves...I seriously thought I was loosing my mind when I started having problems-I was not sleeping(thought the thermostat was malfunctioning=lol) nervous and tearful and just could not cope-I would freak out and fly off of the handle at minor things...I opened the cupboard and the pan lids fell to the floor-I cried and ran....The absolute WORST was the overwhelming feeling of doom that used to overtake me now and then-it literally washed over me- physically it felt like a warm wave -and I would go to the bedroom and lay down and bawl like a baby-it was truly awful....Because I was so young I think my family doc was too eager to just dx situational depression-and those meds did not do wonders so I was miserable until my period just stopped-and then my labs told the tale.....I trust pharmaceuticals-will probably not go for any "natural" remedies but I know of women who swear by black cohosh....Learn as much as you can about peri meno and meno pause and spread the word-knowledge is power....
  4. by   live4today
    Hi ktwlpn...thanks for the advice, and (((hugs))) to you for all you are experiencing. WOW! You know, I thought I was experiencing some of the symptoms you are, such as the ones that may indicate depression, however, my doctor insisted I was in a state of depression, NOT menopause. So, he ordered a hormone panel on me, and it showed that my hormone balances were WNL (within normal limits...for the lay person reading this). He strongly encouraged me to try an anti-depressant (since I was in therapy at that time anyway), so I did. The Paxil and Zoloft were bad news for me, so he tried me on Celexa. Within a few weeks time, I was like a new woman. I've been on Celexa for almost two years now, and would like to be weaned off it, so my current physician is willing to try that come October when I see her again. I'm a little nervous about going off the Celexa because I'm afraid to have those symptoms return. If it were menopause, the antidepressant wouldn't mask those symptoms, at least I don't think it would anyway. Do you know if the antidepressant would mask menopausal symptoms if a woman were truly going through menopause (or peri-menopause) and taking an antidepressant drug?

    My mother claims she started menopause at age 21! :chuckle She refuses to change her story, too. The other women in the family started menopause at various ages, but the average age I've been hearing from the women in my family tree is about my age. I plan to talk to my oldest sister about it as soon as I get a chance to contact her (we live in different states and she works odd hours). I figure I might as well get my mental and emotional mind prepared for this time of life since it's not going anywhere, and it's bound to show up some time or other. :chuckle Maybe I need another hormone panel since it's been six months since I had one. I don't want to obsess over this, but I know I will anyway.
  5. by   DebsZoo
    :zzzzz
    Last edit by DebsZoo on Apr 20, '03
  6. by   live4today
    Thanks Debzoo for sharing. When I was 28, I had my uterus removed, but still have both ovaries intact and functional...Thank God for that! However, I know I am experiencing something separate from depression, I just can't single it out which is why I wondered if the antidepressant could possibly be masking menopausal symptoms.

    A lady I know told me that she takes St. Johns Wort instead of any HRTs. She claims that drug works magic for her! Have you heard of anyone taking that drug?
  7. by   bagladyrn
    Still trying to figure out if I've hit the perimenopause/menopause thing here. Irregular periods x 2 yrs, none at all for last 5 mos., but absolutely NO other symptoms that I hear and read about. Of course, I'm spending the summer in south Florida, how would I know if it was a hot flash?
  8. by   live4today
    Originally posted by bagladyrn
    Still trying to figure out if I've hit the perimenopause/menopause thing here. Irregular periods x 2 yrs, none at all for last 5 mos., but absolutely NO other symptoms that I hear and read about. Of course, I'm spending the summer in south Florida, how would I know if it was a hot flash?
    As hot as it is already this fine late Spring, it would be difficult to tell, huh, baglady? :chuckle :roll :chuckle

    You know, I think you have to be without a period for a solid year before the doc will declare you IN MENOPAUSE. Does anybody else have any thoughts or nursing advice on this?
  9. by   moonchild20002000
    St. Johns Wort is contraindicated if you are taking any type of antidepressant. Most people use it as a treatment for mild depression. A lot of women tell me that soy protien is effective in decreasing menopausal symptoms.It is sold over the counter. I have not tried it.Hope this helps! Stay cool!
  10. by   live4today
    Thanks, moonchild! I will tell my friend that as I do think she said it helps her moodswings which she contributes to her being in peri-menopause.

