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PLEASE HELP ANYONE!!!
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headband12 posted:
Hello all,

I am 41 years old and have told my doctors for the past 2 years that I feel like I am entering early menopause. I have irregular periods, heart palpatations, trouble concentrating, sore breasts, no sex drive,terrible sleeping habits, etc, etc, etc,,,,,My biggest problem is in the last year and a half is I have developed full blown panic attacks. I 100% without a doubt feel that it is related to some kind of imbalance since it came on slow and now is keeping me almost from living my normal life!! If that has happend to anyone else please give me any advice you can. I think the doctors think I am crazy and I am not!!!! I can not be the only one out there this has happend to. I have not been able to go into a grocery store for months!! Please help anyone! Thanks for listening.

Kelly
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sb1958 responded:
Hi Kelly,

I'm assuming you've been checked out for other medical issues [ie. thyroid problems>? Aside from that, your symptoms - including panic attacks - can most definitely be perimenopause related. We are all affected differently, so it's hard to know exactly what any one individual may experience, or for how long. Probably the best indicator is family history, but even that can vary considerably. I can't remember exactly what I read [in Christiane Northrup's book, Wisdom of Menopause> but, in whatever way it does, the hormone imbalance can lead to adrenaline surges that can trigger panic attacks. I actually developed a sleep disorder where I would wake up abruptly sitting up in bed with a gasp of air and an immediate need to jump out of bed and pace, sometimes confused as to who I was, where I was, etc. It would take me a full 20 minutes to settle back down before I could even begin to try to go back to sleep. After r/o sleep apnea, hypoglycemia, etc., I finally figured out that I was having night terrors, though it doesn't fully fit the typical profile, which is why I didn't make the connection at first. It was cyclical through the month and it finally resolved when I started taking black cohosh [which I'm no longer taking, but am using hormonal cream which continues to keep the sleep disorder at bay>. When I first tried to back down on the black cohosh a while back, I started to get a mild version of it where I would wake up abruptly in a startle response and gasp, but be able to fall back asleep. Yet, I bet if I brought that sort of conclusion to a physician or psychiatrist, a good percentage of them would probably scoff at it and write me off as histrionic [but I have all my articles and documented experiences to support my claim!>. My point is, we have to learn as much as we can about ourselves [tracking symptoms as well as daily habits to look for patterns/responses> and research as much as we can so we could advocate for ourselves. We are sort of pioneers right now. Pay attention to what is going on, trust your instincts, and don't settle for explanations that minimize what you are feeling.

Sharon
 
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bluebo responded:
kelly, i am going through the same thing. i can barely function -even trying to do the simplest task is such a chore. i have been checked out and am under the care of my doctor. i get terrible heat flashes, horrible anxiey/depression- the whole nine yards. life is miserable and i find no joy in anything. i also have the full blown panic attack. when i feel one coming on i try to take deep breathes and let it out slow. some times it works and when it does"t its because i get so overwhelmed and so scared at the same time i feel hopeless. in fact i am crying right now while trying to type this to you. please hang in there because you are not crazy.
 
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headband12 responded:
bluebo

Thanks so much for letting me in on your personal struggles. I would love to know if there has been anything that the doctors have done for you that has helped?? Do you have trouble going to the store, can you leave your house? I would like to hear more from you if you don't mind sharing. It is funny because when I wrote my post, I was crying also!! I have 3 kids and a husband that I know it all effects!!!
 
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headband12 responded:
Sharon

Thanks so much for your input. Before my daily panic started, I too woke up in a panic. I have not done that in a while but still do NOT sleep good at all. My thyroid has been checked but it is fine. I wanted to let you know I am Anemic from irregular periods!!! I am on iron for that. (Not sure if you have been through that). I go back to see my doctor next month, is there any other tests you can suggest??? Thanks again.

Kelly
 
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sb1958 responded:
Hi Kelly,

I see a naturopath for starters, so that gives me a lot of help around the latest recommendations @ diet and supplimentation strategies. Of course, I don't always FOLLOW those strategies, but I do my best. She also answers questions and prevents me from wasting unnecessary $ on dubious health supp's.

We all know how exercise can assist with managing stress [yada yada yada>. It would be helpful, too, to get the hormones back in balance: When I was your age, going back on BCP helped me for some time even after I got off [though, clearly, it is not an appropriate treatment for everyone and can even aggravate mood>. Having said that, it is clearly a challenge to find someone who is knowledgeable enough with the latest info, whom you feel in your gut you can trust, but who is also affordable!

There are also the obvious things [ie. avoiding caffeine and monitoring daily habits/responses for other things that can contribute to setting you off or further aggravate your episodes>.

