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Migraines and HormonesApril 16, 2012

*TMI alert -- If you're offended by people writing about their lady parts, don't read on; go pet a puppy or something else fun. I won't mind. 

I'll keep it short, because really, who wants to read about other people's medical schtuff? I'm getting a hysterectomy in two weeks, and I could not be happier. I've spent the last ten years trying everything (absolutely everything from East to West, don't you worry) to control/prevent my migraines but they're completely hormone driven, and I'm done. This is the pain train's last stop, friends. I'm getting off. Due to endometriosis, dysmennorhea, and the hormonal migraines, I'm getting the full monty taken out, ovaries and all. 

So I'm going to throw it out there, because you are wise: Let's talk about hormone replacement. I'm going to do estrogen-only supplementation. The hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that's been shown to cause cancer is a combo dose of progestin/estrogen. I'm not doing that because I don't need the progestin (and because I don't want to risk). The studies show that estrogen-only therapy actually lowers mortality (Bing! Zap! I'm like a video game!) and protects against the things that the old HRT caused: breast cancer, heart damage, etc. It might increase the risk of stroke, but only by a small amount. I've done some reading but I know there's a lot of stuff out there I don't know. And just try Googling hormone replacement! Quelle horreur!

Got any experience with this? I'll accept all stories and words of advice, apocryphal and otherwise, because I swallow the internet with a large grain of fabulously colored exotic salt. 

Oh, and I think in a response to all this, I've been SUPER sensitive about the all-over grey hair I've been trying to rock. (I'm 39, for the record.) I think, while I have friends that are rocking it, I was not quite there. I do believe in my heart we ALL should be proud of the grey hair when we get it. I believe my friends with white hair are gorgeous. But me? I was just not comfortable in my skin or my skin tone under grey hair, and I was tired of always feeling not myself. 

Photo on 4-13-12 at 7.23 PM #2

So I bought a box (Loreal Feria 56, for the curious), and covered some of my white with foil (because I do love it, just not all over) and ended up with this. Which, I have to suggest, I might be rocking. 

Now tell me everything about hormones. 


Purely anecdotal: My mother had a hysterectomy at the age of 45. She was taking a low dose of Premarin until this year when her doctor suggested she stop. She is 77 and is very healthy, in fact Premarin was the only Rx she was taking! Good luck.

I had a total hysterectomy at age 29. Took mega doses of premarin for years. Went off it in 2007. wish I hadn't. Continue to have hot flashes every day. Ugh. I am 74.

No input re HRT but the hair is gorgeous! The best of both worlds is better than either.

I suffered for migraines too. Being post-menapausal I only have them occasionally now. However, when I went on hormone replacement (after my hysterectomy) my neurologist told me only to go on the real stuff, not the synthetic version that you take for 28 days and then off for 5 to simulate your menstrual cycle. You want to take it every day if you're going to take it.

Have you tried seeing a neurologist that only sees migraine patients? There is definitely a hormone link with migraines but it's not well understood. I do understand what this is like but I'd want someone to tell me that having this surgery will solve my migraine problem.

Best of luck!

Hair is awesome! Thanks for sharing about the migraines because I suffer from them and one of my best friends suffers from them and I don't know if she's considered this as a possible solution. :)

I had a total hysterectomy over five years ago. I continue to take hormones for hot flashes. I am in my fifties, no complaints. No complications (I have a surgically related hernia but it's due to a scarring issue). I am fine now, no set backs, moodswings or weirdness. If you wanna know more feel free to email me!

Acupuncture and herbs.

Why are you trying to replace hormones? The problems all stem from hormonal imbalance. Instead of replacing the hormones that have tailed off, reduce the effect of the hormones that remain.

You're not far from the second-largest Chinatown outside Asia: find a DTCM (if possible, one who is also an MD) and find out how they can help keep the system in balance.

My acupuncturist has managed my natural menopause with both needles and herbs (Free and Easy Wanderer). I went to her after my first night sweats, and haven't had any in the three years since. YMMV.

Oh, and Estradiol, a vaginal tablet to keep the soft and stretchy bits soft and stretchy.

Forgot to say - love the hair!

I had a hysterectomy at almost 42. They left my ovaries so I still had hormones. No regrets, it made life so much easier. At 50, Dr. put me on hormone patch, it seems to have taken care of most things like hot flashes.
Good luck.

Yes, you ROCK the white hair there. Love the fountain of silver. I went white about 13 years ago...I was having such a problem with the skunk line that I just cut all of my hair off and let it grow in. THAT was hard on my ego!

Hysterectomy when I was 45. Happiest day of my life---fancy lingerie and white slacks any day I feel like wearing them! I did have a year of hot flashes (not bad in retrospect) but didn't do hormone replacement at all.

I have cluster headaches (sort of like migraines/childbirth and self-amputation all rolled up into one glorious hour or so) and went thru a UCSF Neuro workup (MRI, CT and blood work) and spent a day at the Parnassus neuro clinic (pretty views, expensive parking and BurgerMeister on Cole on the N. Judah line). After that, I was referred to the Migraine Clinic with Dr. Goadsby across the street from Mt. Zion.

