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Unread 01-10-2011, 08:52 AM

I am actually an oldtimer and had a hysterectomy in 1993. Post op, I had palpitations, anxiety, insomnia and basic misery. After many weeks, I found a doctor who prescribed a second patch for me. I needed more estrogen. All these years, I have been fine until I got the bright idea to taper one of the patches over several months. Eventually, I began noticing anxiety over stupid things, then a red hot face, and finally, palpitations. Then I figured it out! I tried to return to my old dose of estrogen, but the palpitations did not resolve in two weeks, so I incresased my dose for a week, then panicked that I would take too much and cut it back, and then raised it, etc... I was half nuts with anxiety, palpitations and panic. Finally, after reading the information on Vivelle dot, I realized that it could take four to six weeks of consistent hormones to be rid of vasomotor symptoms!! I am currently entering my fifth week. Things have gotten better as far as panic, anxiety and sleeping again, but I still have some palpitations. I am terrified that these things will not resolve with time. They are very disturbing. Does anyone have any experience with this? It's been so long now because I tinkered with my dosage. I did not know that changing doses often can throw the brain into a tizzy. We expect to feel better the next day after increasing or decreasing our dose, but it doesn't work that way with hormones.

I feel so sorry for new hystersisters who have the same types of symptoms and often blame the hormones on their symptoms---but their symptoms are actually due to the surgery and no one told them it takes four to six weeks to feel human again on the hormones.

I just hope my palpitations will go away with another few weeks of estrogen therapy. What an ordeal!! Are there any experienced people who have lived this also?
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Unread 01-11-2011, 08:26 PM
Re: Palpitations

Yes, it does take time for the body to adjust to hormones being adjusted. I would make an appointment with the doctor so he can test your hormone levels and also to see if the palpitations are from the hormones or something else.

Hang in there

Unread 01-11-2011, 08:47 PM
Re: Palpitations

Hi SuzyQ23,
None of my doctors believe in doing blood tests!! Even the Ob/gyn said they are unreliable!! Everyone else in the world has bloodwork done!!! Even after my hysterectomy, it was like a shot in the dark to pick a dose of estrogen! At that time, I also got palpitations and was a wreck for awhile.

I believe that it is the only thing it could be from (since my thyroid is perfect) and I was not stressed until I tinkered with my estrogen. Dang. This has been such a long haul. Had I known that I could not keep adjusting my dose every few weeks, I could have saved myself months of misery. Now, I am four weeks and four days into a consistent dose. Yesterday, I was pretty good, today, I was a mess.

I spoke with one person who works at an office where they do bio-identical hormones and testing and she told me it can take as long as three months to settle down. Wow. If things do not get better soon, I will go to that doctor and I am sure she will test me.

Now I understand why I have seen posts from new hysterectomy patients and they have had many horrid symptoms and blamed the hormone instead of understanding the misery involved with too little hormone! I did the same thing after my surgery. I felt horrid and thought I was on too much estrogen, but in fact, I needed more!! It was a nightmare and my doctors at that time were totally worthless until I found a good doctor to help me.

Thanks for the reply. I am ready to feel good again. The palpitations are very disruptive. Thankfully, not constant (most of the time). Mine are like a skipped beat and a big thud afterward. Unnerving.

Thanks again for caring enough to reply!!
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Unread 01-17-2011, 01:26 PM
Re: Palpitations

I just got my blood results back and they told me that my hormones are all normal. I was so mad i cried. I too feel like total crap! If your doctor told you that the blood tests are unreliable, why do doctors do them anyways? They can put a man on the moon but they cant find an accurate way to test us!
Unread 01-17-2011, 06:00 PM
Re: Palpitations

Hi SoulWinner,
This is my fifth week on consistent hormones. On Friday, it will be my sixth week. I woke up three times last night in a sweat with my heart going nuts. The insomnia is horrid. I keep hoping for a real night of sleep and a real day without flipping heartbeats (skipping, actually). I got desperate and called a new doctor, who I will see on Wednesday. She does do the blood tests, so we'll see. I would be just as disappointed as you if they came back alright. I know that anxiety has gotten the better of me in this because it's been such a long time of feeling like crap and the palpitations are completely unnerving. But one thing that I have heard is that they don't always test for hormone levels but go by the way a person feels. Maybe in the long run, that makes sense more than bloodwork. But for new people who have just had a hysterectomy, they don't know what it feels like to be too low or too high!

After my hysterectomy, I felt like crap too. I bawled, could not sleep, had palpitations, anxiety, etc. I thought it was the estrogen patch causing it, so I took it off for a day! Talk about a total nightmare!! I felt like crap because I did not have enough hormone! After someone figured it out, I took more and finally got over the hump into normal life again! But it did take some time, too.

