Menopausal Depression and Increased Suicide Risk

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What brings a big smile to your face?  For me, it’s enjoying breakfast and coffee, then hopping on my bike for a ride. What’s yours? Shoe shopping, lunch with a girlfriend or a fun date night? If those treasured activities no longer light up your life, you could just be feeling low, or it might be something more serious like menopausal depression.

Although there’s no definitive link between celebrity designer L’Wren Scott’s suicide and menopausal depression, she was 49 years old and the tragedy spurred a fellow celeb to hop on Twitter and get the conversation rolling about menopausal depression and whether women are really paying attention to the signs. Recently, a study by the CDC showed that suicides in middle-aged persons (ages 35-64) increased by 28% over a 10-year time frame.  It’s probably no coincidence that those high numbers reflect the transition of vibrant baby boomers into middle and older age.

If you really don’t feel like your “normal” self and are struggling to find any joy in your day, please take the time to be evaluated and treated by a knowledgeable specialist. If these feelings of depression are happening in partnership with perimenopause or menopause, step back and take stock. It could be menopausal depression creeping in alongside the hot flashes and insomnia.

Know the Triggers

Many women experience depression during the transition from reproductive years into menopause beginning long before your last missed period. Menopause can effect not only our bodies but our emotions and brain functionality.  Hormones impact endorphin levels, so when your brain neuromodulators of estrogen and progesterone are up and down so is your sense of well-being.

Lack of those feel-good hormones lead to mood swings and in turn can result in your family heading for the nearest exit!  Signs of depression can include one or more of  the following: sadness, loss of energy, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of enjoyment, difficulty concentrating, uncontrollable crying, difficulty making decisions, irritability, increased need for sleep, insomnia or excessive sleep, a change in appetite causing weight loss or gain,  and thoughts of death or suicide or attempting suicide.

Menopausal Depression

Many menopausal women can tell you that mood swings are often accompanied by anxiety and insomnia. That’s a pretty clear invitation for depression to join the party.

Here’s the difference: feeling blue sometimes is common, but if you’re continually feeling hopelessness, emptiness, and persistent anxiety, it is time to locate a good menopause specialist.  A great way to prepare for your first visit is to chart your symptoms so you’re ready to share some hard evidence when you go in.  Remember, during perimenopause and menopause you can find that your memory is not as sharp as it used to be.  My Menopause Symptoms Chart is an easy and simple way to help you communicate to your specialist exactly how you are feeling.  Start tracking those symptoms tonight!

Hormonal Testing and Treatment

Talk to your specialist about doing a hormone panel.  Fortunately for us, when it comes to testing for hormone levels – no pencil is needed, and you really can’t fail! If you’re still menstruating, have your hormone panel (blood test) done during the first three days of your period.  Here are the tests to ask for:

  • DHEAS: DHEA sulfate is a hormone that easily converts into other hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. This adrenal hormone triggers puberty and is of the highest concentration of the hormones in the body. DHEAS is the sulfated form of DHEA in the blood. While DHEA levels fluctuate throughout the day, DHEAS blood levels are steadier and more reliable.
  • Estradiol: Estradiol is the main type of estrogen produced in the body, secreted by the ovaries. Low levels can cause memory lapses resulting in sticky notes aplenty, anxiety, depression, uncontrollable bursts of anger, sleeplessness, night drenches and much more.
  • Free and Total Testosterone: Free testosterone is unbound and metabolically active, and total testosterone includes both free and bound testosterone. In women, the ovaries’ production of testosterone maintains a healthy libido, strong bones, muscle mass and mental stability.
  • FSH:  Follicle-stimulating hormone is a pituitary hormone that stimulates the growth of the ovum (the egg and surrounding cells that produce ovarian hormones. This test can help indicate whether you’ve entered menopause. However, the suggested normal ranges need to be examined along with your Menopause Symptoms Chart, so that your specialist can properly evaluate the test results. There is no one-size-fits-all correct test result. What is normal for your best friend, sister or mother may not be normal for you.
  • Progesterone:  Progesterone is a hormone that stimulates the uterus and prepares it for pregnancy. It also regulates the menstrual cycle, and low levels of progesterone can cause irritability. Results will vary depending on when the test is done.
  • Thyroid Workup:  This usually includes checking your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). If there is an irregularity with your TSH, you may need to get your Total T3 and Free T4 checked as well. (Free means it won’t be affected by your estrogen status, not free of charge!) Remember that the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause and a thyroid disorder can be very similar.

This hormone panel, along with the information you gathered on your Menopause Symptoms Chart, will help your specialist evaluate the cause of your depression and help create an individualized treatment program just for you.

Natural Methods for Fighting Depression

I know that you’re eager to feel better right now!  You can start by improving your diet and ‘eating clean’.  In addition to the obvious benefits of keeping obesity at bay, you’ll feel good about taking control, not to mention healthy diets can even stave off the effects of dementia, particularly if you modify prior to age 50.

“Exercise, exercise, exercise is the best proven natural method for fighting depression,” according to Dr. Julia Frank. This is good news for the more than 120 million around the world suffering from the disorder.   It’s not even like you have to be an athlete, or hit the gym every day, but do drive up your heart rate for at least 30 minutes with an activity you enjoy, which could lead to even more fun in the bedroom!

If you think that you or someone you love may be dealing with depression, be sure to reach out and get the help you need and deserve.  We know ourselves better than ever and intuitively understand that if we get the treatment we need first for menopausal depression, we’ll have more to give to others.   And you know what they say about the world loving a cheerful giver!

Suffering in Silence is Out!  Reaching Out is In!


After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

  • Stef

    I live in Austin Tx. and have just about exhausted my Dr. list and none of them have been able to help me. How can I find a Dr. who is knowledgable in this area? I am willing to travel somewhere. Thanks

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Hi Stef,
      Go to my homepage and look under Dear Ellen. Click on how to find a Menopause Specialist. If you still can’t find one… me at
      Good Luck!
      Remember my motto: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!