The surgery had no effect on my headaches but everyone is different. Migraines are sort of a take-no-hostages kind of problem and as far as I can tell, there is no across the board cure for them.

I had a hysterectomy at age 33 due to migraines and endometriosis. They left one ovary which functioned for 10 years. When it crapped out I started with hot flashes. Tried every non-hormonal solution available. None worked. I tried premarin, which caused headaches (and besides I didn't like the bad press it got) so I quit that. I have been on a low dose of estradiol for years now. Every time I try to quit the HRT the hot flashes come back. They are unbearable (especially when they are 20 minutes apart). I fluctuate between .5 mg and 1 mg per day. I can tell when my dose needs lowering because my breasts get sore. Then when the flashes start up again, I raise the dose. Estradiol's also available in transdermal patches but my latex sensitivity keeps that out of the picture.

Whatever you end up using, enjoy your new life! You will love it!

PS. Your hair is adorable, but then again you always are adorable.

Hi Rachael.........LOVE the hair!! Its absolutely gorgeous on you!!

Hey........my name is not changed on here!! lol

I can't help with the hormone question, but I can recommend a site for people getting and recovering from hysterectomies that you might find useful--www.hystersisters.com

Good luck with your surgery, may your recovery go smoothly and well, and rock on with the awesome hair!

A friend just recommended Free and Easy Wanderer the other night, saying it's worked very well for her. Another friend (age 42) had a hysterectomy six months ago and has sailed through it beautifully. I had surgery for endometriosis about the same time and it kicked my arse.... (Would be happy to chat about it more if you'd like.)

Good luck! (And I love the hair.)

Love the hair, but anything red works for my household. :-)

I would love a hysterectomy. I need to have a good chat with my doc to go over that. She wasn't open to the idea of me being peri-menopausal when we last chatted, so either she opens up to my thoughts or I find another doc. (Migraines and fibroid cysts, and an 8 day period last month, plus the gushing days - oh my, so done with this.)

Anyway....my mother is also a hormonal migraine sufferer, also had endometriosis but started having abnormal paps, so they did the full hysterectomy. She wants to go back and hit the man that told her that her migraines would stop. Almost 12 years after the fact she still often has a migraine when she would have had her period. So there are no guarantees that the migraines will go away.

I had a hysterectomy and oophorectomy at age 27. I'm 60 now, soon to be 61. I began estrogen only replacement therapy soon after surgery. I started out on .3 mg of Premarin daily. After a decade that dose proved to be too much for me. My doc and I worked out a every other day dosing schedule that kept menopause symptoms at bay. At 48 I began taking only 2 doses or .6 mg. per week. At 50 I discontinued therapy completely. I had very mild hot flashes for a few months and during that time the car airconditioner was my best friend.

Pay attention to what your body tells you. If your doc will not work with you to find a dose that makes your body happy, change doctors. I did that twice. I used various brands and discovered that I did better on synthetic rather than naturally derived formulations.

I have Graves Disease and had my thyroid treated with radioactive iodyne 2.5 years ago. I do better on genertic levothyroxine than Synthroid and absolutely cannot tolerate ArmourThyroide that is a natural porcine-derived thyroid hormone therapy. The nurse at my endo's office says "trust what your body tells you". It is good advice.

You are to young to have all gray hair! And you get to do what makes you happy because women still can legally change the color of their hair.

I am a migraineur. Women have more problems with migraines because of hormonal cycles, yet they aren't totally clear on exactly how. I had several surgeries on my lady parts - removed small bits at a time until I went for the last surgery screaming "Take it all, every last little blood making piece of it!" After all the healing I wondered why, why, why I had waited so long. Edometriosis has a fair amount of pain with it. That was all gone as well as the whole cycle thing which stopped resembling any kind of cycle.
I started having migraines before I started menstruating and I have continued to have them beyond my hysterectomy.
I take estradiol as it was the only hrt that worked for me. I let it dissolve under by tongue. I am allergic to adhesives - so no patches. I have begun to wean myself to a lower dose, but I turn 57 next week.
Good luck with everything, darling. I am sorry you have the issues you have and hope that you can find relief from them all.

I had a total hysterectomy and oophorectomy about 15 years ago (I'm 55 now) and have been on Climara (oestrogen patches) ever since, plus Vagifem (awful name!) pessaries to keep the bits in working condition. No complaints, I tried to come off them a few years ago but the hot flushes and mental fogginess were awful so my Endochrinlogist agreed I should continue. Among other things, it protects agaist osteoporosis. I tried natural remedies when I tried to come off the hormones - they were absolutely useless. I can't comment on the migraines - I've only had half a dozen in my lifetime - both before and after the hysterectomy. The relief from period pain, anaemia and mood swings was enormous - I've never regretted it. The recovery was slow but I haven't looked back since.

