Aa
A
A
A
Close
Menopause Community
3.08k Members
534800 tn?1217170959

Whether to start BHRT

I have been in menopause for at least a year now (no periods for 13 months), have been seen, tested and examined for every symptom and, fortunately, can manage OK with most. I have had my FSH levels tested and according to my doctor "your levels are so severe you would benefit greatly by beginning hormone replacement therapy" and has presribed 0.025 of Climara patch and progesterone. This is supposed to remedy the terrible symptoms I can't seem to handle (insomnia, exhaustion, moodiness,anxiety attacks) but I'm really scared to start - I've read so much that the side affects from the hormones, if not the correct dosage, can be more severe than the menopause itself... would just love to get answers because my doctor just doesn't have the time to weight out options with me.
5 Responses
875426 tn?1325532016
I don't know why a doctor would say FSH levels are severe, unless you had a rare tumor of the pituitary causing the high FSH levels.  Note what I first posted on this forum:
FSH beyond normal?
by SurgiMenopause
Apr 18, 2009 10:58AM
I had a complete hysterectomy in August 2006.  In Feb., 2008 my FSH was 134.8.  At the end of March, 2009, my FSH was 169.11.  I know FSH goes up when ovaries are gone, but is it supposed to keep going up and in your experience, does it ever normally go up to that level?   *****

No doctor suggested that would be a reason to start HRT.  They seem to think this is normal and not hurting anything.  HRT definitely has risks, some of which were mentioned in the news a while back.  There can be life threatening risks.  So, I don't blame you for being nervous about taking the hormones.  A family member took HRT and had to have multiple breast surgeries for lumps that would develop while she was taking hormones- thanks be to God, none were cancerous!  But when she stopped HRT, the lumps stopped forming.  I had severe endometriosis prior to my hysterectomy and I researched a very low dose estrogen patch.  I found out that even that could potentially change any endometriosis leftover after surgery (they don't guarantee they get it all with surgery) into cancer!  I chose not to take any HRT.
534800 tn?1217170959
Its so frustrating. I've seen traditional doctors, holistic, alternative physicians and they ALL suggest going on the bio-identicals to eliminate all my heinous symptoms, or they say basically, stop complaining, stressing and just deal with it. The consensus is, if I want to feel better, be "back to normal" so to speak, teh only way to do it is to take the hormones... I'm an endurance athlete in addition to running my own business ans family, so trust me, I really want to have my life back, more energy, actually sleep at night, stop the anxiety, no flushes, no migraines, no bloating, but also don't want to get cancer in my 50's or 60's just to feel good now... there really is no 'right' answer - even Oprah broke down and started taking the hormones.
875426 tn?1325532016
Maybe I just don't have the menopause symptoms as bad because I had issues with not always ovulating prior to my hysterectomy.  I thought maybe the fact I drank soy milk was lessened the number of hot flashes.  But I've had to cut that out because I have interstitial cystitis and I haven't really noticed a big increase in the hot flash numbers.  

If I get to bed by around 10 PM, I usually can get to sleep before too long, but if I stay up later, it seems to take more time to fall asleep.  Have you tried a dose of magnesium at night to help with sleep?  Or valerian root to help you sleep?

I've been taken naturemade brand of Sam-E for mood, etc. once a day since before my hysterectomy.  It was recommended, by that brand only by a psychiatrist when I had a severe bout of depression some years ago.   I had an increase in depression for awhile post hysterectomy and broke down and took 5 mg a day of prozac generic for a while.  But I stopped that after a time and don't seem to miss it.  I continue to also take flaxseed oil capsules, 1000 mg twice a day and I eat macadamia nuts, both sources of the omega fatty acids good for mood and inflammation.  

Sometimes, I feel like I'm going a little crazy and have to walk about to try to get the endorphines going.  I still get migraines, but not usually as severe as when I had my uterus and was having periods.  I had hoped, like I heard, that I would be one of those whose migraines would cease with menopause.  But, I have too many contributing factors to the migraines.

You have to do what is best for you, but I definitely would try any safer alternatives first before going on the synthetic HRT, because of the known risks of taking that stuff.  A lot if not all the symptoms you mentioned can have to do with your sleep issue, so if you could get that back, you may find the mood, the exhaustion, etc. may improve a great deal.  I hope you get the help you need.
534800 tn?1217170959
Maybe I just don't have the menopause symptoms as bad because I had issues with not always ovulating prior to my hysterectomy.  I thought maybe the fact I drank soy milk was lessened the number of hot flashes.  But I've had to cut that out because I have interstitial cystitis and I haven't really noticed a big increase in the hot flash numbers.

