diaryofthemenopause

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My Alternative Choices

Deciding to take HRT or not is a complete minefield of information. I can see the pros for the under 50s, and I’m sure if I had been 42 that my decision would be different.

I have to go through this at some point. HRT is a temporary delay to the menopause, it is not a cure. With the number of women I know that are in their late 50s and now battling to be left on it, I became more determined to avoid it. We have a strong family history of increases cancer risk with HRT, I watched my Mum die of breast cancer so I really do not want to start on that road. My Mum battled to stay on it for 13 years.

I did a lot of reading and there are so many alternatives out there, all with pros, cons and the usual “there is no proof”. Some websites highly recommend one natural alternative, and then a further 10 websites show that particular supplement causes liver failure. The reading for alternatives is as much of a minefield as the reading for HRT.

At the end of the day, it’s up to each of us to make our own choices and decisions. I am choosing not to take HRT for the 2 years left in my 40s. Yes I worry about the increased cancer risk, but I’m more worried about then choosing to remain on it.

I know I am an increased risk of osteoporosis. I drink a lot of milk products and eat a lot of cheese. I had a bone density scan done in my mid 30s which showed I had a high bone density. Despite this, I am taking calcium and magnesium supplements.

For hot flushes, I decided on sage tablets. I have read mainly positive things about this and it’s a one day tablet.

For skin and essential fatty oils, and also hot flushes (although poor results), I am taking high dosages of starflower and evening primrose oil. My skin is very dry and itchy, so I hope some oils help.

I am also taking Promensil red clover supplement. This is a high dosage isoflavone supplement. People in the East tend to not “suffer” through the menopause, and it is believed this is diet related. They have a high soy, bean and legume diet that we don’t have. I have switched to soy milk as a substitute to milk to try and increase my intake.

After further reading yesterday, I will also add folic acid. This should help heart and some dementia symptoms from occurring.

I am now 16 days post op. I do not yet have any real symptoms to talk about. I’m slightly depressed and very irritable and moody, but that could be a mixture of frustration and boredom. My skin is incredibly dry, particularly stomach and thigh area. Apart from that I have not yet had any hot flushes or night sweats.

Most of the alternatives are to be taken for a month before any difference is noted, so I will continue to monitor all this.

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Prozac The Wonder Drug

I’m guessing the symptoms are finally starting. Either that or I’m just bored beyond belief. My skin all over has dried up and is so itchy. As for my mood, well I’m pretty sure if you said “hello” to me today, I’d burst into tears. I’m struggling so much with not wanting just to scream and scream and scream at the top of my voice. The house is full and I want quiet. The noise is irritating me.

I suffered from Post Natal Depression after both of my children were born. The first was the worst one for me, but that was partly due to stupidity and embarrassment on my side. When I was diagnosed, my Mother-In-Law at the time said that she didn’t know I was predisposed to psychiatric issues. I let it get to me. I hid what I was going through, and I quickly came off the medication I was on. All this did was delay my recovery. I suffered months of hell because I was so worried what everyone else would think. I was a failure. I was predisposed to this.

By the time I had my second child, I was emotionally stronger. I didn’t care who knew. It had nothing to do with how good a mother I was, and I wasn’t predisposed to anything. I was put on Prozac, I stayed in Prozac and the difference was immense. That was 15 years ago and I’ve seen a huge difference over those years as to how any type of depression is viewed by others.

Around 7 years ago, my periods changed in nature. For me that meant I had them. With that came PMS. Over a period of years the periods got more and more intense, and closer together and the PMS made me impossible. Pete started getting people out of the house. Just breathing in my presence was enough to set me off. I was happiest when no one was around, as it meant no one to cook for or clean up after. I have no idea what made me look in the mirror one day and see what I had become. I needed help!

I made a Doctor’s Appointment. My periods were out of control, but so was I. I actually told the GP that I really want to kill anyone that annoyed me. I was lucky he laughed and didn’t take me too seriously. About 3 week’s prior to my appointment, he had been at a Gynaecological Seminar where PMS and the more severe form PMDD were responding to Fluxotene (Prozac).

