About

First Name
Gail

City
Austin

State/Province
TX

Health Interests
Bone, joint, and muscle disorders, Chronic pain, Healthy Aging, Healthy Living, Women's health issues

Posts (79)

2 days ago · late onset of menopause in Women's Health

@cwms,
You sound like me. I have a back issue that keeps me from exercising a lot. I did dance for 25 years so I do have a fair amount of muscle but then there is the tummy and hip area. I just finally got the synthroid (levothyroxine) regulated after finding my thyroid on the high end of normal this past year. My TSH was over 4 and with the medicine it is now a little over 2 so it is helping. I do feel better but wish my back pain did not prohibit my movement on certain days.

I also was reminded that having estrogen for longer also helps bone density so that is another positive for you. The thyroid removal may very well have something to do with your situation. I would bring that up with the doctor if you have not already. And it may be good to see your thyroid doctor to talk about it rather than just primary care.

There is a Diabetes and Endocrine System Group here on Mayo Connect and you might take a look there (if you haven't already) and even post something asking if anyone has had their thyroid removed and knows anything about how this affects onset of menopause. This still does not substitute for talking about this possibility with your doctor but it is another resource and people on here are so good about sharing their own experiences.

I am new to the thyroid issue area since I was just diagnosed this year. But I am finding that it affects so many things and it explains a lot of things I had noticed. Just about the only symptom I did not have is hair loss which is quite a common one I understand. I have lost a couple of pounds since being on the levothyroxine but not as much as I would like. Isn't that always the truth!

2 days ago · late onset of menopause in Women's Health

@cwms
I actually came across something this afternoon when looking for something else on laparoscopic surgery. It is a blog that a gynecological surgeon from Australia posts regarding various issues in his field. His name is Andreas Obermair and he posted a blog where he pointed out some of the benefits of late onset menopause. His point was that even though there is a slight increase in the risk of ovarian and breast cancer due to estrogen production for a longer period of time, there is a decrease in risk of stroke and heart disease. He summarized some research showing that women who have longer reproductive lives are more likely to live well into their 90's. So it is not all bad news for sure.
Here is a link to the article/blog https://www.obermair.info/latest-news/blog/late-onset-menopause/

I do recall that there are some medical issues that can cause later menopause including thyroid issues and being overweight. Have you had a complete physical recently including checking your thyroid?

I feel sure that there will be some folks on here who will see your post and have more to offer than I do. The Moderators are more familiar with a lot of the Mayo resources than I am as I have only been Mentoring for a little less than a year. After your post is up for a while I would think you will get some additional perspectives from others.

2 days ago · late onset of menopause in Women's Health

@colleenyoung @lisalucier,
@cwms has posed a question that I have not seen before on this forum regarding late menopause. Do you know of any resources that might be able to assist her? I will look for a few things but thought you might be able to point her in the right direction since it looks like her doctors have quite differing opinions on the subject.

2 days ago · late onset of menopause in Women's Health

@cwms
I never had my FSH or Estradiol checked but I did not finish menopause until about 57. It was unusual as both my mother and her mother went through it quite young (late 30's and early 40's). Neither had cancer or other related issues that I know of. I did not have children and of course they did so that is one difference. I did not have regular periods the last two years and even when they were regular they started to change.

I had my periods get a lot lighter and further apart but in a regular way (something like every 36 days as opposed to my usual 26 days that I had experienced most of my life. I also began having terrible PMS which I had not experienced much in my younger days. Have your periods changed at all? I ask because they usually get closer together or farther apart, maybe lighter or heavier, but there usually is a change. I literally had night sweats for more than 10 years and also started to get migraines during what I look back upon as peri-menopause. I had gone to a neurologist about them and she told me she thought they were early menopausal symptoms and sure enough, after I completely stopped my periods, the migraines completely went away. Any such symptoms in your case? How is your health otherwise?

It is likely that others on this forum may have some resources they can suggest for you (research, doctors, etc.). Unfortunately I can only tell you that I did go through menopause extremely late as well but there were signs of it as I mention above. Let's see if any of the moderators know of any Mayo resources they can point you to.

Thu, Oct 10 4:10pm · Want to discuss prolapse bladder or any kind of prolapse in Women's Health

@gardeningjunkie @veronicat

I don't recall any mention of a sling in my surgery. I had mesh for the bladder prolapse and the mesh is anchored to your sacrum I believe. I was tested with the urodynamics test to see if after the prolapse were fixed I would likely develop incontinence since he suspected my prolapse was just masking some incontinence. I was told I likely would, so I think he explained that he did something else to try to correct for incontinence (to keep me from having to go back and do this later in a second surgery). I thought this was done by doing something to the urethra (maybe shortening it) and he said he is about 75% effective in eliminating the second surgery by anticipating/guessing how much adjustment to make. I have not had a second surgery so I guess he did an okay job. But I don't think there was a sling involved in my adjustment. I suppose some people might think of the mesh anchored to the sacrum that holds the bladder up as a type of sling (that is what I always thought people meant when they referred to a sling). I think I will try to look into this and see what the "sling" procedure might be.

