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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Surviving menopause

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    This is just miserable!. I have hot flashes that last hours,( they are similar to eating really spicy food). My face and neck area get beet red, visible facial perspiration, and an overwhelming desire to rip my clothes off. At night I'm awake at least 4-6 times, i spend the night alternating between super hot and freezing, so needless to say I feel pretty miserable in the morning. Its like having a raging fever, one minute your boiling hot, the next your freezing. When I have a hot flash, I look like I'm contagious with some deadly flu running a serious high temp. My joints ache, and I'm sure that the joint pain is related to the menopause as it seems to correspond with the hot flashes. Sometimes the hot flashes are mild, but sometimes they are quite severe and the episodes last for days. I tried HRT but it really didn't help all that much, my doctor messed around with doses so much i ended up in an estrogen induced haze.
    My doctor is just a GP and about the only solution she keeps talking about is me taking antidepressants. I have told her more than once, I'm NOT taking antidepressants to deal with hot flashes. Antidepressants have there uses and for some people they are life savers, but seeing how I don't have any mood disorder, or suicidal tendencies I strongly disagree that taking them is the right thing for me to do.
    Yes, I feel better when I'm exercising, but life gets in the way and I can't be spending every waking hour exercising. I'm planning on telling my doctor the next visit that I want a referral to someone who specializes in menopause, I have a feeling she's not going to like me asking, but I'm not very happy with the lack of success she's had in treating my symptoms and seeing how I'm the one having to deal with this on a daily basis I'm not really interested if her feeling are somewhat hurt.
    I can't be the only woman out there that's having major issues with menopause, if your reading this and have any advise I would really appreciate hearing from you before I combust.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    perpetual traveler
    My husband was encouraged to take a particular kind of antidepressent that can help with nerve pain as he has neuropathy. He refused because he was not depressed and did not have a mood disorder. I say why not try and see if it works? It may not, it may be a long shot. But I wouldn't have a particular bias against them.

    If you aren't already, try drinking very cold water when you are having a hot flash.

    I agree on getting a referral and your doctor certainly shouldn't mind. If she does, so what.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Concord, MA
    First, you should be seeing a gyn.
    Secondly, anti-depressants have many *approved* uses besides treating depression. The dosages used for treating other conditions is usually half or less than the typical starting dose for a major depressive episode. This is a well known clinical use for some of the SSRIs, SSNRIs, and the older tricyclic antidepressants. These medications at lower doses work on neurotransmitters that can be very effective in treating a variety of things, particularly pain.
    I am not sure why you or your DH would be so against this. You are not being treated for depression, but for another approved use of the medication. And, depression is a medical condition, many people have it. What are you concerned about?
    A few years ago (before you were on TE, I think), I was sick with what is probably some type of autoimmune issue. I went to 3 rheumatologists and 2 neurologists. The neurologist suggested I take a low dose of amyltriptiline, an older tricyclic antidepressant. I took a 10 mg dose (the normal staring dose for depression is 25 mg) for about 3 months and it totally made the issues go away. I knew there was a side effect of weight gain, and I was able to up my exercise, since I felt better. I stopped taking the meds and I never had to use it again. But, I would, if I started feeling really awful again.
    You do not need to suffer. This is accepted medical practice.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Uncanny Valley
    +1 on seeing a GYN or endocrinologist who specializes in menopause. Don't just go to "any" GYN, since many of them focus more on obstetrics and younger women's issues. When I was having problems that I later self-diagnosed as perimenopause (with a great deal of certainty in retrospect), two GYNs completely blew me off.

    I was seeing a doctor this summer who dismissed my symptoms, wouldn't recognize that she was out of her depth with my injury, and objected to my seeing another doctor. Guess who I'm not seeing any more. I'm lucky in that my insurance doesn't require pre-approval, though. If your PCP refuses a referral, especially if your insurance requires one, I'd think seriously about getting a new PCP.

    +1 on what's been said also about not categorically rejecting drugs just because they were first approved as antidepressants. It's wise to be wary of ANY drug, and completely understand the risks and benefits before taking it, but also to understand that the side effect profile may be much milder on the very low dosages that are typically prescribed for menopausal symptoms. Personally, if I had to choose between most hormones and most antidepressants, I'd pick the antidepressant every time...
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Flagstaff AZ
    My husband was also told to take antidepressants for neuropathy; it is a really small dosage compared to what they give for mood disorders and the like. It helped and he seems to be symptom free and is not taking them now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Plantation, FL
    Wasp. I hear what you are saying about the antidepressants. I have fibromyalgia and when they first recommended an antidepressant to treat it (this was in the days before anyone actually recognized FM much less marketed drugs for it specifically) I was reluctant for the same reason. This is particularly ironic since I work in mental health field. Anyway I took the plunge with a low dose and later switched over to an SSRI that makes the FM fade into the background o f my life and allow me to bike and exercise more without pain. I would suggest not thinking of it as an antidepressant but as the actual class of drug it is. Drugs are only marketed for their uses but their uses are broader than their marketing in most cases. Hang in there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia
    Many medicines have multiple uses. For decades I took a "seizure drug" to treat migraines and it worked great. I later found out it is also used to treat bipolar disorder. And I know there's one anti-depressant that is also used to help people stop smoking. Hell, aspirin became so commonly used for heart disease that now Bayer is running ads to remind us that it works as a pain reliever too.

