Menopause kicking in

After much persuasion by my family I have been to see GP today.For the last few weeks I have been really moody and irrational,weeping at slightest things,and starting to get mild flushes.Not sleeping too well and getting hot,not sweats,inthe night.As I have not had a period since October she said it will be the start of the meneopause,and as I can’t have HRT she has prescribed anti depressants, which my BCN recommended a few months ago but I resisted,thinking I could fight on.I now feel like a failure as I have had to give in to it.I think its a stigma attached to taking them,and as I have always been fit and healthy its another chip away at my health.I feel so down and frustrated right now.My GP has told me to take them for a few weeks and if feeling no better maybe to go to counselling.

Sorry for going on but needed to get it off my chest


Sorry you feel so bad about being prescribed the anti-depressants. I have been lucky with the hot sweats too - I am slightly warmish in bed at nights but nothing compared to what some ladies have described. I would say since starting in Feb I have maybe had 5 full blown flushes. I am not sleeping to great but I think that is a combination of things that have happened since last December and the tamoxifen.

Please don’t feel that you are a failure because the GP has prescribed the pills - it’s not giving in, it’s accepting help for a health issue.

Thanks lilac
My niece said pretty much the same.I suppose its after all thats gone in my life over the past 5 years I want to be seen to be strong, but I suppose we all have our limits hey

Mary, my oncologist told me that they often recommend a low dose of Prozac for the menopause in ladies who can’t have HRT.

I didn’t have hormone involvement, so was told if my symptoms had been bad enough I could have HRT. In my case, my periods stopped with the first chemo in Nov 2006. My symptoms were limited to hot flushes and prickly heat type sensations during the night, plus total loss of libido and being very short tempered, all of these affected my confidence. I’ve been given topical oestrogen in pessary form which is a tenth of the dose of HRT. It’s taken the edge off things for me a bit and along with counselling sessions things are getting better.

I had terrible sleep problems and was having nightmares at 3am every morning. I spent nearly 4 months in bed on Taxotere last summer and I felt I was associating the bedroom with being ill all the time. A few months ago I took the TV/DVD out of there, rearranged the furniture and changed the curtains. I also started burning a scented incense stick at bedtime and put a CD of relaxation music on really low in the background. After a couple of weeks it started working and I now sleep soundly most nights. At the time I would have tried anything to have a full nights sleep and the psychologist was really pleased I had gone some way towards helping myself (I figured if I had to have counselling I would have to work with her otherwise there was no point).

I also read an article by a sleep expert a couple of months ago who said when thoughts come into your head during the night you should say to them “you are just thoughts and you can go away as easily as you came”. I’ve tried this and it works.

Hi Mary,
I have just started taking anti depressants for similiar problems, but i have been on them before, and i used torment myself as being a failure, but as a GP explained to me if she told me to take insulin i would take it and its just our brains not functioning properly, serotonin levels etc dont be so hard on your self youve been through alot and its bound to affect thought processes etc

Awww Mary,

I’m so sorry you feel like that. I agree absolutely with Anna - - you wouldn’t think twice if it was insulin, or high blood pressure tabs - it’s just the psychological effect of taking anti depressants. I understand the menopause comes and goes as you go through it - you may be suffering at the moment, but it could all go away and calm down for six months or more, before flaring up again. If this is indeed true, you would only “need” the pills at the roughest times.

It’s yet another cross to bear, and I do understand your feelings about this. Counselling may be of help to you anyway, regardless of whether you need the pills for longer or not - it may help you find the answers you need and the strength to get through this time.

You take care, and be kind to yourself - you’ve already done so much - don’t beat yourself up over this, please
Sue xxxx

Hi Mary

I am so sorry you feel this way and I wish there was words of wisdom I can say that would help. I can only echo what the others have said. You’re not a failure. If these pills will help you get through this then it has to be for the good.

All the best

Nina xxx

Well you have come through again ladies,what can I say,what would we do without our support network here;
Cherub - prickly heat flushes is what I have been describing it as,periods stopped as of first chemo,loss of libido,and as I only remarried last Oct that is bothering me,and when we do it is painful,have had weird dreams and when I describe them they think I am mad ha ha.

annamarie- thank you, my niece said the same to me in a way that I am accepting treatment for my cancer, this is treatment to get my head straight in a way.

westie- you are having such a tough time yourself right now so thanks for thinking about me-when I go for my next herceptin on 24th I will ask for an appointment with the counsellor,again this is me thinking of failure but I need some help right now. so will do it, thanks

Nina -just responding has helped,you know what its like, somtimes we just need a kind word,or a kick up the backside ha ha

Thank you all so much

Stay Strong


Hi Mary -

Just had to reply as I’m doing the 4am stint not being able to sleep…

I don’t really know what’s going on with me, as it’s early days- had last period with first cycle in June - haven’t missed the bleeding, but the temperature control stuff is awful - not really flushing as you say, just TOO hot… then chilly, then so awake that I can’t go back off. Could of course be the steroids as I’m still only done 4/6 chemos…

However, being awake at night and suffering is a nightmare in itself, and with everything else going on, of course it’s going to affect us psychologically. And if a bit of medication helps… go for it. It’s generally a short lived thing and hell, if it makes you feel better…

Just read the autobiography of Lorna Sage (who?!) who suffered insomnia as a child. Her GP told her to make the most of it as it meant that she had more time than most people. She read - I do the same! I try not to open up the PC as it makes me more alert, but today I’m downloading timetables & season ticket application forms for the trains for the kids for school tis week - nothing like it for taking your mind off things!

Good luck with the medication

love Td x

I thought I would be admitting defeat when I realised I needed counselling and my advice to anyone in this situation is - DON’T feel like that, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’ve had 2 episodes of really bad depression in my life, in 1981 and again in 1993 and I felt that the fall out from BC had the potential to send me down that road again. Clinical depression made me a stronger person and made me really strong emotionally, but I had to accept having a life threatening illness was a bit too much.

Having counselling has helped me to look at things differently and work towards turning things round a bit. I had major problems confidence wise with my sister going into denial over this and behaving as if nothing was wrong; on her last visit I suddenly realised I had to let it go and I could not be responsible for my sister not being able to handle this. I don’t think I would have achieved this without the counselling service attached to my clinic. My GP was against me having this, left up to him I would have been on a combo of Prozac and Tamazepam and would have been getting knowhere, which would not have helped me at all. I also had a lot of issues about being told I did not have cancer, then finding out 4 weeks later I did and I have put this to bed as well; I now accept it sometimes happens like that.

Counselling isn’t easy as you are opening up to someone you don’t know on the first couple of sessions and they don’t say much. However, I find I go away with a set of little goals in my head that I have to try to achieve by the next session. Doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try if you can get access to it.