I had a complete hysterectomy (TAH/ BSO) at age 53. I started Premarin immediately after the surgery. I had some hot flashes for a few weeks until a dosage adjustment calmed things down. I took Premarin only for another 10 years until my doctor took me off of it. I highly recommend hormone replacement . I hated to go off it and really miss it. I really think it keeps you looking younger and sleeping better! Good luck with your surgery! Whether you are having a laparoscopic procedure or an open procedure, do take it very easy afterward. I am a pre-op nurse and wish I could be there with you. Love and hugs and love your hair any color you wear it! You are beautiful!

I got nothin' for ya on the hormones, but I have to day, the Bed o' Nails continues to be a raging success around here for fighting the migraines and tension headaches!! I got the mattress, too, and the combo has helped with all kinds of maladies! I'm using far less Maxalt than I used to.

I love the hair. I am growing out my grey, and fighting it hard. I know what you mean about just not feeling right; it IS the skin tone thing. I might have to experiment with the color and foiling.

Love the hair! I found my first positive white hair last week -- I am a dirty blond, so I've been sure they were there, but couldn't see them.

Good luck with the hormones and migraines and surgery (oh my)!

i agree with a few of the comments here - i'd want some sort of guarantee from the doctor that it will get rid of your migranes. I get them bad usually the day before I start. When I was at school would spend the week either in the sick bay or at home. The doc put me on the pill since i was 18 have have been a bit better but not totally gone. They think i have endrometriosis (or however its spelt) but because i'm not in a position to have kids yet they say there is nothing else to do other than the pill because it will just come back. I have a younger friend (and also an older cousin) who actually get so bad they have fits (which have been ruled out as epilepsy) every time they get their period. My mum's cousin's stopped once she went through menopouse and my younger friend has started seeing a naturopath who has her on some natural stuff to help balance her hormones (sorry don't know what it actually is) and she hasn't had a fit since (and they were getting really bad). Whatever you choose i hope it all works out well cause I don't think there is anything worse than migranes - especially for someone who loves to read, write and knit! (and love the hair too!)

I had migraines like clockwork every month until menopause. I started HRT and still had them until I took the pills every day of the month and they stopped. I haven't had any since I went off the HRT either. I think it is the hormonal fluctuation that gets you.

My youngest suffers from migraines and is also trans (ftm). He's been on testosterone for a year now. Hasn't gotten rid of the headaches yet. Hopefully surgery will be successful for you.

As for grey hair, if you don't want it you know the solution! I used to be a dirty blond and the greys hid really well. When my middle kid passed away I went almost silver within a couple of weeks. I figure I've earned every last one of them, but then I just turned 55.

Your hair is gorgeous. I had a hysterectomy at age 45 after a long saga with an ovarian cyst and endometriosis. The migraines were horrible. I am now on estradiol 25 after a long consult with my doctor who was skeptical until I had a full hot flush in front of her - fogged up my glasses! It is a low dose so I still have some hot flashes but no migraines or full on hot flushes as yet thanks be. I am a satisfied customer so far. I wish you all the best with your surgery. I found the mint tea helpful with the gas post surgery. Blessings.

I had a rash once, Doc gave me cream, cleared it right up. You should just ask your Doc for some cream, way easier.

I feel your pain. I've dealt with said endometriosis, and dysmennorhea. The hormonal migraines went away once I went on the pill. I hate taking it and the least little thing disrupts it (antibotics) and i go back to feeling crappy.I wanted the full monty taken out after my last child at 25. However the docs still don't want to do it(even 14 yrs later). So I'm stuck with it I guess. We are the same age by the way:)

Nothing on HRT other than opinion, and it sounds like you've done your research (and then some!). Best of luck with the surgery, keeping good thoughts here that it will do the trick.

Love the hair! (And, totally off topic, what did you choose following The Great Eyeglass Debate?)

I really really like your hair like that. I think it's a nice mixture of being proud of your grey and proclaiming your youth.

Also proud of you for getting a hysterectomy, because I think that shit's underutilized.

No words of advice on the HRT. Talk to me in two years (I'll be about to enter clerkships in medical school) and I might have more answers for you.

I love the hair!!!
I wish you the best with your surgery. And I really hope it helps the migraines. I've had only 2 in my life and I thought I was going to die so I can't imagine having them chronically.

Don't know anything but hormone replacement..but do know that you are definitely rocking that hair.....it looks excellent!!!!!Good luck with your surgery!

I had a partial hysterectomy 2 years ago (I still have my ovaries). I'd had 3 years of periods that lasted 8 weeks, and I was anemic, tired of flooding tampon, maxi, underwear and jeans in an hour, tired of being afraid to stand up...Best decision I made.

I can't comment on the HRT but I will tell you to listen to what your doctors tell you. They aren't kidding when they tell you not to lift for 6 weeks. I pulled stitches lifting a bag of milk out of the fridge. The biggest thing they don't warn you about after is the TIRED that lasts for about 6 weeks.

Good luck. Totally understand about the hair. I've been completely gray since my mid-20s but it's nothing a little visit to Aunt Clairol doesn't fix...

p.s. LOVE YOUR BOOKS! I'm currently clicking away at the bookshelf sweater.

I have a couple of blog posts about hysterectomies and gray hair.



