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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » getting serious about menopause - some advice please

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Author Topic: getting serious about menopause - some advice please
minoucat
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I'm 46 and I think I've had sx of perimenopause for a while. I have had a lot of hormone fluctuations throughout the years, probably due as much to my lovely genetic heritage as to LD. I've had LD for 17 years; I feel I've finally made real headway in treating it these past 2 years because I've finally treated coinfections. So I'm a little anxious about what is causing my current sx.

I don't know how to differentiate between LD/Co and menopause, apart from the obvious (I still have regular periods). I'm experiencing all-over headache, anxiety, fatigue, weakness, loss of libido -- nothing I would take note of, after LD, but I did have a brief 6 month period where this seemed to be letting up. So I'm wondering...

I've read a lot of the previous posts on HRT, transdermal estradiol (thanks, janet), etc. I've just gotten my "Hormone Solution" book and I've ordered another book on menopause, but I'd like a better idea of how it plays out with LD/Co. (I've just had a raft of bloodwork done to see where I am with LD/Co -- but I'm usually seronegative, so I don't trust the TBD tests)

Here are some of my questions:

- How did you find a good gyno, one who was comfortable with the full range of choices? I seem to be stuck with either hard-core HRTers, or a naturopath who is well intentioned but not, I think, particularly thorough. Any "interview" questions you can recommend?

-- What tests should be done, and when? Did LD/Co interfere with your testing in any way that you know of (false negatives or whatever happens with hormone testing).

--I've had headaches ever since I've had LD (17 years). How do you differentiate the hormonal headaches from the LD headaches? I had almost no headaches for about 6 mo, then I think the hormonal stuff started up again about 2 months ago.

--what do hotflashes feel like to you? As opposed to the kinds of fevers and sweats that come with babesia?

--were fatigue and weakness intensified for you, and at what stage in perimenopause/menopause? Did whatever hormonal thing you decided to do make a difference (and what was it)?

--Any interplay between hormone tx and abx? I think I'll be off abx soon -- unless what I'm experiencing is not hormone related.

--I'm assuming a good exercise regime and losing some weight will help -- PLEASE tell me it helped you, even if you're fibbing.

My diet is very good, I use almost no soy or phytoestrogens, thyroid is normal. I'm using low-dose cortef to try to address fatigue and adrenal semi-exhaustion.

And any other info/suggestions you have, or particularly useful books or websites...I'm just so furious that I seem to have finally subdued the Lyme monster, only to deal with this! If I am dealing with this!

And on top of that, when I told the hubby I may be starting menopause, he looked at me, blinked, laid his hand tenderly on my shoulder, and said "My goodness, you have no idea how old that makes me feel."

AAAARRRGH! You men! (Funny, though, I have to admit).

thanks, all

--------------------
*********************

RECIDITE, PLEBES! Gero rem imperialem!
(Stand aside plebians! I am on imperial business.)



Posts: 2331 | From WA | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ConnieMc
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I have all the same questions as you. Our situations are soooo similar. Cannot wait to read the responses to this.
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seibertneurolyme
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I'm 43 and do not have Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases, but I do have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)so I have done some research about hormone issues.

And then there is hubby -- at one time he was taking supplemental DHEA, testosterone, progesterone,pregnenolone and estrogen -- men need all these too. Plus he has been tested several times for prolactin -- supposedly elevated during actual seizures.

I have had a couple of minimal saliva hormone tests done in the past. If I had the money I would do a comprehensive hormone panel on myself at Great Smokies Lab. Hubby and I saw a doctor give a presentation on this once and I am pretty sure from their website that additional new tests have been added since that time.

See http://www.gsdl.com/home/assessments/findsystems/endo.html

There are 3 different test panels available -- Women's Hormonal Health Assessment, Menopause Profile and Female Hormone Profile. Click on any of those topics to learn more about the 3 different types of estrogen etc.

Bea Seibert

Posts: 7306 | From Martinsville,VA,USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
lyme_suz
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Hi Minoucat,

Can you postpone menopause til you feel more up to it?

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Lymetoo
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Minou....your hubby is funny! [Big Grin]

Many questions don't apply to me, so I'm taking the liberty to skip them!! [Big Grin] Too many Q's for my little brain anyway! [dizzy]

About the hot flashes. Mine were intense sweatfests! I would pop out in perspiration all over my body, esp my face....and my skin would turn beet red.

It was as though the air temp was at least 10 degrees higher all of a sudden....awful when you're in a room with a comfortable temp, and you want to strip all of your clothes off!! [bonk] [That's my story and i'm stickin' to it!]

I had no trouble finding a dr to do the testing, since my LLMD does hormone testing.

Here is what he has on his website about this:

"The endocrine glands produce hormones. For example, the pituitary gland in the brain produces several different hormones including growth hormone, and the adrenal glands located on top of the kidneys produce seven major hormones.