I would have to wonder, in your case [ie. trying to cope with three children to raise along with a growing/restricting social phobia>, if -even temporarily - a low dose SSRI antidepressant would be of benefit. I know many would disagree, and I understand that side; but, in looking at the big picture, it seems like that could be a prudent thing to do until a new treatment plan is in place that has time for the intended benefits to kick in. Even the smallest doses of SSRI AD's [much smaller than is required to treat depression> can be extremely helpful in reducing panic attacks. There are also OTC things like 5-htp, but I get the sense that that isn't going to cut it right now. I can't recommend enough that it is really safest to find someone you can work with and not try to do this on your own! I'm a knowledgeable MH professional, but I still wouldn't fully trust just my own judgment when it comes to health issues. It's too easy to overlook things when one is in the throws of a health issue. I've also fooled around with suppliments "forgetting" that suppliment A can interact with suppliment B [or whatever>. It's just safer to work with someone.

All the best to you....

Sharon
 
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headband12 responded:
Sharon

Just wanted to email you back and thank you for all of the info. I am sure you will agree the more info you have the better. I without a doubt agree with you that my life is very hard to cope with. I think that I have reached my peak on top of all of my other hormonal issues I am sure I have. My oldest son has Autism so that is an added bonus. I have tried MANY SSRI drugs but they all give me insomnia!!! At this point, I am going to look into some of the things you suggested and see where it takes me. I also agree, I have got to really get through to a doctor to help me. There is no way around admitting that I need help with all of this!!! God Bless and thanks again.

Kelly
 
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sb1958 responded:
Wow, Kelly, that's a lot on your plate!

There has got to be some combination....some strategy out there that will help. Hormone help definitely sounds like it could be a good place to start. I also can't help but wonder if there isn't someone who could better help you navigate strategies around the SSRI's/sleep issue. That's a big issue for me too, particularly being a shift worker. If I find something that doesn't fatigue me, I end up with insomnia, and I don't usually care to be taking sleep agents on a regular basis. Still, your life is sounding high stress; pouring social anxiety and panic on top of that sounds overwhelming.

Is there someone in the area you could see who specializes in women who are transitioning into menopause? I have a basic HMO Kaiser plan which doesn't cover a whole lot, but I was able to consult and at least get SOME required labwork done through my own insurance plan which also covers at least some of my visit. It still leaves me with a chunk of out of pocket expenses, but it makes it at least somewhat affordable. The helpfulness to my mind, body, and spirit has made any extra expense minor compared to the price I would have paid if I hadn't sought sound treatment.

Sharon
 
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Fern55; responded:
I started having major anxiety/panic attacks about 11 years ago. At first, my doctor put me on paxil. I didn't like the way it made me feel. I told her didn't want to take a drug full time, that I wanted something to take only when the anxiety/panic attack started. So she prescribed Ativan. I take it only when I feel an attack coming on. It helps tremendously. I swear that having the bottle of Ativan in my purse keeps me from having an attack. I've had only one attack in the last 6 months. Just knowing the help is there when I need it keeps me functioning fairly normally.
 
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1smoothgal responded:
Bluebo,

I am very sorry to hear how your body is betraying you at this time in your life. I had read your post on

Friday, but had to wait till today(Monday) to respond, because I was just starting on 'Wellbutrin'

antidepressants, after going off them for 2 days to try an herbal formula. Bad choice.

ANYWAY

I felt your tears, your feelings of abandonment by God, the utter hopelessness you described-these

things all hit me too when menopause started with a fury. Please seek immediate help from an

MD, bio-identical hormone doctor, OBGYN, Integrative Medicine practioner-Find relief for those

menopausal & depression symptoms. I will say bio-identical hormones relieved my menopausal

issues right away. This depression was startling in how hard & fast it took me to the 'black depths of despair'.

Equally surprising was how quickly I felt better when I started taking Wellbutrin (last Monday. was the first pill)

So why the heck did I switch to herbals? I was concerned about it's interaction with my thyroid meds.

Gonna call my bio-id doc right now to be sure.

Hey-please get help right away-you are not alone, your life is not over just because the baby years are .

You WILL find your perpose in life again. Take tiny steps after getting your meds. Walk, start a

hobby or 2 , join a group of women doing stuff to keep you busy. I KNOW it is hard-I struggle too.

My exercise group on the web keeps me focused on physical health-every morning -first thing-I exercise really HARD, to give myself all the endorphins I can(feel good hormones) & build muscle, which burns off more fat(great for this time in life).

Please read Suzanne Sommers book-"THE SEXY YEARS". It is her take on menopause & how she got her life back after debilitating symptoms locked her into her room, staying in bed, curtains drawn shut.