Hi Rachael! I'm a lurker--I've actually been spending my downtime at work reading through the archives here. It's been fun to speed-read through several years of your life. I had (on someone else's blog) read of your wedding to Lala, so I read through the first couple of years wondering where she was! I'm so glad you found her :D

Best of luck with your surgery. A friend of mine, who I believe is around 25, has a funny story about her hysterectomy. She's suffered myriad health problems all her life and had the hysterectomy as a teenager to solve horrible endometriosis. A couple of years ago, she went into the university's health center for some flu or other. The nurse asked for a urine sample, then on her way out the door said, "Oh, and we'll just do a routine pregnancy test." The door shut behind her before my friend was able to tell her that she didn't have a uterus anymore.

Working on the gray hair thing myself.....I had to have a hysterectomy at age 27 (after the birth of my daughter)..I used feverfew daily before and after the surgery for the migraines..helped a lot..I also used evening primrose oil, red clover, dong Quai after the hysterectomy...worked wonders, had very few symptoms..(sister also used these as her symptoms showed). I never once regretted the hysterectomy! Freedom! It has been 30 years.

I am sure you have tried everything for your migraines..

You need to make sure that your bodies minerals are at a good level, omega oils, and vitamin D, also try to stay away from sulfates, and preservatives (hard at times), worth every bit of taking the time to read the label, drink lots of good loose leaf green teas (hot or iced), lemon squeezed into hot or cold water, helps your body...if your liver is not happy your body is not....

I have nothing to contribute about the hormones, but you are indeed most definitely rocking the hair!

I have no info on HRT but want to say that your silver hair looks really nice but it isn't you at this time! I love the red! Rock it, Rachael. I am thinking of doing my "silver bits" copper or something fun and funky. Best of luck in two weeks. Recoup time will give you a chance to think about a book taking place in Venice :) Ciao bella!

I can't add to the HRT discussion, but as a black chick I am all about the hair :-). I know what you mean about supporting a style in theory, but not feeling that it is right for you. I've been wearing my hair natural for two years and convinced two of my daughters to do the same. It is short and kinky-curly, a look I love on my daughters but I can't stand on me! We live in an age of many choices, so do what makes you feel good :-).

I started taking oestradiol with a Mirena IUS fro progesterone cover (it was my form of contraception) aged 40 when the night sweats affected my sleep so bad I shouted at a patient...
Anyhoo, in 2009 they diagnosed a pituitary prolactinoma was the cause of my 'early menopause' and now that's sorted I no longer need the oestradiol.
Both professionally and personally my advice would be that until the risks outweigh the benefits, use it.

I still have all my bits at 54, so no sage advise there. I solved my migrain problem when I owned up to my caffeine dependence. Coffee each day kept the migraines away. Periods were horrid until 35 when I went into an early peri-menno. No hot flashes, but the horrid periods just nearly stopped on their own. Every 2-3 years, I'll get one out of the blue, but a normal flow for 3-5 days. Docs dont know why. I'd have it all out if the docs would agree, but they won't.

I had a stroke at age 46. Trust me, DO NOT WANT. Haven't had a headache since regardless of caffeine consumption. Go figure. The price is severely limited use of my left arm and leg.

The hair rocks! Then I thought you totally rocked the whole headful too. You are just so damned cute. Wear your hair however it makes you happy!

Hope you have an easy surgery that cures all you hope it will.

Love your hair!!

I have been taking Premarin for about 20 years now after a full hysterectomy. I tried to just go through MP but I get crazy hot flashes. I mean, like, every 5 minutes. I gave up. So, now am on the lowest dosage. It keeps my skin looking better, and my heart Dr. would rather that I stay on. So, that means that it's good for my heart. Taking too much estrogen means hurty boobs and I hate that too but it's far better than omg hot flashes, so I have been decreasing the dosage over the years to find that balance. My gyno says that some women just have to take it forever, so that leaves me in that category.

I *really* hope this cures the migraines, girlie.

and you are totally rockin' that hair. :) as you know.

love the hair!! i might have to try that color. :)

Had my hyst 9 years ago yesterday (age 35), best decision I ever made. Mine was due to endo as well, but been feeling so much better since! Currently taking estradiol 1 mg per day, lowest dose to prescribe. The hot flashes I could deal with, but I mainly take the estrogen to help with the mood swings. Much cheaper than therapy or antidepressants!

Loving the hair!

Hysterectomy at 40 ovaries left in. (Turned out I had been having no-headache migraines for years and didn't realize it. Thought there was something wrong with my eyes.)

Menopause 10 years after surgery and that's when the painful migraines started. Went through 5 or 6 estrogen-only drugs until hit on Estradiol - no more headaches. That hysterectomy was the best thing I ever did for myself!

My Mom was on Premarin until she died at 79.

I had a hysterectomy + ovaries (can't remember the technical term, but everything) because of fibroid tumors in 2004, went on estrogen-only replacement (Cenestin .3 mg), and haven't had any problems whatsoever. I'm 58 now.

Good luck! Hope it all works out well for you as well.

