Lots of symptoms upon starting periods after childbirth
by J Leeann
I am 27 years old. I have only recently begun to think I may have hormone imbalance, but I'm beginning to suspect I've had some symptoms on and off for years.
I noticed many symptoms when I started my periods 14 months after giving birth. I did breastfeed and continued to until my son was 22 months.
My symptoms were: severe depression, anxiety, panic attacks, chills, hot flushes, heart racing for no reason and staying up at 100 bpm for days at a time, low body temp, bad acne that was deep and painful along chin line, severe derealization, almost feeling like I was hallucinating, but never quite that bad, very moody and irritable, cry for no reason or over simple commercials, OCD symptoms (intrusive thoughts, repetitive thoughts, constant fears). I didn't eat or sleep well at all. I had digestive upset and my periods were around 25 or 27 days, then once it was 29 days, then 22 days, kind of irregular like.
I noticed the symptoms were cyclical. I would have some right before my period, then when I started, they would change to something else, then after ovulation, I'd feel another way. Very strange, but definitely seemed to fluctuate with the seasons of my cycle.
The reason I think I have had issues for years is because I was normal and healthy, no anxiety, nothing until I was 17-18 years old. My cycles were 35-37 days apart. I started having panic attacks out of nowhere. I didn't keep track of when or how often, etc, I just treated for anxiety.
I also was married once before, never used protection, never got pregnant. After that divorce, I was in a relationship, never used protection, never got pregnant. I am married now, and when my son was conceived, the only explanation I can find for getting pregnant was that I must have ovulation really early or really late, there was no way I could have gotten pregnant if I ovulated on time.
My mother has had to use progesterone cream in the past,and does so now as well.
I eat very healthy, only organic non-hormone beef, i hardly eat out, make everything from scratch with organic ingredients. I don't consume soy at all. I only drink water and take herbs, no prescription medications. I don't drink caffeine in any form and I try to eat a low sugar diet.
I started to try to deal with how I felt by trying to increase serotonin with supplements and food, to reduce anxiety with supplements, I went on several limited diets to see if it was a food issues, I treated for adrenal fatigue, inner ear dysfunction, I spent lots of time trying to work on my thought patterns from a spiritual standpoint, I went to doctors, therapists, chiropractors, nutritionists, adrenal specialists, the ER several times, I had bloodwork done, urine tests, xrays, ultrasounds, etc etc.
The only things that were found were elevated bilirubin levels and a small polyp or stone in my gallbladder...why i think my digestion was a wreck.
NOTHING of the above list solved the problem. Finally, after talking with a friend, they recommended a hormone specialist.
So, reluctantly, I went. She did not run tests but she said she knew exactly what my problem was and put me on 50mg of progesterone cream, 50 on days 11-menses, 25 from day 1-10.
She also said that she would bet I had PCOS. (I have never had tests done for it so I don't know. I have had ovarian cysts before as well as hair growth in weird places - faint mustache, one random think long hair on chin or arm that grows every now and again, etc. I am thin though, 100 lbs and 5'4. I get my size from my mom.)
Anyway, I started the cream and it saved my life!! It didn't take long and I felt sane and normal again. I could eat, and sleep and was happy, and most of my symptoms went away. I only noticed that they flared up right before and during my period.
UNFORTUNATELY, fast forward a couple months and they are reappearing. My cycles are irregular, I'm spotting before my periods, I seem to ovulate weird, not at all, or sometimes normal. I am getting depressed again, panic attacks after my period, insomnia, etc. etc.
I went back to the hormone doctor and she ran a blood test on day 11 of my cycle. They came back normal.
So why am I having these symptoms again?? I have been advised by friends and family to increase the dose and see what happens. I decided to go up to 75 for the one half of my cycle and 40 for the other half. So far, the depression has lifted but I still have the other symptoms. I just started my period again, at 23 days, or at least I think I did, so far it's just pink spotting then nothing.
Any advice or thoughts would be great! The hormone doctor wants to put me on prozac and that's really a last resort for me! Thanks!