    • Jane

      Hi Stef, I have been battling too and I live in Georgetown, TX just north of you. I have received alot of benefit from bio identical HRT. It was like night and day. I have been telling all my friends about my dr. DR HAEST. He keeps prices reasonable and he is very kind and thorough. He is a medical dr. first who has chosen to specialize in this now. I have not read all the information here from ellen dolgen and everyone is different of course, but I suffered for several years being told by my obgyn that I was not in menopause and my hormones were fine – FSH and Thyroid was fine, but other things were NOT. I am estrogen dominant I found out which made life a complete wreck. anyway, I hope you find help sweetie.

      • Ellen Dolgen

        Thanks for sharing, Jane! This is so helpful!

  • Just curious what you think of menopause and Bipolar 1 or 2. How do you assume that l’Wren Scott suffered from a unipolar depression? She had so much energy. Could this have been manic energy? Is it possible that she was Bipolar? Perhaps you could address dealing with menopause and bipolar and not just depression.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Hi Suzanne,
      I am not a doctor so there would be now way for me to make a clear evaluation on what was the cause of this tragedy, however, it did bring up questions that help us talk about menopause and depression. You make a good point, there are many topics to research – including menopause and bipolar. The important take away is to make sure you know what you are treating. If you were never depressed before and suddenly find yourself very depressed….it is helpful to get a hormone panel done to see if your depression is being caused my hormone imbalance. As this is relatively easy to solve. If your hormones are not the culprit than you need to find a specialist that handles depression. Do not just pretend that you are fine!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • This is such good advice. I struggled with symptoms for three years before I found a doctor that had a clue.
    Adding plenty of natural estrogen (sweet potatoes, canteloupe, carrots etc…)to my diet did the trick.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Hi Doreen,

      I am happy that you found the help you needed. Eating healthy, always helps everything!

  • FLJ

    I am moving toward my later 40’s and am terrified of menopause, have no mother, and know no one to talk to about it. I had bad PMS emotional symptoms when I was a bit younger. Now I have bad emotional and physical symptoms of PMS, and it looks like I’m bleeding to death (sorry of TMI). I can’t find anything online about perimenopause and symptoms and whether I can differentiate those from my daily symptoms from (get this!) Bipolar Disorder II, crippling Anxiety Disorder that’s made me agoraphobic, and PTSD. I don’t want to go to a Dr yet and have an annual physical and all that, because I don’t think I’d get enough information on whether I’m perimenopausal or even menopausal or not from my GP. I’m disabled and on Medicare, so I have limited choices.
    Is there any site or agency online that you could recommend starting at, so that I could face the GP with more knowledge, and know what questions to ask?

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Hi Frankie,
      I am so sorry you are going through so much. There is no need to fear perimenopause and menopause. The best thing is to arm yourself with knowledge so you can ask for what you need from your menopause specialist. Use my Menopause Doctor Directory to help you find a specialist. Just drop down resources and you will find it. Read: Five Steps To Hormone Happiness-. It will walk you thru how to find a specialist, what tests to ask for, and help you find hormone happiness! As for your bleeding, any unusual bleeding needs to be checked out by your Gyn!
      Spend some time on my website reading old blogs – it will help you educate yourself on this stage in your life. Check out the Dear Ellen section….as many of your questions are answered here!
      Good Luck!
      Keep me posted……

  • NH

    It’s taken me about 4 years to be relieved of all my menopausal signs/symptioms, except for hot flashes. Still have them which are sometimes triggered by heat or stress. I, like many of us women, did not realize what to expect in menopause ( google: signs & symptoms of menopause). I ended up going through the actual menopause without any hormones or knowledge that my “crazy feeling”, loss of concentration, and quick spiraling into severe depression to the point of hopelessness, loss of perspective on everything, and serious thoughts of suicide, etc…was the result of going through “the change.” My GP tested my hormone levels early on and the results were that I was no where near menopause! But I no myself and my own body for 45 years that I knew something was seriously wrong. Then about 10 months later, I asked him to repeat my hormone testing, and the results this time was that I was in menopause. I was livid about not having had the proper care and treatment for my menopause troubles. In fact, I went to a book store to find a best-selling menopause book to find the signs/symptoms in it. Voila! There they were. At least 34 of them listed and I went through all but about 5 of them! It was wonderful and freeing to realize that I wasn’t “crazy!” after all!!
    I was also, at the time I started going through menopause, I was going through unemployment/looking for work. I left an awful/unhealthy work environment. These two things I know exacerbated each other. What a mess I was for 4 years! From 2009-2013, during the worst economic recession the USA has ever had! I’m still trying to piece my life back together, which is much better. I used to be so bubbly, happy-go-lucky type of person before menopause to seriously considered suicide on multiple occasions during menopause and for a couple of years into post-menopause. Major PMS always occurred 3-10 days prior to my periods starting.
    I want to tell my story in order to help others who might be going through severe menopause also. It was no laughing matter. Now, some of my family and friends, and co-workers have distanced themselves from me since I went through that horrible ordeal. I WISH THAT EVERY BIT OF MENOPAUSE INFORMATION AND HOW SEVERE IT COULD GET WOULD BE KNOWN TO ALL WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD…NOW!! We need to know what to expect! We all need awareness and knowledge starting at 40 years old!!! We need to stop feeling guilty for all that we experience through it if we make poor decisions while in menopause. We need understanding, compassion, forgiveness, and love through it all. The suicide rate for women in mid-life, 45-60 years old, is increasing. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it is due to a combination of factors including menopause/hormone imbalances. Let’s act NOW! in getting every bit of info out to the public! I cannot stand the thought of another woman going through what I did without at least the knowledge/awareness.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Nancy. When we share – we help others! I am so sorry you went through so much. Yes, you can experience perimenopause and even menopause at 40….and yes – stress can exacerbate so many of the menopausal symptoms. You are so correct – you knew your body and understood that things were changing! The blood work is half the story…the other half is how does the woman feel. I created my Menopause Symptoms chart to help women communicate how they feel to their menopause specialist. After two weeks of charting your symptoms, if you have marks on this chart – you need to see a specialist. My whole mission and the reason for creating the home of my free,weekly Menopause Mondays Blog and Health News Flash is to help educate women to be their own health advocates. This way they can base their healthcare on fact instead of fear. Like you, I want women to understand that they are NOT ALONE, to trust how they feel and get the help they need and DESERVE! My motto is: Suffering in Silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN! Again, thanks for sharing your story! Feel free to send folks to sign up for my Menopause Mondays. In addition, I am always available at for further support.