I just talked to another pharmacist and she said it might even take three months to level out on the hormone. I am just nearly six weeks! The thought of feeling crappy yet for several weeks really bugs me. But what choice do i have?

The moral to my story is: If you feel good, leave it alone!! They scare us to death about hormones, but recently there was a study about estrogen only therapy and they found that women actually had less breast cancer on estrogen only therapy than women who took nothing!!! Believe it or not! I saw it all over the internet about a month ago. But those who take fake progesterone (progestins) and the non-bioidentical estrogen were the ones who had the higher risk for the breast cancer.

I do the patches. They do not inflame the veins like the pills do. Less chance of blood clots from what I read in Science Daily. Originally, I did the Climara patches but they got too expensive on my insurance. I switched to Vivelle Dots and found that i needed to increase my dose on those!

If all else fails, and you get no satisfaction from your current doctor, maybe you can try another doctor? It's amazing how much that can help. The man who did my hysterectomy was at a loss for helping me with the aftermath. A totally different doctor told me that I needed more estrogen and it made all the difference in the world. He did not do a blood test, either. He knew by my symptoms that I needed more!

Hang in there and either you'll adjust with time, or see if you can find another doctor. Living in hormone hell just isn't worth it!!!
Unread 01-18-2011, 06:12 AM
Re: Palpitations

Thanks for reply. I too have learned that if everything is ok, leave it alone. My stuff started when i had a tubal with my son 6 years ago. I was told that a tubal didnt have any after effects. But a year and half later, I would bleed so hard on my second day of my cycle that i would have to stay home. So then my doctor tells me about an ablation. I asked if there were problems with this. NOPE he says. But 6 months after, such pain in my lower left side each month, i couldnt stand it anymore. My doctor refused to believe that the ablation gave me the pain until i spent 2 weeks online, printing off my symptoms that i had and others had. I made the Doctor read the threads that others put about that. Finally he listened so then i had the hyst. Now here i am with hormone problems and i cant get anyone to listen to me cause the blood work turned out ok.
I lean on the Lord and do what I can to feel better. He knows how us women feel. He made us after all. I know he can heal me!! Hang in there!
Unread 01-18-2011, 09:43 AM
Re: Palpitations

Hi SoulWinner,
I am also a Christian! I went to a nice Christian doctor for my hysterectomy, but I was so dissappointed in his follow up. I returned to his office about six weeks later and I was a mess. I had palpitations, anxiety and felt half nuts. He said, "You have anxiety." Duh!!! He gave me Estratest at that point, but I found that the pills gave me heartburn and chest pain (I think it was acid reflux). I was still nutty and not right emotionally or mentally. I went to the library and got a book about menopause and I saw myself on those pages. My doctor did not understand the connection with menopause and palpitations and he was an old time ob/gyn!! So I went to the cardiologist and wore a heart monitor for a day. Even a top notch internist did not understand the hormone thing and the palpitations. Finally, by the grace of God, I went to my aunt and uncle's doctor. He is a Christian and he prayed with me before we talked. As I bawled and was still a mess, he said, "You need more estrogen." That was the magic trick!! Now I don't remember how long it was before I felt better, but it seems like it wasn't too long (not like my current ordeal!). Maybe you still need just a tiny bit more, even though your bloodwork is fine? As I am learning, it takes a long time to get over menopause symptoms. Maybe it is taking me so long because I jumped around on my dose every two weeks for a few months. I was so desperate that I tried every dosage under the sun without knowing it was really screwing up my brain!! I had no idea that it could take four weeks to 12 weeks to level out. What a hard lesson! We get desperate when we feel so rotten and out of sorts. A person would just about try rat poison to get out from under the depression, hysteria and insomnia!! And, it takes so long to get in to see a doctor. Once you're there, it doesn't mean they will know any more than you!!! Finding a good one is a challenge!!

I should have stayed with the second doctor who prayed with me so many years ago!!! I eventually got irked with him because he wanted to prescribe diuretics for my blood pressure. I didn't want to go that route, so I left his practice. As long as I didn't tinker with my estrogen, it has done well for me for many years!

If you don't feel good in a month, get in and see another doctor. I know that God healed me by the hands and wisdom of a doctor, too. Quality of life is a big deal!! And then remember what some of the doctors have said to me, "The tests are not that accurate or reliable." So if that's the case, maybe you still need just a little more hormone to feel like your old self again.

I am just into 5.5 weeks of a consistent dose and I had a good night of sleep finally and so far, today, not much for palpitations. They seem to be quieting down---not as intense or as frequent. I hope it continues to get better! It's been a long haul! Four months. It would have resolved much quicker had I not kept adjusting my dose! I had no idea!! Recently, when I changed a patch, I left the old patch on for four hours to make sure my levels did not dip while the new patch was absorbed. Even that was a huge mistake. I think it caused fluctuations and gave me a few days of additional misery. I wish they would give good detailed info for us!

