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58 and menopause is not in sight - worried
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tenniskat posted:
I will be 58 in about six weeks. It has only been in the last year that I have had irregular periods - about 3 weeks apart, lasting 4 days, not heavy. The problem is that once the period has ended, I start experiencing really uncomfortable PMS symptoms (water retention, mood swings, aches and pains, etc.). So, for the last year, I have not had many good days. I feel like a bit of a freak too, as all of my friends are well through menopause.

I believe I am finally what is called peri menopause, and after there are no periods for a year, I will have gone through menopause. I am worried that this is happening so late. I am also worried about how long I will stay in this state, which is difficult to deal with. Is there anything that can be done to bring about an end to periods in someone my age? Should it be done? Are these actual periods? I find it hard to believe I have any eggs left.

Any suggestions for easing the PMS symptoms? It is driving me nuts.

Kat
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Mary Jane Minkin, MD responded:
Dear Kat,
You are not a freak! I have several patients who are 58 and older who are not menopausal. But there are some thoughts I have for the PMS type symptoms. Are you exercising regularly? the more the better. Are you getting in calcium? 1200 mg a day is good-give yourself credit for your dairy intake (a cup of yogurt, for example, has about 300 mg of calcium.) and some vitamins my patients find helpful for the bloating: B6, 100-200 mg a day; and evening primrose oil, 2 capsules a day. (and do limit excess salt). If you're still symptomatic, do talk to your health care provider, who will have some other medical options available for you.
Good luck,
Mary Jane
 
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franski8 replied to Mary Jane Minkin, MD's response:
Thank you for assuring tenniskat that she is not a freak. I will soon be 54, and my mom has been telling me for more than a decade that I "should have started menopause already." I don't go around telling people I still have very normal and regular periods with no pain, hot flashes, or mood swings, because many of my friends assume that EVERYONE has the ailments associated with menopause or rave about how a hysterectomy is "the best thing that ever happened to them." I appreciate the list of supplements you offered and was glad to see that my regimen comes fairly close to what you prescribed. I've always believed it is important to eat correctly, but have in the last several months cut out sugars and sugar substitutes, as well as processed food and flours. I have never felt better! Do you feel diet has some effect on the age of onset and/or severity of the symptoms of menopause?
 
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lydia19 replied to Mary Jane Minkin, MD's response:
I am 66 and started having hot flashes as/or more intense than I had during menopause. They don't last as long but they hit with a vengence. What could be causing them at this point.
 
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KarenPC replied to Mary Jane Minkin, MD's response:
I had regular periods until I was 61. Then I went into menopause for 13 mo. When I was 62 I started again. I had two hard ones in Nov and Dec when I was 62, collecting social security!!! My doctor did not know why. She asked me about my supplements. I was taking evening primrose oil and had been for years. She told me to stop it. I had one more light period after that and have been done ever since. I am 65 now and have had hot flashes ever since I stopped! My mother stopped at 54, my sister at 56. I am very healthy and eat well and am of normal weight.
 
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shelbybella replied to Mary Jane Minkin, MD's response:
hello Mary Jane.. nice to read this from you. I am 57 and still have visits from Mother Nature.lol. I take a B-6. a B-12, Vitamin D and Omega 3's , as well as calcium , Magnesium and Grapeseed. I was not aware of the primrose. The only thing I really have is the bloating. I do exercise ( walk a lot) and do hand weights and yoga. I also do not eat a lot of sugars/ processed food. I dont have mood swings/ pain or anything else. Just bloating. lol. I am of normal weight for my height. I am 5'2'" and weigh around 118. I really apprecaited reading yoru reply, as it helped me know that I am not the only woman who has this going on. My freinds find it hard to believe.lol.
 
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juls825 responded:
Aw, TennisKat, Im glad others have already told you you are not a freak!

My older sister is 63 and she still, - ahem... has her period! Our mother used to claim she still had hers when she was 70!
I have heard we inherit the same characteristics as our mothers on this subject but I guess it missed me. Luckily I have already been without my period for over a year (Im 56) and not too much agony over it, no hot flashes, just a lot of insomnia!

Take care and hang in there!
 
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Anon_6061 responded:
Very interesting to hear all these stories of women in their late 50's and older still having periods! I'm assuming they weren't forced periods from taking hormones cyclically.

I'm curious if all these women look young for their age. I know there's more to aging (on the inside and out) than having premenopausal levels of ovarian hormones but I truly think that plays a big role in keeping us young (inside and out). Would be curious to hear your observations on this (even if it means you have to brag LOL).

I'd give big $$$ to have periods again or at least have my organs back. I aged very quickly after they were needlessly removed. Prior to that, I looked very young for my age. I can only guess that women who're truly happy they had a hysterectomy must have had ongoing, debilitating female problems. This satisfaction doesn't always last either. My hysterectomy turned me into a completely different person, inside and out.

KarenPC - Interesting about the evening primrose oil. It sounds like it may have been keeping you from going into menopause.
 
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tenniskat replied to Anon_6061's response:
Thank you Dr. Minkin for reassuring me that this is not that abnormal. And thanks to all the ladies that told me they are my age or older and are in the same situation. I really appreciate that as I know no one else that is like me. My mother and grandmother both had hysterectomies in their early 40's for fibroids. I have no sisters and I did not know my father's mother, but she had six boys (my father being the youngest).

The one disconcerting thing I read was that menopause after the age of 55 carries greater risk of ovarian, breast, and uterine cancer. As to your suggestions - yes I exercise vigorously five times a week, sometimes twice a day (I play a lot of tennis). I don't play very well when I am experiencing PMS symptoms. This may seem trite, but it's just another motivating reason to solve this problem.