    • sotrue

      Yes yes and yes. I’m estranged from my family for my crazy choices and moods and now new found low thyroid disease. But what a roller coaster. Women need too know that its not the issues but in the tissues.
      Be forwarned women need to know what’s going on in their bodies.
      It’s a major transition ontop of aging, empty nest, downsizing, employment, divorce, Loosing parents etc…
      Women are resilient and strong but then when we hit brick walls it helps to seek help.
      Blook tests first then a physical over haul. Then proceed with medication and pyscology if needed.
      But remember there is a spiritual journey in letting go of what’s around and doing the unusual, which is thinking about ourselves. It’s a journey back to our own bodies and thoughts and I feel half of the symptoms are the struggle of remembering who we are.

  • NH

    Another thing, my spirituality, Christian counseling, and a close friend is what got me through my menopause. We’re often considered “crazy” if we go through it bad enough, but I know that my Creator of the Universe knows and understands what I went through and that’s all that matters.
    Also, I remember two very popular TV Hosts had talked about when they had gone through their change, and they wondered what the heck was the matter with themselves too! And one of them had a close friend who is a mental health worker who helped her.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Nancy, it makes sense to reach out to all professionals – spiritual and medical. Perimenopause and menopause can be a very difficult time.

  • Vaileria Dennis

    Women are often at increased risk for depression when they reach menopause. Although menopause is often believed to contribute to the onset of depression, research actually indicates that depression is more likely to occur in the period leading up to menopause, called the perimenopausal years. It is very important to choose proper treatment for depression as it affects badly our metal health. Before buying antidepressant we should check ingredients list and warnings. When I had suffered from depression I have used Tranquilene which helps to treat anxiety and depression. For proper information you can read Trainqulene review here

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Every woman is different…what may work for one may not work for another. However, the more we share with each other the more we learn about the various options to ask our specialist about. Thanks for sharing your journey with us Vaileria.

  • Rosie

    This article really doesn’t help for someone dealing with severe persistent hot flashes it just says to see a professional. Well, we all know to do that but this article doesn’t give any recommendations other than to see your doctor. We are looking for answers not to doctor shop.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Rosie, the blog is about menopausal depression. If you need help with hot flashes, download my free eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriends Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause. You can download here. There are lots of tips on how to deal with hot flashes in Chapter 4. Good Luck!

  • sandranowa26

    What do you think about tests like this – ?

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Sandra, I am not familiar with this. But, thanks for sharing it!

  • Deborah G

    I can remember my mom having sas and out of touch days poor soul.
    But since she kept her feelings to herself during menapause. I had n-o warning
    that menapause would cause deppresion and mood changes. My husband and kids
    probably hate me. Thanks for sharing and for caring about others.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Deborah, my Mother never uttered the word menopause! Be sure to sit down with your husband and kids and have an open conversation about the mood swings and many symptoms associated with menopause due to hormonal changes. I always suggest printing out my Menopause Symptoms Chart and using it as a tool for the conversation. This way your family doesn’t personalize your symptoms. If you don’t have a great menopause specialist download my free eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause and read Chapter 13 for some great tips on how to find one. Do not give up until you get the help you need and deserve! Good Luck!

  • Angie

    Has anyone suffered with major depression during perimenopause and what did you do to help?

    • Angie, do you have a good Menopause Specialist? This is very important! You can download my free eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriends Guide to Surviving and Thriving Perimenopause and Menopause from my homepage on Chapter 13 is full of great tips to help you find a good menopause specialist. Be sure to ask for the proper testing. This is in Chapter 14. Chapter 6 goes into the options to talk to your specialist about as it relates to stress, anxiety, irritability, depression and mood swings.Good Luck and keep me posted!

    • Lori Rogers

      get on HRT estrogen saved my life

  • Lori Rogers

    why doesn’t anything on here mention that Hormone replacement therapy can save a life? it saved mine,,, i will gladly take the risks

    • Lori, you are so right! Hormones play such an important role in our physical and emotional health. That is why I encourage women to get their hormones tested as hormone imbalance can result in depression, anxiety, emotional highs and lows…..etc.

      • Lori Rogers

        How can hormone “balance” be achieved when the ovaries fail at menopause? The only way to alleviate symptoms if they are life threatening like mine, complete menopause induced psychosis, is to replace them. The only testing I needed was FSH test that said yes your ovaries are done. So then I luckily got full blown pharmaceutical estrogen patch (praise to big pharmacy!) and now I have my life back and my family isn’t suffering in fear that I will kill myself. When do we stop knowing that women is endocrine transitions like puberty, post partum, PMS, and menopause are at risk for the cascade of events in the brain that are set off by estrogen deprivation? If I hear one more thing about herbs, progesterone cream, diet and exercise, it makes me so angry. How many lives? How much suffering?! I am a yoga teacher and I don’t like meds. But estrogen? I call it vitamin HRT. and I’m on a crusade to stop the stigma and the witch hunt associated with the very thing that saved my life.

        • Me, too! I want women to base their healthcare on facts instead of fear. Stay tuned for a upcoming blog on Hormone Therapy – Facts vs Myths

    • I wish more women knew the impact that finding hormone happiness has on you mental and physical health!

      • Chang Chang Monson

        Oh we know about it and we also know how much it costs! So many drs are charging so much that its impossible for a woman like me to even pass by the drs office! No insurance, no job, to young for medicare to old for medicaid! Not to mention nobody cares hell even my husband said to me yesterday, ‘you complain everyday about your little problem’ well what if his **** went limp?? Mens jobs even offer free viagra thru insurance! Done!

