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We Need to Chat About Perimenopause and Menopause

Post Published: 05 August 2010
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Category: Guest Bloggers, We Need to Chat About Perimenopause and Menopause
This post currently has 6 responses. Leave a comment

I’m supposed to be on vacation this week but I’m crazy in love with my work and the dearthyroid community, and can’t help posting a few thoughts.

Are you in partial recovery from workaholism? Me too. Turns out it’s not so good for your thyroid.

Starting to notice subtle signs of your ovaries inching toward perimenopause? That would be those of you, my friends, who are 35+ and noticing your monthly cycle is getting closer, I.e., it’s every 25 days instead of 28. Hello, dropping progesterone! Or maybe you’re a little more sweaty and sleep disrupted the few days before your time of the month (TOM). Or perhaps, even more fun, your mild PMS has escalated so that now you’re in marriage counseling half the month and sometimes you wonder if PMS stands for “pack my stuff” or even “pass my shotgun.”

These are all signs of estrogen dominance, or low progesterone compared to estradiol.

Even more nefarious is this symptom: in perimenopause, our stress resilience drops in half. Most of us go into survival mode. What used to be fine, managing the kids and work and meals and lunchboxes and consistent libido and needy husbands, become insurmountable. We just need a vacation. A big, long one.

There are predictable stages to this process of adrenal dysregulation: alarm, adaptation and exhaustion. We know where along this continuum you are by your history and your cortisol and DHEAS levels. To complete a questionnaire and/or test yourself, go to Canary Club.

Adrenals in the red? Thyroid trying desperately to overcompensate for the adrenals? Mine used to be. Remember a previous in which I described the see-saw phenomenon of the adrenals and the thyroid? When one is up, the other is usually down. When your cortisol is high, your thyroid function will be lower. Getting your thyroid in better balance will allow your adrenals to ease up in their overtime.

Perimenopause: there is never a more important time to follow some of the values we’ve discussed previously, such as the free T3/reverse T3 ratio (fT3/rT3). Go easy on yourselves and start a program to heal your adrenals along with your thyroid.

Written by Dr. Sara Gottfried

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6 Responses to “We Need to Chat About Perimenopause and Menopause”

  1. Donna says:

    Thanks Dr. G,

    Not only do you know how to explain things in an easy to understand way, you are also hysterical. To be able to laugh about these symptoms is so helpful.

    I just started an es-ring for the pesky drynness and annoying itch and it seems to be helping. I have a concern about adding hormones to my body because synthroid is my thyroid since cancer but my internist explained that ths will only treat the above symptoms. What are your thoughts?

    I also wonder if being peri-menopausal has had anything to do with my becoming hyper. We have had to lower my dose twice in the last seven weeks. I finally learned to address my symptoms instead of just living with them, I think I have been swinging hypo-hyper for a few years now which correlates to the peri-menopause. I’m thinking it is a direct correlation?

    I hope you enjoy your vacation! Thank you!

  2. Shan McKenzie says:

    I’m 52 and have just recently gone from a light to heavy monthly. I read somewhere that this happens if you don’t ovulate. My elder sister had periods till her very late 50’s. The best I can think to do is to eat well, take it easy until I recover each time, and take some extra iron.

  3. Miriam.L says:

    Thanks for this, I can well relate to this article. 10 yrs ago I started with the same symptoms, monthly’s being around 25 days, then getting heavier and heavier. This pattern went on for several years. I kept disucssing this with my doctor who told me it was natural at my age and will subside when I go into full menopause, but it didn’t happen and my monthly’s got of control and then 1 month my period on for about 10 days. In the end my doctor had to prescribe me progesterone to stop it. I ended up taking progesterone on and off for awhile. My doctor had no choice but to refer me to a gynaecologist who told me I had an ovarian cyst, polyps and a very large fibroid equiv to a 20 week foetus (his words not mine!!) I had a D & C, but it did no good and eventually the only course of action was a hysterectomy which I had 5 yrs ago at 55 yrs. It was the best thing to happen to me, I couldn’t go on feeling like I did. Only downside is that when you have a hysterectomy and your ovaries are removed you go into “sudden menopause” and the symptoms are far worse than going through it naturally. I had no other choice than to go on oestrogen alone HRT to control the symptoms. After almost 5 yrs I recently weaned myself off them, but sadly I am still not through natural menopause at 59 and had to reluctantly start them again till I find a solution to the severe hot flashes I experience. At the moment my systems have subsided, but its not the solution. I am 60 shortly and I have discussed this with my doctor cos my Thyroid condition has not been settled since surgery and I have finally persuaded my doctor to refer me to see a endocrinologist, which I will be seeing in 2 weeks) to discuss why my Thyroid and why my general state of health is unstable, cos I think it could be related to my hormones. So hopefully I will eventually be in better health in my 60s than I have been in my 50s.

  4. Amanda says:

    Thank you. Always such good information. I know my adrenals are wonky and I am working to create a better diet for my Graves Disease, adrenal function and slightly elevated blood pressure. They are all related, I know it. All this in turn will hopefully straighten out my brief but often periods.

    Amanda

  5. Marie says:

    Am 57 and perimenopause. Recently was prescibed levothyroxine for my thyroid a 50mcg a very small dosage. Was thrilled my periods had stopped since May. I have only been on it about 18 days. Started having sore breast and lo and behold I am having a regular period on the exact day of the month it would usually come. My question is can my thyroid medicine be the culprit here. It is not abnormal bleeding but a normal period.

  6. marie says:

    On January 2nd started taking levothyroxine for my thyroid very low dose 50mcg( I am hypo my dad is hyper). Was so happy to finally be heading (at least I thought) into the final stretch for perimenopuase. I had not had a period since May. But started feeling the same old PMS symptoms and lo and behold on the day my period would start it did. Was wondering if my thyroid medicine is the culprit here? And it is not abnormal bleeding it is a full fledge period sore breast cramping just like in the good old days. I am 57 and this perimenopuase, menopause is starting to be for the birds. All my lady friends somein their early 50’s have all had hysterectomys. I just wanted to go through it naturally and they all keep telling me to have one. Just looking for some support. Thank you.

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