Abnormal Cycles
December 25, 2004 8:32 PM   Subscribe

I have had irregular, painful menstrual cycles from the age of 14, but in my 20s they basically became inverse periods: a few days of not bleeding, with most at a low, constant flow, and a few like a normal cycle. When it’s bad, I feel like I have a constant low-grade flu, with fatigue, muscle ache, mental fogginess, and wild moods of sadness and anger. Several pelvic exams and sonograms have shown no fibroids nor anything anatomical that should be causing this. I’ve tried birth control pills (that caused weight gain and nausea, even at low doses), and the ring and the patch, which didn't help at all. I spent a few years on Norplant with no cycle at all, but terrible problems with weight gain that I am still struggling with. The only product I have had luck with was Lunelle, which is no longer available in the US. Has anyone else ever dealt with this and found something that worked? I’ve seen many gynecologists over the years and none have an answer. I'm in my early 30s now and seriously considering a hysterectomy because I can't live like this anymore.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Before you look at a hysterectomy, look into endometrial ablation as your last resort step. While it does also prevent pregnancy, it is a much easier procedure than iinvasive surgery and has a much faster recovery time. I wish I could help further but my own experiences pale in comparison to what you're going through.
posted by hindmost at 9:11 PM on December 25, 2004

IANADOAP, but if Lunelle worked for you, couldn't you get your doctor to prescribe the equivalent doses of the hormones contained in a shot of Lunelle? (That is, assuming one dose of Lunelle contains x amount of estrogen and y amount of progesterone, can you get the same doses injected separately?)
posted by greatgefilte at 10:51 PM on December 25, 2004

You're probably losing a lot of iron due to the amount you're bleeding. If you're not already eating a high iron diet and taking supplements, you may want to consider doing so right away. Anemia can cause a lot of discomfort along the lines of what you've described: depression, fatigue, muscle weakness and achiness, etc.

Sorry I don't have good advice on how to address the root cause of your symptoms, but ensuring that you aren't anemic may help you feel more comfortable while you find a solution.
posted by rhiannon at 11:23 PM on December 25, 2004

My periods started when I was 11 and were always delbilitating, still are for that matter.
I'm almost 49 now and have, over the years, gone through this misery a number of times. Each time the period lasted more than 2 months I had a D&C [or, more recently the endometrial ablation] and the flow was regulated again.

IMO continually having to take a pill or a shot to get your period back on schedule is worse than the procedure because you're constantly reminded of it. As I said, I've had it done a few times and the result was always a few more years of less painful, on schedule periods.
posted by kamylyon at 5:05 AM on December 26, 2004

The only thing you didn't mention was Depo Provera. I thin k DP is a miracle. You won't have periods whatsoever.
posted by pieoverdone at 5:27 AM on December 26, 2004

I second the DP recommendation though some people have issues with weight gain.

I love depo. But if you have awful side effects, STOP. that's your body telling you it's no good for you. It works for some, not for all.
posted by u.n. owen at 7:28 AM on December 26, 2004

You've seen your gyno, but have you seen an endocrinologist? Many of the symptoms you're describing sound like the experience I had, which is caused by micro-tumors on my pituitary gland. BC pills worked as a short-time fix, but what really helped was being prescribed bromocriptine to regulate my pituitary function. You might want to check out Pituitary Network Association for more information.
posted by headspace at 9:27 AM on December 26, 2004

I second headspace's recommendation. You can have your OB-GYN or your regular doctor schedule you for an MRI [annoying but over fairly quickly] to see if you have pituitary abnormalities that may be making your hormone production out of wack. This sort of small tumor, called a pituitary microadenoma, is fairly common and usually easy to treat if found quickly enough. I have the opposite little tumor problem where my periods stopped pretty much completely but more because my hormones think I'm a little bit pregnant rather than not at all fertile. It's a different kind of sucking but I sympathize very much. You can get blood work done by an endocrinologist to see if your hormones are at normal levels and if they're not, you can follow up with an OB-GYN or even your regular doctor. Good luck.
posted by jessamyn at 4:47 PM on December 26, 2004

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