Dr Louann author of The Female Brain

So does it all get better once you hit menopause? I am turning 54 next month and have not a period since last April. I've been suffering through peri menopausal symptoms since I was 40. But as it turned out, those paled in comparison to what started up when I turned 50.
Since then, I seem to have every menopausal symptom in the book, from flashes to night sweats, insomnia, low mood, low energy, low motivation, zero libido and irritability.
The cognitive effects are the worst though. I have trouble with memory, concentration, planning, organising, even finding words in mid sentence! I have a challenging career and have to be on the ball mentally to perform it, but these past 3-4 yrs I sound like an idiot a lot. Some days I think I have Alzheimers, pmdd and add! I will have to quit working if I can't fix this soon.
I have tried ssri's but they did not help much and had lots of bad side effects. Bio identical progesterone made me sleepy and blue all the time. Seems I'm very sensitive to drugs and hormones.
I'm now on Estrogel for the hot flashes and insomnia, and it's working for those, but it does not make my brain any sharper. My ob/gyn is at a loss as to what else to try. We are thinking of adding Androgel too. She says the gynaecology field does not know much yet about hormones and cognition in menopausal women. She says maybe a neuropsychiatrist can come up with the right mix of treatments.

Any thoughts? And can you recommend somebody with your expertise here in Canada I could see?

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Comment by LOUANN BRIZENDINE on March 3, 2012 at 5:03pm

Great questions and you are not alone. Sounds like the estrogel is good for sweats and insomnia, so good to keep it up. The ssris often make women's sex function worse and brain function not so sharp, so ask your doctor if it is safe to stop those and any other medications --even ones over the counter that have benadryl and the like--that make cognition and memory worse--and only small amounts of progesterone is what we use in my clinic. check with your doctor and ask to see a memory specialist since they can help with which meds you are taking that make cognition less sharp. best wishes, Dr Louann

Comment by B Jill on March 3, 2012 at 5:09pm
Thanks for you comments. Am already off everything else. What do you think of the androgel idea? And can you recommend anybody in Canada for the cognitive part?
Comment by LOUANN BRIZENDINE on March 10, 2012 at 7:30pm

yes, the androgel gives back sex drive. Check out the clinic that Dr Barbara Sherwin started in Canada back in the 1990s. they do a great job of the cognitive and libido. stick with it and keep trying to get help because you will get better when you find the right combination for your body and brain, but it is trial and error.

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