MS and Menopause

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MS and Menopause

Postby missvicki » Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:36 pm

I need some advice from others that have been thru this. I'm 47 years old and sometimes I think I'm losing it...not sure if it is the MS or menopause. I'm dealing with emotions, hot flashes, insomnia, etc. How have other ladies on this site coped with this? I'm hot all the time and we all know what impact that has on MS. Do I need to be on estrogen? Thanks for listening.... 8O
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MS and Menopause

Postby Shayk » Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:03 pm

Hi Miss Vicki

I can say been there (with hot flashes, etc.) done that before I was diagnosed with MS and HRT definitely helped me with those symptoms.

I was diagnosed at age 57 after they took me off HRT and am now on 8 mg estriol and 500 mg progesterone (recommendation from having my hormone levels tested). I've done some reading about hormones and potential relationships to MS. If you don't have any contra-indications I'd say definitely consider both estrogen and bioidentical progesterone.

Here's a link A pilot study of the effect upon multiple sclerosis of the menopause, hormone replacement therapy and the menstrual cycle
Of the postmenopausal women 54% reported a worsening of symptoms with the menopause, and 75% of those who had tried hormone replacement therapy reported an improvement.


There was also some research presented at ACTRIMS 2007 that HRT improved neuronal health in menopausal women (small study).

P20 HRT contributes to neuronal health in postmenopausal women with MS
K Fuchs1, AP Haley2, MD Goldman1, J Knight-Scott3 and VI Simnad1

Results: The groups were comparable in age (mean 50.5 years, p 0.07) and disability level as assessed by the MS Functional Composite (mean z 0.08, p 0.72).

There was a significant difference (p 0.015) in the NAA/Cr ratio between the women on HRT (1.91 0.39)and the women not on HRT (1.41 0.32).

When age, level of disability, and use of immunomodulatory therapy were used as covariates in the statistical analysis, the signicant difference between the groups remained.

Conclusions: In this small sample, we demonstrated that use of exogenous estrogen may contribute to neuronal health as measured by MRS.


There are links in this thread to a bit more info and articles with risk information.

Patricia Coyle also gave a presentation at the 2007 MS Care Consortium Annual Meeting Hormonal Therapy of MS. I think it's worth a look--it's a slide show.

Hope that helps a bit. Personally I think estrogen and progesterone can help with menopausal symptoms and maybe even the MS. I'm optimistic about the potential of hormones to help manage MS--both estrogen and progesterone have neuroprotective properties. 8)

Sharon
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Postby Muu » Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:17 am

Hello all.
This thread is of great interest to me at the moment as at the tender age of 42(!) i appear to be going through the menopause. Initially my doctor thought it was unlikely due to my age but tested blood samples for elevated levels of FSH and other hormones. Apparantly once the body stops producing oestrogen that induces ovulation, the pituatury gland (I believe) starts pumping out FSH, a chemical that mimics oestrogen in order to stimulate the body into ovulating. Dr was expecting FSH levels of between 20 to 25. Mine were 144!! Pretty conclusive.

The issue now is whether to take HRT. My consultant neurologist has been approached for an opinion. My GP's own view is that unless there is a real reason for not taking HRT I should consider it. Although there is some press about the increased risk of breast cancer with HRT my GP's opinion is that the HRT would only replace the oestrogen that my body would otherwise still be producing, probably for another decade had i not had a premature menopause. Although I was initially reluctant to consider HRT, the side affects of menopause are not attractive i.e. increased risk of stroke, oesteoporosis, papery skin, hair thining, increased facial hair, mood swings, memory loss and, best of all, a dry itchy vagina!!

I have been doing some reading on the matter to help me decide. There's an interesting posting on HRT on the multiple sclerosis resource centre site ie.
www.msrc.co.uk
I'll be v interested in what my consultant has to say.
Muu
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Postby Sharon » Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:20 am

When I started going through menopause (about 17 years ago - prior to my MS diagnosis) my doctor placed me on HRT. For me, the hormones made me miserable. I had a constant headache, my heart rate increased, I was nervous and jittery, and admittedly became a real pain to my family. So, I decided the HRT was not for me and discontinued use. As I mentioned, this was before my MS diagnosis, but looking back maybe the symptoms which I had were enhanced because of the underlying MS. I was fortunate - going through menopause was relatively easy for me. Many of my friends were miserable and still have some problems even at age 64 and they do not have MS!

Review postings by Shayk - she has researched the hormone/MS issue quite extensively. You might find a piece to your "personal puzzle" which might just fit. Good luck - sometimes being a female is such a challenge.

Sharon
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Postby missvicki » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:03 am

Thanks so much for your kind responses. I had a rough day today...weeping over something stupid, etc. and I don't normally cry! If the MS isn't enough to deal with then you have all the symptoms of menopause that just make matters worse. I'm going to see my gyno next week to request testing of my hormone levels and be put on HRT. I think the benefits outway the risks! It's something all the time! God give me strength! 8O
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Postby missvicki » Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:01 am

Well, I'm starting my 3rd week of HRT and I feel sooooo much better. My MS symptoms seem to be improving as well. Thanks Ladies! :D
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