I called the makers of Vivelle Dot and they were worthless. They cannot answer questions regarding their product and how it is absorbed, what can be expected, etc. They may as well have a recorded message or a robot. I wanted to know how long it should take to feel better. I read their detailed info on line. It said it takes about four weeks for the larger patches to be better than a placebo in treating vasomotor symptoms. It takes as long as six weeks for the smaller patches to be better than a placebo!!! I wanted to know at what point would a person know for sure about a correct dose!! They could not tell me. I assume it may take up to 8 or 12 weeks!! In all my years, not one doctor has explained that to me, ever. I can see why so many women have hysterectomies, feel terrible and blame the hormones! If they only knew that it could take over four or six weeks to feel the good effects of the hormones, they would stick it out! But many quit the hormones and continue to feel just horrid for years because they thought it was the hormones causing the misery, rather than the menopause!! So sad for us women!!! Menopause is a real misery especially for us surgical menopausites!!

I have also found that there are a lot of pharmacists that do not know much about estrogen either. The women pharmacists have been the most knowledgeable and I have gotten some good answers from them. Most have told me it could take as long as two or three months to level out.

Anyway, it's sad that women have to suffer and struggle as they try to feel better after a hysterectomy!! We are given very little knowledge and there is a lot of fear about taking estrogen, yet until our hysterectomies, we had a constant flow of the hormone for years!! God made us that way, so why do we fear it so much---especially if it is identical to our ovaries' hormones? We are stuck in a bad spot---take hormones and fear, or don't take hormones and suffer!! No fun. Sorry my post is so long. I am venting my overall frustration with the medical community and my compassion toward the women who have to endure the hormone jungle without help from their doctors. So frustrating!!
Unread 01-18-2011, 12:26 PM
Re: Palpitations

Thanks for the info. I just dont understand why so many doctors etc have no clue about estrogen. We are smart enough to slit an atom but cant figure out a womens body and how it works!!!!!
Unread 01-18-2011, 02:38 PM
Re: Palpitations

Hi SoulWinner!
I so agree with you!!! It's because the majority of the medical efforts go into other things and if you're not a middle aged woman in menopause, it's not worth their time or effort. Most of the medical websites admit that they do not know what causes hotflashes and vasomotor symptoms. They think it is...such and such. Why don't they know?!! Because they don't care that much. Look at all the suffering of women everywhere! You would think they could find a way to stop hotflashes and all the misery that goes with it!

I find it interesting that if a woman is on estrogen and she gets a blood clot, they will yank her off the estrogen! Okay...what if the bloodclot had nothing to do with the hormone and it was due to atrial fibrillation or some other thing. So now she has to suffer even more off the hormones!! And, as a contrast, if a man gets a blood clot, why do they not snorfle him and remove his testicles and his testosterone? It would never happen! But then I don't know if testosterone causes blood clots, either. The sad part is the latest research points to the pill form of estrogen as irritating the veins and causing the clots. The patches, spray and gel don't irritate the veins. The OB/GYN that I just saw five weeks ago had never heard of that!!! The info is out there and yet they don't know it!

Oh well, I am ranting. It's just so frustrating that they have not worked harder to solve the hormone thing and that women have to suffer so much.

I think I am finally seeing some relief from the palpitations. They are lighter, and less frequent today. It's been 5 and a half weeks on the consistent dose. I still have some, but they are not continuous or strong anymore. I hope it lasts. I actually slept last night and it was wonderful. I was a little chilly last night so I covered my legs with an electric throw and it didn't take long to have more light palpitations than normal! How odd that heat sets it off so much and that a person can feel so cold too. About a week ago I finally started feeling warm again. I am the oddball who gets very cold extremities when my hormones are off. FREEZING!!! A bad time of year for being cold. This week, I feel fairly comfortable with just ONE sweater on in the house again!! I hope and pray that the palpitations stop completely in the near future. It's so unnerving. I have always had a nice slow consistent heartbeat and then I got this nightmare of skipping beats and thumps for so long!! With the depression, anxiety and panic, it's been hard to believe that it will ever resolve, but now a lot of the mood problems are nearly gone and things appear to be looking up anyway!!

Some women don't get the panic and anxiety I guess. I get it something terrible for some reason---but only when the hormones are screwed up!
Unread 01-19-2011, 06:29 AM
Re: Palpitations

I have had horrible anxiety since my hysterectomy. I already have bad anxiety but since my operation I have a panic attack every night. I have had 3 ct scans of my chest and treadmill with echo. Also still in horrible pain. My lower back is killing me.

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