        • Chang, I do believe that you can get help at a Planned Parenthood in your area.

  • Christi holm

    I am suicidal during my period. I am 54 and am so tired. I have a plan in case it gets too bad. I am on pristique and bio identical estrogen and progesterone and still want to die. I would do electro shock therapy if I thought it would help. I just can’t live this way anymore and there seems to be no help.
    Hopeless in Califor

    • I am so sorry you are going through so much. I am a little perplexed that you are still having a period at 54 years old while you are on hormone therapy. Christi, it sounds like your current doctors are not helping you, please go get another opinion! You should not have to feel this way.

      • Leisa Brewer

        Does hormone replacement stop your period? i am 52 and still have mine.

        • If your Menopause Specialist prescribes continuous hormonal treatment, you will rarely have periods or not have them at all

          • Leisa Brewer

            Just turned 53 and still going strong. I get the worst migraines spine pain and just all over feeling bad. I also get very depressed and life seems hopeless.

          • Did you find a Menopause Specialist yet?

    • Tracy Schadeberg

      Electroshock therapy does not work.

  • Tammie

    Help…I’m 48 and my periods are coming every 19 days. My mental health is BAD…I talk about suicide regularly and have tried to figure out the easiest way. My poor husbandu he doesn’t understand. I have no desire to do anything and I obsess about ending my life. .it’s so hard.

    • Tammie, you need to go see a menopause specialist asap! There is no need for you to be suffering like this!!! You want to have a good menopause specialist to guide you through your menopausal journey. Download my free eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriends Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause. You can find some more helpful tips on how to find a menopause specialist in your area in Chapter 13!

    • Tracy Schadeberg

      Tammie this was 2 years ago but did you work through this?

  • Kathryn

    No specialists on Maui, and Ive tried everything. At this point a bullet is preferred. I prefer it to long term suffering. Plus, maybe some of us are meant to leave at 50. Not giving up, but if my family continues to suffer because of my suffering, I will definitely chose euthanasia.

    • Kathryn, please don’t give up on finding the help you need and deserve. I just googled Menopause Specialist in Maui and found some offices that you might want to talk to. Please google that on you computer and check them out. Good Luck!

  • guest from Poland

    Help me God because I am failing.

    • I am so sorry you are going through so much. Please go see your healthcare professional and get the help you need and deserve.

      • Tracy Schadeberg

        Health care professionals don’t help. That’s why people give up.

  • Kelly Mahan Jaramillo

    Hi “guest from Poland”,Hi Katheryn, Hi Ellen –

    I am failing also, and I have done everything and more (exercise, no alcohol, sugar, spicy food, etc) but I am losing the battle.

    I have debilitating heat attacks, they have destroyed my quality of life, absolutely destroyed it. They started when I was 48 and still getting my period. I am “Miss All Natural” so went through everything I could find, nothing worked until I found a homeopath/herbalist who came up with a winning combination and it worked for almost two years!
    Then, the attacks broke through, worse than before, I finally found an OB-GYN who is a specialist in mid-life womens treatment, she put me on the patch and Progesterone, and again, worked like a charm for two more years, with a lot of time spent finding the perfect balance, which shifts constantly….
    And now they have broken through again, my OB put me on Gabapentin, which worked for a few weeks, had to up the dose, worked for about another month, had to up the dose again, and suddenly she will not prescribe any more until she sees me on the 17th, she has become very hard to get a hold of, and I feel totally abandoned….I just cannot DO THIS anymore, I am doing everything I should, I cut out all alcohol, sugar, spicy food, I hardly eat a damned thing – I am going to be 55 years old in August, and this has been going on for 7 years, I see no sign of it getting better, every time I think the magic balance has been found and I feel happy and productive – the rug gets yanked out from under me again.
    I am beat up, exhausted, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel…..I am starting to seriously look at what is left of my life and this is no quality of life at all. If, after I see my OB on the 17th, there is nowhere left to turn – I am hanging up my cleats. This is not a life, it is a war that I was drafted into and it looks like I have lost.
    I lean towards agreeing with Kathryn, maybe some of us are not meant to live past fifty. I am okay with that! Why push what nature did not intend?
    Thanks for listening. I hope all of the other women here and elsewhere get better, I am pulling for all of you, my sisters-in-arms.

    • I am so sorry you are going through so much, Kelly. It is not uncommon to have to tweak your hormone therapy. It can be difficult to find the right balance. The hormone therapy worked like a charm for two years, and then you started having hot flashes again. Estrogen replacement is the number one reliever of hot flashes. Perhaps you simply need a higher dose? Speak to your menopause specialist about that. Good Luck and do not give up until you get the help you need and deserve.

      • Kelly Mahan Jaramillo

        Hi Ellen,
        Thank you for replying, I did not see this until now. I am past hormone therapy from the ovaries, my blood tests now say ‘acute thyroiditis’ so I was sent to an endocrinologist, who ran a thousand tests and came up with more abnormal thyroid, and she has sent me to a rheumatologist, who did not have an appointment for two months. *sigh* so I am finally almost there, I see her on the 19th of this month. Let’s see what she finds. After that, I cannot say. But it is no longer menopause, and I am finding a lot of women that are post-menopausal and start getting terrible symptoms that mimic menopause, and they are shuttled from one doctor to another…..I have had three tests showing abnormal thyroid numbers, and have yet to be prescribed any type of thyroid medication. My F%#&ING PCP basically said it was all in my head and sent me to a behavioral specialist. Oh, and gave me the highest amount of gabapentin he can prescribe.
        I am just going to try to hang in there, which is just the gabapentin talking – at this point, the doctors have gotten me addicted to a drug that is a band-aid for the symptoms, and no one is dealing with the problem, despite abnormal blood test results.
        I will tell you one thing (a touch of humor) – NO ONE is getting a dime of a co-pay until they find and fix the problem. Someone needs to step up and do their job, otherwise I might re-think killing myself and decide which doctor to take out first, since all they are doing is playing “hot potato” with me.
        “Hey, your thyroid is abnormal! I am not going to prescribe anything, but you owe me a $42 co-pay!”
        I. Don’t. Think. So.

