I have so many friends who think they are too young to be menopausal. I'm 44 and women in their early 40s tend to have this perception that they are too young to start this process. The reality I have found is that it starts even before the 40s, we just may not see obvious signs (well...not always obvious to us).
Periods become erratic and the body can ache maybe it's difficult to lose weight or can't resist the sugar. Sound familiar?
As I approached 42 I had this crazy 6-week period that suddenly turned into blood clots. It freaked me out, but turns out that's what happens sometimes.
The emergency room was no help. When I got to the OBGYN a couple of days later they basically told me I was perimenopausal (perimenopausal is what you are in the time period before menopause. You are menopausal when you have had a whole year of no period).
The doctor told me I could go on the pill, or I could have an ablation or I could go on progesterone. He wanted me to take the progesterone right away to stop the bleeding. Then I said the N word... "do ya have anything that is a NATURAL treatment?". He gave me a "natural" hormone made from horse hormone (I won't mention how they get it).
I took these "natural" hormones for one cycle then disregarded the rest. Four months later I started having hot flashes and felt prickly at night. I can't describe it any other way. I didn't sleep well because I was roused when I rolled over and felt these prickles. I dealt with is as best I could for four more months then my chiropractor recommended I go to her compounding pharmacist. As she walked me out of the office, there he was, getting a sandwich next door to her office.
I went because she said she had good results and what he did was natural. I wasn't sure what that meant but I wanted something that was from nature to work with my body. I went in and got a saliva test. It measures all hormone levels. I also had four pages of information to fill in because they want to know if they symptoms match the results. I like that I was able to talk about what was going on with me.
Now that I have been on these bioidentical hormones for 8 months they have changed my life. There was potential for this transformation to take me out, but I decided to take charge of my treatment and decided myself what is best for me. Along with the bioidentical hormones I got some natural supplements for my endocrine system which is what caused the prickly feeling and hot flashes.
I am fortunate that these supplements and bioidentical hormones have tamed the symptoms of having an achy body, hot flashes, prickly feeling and sugar cravings. I have been reading some great books and am finding that each woman is different and her symptoms are different. I'm so glad I found an alternative to what my OBGYN told me. Now I can enjoy these years of wisdom.
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-Alex from BodyLogicMDJune 17, 2009 - 1:02pm
Thanks for sharing this, Charlotte. I can't tell you how many women have come into my office with the same story. Most have told me that they had no idea where to turn for help. By talking about the symptoms and possible treatments of menopause and perimenopause you and many other women are helping to get the word out to women who really need to know there's hope for feeling better!May 4, 2009 - 7:16pm
Dr. Tina Marcantel
Aweaome article. Very informative!!May 4, 2009 - 8:02am