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Early pre-menopausal signs

Postby flowerbob on Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:17 pm

I am 38 years old, childless (married) and not on any kind of hormones (I have a non hormonal IUD).
About a year ago I started to wake early in the morning (between 1 and 2 hours earlier than normal) and not get back to sleep. I am otherwise healthy, don't smoke, drink caffene or alcohol and take daily exercise, and my sleep hygiene is good so I couldn't see an obvious cause. When i wake I am not aware of any anxiety (occasionally I wake early because I am worrying about something, but then I can sense the effects of adrenalin with increased heart beat etc) or of anything particular on my mind.
Over the last couple of months this has become worse, no longer sporadic but waking every morning around 5am. Often I am very sweaty when I wake, though I don't feel hot - more often cold, perhaps because the sweat is evaporating.
I had noticed my hair and skin was dull, difficulty concentrating and mood swings, but put these down to tiredness. (I am always tired!)
Having recently read that hormonal changes before menopause can cause insomnia, I wonder whether this is the start of an early menopause. I had noticed the skin on my face had become more hairy, but didn't think anything of this until a few days ago. I have also realised that I find it more difficult to control urination, and I have to concentrate not to let any wee escape when I am undressing to go to the loo.
It is the sleep deprevation that is my primary problem, as this is having a huge impact on my daily life; I am struggling at work, unable to drive and have difficulty making even simple decisions. However, I would prefer to know the underlying cause and treat that, rather than the symptom, if possible. I have long been reluctant to try sleeping tablets (I have taken a herbal remedy (St John's Wort), and tried over the counter antihistimanes sold to aid sleep, but neither had any effect) but accept now that I will have to do something before I develop serious phsychological problems.
I know you can't comment on individual cases in detail, but I would appreciate any thoughts on whether it is plausable I am suffering pre-menopausal problems, and guidance about what my options might be. I have made a GP appointment but it is not until next week. Can you help me anticipate what he might ask and what the next steps could be for me?
Thank you very much.
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Re: Early pre-menopausal signs

Postby Heather Currie on Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:18 am

These symptoms may well be due to early change in ovarian function and hence changing hormone levels. Disturbed sleep is a common, and yet often unrecognised sign of falling estrogen levels. It would be worth having blood tests for thyroid function. Your GP may also take blood for hormone levels, though since hormone levels fluctuate significantly, normal levels do not exclude ovarian decline. If no other likely cause, then a trial of HRT would certainly be worth considering.
Dr Heather Currie
MD Menopause Matters Ltd
Chair Elect British Menopause Society
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Re: Early pre-menopausal signs

Postby Dr Helen Fawcett on Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:01 pm

I would agree completely with Dr Currie, get a baseline hormone and thyroid function test, but you may need a trial of HRT, we do treat people primarily rather than blood results, as hormone levels fluctuate such a lot. I also think it would be worth checking testosterone levels. Testosterone levels decline in addition to oestragen, and testosterone deficiency syndrome can cause insomnia, poor memory attention , concentration, drive , motivation and libido. Good luck
Dr Helen Fawcett
GP with special interest in women's health
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Dr Helen Fawcett
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