You are definately rocking the hair.
Good luck with surgery curing the migraines. The chinese herbs mentioned by others will help better than HRT and not do any harm as long as you find a good herbologist.

Rachael, I had a hysterectomy/oophrectomy at 38, was on premarin until age 51 (good stuff!). Didn't get headaches until they took me off the premarin, but they have since leveled off. After you've had the surgery you'll go into surgical menopause for awhile, but with hormone therapy it shouldn't be too bad. Everyone talks about hot flashes, but I had cold flashes and they were the worst. At least you have plenty of sweaters should you get them too. For the first year you'll find that you tire easily, but that will go away eventually as your body adjusts. I find that the herbal supplements don't work, especially stuff like estroven, they actually produce more hot flashes than prevent. I have no regrets having the surgery, but the lack of estrogen does affect your skin thickness. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Your faithful follower...

I had a total hysterectomy at 35. Seven years later, and I only wish I'd been able to talk my doctor into it sooner. I spent two decades being held hostage by my own body. I still get the occasional bad migraine, but not every two weeks for days on end like before. And I wonder how much is just stress, allergies or blood sugar issues now. (yay metabolic syndrome!)

I'm on the transdermal estrogen-only patch HRT. According to my research, one of the dangers of HRT was how the oral meds were transformed in the digestive process. Trans-dermal delivery avoids those issues. And you only have to remember it every 3 or 4 days.

I'm on the next-to-the-lowest dose of Vivelle, and no hot flashes. I started on the lowest originally, and only had to up my dose last year when I started having depression/hot flash/migraine problems. I love my little "scotch tape".

I'm trying to get used to my gray hair, but it would be easier to love it if it didn't come in so quirky and curly. My hair was stick-straight until two years ago. If I get it chopped off this summer, I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to resist the box of dye in the closet.

HI Rachel,
Ironically I missed your book reading/signing last fall because I had just had my hysterectomy. Still sorry about that.

I still have my ovaries and the plan was to have them keep producing hormones for at least a few more years until I reached a more normal menopause age. Well, I guess they decided that since my uterus was gone they could close up shop too. The hot flashes,night sweats, lack of sleep, mood swings had me feel like I was going crazy. After several years of fibroids and swinging hormones and disrupted sleep I was done, done, done! Alternative methods helped to a degree, but was not enough to solve the problem. I was too miserable. Not a good way to live life.
My doctor put me on estrogen only hormone replacement a couple of months ago and after a few weeks of my body adjusting I am feeling more myself. (I did have a few days of some pretty bad homonal headaches, but they passed and have not had one since) I can SLEEP, oh my God the world looks different with a good night's sleep. I never thought I would do HRT, certainly not synthetic, but I have to say I am a fan. It started helping with in a week. While it might not be everyone's choice, it is the right one for me. As others have said, trust your body. Trust yourself. Make sure you have trust in your doctor.

Best pieces of advice I got pre surgery:
People are going to want to be nice to you, let them.
Have a slippery night gown (one of rayon or satin or other super slick material). It will let you slide rather than drag when you need to move. This was, hands down the best thing ever. I could not believe how much of a difference it made.
From a gyn nurse- take as much time off as you possibly can. Us women tend to rush things and go back to work too early. Take this time for YOU.
Fiber, lots of fiber, lots of water.

Post surgery I found I was tired much longer than I expected. Not so much that I could not do all my normal stuff, but found I needed a lot more rest and sleep. Give yourself what you need, not what you think you should need.
Best of luck and gental healing.

Wish I had something to say about HRT. I seem to have survived menopause without much suffering -- occasional hot flash, but never unbearable.

ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR HAIR!! There is nothing to suggest... you ARE rockin' it. Most definitely.

The best advice was from Mary Plante: Pay attention to what your body tells you. If your doc will not work with you to find a dose that makes your body happy, change doctors

NPR just did a story on migraines. It hinted at a level of brain damage after a lifetime of migraines. I guess that explains some stuff about me. I had migraines from puberty through menopause, (dark room, ice pack, industrial strength Excedrin for three days). Post menopause I had a total hysterectomy due to cancer. I have not had a headache since then. Surgery was the best thing that ever happened to me. I do still have hot flashes but have had them since age 45 (now 62.) HRT did not work for me - I won't take Premarin because of how it's made - patches didn't help the hot flashes - Black Cohash helped sometimes but not always. My sister who is four years younger than me is happy with HRT patch and never has hot flashes, so each person is different. (We know this, we are women.) I finally just went native; still have hot flashes around the time I used to have a period, but nothing I can't live with. Estradil cream for the stretchy bits, that's all I do.

Everyone is different. Listen to your body. Life without migraines is a totally new life.

And, I love the silver streak. I agree that the gray did not suit you, you still have young skin, so you need a younger color hair. You seem like a redhead to me. :)

I can't tell you anything about hormones, but I did want to say: that hair is TOTALLY rocking. love.

Go vegan, Rachael, and all your problems, upper and lower, will go away.