Borreliosis patients usually have multiple endocrine hormone deficiencies. This is based upon results in about 300 panels of test results. At my office we use a twenty-four hour urine collection method that tests men for twenty-one different hormones and women for twenty-four different hormones.

Hormones that are bound to proteins (such as proteins in the blood) are not active, and are therefore ineffective. It is the unbound hormones that are free to do their work in the body. The kidneys filter and retain most proteins so that they stay in the blood. Thus inactive hormones that are bound to proteins also tend to stay in the blood. Hormones that are unbound pass more freely through the kidneys' filtering system and show up in the urine. Since hormones in the urine tend to be unbound, active and working, this may better reflect true endocrine functional status {as opposed to other types of testing.}

For example, a free testosterone level in the blood is thought to be a better test by some doctors, as opposed to a total testosterone level which measures protein-bound and unbound testosterone. A normal total hormone level in the blood does not always indicate what is really happening, if too much of the hormone is bound to proteins and not functioning actively enough to exert its full endocrine influence on the tissues of the body.

Hormone levels in blood and saliva can fluctuate significantly during the day. If you draw a blood or saliva specimen, it only tells you what the hormone levels are at that precise moment in time. However, a twenty-four hour urine specimen indicates how much hormone production is actually occurring throughout the day. This broader time frame of hormone production and collection should therefore give a truer picture of endocrine hormone status.

In short, twenty-four hour urine hormone testing has, in my opinion, three distinct advantages over blood and saliva testing. It more accurately reflects daily total hormone production, it measures free active working hormones, and it tests for twenty-one or twenty-four different hormones. All together it gives more of a ``big picture'' of the endocrine system for a lot less money.

Treatment of those hormones that are found to be below the normal range is straightforward. In general, it is more ideal to have hormones in the upper half of the normal ranges, not just in the normal range. The laboratory I use has tested thousands of normal healthy people. Their normal ranges are matched by sex and age. Borreliosis patients that are chronically sick may respond better to the influences of hormones on their tissues if the hormone levels are in the upper half of the normal range. Healthy people may do fine in the lower half of the normal range, but those who are sick may often need extra help with hormone supplementation.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say. I have found that borreliosis patients respond dramatically to hormone supplementation. A typical borreliosis patient needs about three to six different hormones. Most of these hormones are prescribed and are either natural or identical to hormones produced in the body, as opposed to over-the-counter or synthetic drugs.

Symptoms and diseases caused by endocrine hormone deficiencies are similar to those caused by tick-borne infections and hypercoagulation. The three treatments with the most dramatic results in borreliosis patients are antibiotics, heparin and hormones, and patients seem to do better when all three treatments are done. A three-stranded cord is not easily broken."

Hope something here helps you!

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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karieo
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I have had menopausal symptoms for a blooming 16 years!! They were intense at certain points when the stuff I was taking for them didn't keep up with my hormones as they changed. It's not like we have these symptoms and they stay the same--we are in flux, so we have to vary our treatment to keep up with the fun. My doctor has me using magnesium, Vit. E, Pantothenic Acid, etc. If you want the full list, email me privately and I shall cut and past it into a message back to you that will show you the amounts. I do take hormones, most compounded by a special pharmacy my doc works with. Since I've just recently been diagnosed with LD, I've noticed a lot of the symptoms are the same, or quite similar. Luckily my doctor has two specialties: women's medicine and Lyme. Odd mix, but now I understand why. And why she recommended testing for Lyme.

My hot flashes were like flameups--I just wanted to rip off my clothes and run around the back yard (what a terrible thing to do to my nice neighbors), but instead I'd just spend a nice spot of a winter evening in the garage where it was cooler. And at night the covers were on, then off for a night sweat and just as I'd fall asleep, the heat would be gone and I'd wake up again cold. Irritating. Sleep deprivation has turned me into an ogress.

--------------------
trying to figure it out

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minoucat
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Thanks, everyone, this has been very helpful. Lyme_suz, I'm not sure that I do want to postpone menopause now that I see what fun karieo is having. If any of you see a naked, steaming woman galloping around the yard in the wee hours, just offer us a glass of ice tea and an estradiol patch....

Connie, I'm afraid we'll have to start a menopause buddies thread as we age genteely along with Lymenet. Bea, Lyme Ed, and Lymetoo, really appreciate the info and the links. It's nice to have some reading to while away the insomniac hours. And, with my memory, I can read it again with the same enthusiasm the next night.

--------------------
*********************

RECIDITE, PLEBES! Gero rem imperialem!
(Stand aside plebians! I am on imperial business.)



