Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Support Group

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Menopause and PTSD. What a nightmare. lol

I realize this is a specialized question, but I really want to connect with women who have been diagnosed with PTSD, and who are either experiencing perimenopause or menopause.

I'd like to know if going through the change of life exasperated their PTSD. A lot of my perimenopausal symptoms are identical to my PTSD symptoms: Mood swings, depression, concentration and memory issues, generalized anxiety, panic attacks, etc. I can't tell what's causing what...and therefore don't know how to treat the symptoms I'm experiencing. Further, I believe the hormonal surges and/or depletions are exasperating my PTSD and depression.

My doctor wants to treat my perimenopause as a mental illness, which it's not. This just annoys me. Grrr. It's a natural process. I don't want to be on another anti-depressant when what I need is to be treated with hormones or supplements. Every time you take a new medication, you put yourself at risk for long term, serious side-effects.

Any suggestions on how to make the transition easier would be helpful. I could have five or ten more years of this ahead. Gah. My PTSD is hard enough to keep stable without throwing perimenopause and its raging hormones into the mix.

If you're too shy to write about it here, please message me. I think it's important that we talk about this. I haven't found any information about this topic yet. Yet again, women's health issues get overlooked by the medical community. Gah.

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

Oh yeah! Good question! Menopause definetley exaserbates ptsd and vise versa. It's really important to be on those supplements. I take adrena-sense and thyro-sense, Udo's 3,6,9 and liquid calcium magnesium. Also nerve tonics.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I just bought some expensive HLA which is an antii-aging premium oil and good for eyes which I need, which is why I bought it. Plus journalling, exercise, stretching, massage, and lots of self care. Pile it on.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Time to get spoiled.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I've heard that flax seed oil that is high in lignuns. omega 369, black current seed oil, and progesterone cream will help stabilize mood and level out those hormones. It helps with skin and hair, coincidentally. Of course, some of these supplements are damn expensive, and it's hard to know which ones to buy. I use a premium multivitamin and add B-6 100mg daily, a fatty acid supplement made for women, and a calcium/magnesium combo. I've heard you can take all the calcium that you want, but if you don't have enough magnesium, your body won't be able to absorb it and you can actually OD on calcium which is bad. lol I've heard Zinc is important for mental health, too.
deleted_user
deleted_user

And yup...spoil yourself. lol Of course, that just makes good sense for anyone. Quite often when we are struggling with mental health or physical issues in a busy life, we forget to engage in self care. We need to in order to be healthy and happy, I believe.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Oh yeah, it has to be natural progesterone cream. No synthetic crap. That's so hard for the body to metabolize.

This hormone cream apparently really does stabilize mood swings and sex drive, too. Let's face it, a healthy sex drive is indicative of a healthy mind and body. We don't have to lose that in middle age.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I am so glad you asked this question. I've been worrying about menopausal issues too. I'm perimenopausal. I hit the big 50 with a bang 3 weeks ago. What I'm mainly noticed is short term memory problems and some moodiness. My sister pokes fun at me which is ironic she does the same thing, she's a year older than me. Her memory isn't worth a flip either, I just get caught more in forgetting things. I'm anxious to see what posts come about this. Thank you again.
deleted_user
deleted_user

It's my belief that if sexual abuse is part of your trauma, that 'the change', or even our normal menstrual cycle affects our PTSD. For instance, my PTSD is always horrid in the week leading up to my period. That's when all women in their reproductive years experience hormone surges.

Unfortunately, when we are perimenopausal, the hormone surges are more severe sometimes and erratic in when they occur. I'm starting to feel hormonal throughout the month now. It's funny, because I can see a connection between my mood and my skin when I peak hormonally. Odd.