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Premenstrual-syndrome/Pages/Treatment.aspx

After 2 weeks the results were nothing short of a miracle. I had my life back. By this time my periods were every two weeks and my PMDD was continual. I began to see the small stupid things that would have set me off, and I could cope fine.

I stayed on the Prozac and as my periods worsened and a hysterectomy was the only option now, I looked at Prozac for a different reason. During my Mother’s menopause, she was an unbearable, bad tempered woman. I thought I was bad with PMDD, but she made me look like Snow White. This all changed when she was put on HRT. She changed drastically. As I’m avoiding HRT, I had wondered if Prozac would keep me level throughout any mood swings I had.

I started researching this and was amazed to find that Prozac is used during the menopause. Not for mood swings though, it seems to have an impact on the hot flushes. Although not licenced in the UK for use with the menopause, it is prescribed.

http://www.patient.co.uk/health/menopause-alternatives-to-hrt

I was already on this before my surgery, and have stayed on it. I am now 16 days post operation, and am yet to experience a hot flush. I don’t want them, but as I’m still taking the Prozac, I guess if I never get one we will never know if it was the Prozac or just me being lucky.

The Prozac is the only prescribed medication I am taking during my surgically induced menopause. Who knew it was such a versatile medication.

Sadly if it is helping with my hot flushes, it’s failing with my mood. The house has gone quiet again. My head is no longer screaming for peace and quiet. I really can’t cope with too many people around right now. I have a big family, this could be a fun weekend!

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HRT Alternatives

After realising that HRT is just a delay to the inevitable, I made the decision to just go straight for it and try and avoid HRT if at all possible.  I am aware that this blog may end up being the best advert for HRT the world has seen!!  Just for clarity, I am not opposed to medical intervention, I am just classed in a high category risk group.

I started off reading a lot of articles that state the Menopause is a Western issue and this has been put down to diet.  I’m overweight, and the most common bean I eat is the Cocoa-bean, ideally in the form of a Frys Chocolate Bar or a Walnut Whip.  I can’t find this on the list, so am trying to increase my intake of lentils and chickpeas, both of which I love in Indian cooking.  If I have to eat more Chinese and Indian food then I won’t complain too much.

I then came across the following article, by the former news reader Carol Barnes.  She was on HRT around the same time my Mother was, and made the decision to come off later on.  This article inspired me to believe that I can do this.  On the basis of this article and others that followed a similar theme, I am stocked up with Red Clover and Sage.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-405835/Carol-Barnes-How-alternative-remedies-helped-beat-menopause.html

 

I never got myself organised in time, so in a way it will be interested to follow my own blog and see if there are any changes when I get to the recommended 1-3 months of taking these supplements.  I’m due to be off work for around 6 weeks, so will no doubt be adding to this list as I get more time to do more reading on this subject.

 

The other articles of interest to me were ones on Prozac.  I am already on Prozac for PMDD.  Suffering continual Pre Menstrual Tension is not fun, and it has helped a lot.  I initially looked into this on the basis of the success with my severe mood swings with the PMDD.  My Mother went through early menopause, and my earliest memories of her during this time were one very moody and unapproachable woman – I kept my distance!!  I had initially started looking at Prozac as an aid with the mood swings that can happen, but instead I found a lot of articles on its use with the flushes and the night sweats.  Prozac is not licenced for use with the menopause, but it being used by GPs.  I’ve attached articles I found on the Patient UK and the  NHS sites, and will be asking my GP to allow me to try this too.

 

http://www.patient.co.uk/health/menopause-alternatives-to-hrt

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Menopause/Pages/Treatment.aspx

 

The updates going forward will be my own personal menopause diary.  HRT free (hopefully), using Prozac and natural alternatives of Sage and Red Clover.

 

Let the menopause begin!

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