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Dayle Ann
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All I can tell you is what I experienced, and no idea if it relates at all to your experience. I got Lyme in my early 40s, in Washington State. Undiagnosed, of course, in spite of actually having a bullseye, follwoed by a drop dead flu that I never quite recovered from. (I was not diagnosed until 16 years later.) Until then, I had never had problems with my periods, not even cramps and only minor crankiness the day before.

That changed. Clots, cramps, mood swings, extended bleeding. I had periods of hot flashes and sweats that didn't seem to be connected in any way to my cycle. My doctor just shrugged her shoulders. Perimenopausal, she said.

When my periods started becoming irregular, she ran a hormone test, and told me I was menopausal. The irregular periods,etc, continued for two more years, baffling my doctor even more. I was baffled because women on both sides of my family typically continued menses well into 50s: I was 48. What baffled my doctor more was that I would have a few periods, stop for a few months, and then restart. She said she had never seen that happen before when the tests indicated menopausal hormone levels. But she never bothered to run any further tests.

I understand now that my lovely combination of TBD (Lyme, bartonella, and erlichiosis) were responsible directly for some of those symptoms, and others were caused by hormonal disruptions of advanced Lyme disease. That continued past the end of my menses. Bartonella hot flashes, yum. Figure THOSE hormones out.

It can be dang hard to sort out. But you are luckier than I: you are in treatment, you have (I assume) a doctor who understands how these things work.

And you will survive menopause. In a way, it is one of the most interesting transitions of life: the other side is quite wonderful, I assure you. Cronedom is IN!

I think your husband is sweet. What a lovely way to let you know that he is right there with you.

Dayle Ann

--------------------
..." ...almost basically together situation."
unknown quote from somewhere


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Limping Lily
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I went from normal cycles in 1992 to abnormal (clots,etc.) in 1993, to complete stoppage in 1994. I've had chronic Lyme for 49 years, with probable co-infections,so I 'spose that wouldn't be unusual.When I'd get a hot flash, my skin reddened, and I felt almost like I had taken a lot of Niacinamide, and it lasted about the same amount of time.I took lots of wild yam and chaste tree (Vitex) and 800 IU of Vit.E, which REALLY helped.The fibroids disappeared,also.Now, at age 59, I get spotting occasionally, but my GYN says everything is "normal".My libido, which used to be here, got up and went,but I think it wants to come back!LOL [Eek!]

--------------------
~*~ Carole ~*~
 - Young at Heart Grandmother of 4

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janet thomas
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I think your husband is great too.

As you all know I consider myself well versed on this subject.

I just bought a new book which covers bio-identical HRT and insulin and cortisol and diet, etc. I recommend it highly. It's called

You're Not Crazy, It's Your Hormones by Larrium Gillepie an MD who is a menopausal women. Very good, you can get it thru amazon using the link right here at lymenet.

I think saliva tests are only valid for cortisol. For estradiol, free and total testosterone , and FSH serum tests are the gold standard.

I never plan to stop transdermal estradiol, although I may switch from the patch to the new gel(new in the US not Canada or France) called Estrogel which is MUCH cheaper thru the canadian on line pharmacies. I use vaginal progesterone cyclically NOT continously. Dr. Gillespie discusses this in her excellent book. The OTC progesterone creams are useless.

You can buy an FSH kit at most drugstores, it's a urine test you can do at home. FSH test is the best way to gauge your menopausal status.

I wish I had started transdermal estradiol immediately at menopause, women are not meant to live 30 yrs (from 50 to 80) without estrogen. It affects all our systems but transdermal estradiol especially is protective of cardiovascular, bones, skin, vagina ,eyes, etc.

While I was menstruating my body kept lyme at bay. At menopause Lyme broke loose and it was hell.

I don't know of any interactions with tests or meds-actually I don't even consider transdermal estradiol a med.

Your book The Hormone Solution-I think I remember it- was it written by a pharmacist who stresses saliva testing ?

Estriol (E3) is NOT NOT NOT good for HRT. It is the estrogen of pregnancy.

Dr Gillispie states in her book that compounded estradiol (E2) creams are not absorbed thru the skin because the estradiol molecule is too large. The new estradiol gel is alchohol based and thus absorbable.

Desirable estradiol serum levels in HRT are 70-114, according to Dr G. How you feel is also a good gauge. Breast tenderness-too much estradiol. I've read just about every hormone book out there and so far hers is the best.

Some women may need supplemental testosterone.
Start with estradiol get a good level of that before adding other hormones. It is the base.

I have never heard of any studies linking bio-identical transdermal estradiol with cancer. If there out there I'd love to see them.

Want to minimize face wrinkles-transderaml estradiol.

Good gyno for HRT-a reproductive endo gyn/ob.

For more info google alan altman md

or the hormone diva or elizabeth Vliet, MD

or send me a message - I have one near Philly

--------------------
I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice but only my personal experience and opinion.

Posts: 2001 | From NJ | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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