    And don't worry about your doctor's feelings. Find one who can help you.

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Sillycon Valley, California
    This is strictly anecdotal. My chiropractor was having a horrible time with hot flashes, nothing she tried worked. She started taking rhurbarb root, her flashes have gone from about 3 every hour to 3 a day.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Sf Bay Area
    About 25 years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and at the time could hardly walk because of the pain. On advice from my husband, I went to a pain clinic (where I was diagnosed) that recommended an antidepressant. I balked at that but decided to try it. Well, it was an absolute miracle! My pain went away completely, and I was ecstatic. It's good to gain knowledge and to try new avenues. I was glad I did.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Boise Idaho
    Also consider a visit to a good naturopath. I can understand the hesitation to take an antidepressant. I tried them for menopause and yes it helped but there we some other side affects that I didn't like. A good naturopath should be able to do some testing and provide some other alternatives to help you out.

    don't despair, lots of options open for you.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    I don't have any suggestions- my hot flashes thankfully were helped by HRT, but I hope you will look into finding another doctor who is more knowledgeable and that you get some relief.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    ... a low dose of amyltriptiline, an older tricyclic antidepressant. I took a 10 mg dose (the normal staring dose for depression is 25 mg)...
    Me too! After a spectacular concussion, I had constant, daily, incapacitating headaches; my doc suggested that I try this, which she called "tincture of nothing" and now I just have headaches now and then like a normal person.

    See a specialist, and then TRY SOMETHING. If it doesn't work, TRY SOMETHING ELSE.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Katy, Texas
    all I have to offer is a couple of things that worked for me along with a bit of anectdotal info. I started taking vitamin e for pain during my periods, and found that an increased dosage of vitamin e seemd to help with hot flashes durig menopause. I also increase my intake of soy and other forms of natural estrogen like yams.

    Since my mastectomy I have been taking tamoxifen which is basically an estrogen blocker so for the last year I have been pretty much in constant menopause with the sleeplessness, hot flashes, weepies etc. and have been off of the the vitamin e and soy and natural source estrogen, I have now been off the tamoxifen for a month, and while not runing amuck am at least back on the vitamin e and I am at least eating some soy and sweet potatoes. The tamoxifen woes of continual menopause are starting to ease off and I am slowly getting my life back. It will take awhile for my strength and endurance back but at least I am starting to feel a bit more optimistic and cheerful about things.

    Find a good doctor, mine happens to be a gp but she is good- a sensible older irish lady, but I found her after trying several others who were not right for me. As one who is on antideptressants, I can honestly say that they have made a difference for me in spite of my denial and refusal for 20 years or so. Now I regret those lost years of not using them, but I am making up for it all.

    Good luck with your search and I hope something helps soon. For some of us it was and or can be a turly miserable experience. Never let it be said that sometimes the gods or fates of life force or whatever don't sometimes have a turly malicious and nasty sense of humor.
    Katy, Texas
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Thank you for all your kind advise. I'm definatley going to be seeing a gyn that specializes in menopause, if my current GP does not provided a referral I'll find one that will.
    After some reflection about my rather large hesitation of taking antidepressants, I came to the conclusion that my hesitation stems from the way my doctor presented them to me. I asked her what happens if antidepressants don't work, what's the next option? And she didn't have one. I don't like the fact that no other options were given. I have a history of my body reacting in a negative way to medications, so for me it's always been a last resort thing, and even though I'm pretty miserable right now, I'm not at the point where I would be willing to take antidepressants as my luck I'll end up getting severe negative side effects.
    The other problem I need to correct is finding a new Dr closer to home. She moved her practice 2yrs ago, and its now a 3 hr drive round trip to her office.
    About the only thing I've found helpful so far is drinking large amounts of ice water.
    Again, thanks for all your responses there much appreciated.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    NW Ohio...for now
    Keep moving. Doesn"t need to be specific "exercise". Stay well hydrated Go to bed by 10p and get that 8 hours of sleep. The best sleep is between 10-2. Avoid sugar, flour, grains, and processed foods. Remove yourself from stressful situations whenever possible; if not possible, sit back and relax your breathing and actively relax you body. All of this should great reduce symptoms, and often even eliminate them. Unfortunately menopause is a fact of life, just as PMS and a monthly cycle are....As my hubby has so kindly put it "it's like a tire fire-you can't effectively put it out, and it doesn't help to focus on it while it burns". So focus on the positive in your life and ENJOY! Merry Christmas
    Don't cross the river if you can swim the tide...

    2011-Cannondale Synapse Alloy5 WSD with 105 and BB30!



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