So, I thought I’d pop a bigger post about this.
It is a horrid word. Makes me feel like I’m breaking, but I’m only 45… If you expect me to live to the average life expectancy for the UK, then that would mean I have another 36 years to go.
Why feel broken now?
My body isn’t working as well as it ought. There are may types of menopause. My body has decided to go the high estrogen, and low or no progesterone route.
Okay – bit of a warning. These here are female issues so if you have a problem with it go read someone else. Female problems are rarely pretty. There will be blood…
Still with me?
Basically, my body is making a LOT of uterine lining and then bleeding (see there is blood) for a very VERY long time to get rid of it. So far my longest bleed was last year at about 4-5 weeks. But this year we are looking at 25 days. And this month I started to get warning signs.
Did you know that if you fill more than 2 pads an hour you need to seek medical help?
I rang my doctor and was told I should have rung earlier in the morning as around here you are only allowed to get sick until 11am, after that you are meant to cope until the next morning or, in the case of a Friday, until Monday. Yes, I’m a little pissed about that conversation. But the doctor rang me back, and immediately issued medication. I was a medical emergency and I was right to seek medical help. If I’d waited then I would have dropped into extreme anaemia and be having all sorts of problems.
What were my symptoms? Well, apart from the obvious blood loss, I was thirsty all the time, I had no pain, and I was dizzy. I just sat and couldn’t bring myself to do anything. These were just my symptoms… Others can have different ones. The other thing to note is that I had been bleeding for ten days. Mostly manageable but getting more and more out of control.
I have found that menopause and being perimenopausal is a very personal affair. There is no real consistent apart from the fact you will end up at the same place – the female reproductive system is slowly closing up shop.
So, the doctor took my call and said there was a prescription waiting.
I went to get it.
Picked up the prescription… Tranexamic acid and progesterone. The acid is an easy ‘stop-bleeding’ fix. So, I went on those immediately. The other ones… not so obvious. ‘Take up to one three times a day’. Huh?
When do I take it?
So, I hit the books, or rather google, the NHS website and a couple of medical ones.
I don’t have endometriosis so I discounted taking it all the time. Instead, I looked at how you take it for heavy periods. Now, I had to learn about the female reproductive system to do this.
Fact: progesterone stops the lining of your womb getting thick.
Provera (the synthetic progesterone I have been given) is only 32% likely to stop bleeding. It only has a 5 out of 10 star rating to do this. So, I pretty much gathered that I hadn’t been prescribed them to stop the bleeding. That is all up to the acid.
Bit more reading and it turns out you don’t take it all the time. Instead, you take it from day 16 to day 21 of your period and then for ten days.
Great… Except my period length had gone from a nice 29 days to 41… So, when the hell do I take it?
Turns out your body will not need progesterone until after you have stopped bleeding. So, I know not to take it now.
I also know, because I have a clockwork cycle (normally), that I finish my cycle exactly 2 weeks after I ovulate.
A cycle is normally 28 days long with it starting on the first day of your period. You then bleed for up to 7 days and ovulate at around day 16 (ish). You lining builds for the next ten days (ish) and you start your period a couple of days later, after there has been no fertilised egg found/implanted.
So, I need to take my pill either from day 17 or immediately after I stop bleeding (depending which comes first). Then I take it for 10 days (as the leaflet in the pack says).
How did I work that out? Well, in a normal cycle of 28 days you start the Provera on day 16 and take it for 10 days. My normal cycle is one day longer so, if I start at day 17 I should hit my body with the hormone just right. Hopefully.
But, and this is a huge but, it is a ‘try-and-see’ game. Next month I may need to use the acid again to stop heavy bleeding, or I’ll hit it just right and my levels with work and voila I’ll be back to normal.
It isn’t exactly HRT because normally you get estrogen at the same time. I don’t need that one, my body had just stopped making the progesterone. So, hopefully this will work.
But really it is a case of trying it out. I’ll keep you all posted on whether my maths is right.