        • I understand that you are experiencing debilitating hot flashes and your OBGYN put you on Gabapentin. And your thyroid numbers are off, as well. This can certainly feel like a perfect storm for you. I know first hand, as I had both menopause issues and at the same time I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism (Hashimotos Disease). Did your endocrinologist say you were hypo or hyper thyroid? I was curious why they recommended that you go to a rheumatologist? A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in both musculoskeletal disorders and certain autoimmune conditions. Are you experiencing muscle aches and pains as well? Is your current OBGYN a menopause specialist? Did your OBGYN explain why she did not try balancing your hormones with hormone therapy? Hormone therapy is the most effective way to deal with hot flashes. Drops in estrogen can cause severe hot flashes, muscles aches, and mood swings. As for your thyroid issues, I have several blogs on thyroid disease that may be helpful to read before you go to that new appointment. It is important to note that many women, including myself have found Synthroid to be very effective in treating thyroid disease. This drug IS made to be identical to what your body makes. For me, the magic solution to my symptoms was both hormone therapy (Bioidentical FDA approved Estradiol patch and an oral Progesterone pill called Prometrium) and Synthroid. I feel fantastic! However, like I said…. every women is different. The key is to have a smart Menopause Specialist for your menopause issues and a great Endocrinologist to take care of your thyroid issues. Here are my blogs on Thyroid Disease.

          • Kelly Mahan Jaramillo

            HI Ellen –

            These are the same questions I have been asking!
            To answer yours, my OB is a menopause specialist, it is the “mid-life women’s health center (we get a whole center!!) and she is wonderful, she put me on bio-identicals and progesterone therapy and it worked beautifully for over two years. Exactly the same as your combination.
            However, the sweats started to break through, and when my OB tried a higher dose of estrogen, they got 10 times worse. No matter what combination of HRT we tried, it was not working anymore, and these sweats are not ‘normal’ debilitating hot flashes – My OB finally saw me go through one at an appointment, and she agreed, she had never seen this this type of sweating even in her worst cases with menopause hot flashes. That, combined with no HRT working anymore, caused her to decide that the ovaries were no longer involved, these sweats were something else entirely.

            These sweats I have now have always felt different from the menopause sweats…..the menopause sweats were very bad, but these are different, I cannot explain it – they go on for over 45 minutes, they have different levels of intensity, and the actual sweating does not start where the meno sweats did – the beading forehead, chest, etc – Now I start pouring sweat first from my back, of all places! My whole back looks like I ran a 10K marathon.

            Anyway, that is when she put me on the Gabapentin, because no combination of estrogen was helping, it was making the whole thing worse.
            I have, from 3 tests, low thyroid numbers, both from her, and from the endo, and the endo also said my body tested positive for anti nuclear antibodies. My symptoms are weird,
            I do have joint and muscle aches, along with debilitating fatigue that comes and goes.
            What I do not understand is why the endocrinologist immediately sent me to rheumatologist, rather than dig a little deeper, see if maybe it was just an infection that could be cleared up with antibiotics – I called and could not get through to the gatekeepers to ask this question. The frustration level has been high, to say the least.
            Also, to make myself more clear, I did not mean to imply that Synthroid was bad, it was simply that if an endocrinologist ONLY prescribed synthroid and refused to consider Armour, then they were not open-minded enough to help the women who were having a bad reaction to Synthroid.
            I need an open-minded doctor who will consider everything that is out there on the market, not “poo-poo” something because it might fall into the more natural range – when my hot flashes first started, I was 47 years old and still getting my period. I went to my nutritionist, and he controlled them with a combination of supplements and homeopathy. That kept everything in balance for almost 2 years.
            And when the hot flashes started breaking through the natural combination, I was so very lucky to find my menopause specialist, because she knew about homeopathy, I brought her everything I was taking, and she saw why my body was no longer responding to the combination, however, she encouraged me to stay on two of the herbal supplements, she was certain they were still helping, but that I needed HRT at that point.

            Anyway, thank you so much for your links on thyroid, I am heading over there right now to read. I am open to all input, because I have realized that I need to be very proactive with this issue and not just blindly do what the doctors tell me to do – I wish I could roll back the clock 6 months and really start asking more questions and demanding answers….but in my defense, at that time I did not know what to ask, I did not understand what was happening.
            I may not understand what is happening now, but at least I know that I have to pin these specialists down and make them be more specific with me.

            I will try to answer your question on the 11th of next month when I see the endocrinologist again, after the 8 week secondary blood tests for her that I am having this week, and the rheumatologist the week after.

            Thank you for all of your input and help on this blog. I hope everyone who has been on this thread has gotten some help from it – I know I have been, just knowing I am not alone in this mess.

          • It does take time to learn to how to be your own best health advocate. It sounds like you are educating yourself so you can ask the right questions and you are asserting yourself with your doctors, Kelly. You go girl! Don’t give up until they find the right answers for you! Sending hugs………

    • Beverly Jones

      I’m married to a female and she and I both are going through this mess.I think that’s were and and others that might have a husband or spouse that don’t understand this dalima have to talk through the symptoms with who understand the hot sweats. She throw the blanket .I steal the sheet(lmaf). Back and forth all night.We laugh through sleeplessness nights in the morning. I think this help a lot.I just let my wife read thees post.To let her see how bad mines have become. I have severe panic attacks and take zannie bars. I pray and fight the attacks and keep the bars on hand. I’VE FOUND IF YOU TAKE JUST 1 BAR you can sleep at night if you DON’T TAKE THEM every night which will make your system become addicted and accustom and not able to fight etc. For example, today I don’t have a attack, Nothing is in my system say 3 days(zannise). Today I’m Having a shitload of flashes mood swings and life sucks moments. I take a whole bar around 7 pm. Taking them around 10 pm at night had me telling my wife at 7:30 to Uber to work.I was still drowsy. ‘ll have flashes but so drowsy that I sleep and fight like a baby.I end up getting a good night of sleep too.Other nights menopause do me. When I have attacks and have to take the bars I sleep like a baby at those times too.I call my wife at work ( I’m on workman comp) Tell her I’m having a attact and I’m taking a zannie and night,night. Uber home. Getting at least,two nights out of 7 days of fighting steepness and shitty days,A spouses who understands,a therapist,great doctors,understanding grand kids who when they see granny shedding clothhing is in total undstanding,but not(lol) helps a lot too,boo. I’m 50.