Wed, Oct 9 1:21pm · Want to discuss prolapse bladder or any kind of prolapse in Women's Health

@veronicat
What was the reason the doctors gave you for not recommending prolapse surgery at this time?

Mon, Oct 7 5:25pm · Want to discuss prolapse bladder or any kind of prolapse in Women's Health

@gardeningjunkie
Thank you for your concern. About 10 years ago I started having ankle and foot swelling and pain down my left leg. Since I was teaching 3 college classes every other day, on the days I would teach I would limp back to my office after a long day on my feet. On the days I did not teach I would largely stay home on my couch. After a lot of searching, and more doctors than I can count, it was discovered that I had scoliosis, spinal stenosis and also some issue with my feet from 25 years of dancing on point (toe shoes). I went to an adult spine doctor who dealt with adult scoliosis and I was told that the only thing that could be done was surgery to insert a rod in my back from just below the waist to my neck. After a lot of advice, I decided this was not a surgery I was willing to have because it might not help and in fact, might cause more pain in the long run. I also did not like the doctor as I felt he was all too anxious to cut on me.

I had my left ankle fused and a year later after it was clear it had fused properly (so they say), I had the screws removed and also some tendons repaired. But the tendons in my right lower leg are like string cheese in that they are torn vertically rather than horizontally so it is quite difficult to repair them. It is possible to remove them but I have not moved forward on that approach as yet. I have done more physical therapy than I can remember and for a while hydrocodone helped me. I have cut my hydrocodone way down and am taking something called belbuca now which is a small tab that you put in your mouth twice a day and wait for it to dissolve. It worked really well on my nerve pain at first but it is not working so well now and I am at the maximum dose. Throughout all of this I have never been offered anything stronger than hydrocodone. I guess this is good but sometimes I think there is a little too much emphasis on the abuse of meds and not enough emphasis on the good they could do. I cut my hydrocodone in half in one week and had been taking it over ten years so I don't think I am an abuser by any means. I also take Tumeric and a drug called Zipsor which is an anti-inflammatory that I don't think is going to be covered any longer unless my doctor appeals it. I also take Gabapentin for nerve pain.

The funny thing is that my pain does not disrupt my sleep and never has. I am thankful for that. Sorry you had to have that happen to you. Sleep is so important in order to manage the pain when I am awake. I know that because when I don't sleep well, the pain bothers me more the next day. I have tried injections, chiroopractic, PT, and a host of things I cannot recall. My current pain doctor is now moving into functional medicine which is not helping me much at all. I still go to them because I like him but you mostly see the PA and all the people working for him now are not really trained in pain management. I go every month or two, get my Rx/s and try to figure out on my own what I can do to manage it. I am doing some things to my house right now and once that is done, I am going to have to figure out a new plan of attack..

I am interested, if you are willing, in hearing how you managed to improve your pain situation. I don't want to pry of course and maybe you have talked about it on the chronic pain discussion page. I actually first found Mayo Clinic Connect when I visited the Chronic Pain Page. I only came to Women's Health when I had the bladder prolapse and noticed how many other people had prolapse. It was nice in a way to have something that could actually be fixed, unlike my pain situation. And also nice to be able to help a few people with their decisions regarding prolapse and other women's health issues I had dealt with.

Mon, Oct 7 3:39pm · Want to discuss prolapse bladder or any kind of prolapse in Women's Health

@gardeningjunkie
It sounds like we both have a pretty good situation. Not having to go through figuring out all of the supplement/advantage plans, I feel likeI got off easy. Since my former employer provides my secondary insurance (and it is at no cost for the retiree), I don't have to worry about that and everything stays the same in terms of what they will cover. I did not have to figure it out to help my mom either since I did most of her stuff. She just had my dad's former employer as her secondary insurance as well. I guess I should double check when I go to my existing doctors though to make sure they will continue taking me and that my services will be covered by medicare.

I went to see an Integrative Medicine Doctor earlier this year when my thyroid was a little high and I noticed on their website they did not take new medicare patients. I have gone there twice so far and last time I was there I asked about whether I could still keep coming there after I went on Medicare. They said yes that they continue to see their existing patients once they go on medicare, but they do not take a new patient if they are already on medicare. I thought that was rather odd. I went for a check up with the urogynecologist who did my prolapse surgery and I had also noticed that his wife who offices with him had discontinued taking medicare (she is a regular gynecologist). I asked him if he was doing the same and he laughed and said that if he did not take medicare, he would not have any business (I guess that is true since he does a lot of prolapse surgeries).

I did opt to keep my dental and vision insurance through my former employer which costs me a tiny bit each quarter (I think it is $35) but it is totally worth it because I learned that even though dental insurance has a low total annual benefit and probably isn't going to cover the total cost of any big procedures like a root canal, etc., they do give you discounts if you have dental insurance. And if nothing big happens that year, it is about a break even for being worth it for covering all your cleaning, x-rays, etc.

So all in all I can't complain. I would gladly pay more if someone could get rid of my chronic pain. It is daily and it is certainly something that can drag you down.