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Author Topic: Hello (Again)!  (Read 546 times)

Blondie61

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Hello (Again)!
« on: February 15, 2017, 08:25:07 PM »

I first found MM what seems like an age ago when I was in the early stages of perimenopause.  That journey lasted 11 years and it was pretty horrific! Fibroids, ridiculously heavy periods and flooding that resulted in me being severely anaemic, and the usual mood swings, night sweats and skin problems.  All my friends seemed to have finished with their periods but there I was, every month, in Boots buying every packet of Super Tampax I could get my hands on! All joking aside, I could (and did!) cry on the first day of my periods, just knowing what was ahead of me  :'( Anyway, at the age of 54 (last January), I had my last 'proper' period - however I'm still not counting myself as truly in the menopause because in August and September last year I had a few days of spotting, four weeks apart, so the celebrations will be in September this year (if I make it there without any other spotting - please God!!).

Anyway, the last twelve months has seen some (to me) strange symptoms, so I'm hoping some of you may be able to reassure me.  I've had the worst episodes of hay-fever type allergic reactions (the reason I think they're related to the menopause and hormones is because the week before my period came I would have sneezing fits, streaming nose or alternatively be unable to breathe because my nose was so stuffed up).  These episodes eased up once my periods stopped, but just recently they've come back, along with a return of night sweats and hot flushes.  The hot flushes I'm getting now are much worse than they've been before and my sleep is really messed up with night sweats.  Lastly (although this has eased a bit lately) does anyone else suffer a really crushing, heavy feeling in their chest.  This comes and goes (currently I'm free of it thankfully) but it was probably the most distressing symptom.  I've visited my GP and she said she thought it was a form of acid reflux, but nothing she prescribed worked.  If I feel an episode coming on I take Nexium and this gives me some relief.  Could this be hormone-related?

I read a really interesting article the other day on Saga's website about the menopause and it recommended taking a supplement of Pycnogenol (French Maritime Pine Bark) so having done a bit of research into this, I've just started to take it in an attempt to ease the hot flushes/night sweats.  I'll let you all know how it goes.  Sorry for the lengthy first post - and thank you for reading this far!  :D
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sparkle

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2017, 10:36:09 PM »

Hi Blondie61, welcome!

We sound quite similar, I had my last proper period in March but then had three half hearted efforts in June, November and December so although I'm getting there my official 12 months will be Christmas Day!  Here's hoping!!

I've had reflux problems through peri (I have a hiatus hernia) and lansoprazole has helped the heartburn but not always the reflux.  However last June when I had what turned out to be an oesophageal spasm - I thought it was a heart attack as I couldn't breathe properly and it felt as if someone was squeezing me chest, it also went down my arm.  Ended up in A&E being checked for heart issues but all was ok hence the diagnosis.  I'm sure other ladies have mentioned this symptom so hopefully they'll be along soon with some advice.

S x
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Blondie61

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2017, 10:53:14 PM »

Hi Sparkle, thanks for your reply and welcome. That's very interesting to hear you've had similar symptoms (although the hospital visit must have been scary!). A couple of times I've also worried it was a heart problem. Hormones are scary and powerful things! I think so many ailments that would never normally be associated with the menopause can be placed at their door. I know it's been said before but if men had to go through this ....???
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Machair

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 04:13:54 PM »

Lovely to hear from you Blondie61. I am in the same boat as you and Sparkle- last two periods were December and January, but they were only attempts really- minor spotting for a few days. Had what felt like the build up this month but nothing happened. I missed many months last year too but had some light periods in between. Let's hope we can all celebrate later this year the end of this journey! I am 56 so ready for this to be over!
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CLKD

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 04:17:12 PM »

 :welcomemm:
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Changes can be scarey, even when we want them!

jaz29

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 06:14:40 PM »

Hi, I am fairly new to the forum, but its been so helpful, like many people, I just thought peri menopause was just stopping or intermittent periods, and hot flushes, my goodness me, it is so much more than that, anxiety for sure, worry about everything and anything, eating for two, even though I am suppose to be dieting, pins and needles in arms and legs, I could go on, however I also have fibroids which have grown over last two years, transanemic acid tablets have helped, but now feel a dull ache and pressure, doctors have given me naproxen, can anyone else relate to this.xxx
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Hurdity

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 08:26:27 PM »

Hi Blondie61

 :welcomemm: (again!)