As far as supplements go, I use to take evening primrose oil and flax seed oil regularly in my 40's for PMS, and it did help somewhat, but after age 50 it seemed to make my symptoms worse, so I cut it out. I am by no means a medical authority, but through some reading, and in an effort to curb the symptoms I have come to the conclusion that I am low in progesterone. This has left the estrogen in my body unopposed, so I have been I trying to eat sources of protein that are hormone free and avoid Phytoestrogenoods food sources. I have started taking vitamins B complex, and C and supplements Zinc, and Magnesium. I have also started a very mild progesterone cream and I am following the instructions for its use. What use to happen was that after my period stopped I would begin PMS symptoms that really made me feel as if I were in the early stages of pregnancy (swollen sore breasts, bloating, general feeling of malaise). It has been four days now (I started the cream on the 12th day of my cycle) and I have to say I do not feel the pregnant/PMS symptoms yet, which is already an improvement. This is experimental, but I don't think what I am doing will cause any harm, so I feel it is worth a shot.


I see my OB GYN doc in a couple of months and if this does not work, I will discuss it with her. She has told me I have fibroids, but they have not caused any debilitating symptoms like heavy continuous flow or bad cramps. I do want to avoid having a hysterectomy. It seems Anon_6061 was not too happy with the results. Surgery seems like much too drastic a measure. Anon_6061, to answer your question about looking and feeling younger - people that have no stake in flattering me have generally guessed my age to be about six or seven years younger than it actually is. I am also still able to run around on a tennis court with pretty good speed and agility, although I am a little more achy than I use to be. I don't know if this is genetic, or related to late onset menopause.


Anon_6061, why do you think your hysterectomy was needless?
 
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Anon_6061 replied to tenniskat's response:
My hysterectomy was needless because I had a benign ovarian cyst - no other problems. A number of sources say that hysterectomies and c-sections are the most overused surgeries. According to a study in PubMed, ACOG says 76% are unnecessary. Did you know that a surgeon with the proper skills can remove just the fibroids either via hysteroscopy or myomectomy? But since yours aren't causing problems, there's no need to do anything. And they should start shrinking after menopause. I'm glad the progesterone is helping with the PMS type symptoms!

The hormonal fallout with the rapid aging has been hard enough. But even more so, I hate how the loss of my uterus has changed my figure and caused chronic back pain, ruined my sex life, and caused permanent bowel problems.
 
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sushat replied to Anon_6061's response:
I'm 57 and also having periods, though they're becoming more sporadic. I've been told that I look young for my age, so maybe there's an advantage to having periods this late in life!
 
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clipper1956 responded:
Wow! I thought I went into menopause late @ 53. I'm 56 and had hot flashes from 43 after giving birth to my last child until 55 and they started getting easier. I thought I might of had a thyroid condition for them to last so long but they have almost disappeared by now. I still wake up hot and sweaty sometimes but I sleep on a temperpedic type mattress and have been told it makes you hotter. People made fun of me having a child in my 40's but some of you could've had one in your 60's. Ain't life grand!
 
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lynmarie0123 responded:
Going to be 54 in a few months..started to wonder at about age 51- when my symptoms would go away. I had a blood test done and my gyno said i was in perimenopause. Cool. So now here's what I experience: about a year ago I went 3-4 months with no period. That happened twice. After the 3-4 months they started back up. Since then I have had one every month so my gyno made me keep track of them by indicating the length of each period & heaviness. Each month they last about 5-6 days-but the first day its most heavy with clotting, EXTREME BLOATING, pressure cramps, etc, lasting into the period for sev days. About 10 years ago I was diagnosed HYPOthyroid. Dont know if that has anything to do with it. Now at 53, I have to be honest and say I only look 43. Noone can believe my real age, I was even carded at a bar 10 years ago. THIS IS THE PART I LOVE !!!! and I attribute it to no MP. I do experience the occasional hot flash which lasts 1-2 minutes. I have joint pain, dry skin, back/hand/knee arthritis, dry vagina. No big deal. I manage. It was also found during a routine PAP; that i have pre-cancerous ovary cells. I have to monitor this very carefully every 6 months. I have a hard time keeping weight off, but that I monitor by lots of water, small portions and calorie counting. Mood swings are bad right before my period arrives, THIS I HATE. I am not on any meds other than the synthroid for my Hypo. Not on any artificial hormone therapy and dont want to be. I do things naturally and let nature take its course. I most worry about the pre-cancer flaring up, so to me, the symptoms, the MP or no MP is a non issue.
 
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Anon_6061 replied to lynmarie0123's response:
lynmarie - You said your pap found pre-cancerous ovarian cells. Don't you mean cervical cells since paps check for cervical changes? I suspect you already know that rather harmless things can cause abnormal cells so, hopefully, yours is nothing serious.

Thanks for your input on your menstrual status and aging. Ovarian hormones seem to have a big impact on outward signs of aging (skin, hair, muscle mass). And even after menopause, some women's ovaries produce more hormones than others. Of course, there are other factors involved in aging too.

I was horrified how quickly I aged after the unnecessary removal of my organs. At age 50, people thought I was in my late 30's. Within months of my surgery, my skin had lost so much collagen and elastin that I looked to be late 50's. My hair changes (including massive loss) made me look even older than that. Imagine people's shock when they saw me! However, surgery-induced bowel problems and weight loss may have been contributing factors.


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