      • Beverly, a menopause specialist would be able to help you feel better. You don’t need to suffer.

    • Leisa Brewer

      Kelly Mahan Jarimillo I have been really sick for about a year and getting worse. I still have my period. I have a lot of pain and fatigue. I am 52 and always slim. Now i am over weight. Gained all this weight 40-50 pounds in less than a year. Have had all thyroid and all autoammune diseases testing done. I am so depressed and cry all the time. I have developed sever anxiety and fear of everything. I do not know what to do. I feel like my best years are gone why continue on with this exsistance.

      • Kelly Mahan Jaramillo

        Leisa – I am so sorry, I cannot believe we are all in such a mess and doctors don’t seem to be able to find this problem.
        I have a life-long friend who I consulted because she went through thyroid cancer – nothing showed up on her blood tests, nothing showed up on her ultrasound (which no one has offered me) – she wound up having a “thyroid storm” and was in the ER – the doctor said nothing was wrong and he left the room, but the nurse stayed behind and did a thorough physical check on her thyroid, and voila! Found a nodule.
        She, too, had been through all of the thyroid and autoimmune testing and they found nothing, and yet when the nodule was removed and biopsied, it showed cancer cells.
        She advised me to get on google, and start hunting for an endocrinologist who specializes in thyroid, not thyroid mixed in with diabetes. Look for reviews, find that doctor who has the fantastic reviews and the women all have our story….THAT doctor will help you.
        Even though I dutifully went to the recommended endocrinologist, who tested and kicked me to the rheumatologist (even though I have had three tests show “abnormal thyroid” I have not been put on a medication for my thyroid, wtf, right?) and I am going to dutifully go to the rheumatologist because it is next week and I have waited two damned months……I researched every doctor in my city and out of it, and I found one with the reviews. There is no opening until March 9th, but I grabbed it, and if I get enough abnormal thyroid testing and continue to get no help with it, I will start banging on doors to be let in earlier.
        I was about to give up four months ago, but I found another herb that helps my mood – it is controversial and the FDA is looking to shut it down (which means it works) it is called Kratom. Occasional spoonful of Kratom and the damned gabapentin, I can hang on until I get to this doctor. I am determined not to let this “mystery disease” along with the apathy of some doctors ruin my existence. (My PCP said it was all in my head – if I go postal, he is first on my list. Just kidding 🙂 )
        So, Leisa – – start googling thyroid doctors, find that one with the 5 stars and written, glowing reviews, and get there. She or he is the one who will find the problem, your other doctors are shit and not interested in digging in further. I have found that 99% of the doctors give the thyroid a cursory basic blood test and rarely go any further. The thyroid is tricky and when it is off it causes ALL of your symptoms and more.
        I hate to say it, because I have such a love/hate relationship with Gabapentin (Neurontin), but it is a good temporary band-aid medication to use while you find the great doctor that is out there. (Unless you are already on it, of course) It is incredibly inexpensive and it will hold you over until you find the doctor who knows the thyroid inside and out, and knows that when it is “off” it wrecks havoc with your whole body, mental state, and life.
        THIS IS FIXABLE – we all just have to get away from the shit doctors who “diagnose and adios” and have no curiosity or interest and are just there for the nice payday.

        (Oh and first thing to ask is if they prescribe “armour” – if they say no, that is a red flag. It means they will only prescribe the synthetic thyroid medication and the synthetic makes many women sick, while the more natural Armour works beautifully, So that is the FIRST question to ask when you start calling.)

        Please, Leisa – start looking. You saw where I was 4 months ago, and here I am with some real hope. Yes, I still have to wait, and yes, I still have to be on the Gaba, and my health is not great but I am forcing myself to exercise even a little bit each day and I am doing it, because I got lucky and contacted my longtime old friend and she knows thyroid inside and out.
        I am still here, and I am willing to give this one more chance…..I hope you do too.

        Hang in there, sister. We cannot kill ourselves because the medical community is inept – we must band together and beat all the doors down and demand thorough testing, treatment, and recommendations.
        If I were a 55 year old MALE sitting in my PCP’s office presenting with all of these symptoms, would I be kicked to the behavioral therapists office. Yeeaaaaah, no.
        We need to fight for our right to correct treatment and diagnosis. Second, third, forth opinions. I came to this hard realization that because I am a 55 year old woman, if I ask for help, I am not going to get beans.
        But if I demand it…..maybe someone will sit up in their chair and realize that they cannot shuttle me off.
        Demand what, as Ellen said to me above, the treatment you need and deserve.

        • There is no one-size-fits-all solution to these issues. What works for one woman may not work for another. However, it is good to share our stories so that we can educate ourselves on the possible options for help. Then speak to your menopause specialist about creating an individual program that fits your specific issues and health needs. If your current specialist is not helping you, go see another specialist for a consult. No divorce attorney is needed to change doctors!

        • Leisa Brewer

          I had an ultra sound on thyroid in 2011. Had a few nodules. Nothing to worry about they told me. I had another a few days ago because I have a worrisome, annoying clicking in my throat when i swallow. The girl who did my ultra sound this time said I had SEVERAL nodules in 2011. She said that to me more than once. So the findings this time was I have small nodules they recommend I have rechecked in 6 mo. And are sending me to ent doctor.