*** For me, the soy and the flax helps for sure (I need to get it daily in my diet though) but according to doctor the symptoms would be completely elleviated and I'd feel 100% better... I take almost 800 mg of magnesium, 4000 mg Vit D, B12, B6, folic acid, black cohosh, Vit C, Vit E, and an internal cleanse tablet to help with the digestive stuff.

If I get to bed by around 10 PM, I usually can get to sleep before too long, but if I stay up later, it seems to take more time to fall asleep.  Have you tried a dose of magnesium at night to help with sleep?  Or valerian root to help you sleep?

*** This is probably the #1 issue for me; no sleep. I think when I started in peri, almost six years ago, that's when the insomnia started (and teh flashes and night sweats) but I didn't know what was happening to me and being only 40 I didn't think to look into what perimenopause was even - it took years of being so miserable before I went to the doctor to be tested. By that time though, I'd been having panic attacks so severe and major anxiety at bedtime, that I was put on Xanax to sleep and not I take that and Lunesta to just try and get more than six hours - the herbal stuff for me does absolutely nothing.

've been taken naturemade brand of Sam-E for mood, etc. once a day since before my hysterectomy.  It was recommended, by that brand only by a psychiatrist when I had a severe bout of depression some years ago.   I had an increase in depression for awhile post hysterectomy and broke down and took 5 mg a day of prozac generic for a while.  But I stopped that after a time and don't seem to miss it.  I continue to also take flaxseed oil capsules, 1000 mg twice a day and I eat macadamia nuts, both sources of the omega fatty acids good for mood and inflammation.  

*** My mood is OK most of the time, only getting destroyed when I've gone 4-5 nights on less than 6 hours of sleep - then it catches up with me. No go on the anti-depressants I just won't take anymore pills - already having to find a way to ween off Xanax but haven't found a better solution. I eat flax seed daily, but you take it in capsule form? I wonder if that would get me a more concentrated dose?

Sometimes, I feel like I'm going a little crazy and have to walk about to try to get the endorphines going.  I still get migraines, but not usually as severe as when I had my uterus and was having periods.  I had hoped, like I heard, that I would be one of those whose migraines would cease with menopause.  But, I have too many contributing factors to the migraines.

*** Migraines I can manage, very infrequent fortunately. I feel like I'm going alittle crazy everyday with this stuff!

You have to do what is best for you, but I definitely would try any safer alternatives first before going on the synthetic HRT, because of the known risks of taking that stuff.  A lot if not all the symptoms you mentioned can have to do with your sleep issue, so if you could get that back, you may find the mood, the exhaustion, etc. may improve a great deal.  I hope you get the help you need.

*** Yes, holding off on hormones is the plan, until my quality of life gets so affected that I just want to be OK with being in my body and able to function without so much discomfort, pain, etc. The sleep according to the doctors again, would be remedied it I took the hormones, but so risky still... the more I sleep obviously the better I feel, but into the sleep aids and anti-anxiety meds for so long, that's a process that will be a crapshoot if going off them and replacing with hormones would actually even work. I think the most frustrating thing is how the whole, treating menopausal women is a roll of the dice with physicians - they honestly don't know what works.

875426 tn?1325532016
I take flaxseed oil capsules 1000 mg twice a day.  I don't take it with the evening meal, however, or it gives me dreams.  I find if I have blankets piled in winter or a heating pad in summer, it can help me get to sleep.  It is tough to wean off of some medications.  The herbal stuff may not do it for you because your body is craving the other medication and is used to stronger things.  If your body gets cleansed of all those drug toxins and maybe with acupuncture for awhile, it may do a little better than zilch, but hormones evidently do play a factor, according to a video I watched on this site in sleep.
I have been blessed in that when I was a child, I was a heavy sleeper.  Perhaps that's why I am not having as much problem as some people over 2 1/2 years post hysterectomy?
Have an Answer?
Top Women's Health Answerers
363281 tn?1518219421
Nelson, New Zealand
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
From skin changes to weight loss to unusual bleeding, here are 15 cancer warning signs that women tend to ignore.
Here’s what you need to know about the transition into menopause – and life after the change takes place.
It’s more than just the “baby blues.“ Learn to recognize the signs of postpartum depression – and how to treat it.
Forget the fountain of youth – try flossing instead! Here are 11 surprising ways to live longer.
From STD tests to mammograms, find out which screening tests you need - and when to get them.
Find out if PRP therapy right for you.