I had a hysterectomy when I was 41 and it was the best thing I ever did! Seriously! I felt so much better, all the way around, after having it. But a small caution. For a while afterwards, you may feel like they put the parts back in wonky after having to rearrange them to get out the other parts. That will get better. It took a while for that to happen for me though. But it did get better. And I never took any hormones. My hot flashes are extremely mild and rare. I was sort of the poster child for it. I healed well and fast and felt measurable better every day, never took any pain pills after leaving the hospital. I wish you the absolute best!

Oh, p.s. I had a total hysterectomy. I figured I couldn't get cancer in it if I didn't have it. And I also got it because of endemetriosis. Again, not one day of regret.

Your hair is *awesome*! If your color is out of a bottle, remember you can pick *any* color, too -- coordinate with favorite sweaters, etc. :) (My hair has blue streaks at the moment....)

Wish I could give you info on the hormones, but I will be eagerly watching to (a) see that you get all healed up properly, and (b) whether this helps/stops your migraines. Because I am 40 and I get migraines and DUDE, I would so do anything to get rid of them. Worst thing I've tried was Botox; Topamax was helpful, but had lots of side effects. I'm rooting for you! Good luck!

Good luck with the surgery. I don't know anything about HRT.

Love the hair. I am mostly gray. I probably would dye it again but the stuff makes my scalp burn.

I had a Hysterectomy 4 years ago when I was 51. I have never felt better, no hot flashes, nothing. The only complaint I have is um.....dryness. I have tried vaginal hormones with success. My Dr. says I'm a good candidate for oral ones, I'll keep you posted.

In a nutshell - I had a complete hysterectomy at 32 and was given full dosage of Premarin. At 47, dr lowered dosage, at 48 lowered dosage again, at 49 went to lowest dosage available, at 50 took pill every other day, at 51 went cold turkey the day before I went to Italy for 2 weeks. Perhaps the Italian trip took my mind off of it, but I've never had a hot flash after quitting Premarin. I am 56 today & can tell you that having a hysterectomy will be the ABSOLUTE BEST thing you will do for yourself!! Best of luck (and I love the new do!!)

I just realized that we were born just a month apart! :) I love the red with the shock of white in it! No HRT advice here, just good wishes for a speedy recovery from your surgery and to say how gorgeous you are no matter what your hair color!

No experience with HRT or hysterectomy but best wishes for a speedy recovery.
I have an 11yo daughter who has been getting migraines since she was in 1st grade so I feel your pain. I get very infrequent migraines but I'd rather have my own than watch my daughter suffer through one of hers. Luckily she's gotten very good at detecting them very early (the school nurse will bypass the usual lie down for 20 min before we call Mom protocol and calls me immediately when my girl says migraine) and we can usually head off the worst effects with Tylenol (she can't swallow even the smallest pill so it's chewable Tylenol), lots of fluid, a bit of caffeine and a nap in a dark room so the full-blown sobbing, vomiting, "please make it go away Mommy" migraines are not nearly as frequent.

No info/help on the HRT, but the HAIR is AWESOMESAUCE!!

I had a hysterectomy last year after 20 years of putting it off. I'm older than you are (55) and really wonder why I waited so long. My monthly migraines stopped, though I have had a couple since the surgery. Be good to yourself after the surgery and rest more than you think you should need to...it really seemed to make the recovery easy when I didn't fight it. I use an estrogen ring. It is easy and works great. Just have to change it a bit earlier than the standard 3 months to ward off the headaches and other crap. I will be sending good thoughts.

You're going to feel sooo much better. I was on HRT after my hyst (age 44) for six years. You can decide to go off hormones if you want when you reach the usual age for menopause; meanwhile go for it!

I used an estrogen patch; the only problem was the sticky gunk it left behind on my skin.

Best thing I ever did, would have saved my sister's life...highly recommend the hysterectomy cure for migraines!
Find a super smart doc who specializes in bio identical hormones,
Do it right before you have the ectomy so she can get baseline numbers BEFORE.
No do overs possible ;)
Wishing you all the best
As always,

Hey Rachael, I had an early menopause aged 42 - am now 47. It was something I didnt expect and which wiped me out for years. I just felt that it was obviously right for me to make this passage at that time, and didnt want the intervention of drugs, so have never taken HRT, although none of my friends agreed with my stance on this :-)
Did take Black Cohosh for the hot flushes and that did help. They are quite intermittent, might go a year with none, then they come back. Am having a few at the moment, combined with sleep problems, but am much, much better than a few years ago when I thought I was losing my mind.... the foggy thinking was particularly awful at first. I'm an academic and have always been sharp baby, and suddenly it felt that all my words were wearing fleeces - if that makes sense?!
Also, please think carefully before submitting to Premarin. It has been on the animal-abuse list forever - its made with pregnant mares urine after all, and the conditions these constantly insemenated animals are kept in are notorious - let's face it, and to mix our metaphors, they are just cash cows, and who wants to be part of that scene? There has to be another option!
Good luck with it all Rachael. You have so many 'friends' out there... we'll all be rooting for ya and probably giving you much conflicting advice to sift through ;-)
Christiane Northrup's book on the menopause is useful - quite the tome - and I also liked 'Red Moon Passage', cant remember the author. These triggered off lots of ideas and possibilities about the menopause that are pretty much ignored/covered up by the media, who like the medical establishment, have pathologised it to death. Rather than focus on 'loss', I feel its much better to go down the 'enhanced creativity' and 'crone in training' route!