          • I am a bit confused, if you had nodules on your thyroid glands I would definitely see and Endocrinologist. If you have nodules on your vocal cords then I would see and ENT doctor. Good Luck!!!

      • Leisa, do not give up until you find a good Menopause Specialist. Please read my free eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriends Guide to Surviving and Thriving during Perimenopause and Menopause. The book has tips on how to find a good doctor and is divided up into symptoms. So read about the symptoms that you are experiencing. Also, download my free Menopause Symptoms Chart. Start filling this out each day. This chart will help you communicate how you are feeling to your menopause specialist. Hormone imbalance can cause havoc on our bodies and our lives. There is help out there….don’t give up!

        • Tracy Schadeberg

          Ellen why do you keep repeating yourself like a parrot on Menopausal specialist. I know this was posted a year ago but I’m reading through and it’s annoying. Menopausal specialists are expensive for one and two they don’t give a rats ass about suicidal thoughts. It all sucks.

          • I am sorry your experience with Menopause Specialists has been so unsuccessful. However, thousands and thousands of women have gotten help. I hear from them – from all over the US and beyond. I do understand that proper medical care can be costly. Planned Parenthood is treating menopause patients. It might be helpful to see if they can help you in a more affordable way. Good Luck!

  • Beverly Jones

    I’m 50.My doctor couldn’t stop my period so he tried some type of shot which through me into menopause in his freaking office. By that night I was calling 18000 Im going to kill my self (his 24 emergency #).

    • So sorry you are struggling. A not all OBGYN doctors are menopause specialists. Try to find a menopause specialist who is up on the latest information and studies. I have tips in my free eBook. You can download from my homepage.

      • Beverly Jones

        Mam at 50 whats struggling at this point with menopause? lolbvvs. I do see a OBGYN, doctor. I’ve been on everything and laughter kills it all.I and my wife are both dealing with the same issue.Mines have went viral again that’s all.I gave her this web to read today.So she can see how bad I REALLY FEEL and stop saying were dealing with the same issue “the same way(s)…..I’m tired of struggling but I have hope that’s something is out there EVEN IF TEMPORALLY …I’LL BITE…. Plus God said he want put more on my back that I can carry.Heck Jesus carried the cross for all our sin and Eve wanted to be a thot .So I’m not dead,On chemo, etc. Praying ,constantly.

        • Beverly Jones

          Oh and mam I’m also a pizza deliver who run circles around my WHOLE TEAM but a driver pulled out in front of me and Im on workman comp.My team ages are between 16-30. I’m the fastest driver and deliver. I push through even when I can’t.The kids on my job think I’M SWEATING BULLETS BECAUSE IT HOT IN THE WINTER lol. With my window down to booth. I’m in Indianapolis and I’ve looked for menopause specialist everywhere.Everybody got sleep studies. Hell I all ready know I cant sleep.

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  • Hating Life

    Ok Im putting this out there. My problem isnt menopause. Yah I hate it and yah I go through all the garbage associated with it it, BUT MY problem is my husband. He makes fun of me, yells at me cuz we arent having sex like teenagers anymore, HES the one who makes me depressed and suicidal!
    He thinks that theres a magic pill out there for women in menopause that makes them instant horndogs.
    All the professional counseling wont stop whats going on at my house.
    (Been through it, him, me, us, dudnt help at ALL)
    Dealing with this menopause stuff and having someone yell at you because of it makes you feel less human, less cared about and more like your just here as a sex toy. It may sound funny but I deal with this on a daily basis!
    Sometimes I wish I could just disappear :'(

    • I am so sorry that you are dealing with all of this. Please try to find a therapist that can be a safe place for you to get help and guidance with your marriage.

  • Julie

    Will my body adjust to lower hormone levels or will I need HRT? I am 50 years old and have had horrible depression and anxiety for almost 2 years. I also have many physical smptoms, but the mental symptoms have me unable to function. I had severe post partum depression with anxiety after my children were born, lasting for 8 months for each. I am concerned that as my body isn’t making estrogen like it used to, that the depression and anxiety won’t go away this time. What do you think?

    • I think the best advice I can give you is to find a good Menopause Specialist! A Menopause Specialist is up on the latest information and studies and can determine your hormonal needs to help balance your depression, anxiety, and all of those physical symptoms. Download my free eBook here
      Chapter 13 will help you find a specialist.
      Chapter 6 deals stress, irritability, depression, and mood swings which will give you some talking points with your Menopause Specialist.
      In addition, download my free Menopause Symptoms Chart Start charting your symptoms and take the filled out chart in with you to your appointment.
      Do not suffer in silence………….I promise you that there is help for all of the symptoms! Go and get the help you need and deserve!
      Once your specialist does an evaluation, they will recommend an individualized program that fits your health needs.
      Good luck!

  • Bonnie

    I just want to say it’s nice to identify with other women going through menopause. At the same time — and normally I wouldn’t be so open about this — i am at my wits end. I am tired all time, in pain, losing my hair, losing my body, and just feel unattractive. As another woman said, maybe some of us were not meant to live past menopause. Maybe it’s nature’s way of natural selection.

    I have decided that if these symptoms don’t cease by the end of the year that I am going to hang it up. I’m just tired of fighting every day and losing.

    So I guess I just wanted to post to say goodbye to someone.

    • Bonnie, please not need to give up. You CAN get help with all of these issues. If you do not have the funds to pay for a Menopause Specialist, you can go to the nearest Planned Parenthood and they will help you!

    • Vera Sing

      Hi Bonnie,
      Your post made me cry-I know how you are feeling as I am suffering too. I’m praying that that you are doing better!!

    • Tracy Schadeberg

      Bonnie are you okay? I am in the same boat… please contact me if you need someone to talk to…

  • Tiffany v

    Yes this sucks……I cry mainly on and off for days on end…I feel useless and unloved….like I don’t even know why I wake up anymore….somebody please tell me I’m not alone

  • anotherjewishrapist

    Just ended it with the love of my life after 7 years.

    She’s not the same person anymore and I am happier without her.

