• No Hormones allowed - so what are the options

    Asked by miabearfan on Tuesday, March 5, 2013

    No Hormones allowed - so what are the options

    My type of cancer does not allow for hormones even after a total hysterectomy. I had not gone into menopause befroe surgery. What questions to ask my doctor on Friday and what have others done? Advice? ( night sweats have already started) Any feedback is appreciated

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • Cindy's Avatar
      Cindy

      I had a total hysterectomy and could not take any hormones either. My doctor didn't make any suggestions. I just wore layers of clothes because my temperature fluctuated a lot so I could take off and put on layers to keep comfortable. I slept with various layers of sheets and blankets that I could remove or put on during the night. I wore baseball caps and put wet paper towels in it to cool off.

      almost 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      No hormones for me either as my breast cancer was fueled by estrogen and progestorone.....I had horrid joint pain when on Aromastase Inhibitors and started taking gabapentin....and an added benefit was it help immensely with my night sweats.....I keep a fan by my bed, only have a bed sheet on the bed, only sleep in a cami and often keep the window open.....when night sweats were at the worse, I put a towel on my pillow and under my on the bed.....

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I'm not sure I fully understand your question. It sound like you have a handle on the situation so I'm not sure what type of topics you are wanting to ask your doctor about. As I understand it, you are entering menopause (possibly early menopause) and hormone replacement therapy is ill advised (as it is for all women whether they have had cancer or not). Menopause is a natural process, just as is puberty, pregnancy, etc. Some women have fewer issues and some have more. There is a ton of literature available in books, magazines, and the internet on tips for handling the symptoms of menopause.

      almost 4 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar
      AlizaMLS

      Dear miabearfan,

      I think I have a sense of what you you're seeking. I'm a BC patient, am fortunate enough not to need chemo/radiation and take Tamoxifen (for now-at least a year [I'm starting menopause on my own {I'm 54}]. I'm also a (retired) trained Medical Librarian. I don't offer medical advice (against Librarian's ethics), but I refer people to different sources and can tell you about what has happened re me & people I've known.

      Because of dryness issues, my Oncologist in conjunction with my ob/gyn is permitting me to use Vagifem tablets (used vaginally and not really absorbed systemically putting me [underline me] at risk). (However my cancer's different than yours & my doc has different feelings on this subject as well).

      Note: Be very cautious about taking herbal remedies to alleviate symptoms of menopause (Remifemin, Estoven, etc.) as some of these herbs have estrogenic qualities (check with your doctor before you do [remember herbs have real effects-e.g., white willow is a salicylate, i.e., a precursor of aspirin and has anti-inflammatory properties and if you're allergic to aspirin, you're allergic to white willow-I know!!! I am!!!]).

      Re Menopause and questions for your doc -

      1) What can I do to ease symptoms (my suggestions are to dress in layers [that includes pj's])- use those fabrics that wick away perspiration - see the LL Bean catalogue or Gaiam. (unlikely that Victoria's Secret has fabrics that do this).

      a) The catalogue Gaiam offers many products that may be helpful, possibly a cool pillow (if they don't, Hammacher Schlemmer might. This pillow will help your head stay at a constant temperature. Otherwise, you might Google seeking this. I believe they've also started to make mattress pads that help to keep body temperature constant (with this purpose in mind).

      2) If I am not permitted to use vaginal estrogen tablets to help lubrication, what other lubricants can I use for intimacy? (KY jelly [of the days of olde {not the Yours & Mine kind}]) is possibly going to be recommended because it's very viscous. This kind does not come in flavors and does not offer explosions other than those you (and a partner of choice) provide...;) Your doc (oncologist or ob/gyn may have some other thoughts for you.

      3) One thing a friend did to help her menopause - at her ob's suggestion was to carry a wet washcloth in a ziplock bag. That way, when she was out and overwhelmed with a hot flash, a quick trip to the ladies' room gave her a bit of a break. Or purchase those small cans of Evian they used to sell to set your makeup.

      4) A girlfriend confessed to me that going through her menopause (she's not a cancer patient either) is making her extremely irritable and moody. As cancer patients, we have enough to deal with re issues on our plate that can make us moody, so if you're starting to feel even more so, it's probably a great idea to make that appointment to chat with the Social Workers at CancerCare or talk to your Oncologist to see if she/he thinks whether an antidepressant might be helpful and also a reference for a doc to prescribe it.

      Those are my thoughts for now. Anyone who can add to this list. Feel free. It's probably a good list to keep going and have around. I hope it helps you and I hope menopause is over fast. I heard Tamoxifen helps you drop weight-so it pays to look at the bright side...;)

      Warm wishes,
      AlizaMLS

      nancyjac is quite right. Menopause is a natural process like puberty and pregnancy, and like those conditions or processes there are things you can do to make this passage much easier and more pleasant for yourself.

      almost 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar
      gwendolyn

      Great list, Aliza!

      almost 4 years ago
    • BENDINTHEROAD's Avatar
      BENDINTHEROAD

      Taking Tamoxifin so having the whole sweating thing. DHEA in a vaginal preparation helps with the dryness. Cotton sheets with a high (over 300) thread count helps with sleeping at night. And here is one I can't explain - but so far it is working. I am on Optifast. Too heavy - all fat has estrogen - estrogen feeds tumors - so fat has to go. Don't know why - but no hot flashes.

      almost 4 years ago
    • BENDINTHEROAD's Avatar
      BENDINTHEROAD

      Taking Tamoxifin so having the whole sweating thing. DHEA in a vaginal preparation helps with the dryness. Cannot be taken internally because it can turn into a kind of estrogen. Cotton sheets with a high (over 300) thread count helps with sleeping at night. And here is one I can't explain - but so far it is working. I am on Optifast. Too heavy - all fat has estrogen - estrogen feeds my tumors - so fat has to go. Don't know why - but no hot flashes. It is almost worth not eating.

      almost 4 years ago

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