Best wishes for your surgery. Had the same thing done in my mid-40's, more than 20 years ago, and have been on Estrogen only since then. My Gynecologist said if it was him, he'd be taking it until they put him in his casket!

All I can say is it's good to feel good every day.

I am new to your site, however just started reading your book. I am loving it! I wanted to share with you my cousin's experience, she herself has just gone thru this. With Endometriosis being the cause for her full hysterectomy. I know there is a lot to chose from out there for hormone treatment and each person is different. However in her research she has come to find one of the leading causes of Endometriosis is Estrogen. Usually the body making too much of it! So anything that has estrogen in it the body just takes and runs with it. This information led her to not take the treatment that was estrogen based. Again each person is different, but I wanted to share it with you so it was one more thing to add to the pile of what to think about. I wish you the best with this and hope your days of pain end soon. I look forward to reading more of you blog and book.!

Long time lurker here! Think about taking the time to watch a video at www.holtorfmed.com about "Why you should not be afraid of taking hormones." It's a good summary of what the Women's Health Initiative Study (the name of the study that really started all the controversy) means, and what it doesn't mean. I've been using bioidentical hormones, a estradiol and estiol combination that comes as a gel, and progesterone as a pill, and I've been really happy with it. Good luck! And your hair does, in fact, rock.

Yep, life is so much better with estrogen! Had a hysterectomy at 45, have been on low-dose premarin/estradiol since then and refuse to quit. Controls the hot flashes and also makes the rosacea much more cooperative. You have my full endorsement, amiga!

I, too, had a hysterectomy (not ovaries) at a young age (31). Not due to migraines, although I had them. Since I kept the egg makers, I didn't need HRT until I hit menopause. I stayed on patches for only a couple years. This has turned out to be a mistake-for me and my husband. Now I am trying out a variety of options to keep things from itching and drying out too much. And, the insurance won't pay for these meds as it did for the HRT patches. So, I vote for HRT at as low dose as you can comfortably handle. For me the night sweats were what drove my decision to go on them to begin with.
And, if this isn't TMI (but info I give to each woman who asks me about hysterectomy surgery), the big O has not been the same since the surgery. Not bad, just different. After all a giant muscle that will contract for your pleasure will be gone.
As for the hair-I colored for 5 years and now (I'm 56 now)I have decided is time to let it go. I probably would have colored at 39 if I was in your place. But luckily I didn't gray early.
Take care. Be sure to have some simple plans for your time off. Clean a drawer each day. Organize the photos from your trip. Something so you don't feel like a slug and can say you did "something" while you recovered.

I had a hysterectomy last year. Are you having the DaVinci Robotic surgery? I only spent about 24 hours at the hospital and was back to work in 2 weeks. It was wonderful! Good luck and I love the hair!

Well in addition to having multiple sets of tonsils I also had hormone driven migraines. They were worse in the spring. Finally about 15 years ago I was referred to a headache specialist who put me on trazodone. He slowly brought up the dose until my headaches went from one to two a week to one around the time of my period which was manageable with Fioricet. I went into menopauseand they decreased. I'm now 59 and was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. I started Tamoxifen and the headaches came back with a vengeance. The neurologist increased my trazodone again and the headaches went away, for a week, so I got off the Tamoxifen rather than increasing the trazodone further. I take 250 mg. Oh and the white hair. I started going grey at 27, I gave up coloring it about about five years ago. Now it's pretty much white. Most of the time I like it. I also used to have straight hair and now its curly!

I am now in my mid-fifties and had a hysterectomy when I was 36;my uterus and cervix were removed,but I still have my ovaries.As I had suffered from heavy and painful periods for years and then developed fibroids,it was a relief to know that my years of misery were over.After my surgery,I was advised that the pathologist's report had stated that there had been pre-cancerous cells on my cervix and that having a hysterectomy had been a wise decision.I have never used HRT,but opted for homeopathic remedies to control hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms and found that they have worked very well.

1. Check out hystersister website for info and message boards about hysterectomy. Very helpful.
2. Ovarian cancer in the family, so I had my whole works out two years ago, and still take a teensy weensy dose of estrogen every day (I am now 43). No problems whatsoever, I feel fine.
3. Good luck, I hope everything goes well for you. Hugs.

I grew my hair out when I was 50 and it was really long then. I looked like a ghost - redhead pale skin did not look good with white hair. I cut it short 4 years ago and dyed it a lighter shade of red so now instead of my original dark auburn I'm a light redhead. I love it and may dye it forever. My 80+ aunt and I now have the same haircolor.

My migranes are much fewer and less debilitating since menopause, but I take low dosage estrogen for hot flashes. The original dose was too much (my period came back!), but an every other day schedule works great. Feel free to experiment to find what works for you; there are many options.