    • So sorry to hear this. Usually if a women goes to a Menopause Specialist who is able create an individual program that fits her health needs, one can successfully help the often debilitating emotional and physical symptoms of menopause. These symptoms, if not dealt with properly, can erode a healthy marriage.

      • anotherjewishrapist

        She’ll be happier too, I suppose.

        She’s now free to live in a messy, cluttered home without any expectations, and can find someone else to get angry with 24/7.

        • Hope you have a Happy Healthy 2018!

        • Tracy Schadeberg

          Did you try and take the time to understand her? My husband does not really understand and it makes it worse. I am not angry or bitchy at him, not messy, just down and not myself. It’s painful and we need understanding.

  • Anne Dade

    Feel a disconnect with those around me, like nobody cares for the things i do, and nobody is really listening, just in their own head space,over whelming feelings of dread

  • Martha Anderson

    Can’t get over this depressed no enjoyment of life….12 years, I’m so over it. No one believes me. Sad. I thought 40’s suck, 50’s really suck. Nothing is enjoyable. Nothing.

    • Martha, you do not have to suffer like this. Please find a good Menopause Specialist! I have some great tips on how to find one here:

    • Cheryl

      50’s suck bigtime!! Im so tired of the crying, the depression. I dont care about anything..AT ALL!
      I was full of life at 48 and now im nothing. Nothing helps and nobody understands 🙁

      • Cheryl, please find a good Menopause Specialist to help you with the emotional affects of plummeting hormone levels. You do not need to feel like this. I have lots of tips on how to find a Menopause Specialist in my free eBook, Chapter 13 or here:

        • Tracy Schadeberg

          Ellen, I’ve tried 3 doctors. None understand suicidal depression, they panic and want to call 911. I have had tests done, I am in menopause, on depression meds, have done everything and the thoughts are still there. My thyroid is ok. I’ve exhausted all options, do these thoughts eventually go away?

      • Tracy Schadeberg

        Cheryl did you find anything that helps? I am in the same boat. Please contact me if you would like to talk — I understand and I have no one that really understands how this feels.

  • Vera Sing

    Reading these post is horribly sad!! I can’t believe that woman are being treated like this in this day and age. I am also dealing with my own perimenopausal nightmare. It’s been nothing but hell….I had horrible expierences with Drs and they just want to use menopause as a way they can make more profit and they don’t care what they do to us. Now-I don’t even want to go see a Dr. anymore as I have no trust.
    I’m on HRT and it has been a great but not a cure-all as I still can’t figure out how to regulate them and the prescriber is clueless. My body seems to react to extremely negative to the loss of estrogen as I laid in bed for almost a year disabled from extreme joint pain-muscle burning-and chronic fatigue..sometimes I couldn’t even stand upright and my pelvis couldn’t even straighten out and not to mention a continuous cramping in my lower abdomen-that is just the physical side as the mental side is just as extreme!! Rage, unable to control my appetite, loss of enjoyment or desire in life, feelings of dispair, loniness, no where to turn to, unable to function mentally, unable to complete any task and the ultimate-wanting to end it—-as this is not living!! It’s impossible just to even try to make a Drs. appointment when you can’t function mentally or physically and hanging on by a thread. Thank God I did have some strength and go to a new gyno and was put on a low dose compounding estrogen and then progesterone 3 weeks of the month…within 2 hours of taking the estrogen my symptoms started to subside but when I had to take the progesterone it seems that my symptoms came back. Why do I have such extreme symptoms and why is my body acting like this? Another provider looked at my blood work for my hormone level and said he would NOT have prescribed me hormones as my blood work did not show my hormones were low…I’m glad that my prescriber did put me on them because of my symptoms. It just goes to show me that my body does not like any loss of estrogen but I hate taking progesterone as I feel like my body doesn’t like it. I did get better on hrt but with the fluctuating hormones it’s hard to regulate what I need and my symptoms can come back and I can feel it immediately and know that something is fluctuating but don’t know how to fix it and I will go through episodes of being disabled with the chronic fatigue symptoms for weeks st a time. I’m guessing that I will have to be on hrt for the rest of my life as I don’t think my body will adjust to the loss of hormones.
    I also just ovulated yesterday and it was excruciating and all my symptoms flooded over me-I was even having horrible dizziness and still having cramps today. I never had ovulation pain before so why am I having it now-what hormone is responsible for this?? There is no-way I could hold down a job-never knowing what symptoms might come on me, when that chronic fatigue muscle pain comes….I can barely turn the wheel on my car to get home. My life is in shambles as the days I do feel good-I am trying to pick up the pieces from the days I couldn’t function and it’s a horrible cycle!! I have no-one in my life as everybody is tired of hearing about it and I’m so alone. If anybody can shed some insight on why this is happening to me-or is going through-or has gone through this…please let me know as I am desperate and can’t go through this anymore!!

  • Charlotte Webber

    Doctors are PATHETIC when it comes to this topic, they’ll search and search for ANYTHING other than perimenopause..I’ve been trapped in my house for FOUR YEARS with crippling anxiety, open loud sobbing and wailing, can’t think, heart palps, and crushing tension in my chest that never lets up. I’ve been sent to shrinks, given SSRI’s that did NOTHING but sedate me. Great now I’m sleepy and anxious..SUPER…Why do doctors ignore us like this? Do they just want us to go home and have a heart attack? I’m so angry and disillusioned with the ENTIRE medical community, just disgusted they let us suffer like this.

    • Charlotte, I am so sorry that you have spent the last four years trapped in your house with these debilitating emotional and physical issues. I am not sure if your issues began during perimenopause – the 6-10 years prior to menopause. You have reached menopause when you have been without a period for 12 consecutive months. So, if you never experienced the issues above until you began your menopausal journey, then perhaps it is time to get a Menopause Specialist to do a panel hormone panel and thyroid panel on you. Perhaps your issues are hormonal and could be alleviated with hormone therapy. If you need help finding a Menopause Specialist, I have some tips here: