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Are my problems perimenopause, ovarian cysts or ....?

By September 11, 2008 - 10:27am
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I am 45 years old in perimenopause. Have been for 5 years now. I have been taking soy, black cohosh, & dong quai for my symptoms. Works like a charm. My periods without the herbs are spuratic. With the herbs my periods come like clockwork, every 28 days. So I have stayed on the herbs since they make me regular. My last period was due 9 days ago. I am feeling very bloated (which I never am), I have had vaginal discharge for 6 or more days (cloudy, stretchy)and still am, I had 3 days of very light spotting 10 days before my period was due, my nipples are very sore (I never get sore nipples just sore breasts), my breasts are not sore, I have been more tired than usual, and I have a history of ovarian cysts.
Any idea what could be causing my problems?

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Hi Roo, Dr. Philip Sarrel with Yale University responded to your question regarding your cycle. Here' what he had to say.

You are at an age when menstrual cycles naturally become irregular. Sometimes, as you have indicated, this is due to a cyst in the ovary. Since that has happened to you before, it’s quite possible that your period delay and symptoms are due to a cyst. These cysts are “benign”, that is to say, have nothing to do with cancer. They are usually called “functional cysts”. Because of the cloudy discharge, the spotting you had a few weeks ago and the nipple tenderness, it’s most likely you have ovulated and have what is known as a “corpus luteum cyst”. It should go away on its own but the products you are using-soy, etc. do have estrogen actions which may be sustaining the cyst.
It would make sense to stop whatever you’re taking and see if that helps to bring down a period.
Let’s assume that stopping the herbals leads to a menstrual flow. What to do then ? I suggest you try a few months without taking anything or that you decrease the amount of herbal you’re using. Your own hormone production will vary during these years and you may actually have better ovarian function than you had before taking the herbals.
What if stopping the herbals doesn’t lead to a period and you continue to have your symptoms? Then, you should have a gynecologic examination to be sure you don’t have a persistent ovarian cyst requiring medical treatment.

September 16, 2008 - 7:31am

Hi Roo, Thanks for writing. I'm sorry to hear that you're having issues. We have forwarded your question to one of the top menopause experts in the country. Hang in there and we'll have an answer for you in a day or two.

September 11, 2008 - 10:58am
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