Since menopause is tied into our sexuality, it has a powerful impact on how we see ourselves which does affect our PTSD on a psychological level, I believe. And of course, the hormonal surges affect us physically/mentally.
Desertdancer
Desertdancer

Glad you brought this up. I'm 50 but haven't started having any menopausal symptoms yet. I've read a lot about it and menopause does sounds a lot like PTSD and depression.
I plan to go the natural route when the time comes. I don't want to take estrogen or other hormones.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I'm not sure how far into the process I am because my menstrual cycle is still regular. The changes to my skin are not too severe yet, but my PMS does seem more severe. Tat could be more PTSD related than perimenopause, however. I wish my doctor would do a hormone panel so that I could know for sure how far into the process I am. He refuses to do one.

I read a book called "Before the change" which talks about preparing your body for it so that you can lessen the severity of the symptoms when it's time. The doctor who authored the book said that women should start preventative treatments in their late 30's. (That shocked me.) So, I'm trying to take natural supplements now, to help with the hormone depletion that I believe is occuring just based on my age (47).

Some lucky women experience no symptoms. You could be one of these, DD. Or, maybe you're a late bloomer. ;-) I've heard some women don't go through menopause until their late 50's.

I just wondered if perhaps women with PTSD experienced more severe transition symptoms as a rule. My gut tells me this is so, but I could be totally wrong.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I just found this post. I can't add much more except to say my PTSD is definitely worse, my memories and flashbacks are worse, my self esteem is lower and I am withdrawing from people more as I can't trust myself to handle situations well (not that I ever could). My doctor told me once that I had the worse PMT she had ever seen I also had the heaviest periods and worst pain of anyone I knew. I had a hysterectomy a few years ago leaving the ovaries in and I wish now I had it done 15 years ago when it was first suggested by a doctor. I take a low dose of HRT oestrogen, but don't need the progesterone. The most important thing I found was I had to reduce stress and simplify my life and eat good organic food. Thanks for raising the issue.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Bato-I too am going through similar. I started noticing that the week before my period, my emotions are absolutely frazzled. Night sweats and here's the kicker. The doctor acknowlegdes that perimenopause is likely occuring, thankfully does NOT say it's a mental illness. I'd slap my doc upside the head if he said something like that. I have noticed that the b complex vitamin suppliments help, and cal-mag tremendously. That and eating healthier, natural energy foods. Tired of docs prescribing meds (slapping a pill on normal life occurances) and so badly want natural alternatives. Hopefully with all of us sharing we'll be able to find and implement better alternatives.
Thanks for asking this!!
deleted_user
deleted_user

Excellent question, Bato! I am
51 and menopausal. The first symptoms I had seemed like
PTSD or sever panic attacks.
It took me awhile to figure out
it was menopause. In my case
the symptoms can be quite similar. Just thought I was a mental case, until a very knowledgeable Obgyn listened to me. She put me on a low dose hormone replacement. At first, I refused, because I had heard so many bad things about HRT drugs. But my symptoms became so troublesome I could not go on anymore.
I have gone off the HRT for three months, only to have a return of hot flashes, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, etc. So, I went back on.
It is called Activella. This is my answer; I do not know if it would help you??
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hey,
I have been making some enquiries re premenopause, and have found that most of the symptoms are also identical to PTSD (recently diagnosed). So have an appointment today with menopause clinic to see whats going on...can only hope if I need treatment (which is likely) that it helps some of the fatigue/emotions etc. I have just turned 40 but have had hormonal issues for many many years, and as a result of 12years with an ED was told that I would risk early menopause...plus have not menstrauted since December 06 (due to breakdown????). Anyhow will let you know how I go over time, the clinic uses NHRT I am told. Im trying anything to get my health back.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Excellent question! I know that I've been told while in my monthly cycle pts is worse because of the hormone fluctuations. I'm 38 and have wondered if I'm in the beginning stages of the "change" and if that is having some influence in this pts I have. I know it's not the culprit but it definitately makes it worse.

I've recently stopped smoking and am trying to cut down my caffine but the great advice here about vitamens and all... I have some new questions for my next doctors visit. Thanks!