French Maritime Pine Bark  :o - I've heard it all now!  Heavens what will they think of next!!! If this was a valid menopause remedy it would be offered generally. It's a new one on me! I had a quick look and it seems it has some physiological effects but not specifically to do with menopause...

Personally I wouldn't take anything like this and would concentrate on other means of improving your health through diet, liefstyule and exercise which will all be far more beneficial. If you really want to alleviate symptoms then the most natural way to do this is through oestrogen replacement (HRT) as most of the preparations are "bio-identical" ie are estradiol - the main oestrogen we make in our own bodies, and which becomes deficient at menopause. Have you thought of this?

I was about your age going through the same stage - was 53.5 when I had my last natural period but didn't leave it for 12 months as I started HRT a few months later at about 54 and have never looked back (10 years later!).

You really do not need to suffer the sweats and flushes if they are interfering with your quality of life!

Should you find the bark does not have any bite - we are here to help should you want any more advice :)

Hurdity x
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Blondie61

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2017, 08:44:23 PM »

Thanks for all the replies. Hurdity, I'm trying to steer clear of HRT if I can because I've read that oestrogen can make fibroids worse - my peri years were made pretty horrendous because of them and I also showed all the symptoms of being oestrogen dominant. Rightly or wrongly, I came to look on it as the cause of most of my problems. I've never been offered HRT by my GP and the associated health risks also worry me. I'll definitely report back about the Pycnogenal. x
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Tempest

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2017, 11:08:13 AM »

Hello, Blondie61!

Well, I can confirm that an official study HAS been carried out on Pycnogenal for the treatment of menopause symptoms, and the results were promising:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22108479

(You'll be interested to read this, Hurdity). :)

I wish you the best of luck and hope you have success with it. Please report back and let us know won't you? xxxxx
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Hysterectomy aged 36. Bilateral Salpingo Oopherectomy aged 46 in April 2015.

Elizabethrose

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2017, 12:04:51 PM »

Hello from me too Blondie61, sorry I missed this thread!

I have a Japanese friend who has taken this successfully, it seems to be used frequently in Japan and Mainland Europe too. Coincidentally it came up in conversation at a dinner party just last week in Paris. Six menopausal women discussing how the French manage meno, quite fascinating! Funny too especially as my French is not fluent by any means! I'll post another study link below.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23447917

There are many women unable to use HRT in it's many forms, so the more investigation into finding alternatives the better. I've tried many things over the years to treat my migraine, mostly unsuccessfully but as I always say, keep an open mind and try, you can't know whether something will help you. Even if it's the placebo effect that gives you some relief, rejoice in it! As the saying goes, one man's meat is another man's poison! Another point I'd like to make is that the many specialists I've seen over the years, whom you might expect to condemn natural remedies, have each surprised me with their open minds. I suppose anything is worth a try!!

Good luck to you, I wish you every success with it just remember to come back and let us know how you get on!! x


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Hurdity

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2017, 03:18:45 PM »

Hello, Blondie61!

Well, I can confirm that an official study HAS been carried out on Pycnogenal for the treatment of menopause symptoms, and the results were promising:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22108479

(You'll be interested to read this, Hurdity). :)

I wish you the best of luck and hope you have success with it. Please report back and let us know won't you? xxxxx

Thanks for posting that Tempest - however that particular study can be discounted because it is not placebo controlled - in other words, from what I could see from the abstract, the study only compared those taking the supplement and a parallel group not taking anything, and the results were self-documented - so impossible to distinguish actual from placebo effects. In addition the most robust data are obtained when the study is also "double-blind" when neither researchers nor study participants know who is getting the actual drug/supplement and who is getting a placebo (dummy pill). It is the sort of study often used by manufacturers of such remedies to "demonstrate" their efficacy - but unfortunately is flawed.


I have a Japanese friend who has taken this successfully, it seems to be used frequently in Japan and Mainland Europe too. Coincidentally it came up in conversation at a dinner party just last week in Paris. Six menopausal women discussing how the French manage meno, quite fascinating! Funny too especially as my French is not fluent by any means! I'll post another study link below.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23447917

There are many women unable to use HRT in it's many forms, so the more investigation into finding alternatives the better. I've tried many things over the years to treat my migraine, mostly unsuccessfully but as I always say, keep an open mind and try, you can't know whether something will help you. Even if it's the placebo effect that gives you some relief, rejoice in it! As the saying goes, one man's meat is another man's poison! Another point I'd like to make is that the many specialists I've seen over the years, whom you might expect to condemn natural remedies, have each surprised me with their open minds. I suppose anything is worth a try!!


