10 thoughts on “Bipolar Disorder and Menopause

  • September 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I hate to tell you but menopause was the time all my symptoms started up and have not subsided since. I was on Lithium from 35 years to 47 years, and had a few problems, but for the most part I was well. Then menopause hit. I went from one combination of tablets to the next with no relief. Here I am at 66 with no resolution, especially with recurring mania. I am taking Depakote 1000 at night, and Lamictal 100 a.m. and 100 p.m. If anyone out there has any advice for me, I would be pleased to hear it.

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    • September 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      To some this may sound absurd … to others it’s a miracle. To me it’s a lifesaver … MARIJUANA. Since my bipolar started in my early 20s this is the only thing i get REAL relief from … whether down or fully manic … raging or just irritable, it ALWAYS helps. my problem now is … im only 41 and starting menopause … the down days are more frequent and last longer than i am used to. (i typically am in manic state where down days lasted only 1-2 days every 45-60 days) the hot flashes are unbearable and insomnia is rampant .. as well as a few other personal issues! but just couple hits 3x a day and i am almost normal during this unfortunate time of life! NO OTHER MEDS AT ALL. Although i am ’bout headed to see a doc hoping hormone therapy will help!?! ugh!

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      • April 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm

        HELP, I’m approaching 42. I sincerely believe that I am pre menopause.I have learned to control my condition without medication for almost 4 years. I’m loosing that control and don’t know what to do.

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    • January 15, 2014 at 4:28 am

      Bp ii since age 39. No signs of menopause until this year, now 55. Still only 4 months since last period so not officially in menopause.
      Doc has done research on use of low dose estradiol patch (.25) and when I began to become depressed more often, possibly even approaching rapid cycling for the first time, we tried it. Since I have been hypomanic for 90% of my life being depressed at all, or flat affect/ social withdrawn/ no interest or focus is devastating for me.
      Estrodiol immediately brought me out of a 2 month depression where no medication was helping. Am diligent in many areas not involving medicine, sleep regular hours, yoga, meditate, psychotherapy, I work, take b-12, d and magnesium. Estradiol is helping thus far, 4 weeks in. Ask your pdoc and gyn, look for ny times article on estradiol patch.

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      • April 16, 2016 at 4:36 pm

        Ty, the mind is a powerful tool in this diagnosis. The fact that I’ve accomplished so much, without medication is hindering me from seeking medical help. I have so much to loose beaded on the stigma of this condition. But, I know that I need help through this period. Please give me some suggestions.

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  • September 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    This article doesn’t even touch on peri-menopause, which can go on for many years, and can have consequential effects that are far more difficult to treat.

    At least with menopause, your hormones are generally stable. With peri-menopause, they could be all over the place. Many women never have mood and/or anxiety issues affiliated with their menses until later years, during peri. Another realization is that peri-menopause can begin far younger than we’ve been taught to conceive of being possible.

    And, when it comes to effects, I’m not just referring to the mental/cognitive symptoms or hot flashes, that are most frequently affiliated with menopause. Hormones effect a host of physical processes [and exacerbate existing conditions]; effects can vary significantly between women.

    Probably one of best predictors is family history. Certainly, life habits catch up quickly during this time of life, but even that varies in effects, & who really knows to what degree those effects will be across the board.

    I’m afraid there is still much to be learned about this subject. I think it’s a serious misfortune that the pendulum has swung and, in addition to all hormone treatment being lumped together as one and the same for all women, it has been demonized. Many women diagnosed with mental health and/or physical issues could have there symptoms appropriately addressed with some combination of hormone treatment as opposed to taking a psychotropic drug. Methods of dosing also need to be considered.

    Sometimes treatment with psychotropic drugs &/or alternative treatments can be beneficial as an adjunct to hormone treatment. Treating the hormone imbalance first, though, could mean using less of a psychotropic drug to control symptoms and, hence, less side effects to worry about.

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  • September 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I was blessed to go through complete menopause TWICE (long complicated medical explanation)and both times, both medicated for my bipolar, and I lost it. Lost my job, my house, my husband, my (limited) self respect & at times my touch with reality. I’d call one of them a psychotic break because I lost a whole summer. Silly me…I never EVER made a connection, but it is spot on.

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  • September 22, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I don’t really know whether I am coming or going, I divorced after 23 years and lived with my Mom for over 2 years trying to get my bipolar properly diagnosed after having such a bad experience with electric shock therapy treatment. I felt as if I was having a nervous breakdown after my divorce and while living with my Mom. I am since re-married and this man has no clue what I’m going through, he takes no time to learn and I feel so lost and alone. I’m just not the same person I was and I feel so out of balance but I refuse to tell my psychologist since then they might make me go through a stressful time with there solutions to help me. I’ve had it and I’m still going crazy trying to cope. Wish I could just live alone and make it on my own but I don’t even qualify for disability even though I have one. SUCKS!!!!

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    • September 25, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Thanks for bringing this up, Karen–there are many of us who aren’t able to qualify for disability or have trouble qualifying even though we need it. I hope this changes one day. Keep your chin up!

      Reply
  • March 14, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    I’m 66 and have hypothyroidism, which I think may in part be due to having been prescribed lithium for a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder about 10 years ago when instead I was going through menopause and did not need lithium. I ended up having to start taking levothyroxin, which I will have to take the rest of my life. The problem with prescription medications is the long list of possible side effects, some long term, for patients who trustingly follow doctors’ orders without realizing and studying the health risks and possible consequences. Please, always, read the fine print and ask questions until you are confident you are in good hands.

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