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Perimenopause: How do you know???
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Perimenopause: How do you know???

I just really need to know how I find out if my symptoms are being caused by perimenoause-related hormone imbalance, or something else?

I have been posting questions on MedHelp since my symptoms began suddenly, Aug. 11, 2012.  I've gone through many theories and tests, all to no (apparent) avail.  There's still something terribly wrong with me, and I am not really any closer to knowing why.

Over time, the severity of my symptoms has lessened, and the BIG ones (near-fainting, whole-body shivering, heart pounding, frequent diarrhea, etc.) have not reappeared in over 6 months (thankfully).  But I'm still debilitated by the daily symptoms that do remain (always-present blurry/double vision, frequent relatively mild head pain/pressure, the sensation of mild hypoxia, nausea, upper abdominal pain, very slight, rare-but-recurrent muscle trembling, plus a few more).  Symptoms go in and out of intensity, throughout the day.  Visual tasks, such as driving or using my iPad for long periods of time, tend to worsen the visual disruption and may even elicit some of the weird head sensations (numb scalp, pressure, brief/sharp pains).

I have not come across a single doctor who's shown even the slightest interest in my plight (maybe because I am, in all other respects, very healthy, and tend to downplay everything, relying on a positive attitude and humour to relay my symptoms), I've been left to research and diagnose myself.  It's both frustrating and, at times, frightening, since I am not a doctor, and something IS fundamentally wrong with me.  (I'm kind of the anti-hypochondriac, if I can make up that word.  I've been super-healthy my whole life, and decidedly NOT prone to imagining things.)

I've gone through a number of theories...everything from TIA to MS, now with a perimenopause outlier.

Now...before you wonderful folks start theorizing for me, again (THANK YOU!!!), let me point out that my vitals are always normal/excellent and basic physical exams have not found any lumps or bumps, plus the following tests have come back normal (apparently...since I typically don't actually get the results...just the assurance I would be contacted if there were anything abnormal):

- standard CBC ("slightly" high hemoglobin & HCT)
- blood cultures
- 5-min. EKG
- 24 hr Holter monitor
- stool analysis
- echocardiogram
- 2-week loop monitor
- complete physical
- more detailed serology report
- pelvic exam
- breast ultrasound
- ("neuralite" SP?) CT scan
- eye exam & retinal imaging

There is nothing physically wrong with my eyes and, evidently, my CT scan didn't show anything unusual.  Yet, my vision is now/still blurry.  ...Too blurry to lead my normal life - i.e. being able to drive wherever I want.  And it was sudden onset, one day, back in August.  For the 46 years prior to that, my vision was excellent...crystal clear.  (I'm not talking about the run-of-the-mill presbyopia I developed around age 43.  I mean my regular and distance vision.  As for the mild presbyopia, I still don't need reading glasses; it's that mild.)

But, in addition to the current symptoms already listed, I often have a general feeling of being unwell.  I have the (perimenopause-related?) "burning mouth" sensation, from time to time, too.  Oh, and my periods are more and more regular.

You see, I do have PCOS, which was seemingly irrelevant to me my whole life.  But, I have since learned it can cause periods to BECOME more regular, with perimenopause.

Since around age 40, my menstrual cycles went from 1-3 times per year (120-180 days between periods), to every 21-45 days, and now, for the past 6-8 months, about every 29 days.  Over the last 6-7 years, I went from never knowing when my period would occur, to being pretty much like a "normal" woman with a predictable, 28-day cycle.

So, that's why perimenopause is still on the table, as a possible basis for my weird, sudden symptoms.

After a couple of days of barely any symptoms, I felt awful this morning again, with no understanding as to why, thus no way to mitigate, and no way to know if this is something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life, or if it will get better on its own, or (gulp) worse.  I have very little to go on.

Sure, I can go back to my new GP, and request more tests.  But which ones, and why?  Frankly, after so many theories and so many normal tests results, I don't know where to turn.  But I will say,
I sure don't want to keep living like this.  (Although my new doctor didn't specify exactly, he did mention B12, and I believe he included some sort of thyroid test as part of the more detailed serology report he requested.  Was it TSH, T3 and T4?  I don't know.  As part of my complete physical, he did a cursory, external exam, looking to see if my thyroid appeared enlarged.)  I went from a free'n'easy lifestyle, to spending most of my days in bed now, due to the head pain/pressure/weirdness, nausea, and general malaise.  Plus, I can no longer drive.  Right now, my life kinda *****.  I try to do my normal routine, but it's much more difficult now...and I don't know why.

Thanks for any relevant suggestions.  I know that was a lot of information.  Thanks for trying to help me figure out hat's going on.  I'd sure like to get back to normal.  :)
3 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Perhaps you could see a gynocological endocrinologist?  Also, did you have the thyroid panel?   What were the results?  
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Avatar_n_tn
Recently, I have many of the same new, sudden symptoms; eyes blur, brain shuts off, heart pounding not racing, lungs feel like they are being crushed, muscles shivering, but the diarrhea I used to have every month has stopped (hallelujah!).  My new headaches were heat headaches with nausea/vomiting, supplement Estrovera worked for me immediately.  Two weeks each mo. so far, it started several months ago.  Both progesterone and estrodial or Bi-Est helped fully with all of it at first but I haven't found the best dosage for me yet to stay balanced & keep these symptoms fully at bay, somewhere between too much and too little.    
I don't have PCOS, etc.,etc.  
Although I'm still in the process, I have found several good resources to restore balance once again. If you'd like my resources, I'll happily send them to you.  
stopthethyroidmadness.org  re RT3 additional hormone to check for thyroid, most Dr's don't test for it.  Find a Dr. that this is their expertise, not just any endocrinologist unless they get great results for their patients for your specific issue (they specialize just like most docs), same with obgyn.
Naturopathic and Ayurvedic doctors (that also have MD's) have been helpful for me too.
http://www.womentowomen.com/ has these types of docs and has nurses you can ask questions of.  
www.alkimea.com for healing as well.  

Hope some of this helps you.  Blessings to you and your health :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks!  It sounds like we have several things in common.  

My symptoms have improved DRAMATICALLY over the past two months, so I'm now less interested in medical testing or treatment but, based on your results, maybe it was peri-menopause, all along.  (You know, every time I would mention it to doctors, they'd immediately dismiss it.)  It's just my pesky vision problem hindering my daily life, now.  Since this began 9 months ago, I have spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars on delivery charges for things I can't just drive and pick-up, such as groceries.  It's really frustrating, always having to wait for my husband to chauffeur me, or spending $50-$100 on a cab ride round trip.  

Anyway, thanks for the reply and the insight.  :)
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