    I drink soy milk everyday, about one cup, since I am lactose intolerant. I've read a little bit about the advantages of soy online, and they mention that it helps with menopausal symptoms.
  11. by   nurseratchett29
    I was reccommonded a wonderful product called ESTROHEALTH. My husband calls it "***** BE GONE" . I'm 37 but have family hx. of early onset menopause. Hot flashes at night for the last 1 1/2 years, irregular periods when off the pill, and (do I dare admit) horrible mood swings. Thought I was going insane. Talked to my sis who said'That was me at 35" Drs. think we're insane, too young etc. but after I read an article on web md I feel much better. If you're having similar sx. of perimenopause, I'd love to chat. You're not alone
  12. by   nurseratchett29
    just remembered something--Because hormone levels can fluctuate so much, even if you have panels drawn, they may be a false negative for findings.
  13. by   micro
    menopause......it definitely makes you pause..........
    humour.........poor, but well.....

    short hx.....mine.....
    early and finally dx at early, way age......
    an anomaly.....
    called primary ovarian failure when it happens at an early age......

    what has worked the best for me is

    Gail Sheehy's book
    "Silent Passage"..........
    it is not a new book by anymeans, but menopause is menopause.......and she talks about it scientifically, hormonally, culturally, emotionally, sexually, etc.
    very cool book.......

    all that I know is that we(us women all go through it.......
    some sooner some later, but it is still such a taboo subject.....
    with those other taboo subjects.........
    and that our society here at least tells us that we are supposed to be this way and less than if and when.........

    and to this I say hogwash.....actually I say more than that.......
    but I try to respect the pg status of this cool bb

    hydration, calcium, hormones(if this is what you choose to do), and just take care of yourself............
  14. by   live4today
    Nurseratchett29...I do think I am having some perimenopausal symptoms. Sometimes a heat wave will come over me...not an extreme one...mild...but still heat just the same. I jack up the airconditioner until I cool off...freezing hubby and doggy to death, so he grabs the blanket. No sooner he's comfy with the blanket (the dog is under the blanket with him, mind you), I turn down the air declaring an ice war in the house. Then, guess who is grabbing the blanket?

    Another symptom I am having is sweating (face, under the boobs, under the arms, in the groin areas...), especially at NIGHT. I wake up semi-damp around my neck...usually sleep naked anyway, but if I happen to don a nightshirt on a 'cool night', the neck to the nightshirt is damp. The thing is...I have never been known to SWEAT...not ever! Well...I am now.

    Micro...it's a shame that the menopausal phase of life for women is treated like such a taboo because it is all a part of change. Men have their 'pause' in life... and women have ours. Soooooo...women are going to have to start much younger now in terms of thinking about their changing bodies and educate ourselves on the facts of a woman's life changes so we are prepared to embrace every phase of life that we are so privileged to be living. This is why I needed to start this thread. I want to learn from other women...teach younger woman...about this very challenging phase of being a woman. I saw the show on Oprah one day where her gyn was on the show talking abut menopause, and how we shouldn't be afraid to embrace it, but to equip ourselves with the knowledge of what to expect so we can deal with the change more successfully than women in years past.

    My mood swings are pretty much controlled with the anti-depressant (Celexa) that I take once a day. Since I don't have perioids (haven't since age 28), I can't tell if I'm entering menopause from that route of the body...decreased cycles...absent cycles and such, but I can tell when I'm pms-ing every month since I still have two functional ovaries. I do not have vaginal dryness yet...although notice some decrease at times in vaginal fluids during intercourse...not often...but at times. These are topics we don't address enough, and if nurses don't feel comfortable with this phase of our lives, how are we to be of any help to our female patients in this phase of their lives?
    So...the thread continues...much appreciative to. This is very educational to us all.
    Last edit by live4today on Jun 20, '02

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