You are rocking the hair :) Yowser!!

Wishing you a speedy recovery and a life free from migranes.

No experience with hysterectomy personally but would have one in a second if I could. At near 46 my periods have gone from 3 lightish days to 5 days of an all out bleed out. You can imagine how wonderful that makes a person feel, not to mention how limiting it can make life.

All the best.

Just read your article in the Sept Ladie's Home Journal (loved it) which led me to your blog... and found an instant friend. I'm also a 911 dispatcher for a fire department (for 18 years) and felt instantly connected to you. In 1996, I had a total hysterectomy (at the age of 44) due to endometriosis and took estrogen replacement for 5 years when my doctor cut me off, saying the risk of side effects doubled after that & it wasn't worth it. Never had migraines or loss of concentration but the hot flashes continue to this day. A couple years ago, I lost 30 pounds and the hot flashes almost completely disappeared -- then I gained back 5 pounds and they returned!! Not sure what the relationship is, but it does make me more determined to get back to my good eating habits! In addition to cathing up on your blog, I'll be downloading your books to my Kindle since crafts have been banned in our 911 center (can you believe it??) so I know I have a lot of good reading ahead!

I never had a hysterectomy but have gone through menopause (I think the worse is over...I hope!) I can relate though. That was the worse thing I have ever been through.)

I love your hair! That suits you. :)

Just finished reading "Honeymooning" Great book! Its the 2nd book of yours I have read. I read "how to Knit a Lovesong" awhile back. I look forward to reading more. :)

I can't tell you anything about hormones other than that I get migraines and hideous facial rashes (rosacea / acne) on a regular cycle and it sucks. LOVE your hair! I might try something similar as at 47 and three quarters (ha!) I am not quite ready to be called "grandma" yet.

I don't know anything about HRT, but I do know about hormone related migraines. I have had them since my first pregnancy (23 years ago). I thought after the pregnancy those would go away -- no such luck. So I wish you the very best luck with your surgery and your recovery.

I just finished "Life in Stitches." It was such a refreshing read, and I really enjoyed it. My knitting has been in a funk since Stitches West, and your stories revived my interest and allowed me the courage to cast on. THANKS! I wrote about it here at www.knithappiness.com

I am late to this post however need to jump in.
First the surgery: It was the best thing I ever did. I take estradiol, everyone gave me a hard time including my sister who is a nurse. I went six months without it, hot flashing and bitchy as hell. Finally I decided that my quality of life was being compromised by NOT taking it, so I am back with it and VERY happy. You will know what is right for you, just dont suffer needlessly.
Hair: I am one of your "elder" readers and I am just now growing out and its a struggle, however appropriate for my age. I "think" am now ready to accept being silver/white, my native american sisters tell me I am "letting my wisdom show" Ha! I loved the pic you posted with your rockin red....do what makes you feel good you are beautiful no matter what!

I am late reading blog posts but I am jumping in. Just celebrated my third "hysterbirthday" and it was one of the best things EVAH! And I am not taking any hormones...because I am just a salmon swimming upstream and don't want to! The hot flashes have finally subsided thank goodness and I can say that I feel better than I have in years.

I don't know much about hormone therapies, but 1) have you looked into a possible magnesium deficiency? Google magnesium deficiency and wellnessmama, it read the 152 reviews for Natural Vitality Natural Calm magnesium supplement. Pretty impressive. 2) I live the red and white. Truly. I can see good things with this. White and dark brown? White and blue? (gasp!) 3) belated/irrelevant magnesium research aside, I hope this works for you and you are migraine free. It would be so great. 4) my sister had a hysterectomy at 26, and another friend at 35. I can ask around if you'd like. My friend is more research-based and tries to do everything au naturelle. Let me know. Good luck! (I will not tell you what that autocorrected to, but we almost became intimate).

Though I have no experience / recommendations about HRT, I had to post: I LUV your hair!

oh my.
Migraines. I have read all, tried all
and suffered for years. But there is hope if you don't go with mainstream medicine. Estrogens/progestines cause the problems as well as our estrogenic society (esp. your hair color!)
Check out this site. Read all the articles on the left.
I have had amazing results with natural transdermal progesterone, fever few, magnesium, and getting all estrogenic phyto chemicals out of my life. Worth the effort!
Hope this helps.

I had a TAH 15 weeks ago - still have one ovary left. So far best decision ever, after years of excessive heavy bleeding, pain ,etc.

Remember to take is easy for at least 6 weeks, drink plenty of water, eat plenty of fibre and take some peppermints or peppermint drink for, ahem, wind. You will need it.

good luck !

Had a total hyst. 10 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. As a field archaeologist the bleeding was too much for camping etc. So I had the operation and they removed my fruit salad too - fibroids the size of grapes, lemons, and one orange. Was on a reduced dose of a synthetic hormone for the last 5 years which was better for me - total for 10 years - and am now done with it. I am adujusting to changes in sleep patterns but it was time. We have a group of women that are proud to be a member of the Womb with a View club. Really, we all feel so much better and enjoy life more. No regrets. Good luck!

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