The second link was listed at the side of the first one - and is double-blind and placebo controlled - which is stated in the title. This did show promising short term results on some menopausal symptoms - still using subjective assessments but objective measurements through blood tests were not available in the abstract (although hinted at).

I thought I'd have a look up about this since I'd never heard of it and wondered why. This particular compound (pycnogenol) was patented in US (where else?) and is a generalised herbal dietary supplement containing substances known as flavonoids which have anti-oxidant properties - but not specifically for menopause. There have apparently been numerous studies - and the range of conditions it is meant to help with is enormous.

There is a Cochrane review of studies which details the quality of research carried out into various conditions but don't think menopause was included: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008294.pub4/full

There is also an article from a US university about its use:
http://www.berkeleywellness.com/supplements/herbal-supplements/article/do-pycnogenol-supplements-work

I was interested to read what they said here:

Pycnogenol has become a best-selling supplement (marketed under many brand names, with more than $500 million in annual sales worldwide), at least in part because its manufacturer has supported hundreds of studies on it and publicized the positive findings. On the basis of this research, Pycnogenol is promoted as a treat≠ment for everything from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), diabetes, erectile dysfunction, hypertension, heart disease, and blood vessel disorders to menopausal symptoms, tinnitus, arthritis, colds, skin health, cognitive function, dia≠betes-related eye problems, and allergies. Anytime itís claimed that a product is a virtual cure-all, you should be skeptical.

Also it sounds like the mechanism of action of anti-oxidants such as Pycnogenol (which contains proanthocyanidins) is very complex in cell biology terms  - and the Cochrane review said this:

"It is therefore possible that excessive amounts of antioxidants may negatively affect these important physiological processes (Bjelakovic 2007). This implies that a balance between ROS and antioxidants may be critical for maintaining health."

Therefore - although some studies seem to imply positive results on specific symptoms, in the absence of long-term studies and safety data (even more important than efficacy) - I would be cautious about relying on something like this for long term control of symptoms - in the same way that Black Cohosh for example is not advised to be taken long term.

I totally agree that it is vital that long-term safe and effective alternatives to oestrogen need to be developed for those women who are unable to take HRT due to breast cancer or other serious conditions - and all good scientists have open minds when it comes to research - it is the only way that science can progress! However - all scientists operate using fundamental principles - and that is that every theory and bona fide treatment is underpinned by reliable evidence. It is immaterial whether the remedies are "alternative" or conventional - it is the evidence that matters. Placebo is indeed powerful - but as such is exploited by a huge alternative and herbal supplements industry often backed by flimsy or conflicting evidence. If an effect is purely placebo, then far better to exploit the power of the mind through techniques designed specifically designed to do so! Relaxation, mindfulness - anyone?

I got carried away there Blondie61  ::) but as I said before  good luck with it! Incidentally - there is often oestrogen "dominance" during peri-menopause due to anovulatory cycles so the womb lining (and your fibroids) builds up. However once you are post-menopause these will have shrunk and if you take HRT you also take a progestogen which protects the lining and your fibroids should not grow. I have one small fibroid which has actually shrunk despite taking medium dose HRT on a cycle!

Hopefully your flushes and sweats will diminish - but as I said before we are still here to advise if you need us :)

Hurdity x
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Elizabethrose

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2017, 03:30:27 PM »

Hahaha, Hurdity, well done you, you must have been up all night long pulling this information together. Goodness me youíre nothing if not determined!

All good wishes to you!
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Blondie61

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2017, 06:41:01 AM »

Thank you everyone (Hurdity, I'm in awe of your research! 😇). All your replies are encouraging and supportive and great to read those reviews. Of course I'll let you know how I get on. It was really interesting to read what you said about HRT and fibroids Hurdity - maybe that particular door isn't closed to me after all (if natural remedies fail). Should I post my findings back here or on another forum? x
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Elizabethrose

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Re: Hello (Again)!
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2017, 07:44:13 AM »

Hi Blondie61

Post wherever you'd like to but there is an Alternative Remedies heading on the main MM forum page which may be a good spot to post in. There are many women interested in non HRT routes who look to that heading and I'm sure the thread would be of real interest.

Good luck with it! x
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