Good Luck, Good Health-Kim
 
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roxy49 responded:
Kelly, Your OB/GYN should have taken a blood test to check your FSH levels. This is a firm indicator of menopause. If you can not get any satisfaction, please keep searching for a new doctor. The anxiety/panic attacks are symptoms of perimenopause, you are not crazy. Read all the literature you can on perimenopause as we all have different symptoms. You know your body better than anyone and you know what is and isn't normal for you. Keep records of when and what symptoms you have and present them to your physician. Keep seeking answers and God Bless!
 
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headband12 responded:
Thanks so much for your encouragement!!!! Everytime I have suggested bloodwork my doctors kind of say, it is hard to detect hormone levels!! Also, I can not believe all of the women in perimenopause with Anxiety and panic. I just am not sure if something can be done for me. I go to see my medical doctor in April. She really listens to me. I am going to talk to her about it all. Thanks again.

Kelly
 
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tristesanegra responded:
Hi Kelly, Over the past year I have been moderate to severely depressed. I got to the point where: wanting to die was a regular thought. I started having panic attacks as well. I went to a new OBGYN and they ran some blood work. I got a phone call saying that my estrogen was going down, and some hormone was on the rise. I don't have a follow up until the 27th. One sad, dark day, out of total desperation I went to a chiropractor. This guy was unique. He convinced me to take 5-htp. I had already gotten off the medication I was on (Cymbalta) because I felt it was making me worse. I also felt like the Clonzepam was making me worse as well. He talked to me about diet...I am like you, I feel like there is an answer for the madness. So far the 5-htp has kept me in check. Read up and give it a try.
 
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a1cookie responded:
Hi Kelly,

You are not going through early menopause. What you are going through is called peri-menopause, and it's the period when a woman's hormone levels are fluctuating and this causes all the symptoms you are having. I went through peri-menopause for 15 years. I even had hot flashes when I was on my period. I developed severe panic attacks and I could not even leave my house to go to the store. All the doctors I saw thought I was crazy. I wasn't. I found a good doctor who put me on Effexor 150 mg daily and I started taking biodentical hormones. At this point, I did not care about any consequences that hormones could cause, I just wanted relief of the horrible hot flashes. My panic attacks stopped, and I could travel and go anywhere I wanted to. I had many trial and errors with doctors who put me on meds that did not help me, and I just found another doctor who would listen to me. I had hot flashes so severe, they totally disabled me. They just came one after another after another, and would not stop. I had no choice but to go on HRT. But let me tell you, HRT does not help every woman. Some women totally stop having hot flashes when they are on HRT, with others, it only helps the severity and frequency. But, now that I have stopped having periods, I have not had one single hot flash. I also found that emotional stress triggered hot flashes in me that were horrible. When I could relax and deep breathe, it helped me also. For some women, hot flashes are a way of life for the remainder of their lives, for some women, they are the lucky ones that go through peri-menopause and menopause and do not have any symptoms. But, the majority of women do have all the symptoms that you and I had, so, you are not alone. I wish I could find a local support group that meets weekly and we could all help each other with suggestions and a support group. I would be willing to be on call 24/7, and if a woman had a bad flash, all she had to do was pick up the phone and call me. I also found, that when I had a bad hot flash, having someone to talk to and keep my mind off what was happening, also helped me relax. Just to let you know, you are not alone. I wish I could be there to help you, but it does get better. Hot flashes do lessen in frequency and duration after time, so don't give up. I never had a mother who discussed hot flashes with me, and when I first got them, I did not know what they were. I thought I was dying. The heart palpitations, the panic attacks, the crying, that is all part of the fluctuating hormone levels that come with peri-menopause. After you have gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle, then you are considered transitioned from peri menopause into menopause. Be sure to use birth control, because you can definetely get pregnant during peri menopause. If you have a sex drive at all, which I did not.......I lost interest in most everything, and all I did was cry and panic, but it did get better with the proper help of an understanding and caring physician. You just have to roll with the punches. Remember, you are not alone. The majority of women are going through the same things that we did. Sometimes I wanted to give up, but I knew that it would get better. It did take a long time, but it is almost gone now, and I feel like myself again. Good luck.....Marie
 
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negry46 responded:
Hi there, I also started early menopause. I had most of the simptoms you describe including the panic attacks. I deal with it one day at the time, eating healthier, exercising and when I feel the panic attacks coming in I know that they won't kill me, for I know my overall health is okay and I am not having a heart attack. I tell myself, this too will pass and it does. I take natural supplements for menopausal women and that helps me a lot with the hot flashes. Also helps that my husband is very understanding. I sometimes get up and finished the night in another room so I won't interrupt his sleep several times at tnight when I wake up in the middle of the night either frezzing or too hot at any given moment. I also wasn't taken seriously when I told my doctor those things. (male doctor, by the way) I am now searching for a female doctor that may help me better in the future. I think I understand what you're going through and I know what it feels when doctors think is all in our mind. I make it priority to take time off to relax as often as I can. I hope you are doing better. Smile...it helps.


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