menopause (women only)

I am 51, have been on a low dose pill for years (Aviane) for debilitating cramps. I had been getting my FSH levels tested on the off week but find its not accurate as the estrogen is still in my system.
Now my gyno is having me go off the pills for a month so she can test my estrogen and fsh levels to see if I have already gone through menopause (you can while on the pill and not know it).
I am dreading this as if I haven’t gone through it, I will get those bad cramps back.
Will she be able to test and see if i have really gone through it (which would be good)?
Will i have symptoms and what would they be?
Has anyone been on the pill well into older age and then gone off and found out they went through menopause?
Isn’t 51 about time?

Have you tried supplements to help with the cramps?

I have been taking Evening Primrose Oil pills for years and they make the arrival of my period go from a Class Five I Hate You kinda thing to Oh, here I am.

At 51, you’re not necessarily menopausal yet – I’m 54, and just officially hit menopause about six months ago (full year without a period).

As for the other stuff, I don’t know – I’ve had a pretty symptom-free time of it, at least so far. (Still haven’t had a hot flash.)

I can’t answer most of your questions, but perhaps I can help you a little bit. I am 52 and am just starting “official” menopause–haven’t had an actual period in about a year, although I had a little very dark spotting a few months ago, after a long-ish run, which I figure pushed whatever was left in there out or something. I started having hot flashes years ago, though. They probably started when I was around 44 or 45, and they were bad. I am now on a very low-dose of HRT, which concerns me, but I feel like I have no choice. The hot flashes and accompanying anxiety were interfering so much with my life that I had to control them somehow. I would wake up 6 to 8 times a night sweating, throw the covers off and go back into a doze mode, only to wake up a few minutes later freezing, pull the covers back over me, repeat and repeat and repeat. During the day I would be teaching when suddenly the panic/adrenalin rush would come, then the hot flash, and sweat would start running down my face and chest and back, I’d take off my jacket if I had one on, all the while still lecturing to my class, then the flash would subside and I’d start shivering so I had to go back and get the jacket, etc., etc., etc.

As for the pill–when I was, again, 44 or 45, I bled for five months straight, with a day or two off a month, so my gyn put me on a low-dose BC pill, which stopped the continual bleeding. I stayed on it for a few years, went off, was fine for a while, and then the hot flashes started.

With the low-dose HRT (Activella), I’m actually fine. I wish I wasn’t on it and I’ve stopped taking it twice for several months each time, but both times the debilitating hot flashes started up again–around 10 or more an hour. I discussed it with my doctor and we both agreed that it was a quality-of-life issue, and that I might as well have some relief now than to worry about something occurring in the future that might never happen.

Ask your doctor about pain medication. If this is just a one-time thing where they need to test you out to see what your hormones do, she should feel free to address the pain like an acute situation, not something you need to be prepared for every month.

Now, maybe there’s some reason you can’t take strong pain medication, and that’s why I say ask your doctor. But don’t feel you need to lose a few days of your life to pain because you’re shy about asking, and our culture tends to think differently about (i.e., ignore) this type of pain.

True. When I was a teen, people didn’t believe I had pain, even though I was bent over on the floor. Apparently, women who don’t have cramps can’t believe others do.
One gyno long ago was going to give me a prescription for morphine, thast how bad the cramps are.
Lets hope I have gone through menopause! If not, she’ll put me back on the Aviane, a low dose pill.

I hate to tell you this, but I’ve been saying, “Isn’t it about time?” for several years now, and I don’t even have peri-menopause symptoms yet. I was 54 last month. A couple years ago I missed two periods in twelve months, but since then they’ve been right back to the way they always were. My PA told me, I think, that 52 is average. I’m not happy about being above average in this instance. I can’t really answer your questions, but I can tell you that I did a couple years on the pill, then one off, then a year on again, and when I came off them I went right back to having periods, just the same. I’m sorry I can’t be more encouraging.

54, not happened to me yet. Seconding Primrose Oil.

I went through it at 46–not hot flashes, symptoms, nada. Not a big deal for me at all.

I was on the pill until I was 49 and went off it on my own because my periods were getting lighter and lighter and then stopped. I thought that was a good sign that I had already gone through menopause. I had no more periods and no symptoms. I thought my gyno was an idiot anyway, he never tested my hormones, he didn’t see the need for it.
I went on the pill in the first place because of heavy bleeding during my periods, but I didn’t get bad cramps. I hope your cramps don’t come back.

I’m 53 and was on Aviane until last October. For me, it was prescribed for emotional symptoms associated with PMS (which the Aviane took care of very well). So far, I’ve not had a period yet since I went off it, so I’m cautiously assuming that means I went through menopause while still on the pill.

My dread was that I would go off the deep end with the “mood swings”. That’s a light-hearted sounding term for massive bleak despair and tremendous rage, which I had been experiencing about a year or two ago even while on the pill. So far, that has not happened, thank goodness. Hot flashes, yes. Weird palpitations/burning chesty symptoms, yes. But no bleeding or cramps so far.

Thank you! I have some hope. This thread has been giving me the willies.