Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Headaches and Hormones

I visited my neurologist this week and I have a few things to discuss. Warning - hormonal discussion ahead, with all the gory details.

Earlier I wrote how I plan to visit a new neurologist who specializes in hormonal headaches. I brought it up to my neurologist, and he seemed familiar with her and said that she would probably put me on estrogen, which I've tried before. However, I still want to see her, so, my neurologist is filling out a referral for me and then the new place has to evaluate my files and decide whether or not they'll accept me. Yep, apparently I have to be accepted. With all the people who suffer from headaches/migraines (I think I read the other day it's 20% of women), I'm sure they get a lot of requests. I'll post on my blog as soon as I get accepted (might as well think positively).

Hormonal Issues and My IUD
I told my neurologist that I've been spotting and cramping still (sometimes one or the other, sometimes both, at all different times throughout the month). If you don't follow my blog, I should mention that I have an intrauterine device - IUD - Mirena - because I felt that the Pill gave me migraines. I've tried the Patch also, and the Pill for months straight and had breakthrough bleeding. Fun stuff. So anyway, my neuro asked me if I had breast tenderness (yes) and cysts (I think so) which the IUD can cause. He thinks I should get the IUD out next month when I visit my gyno. Btw, dummy me didn't check to see if the IUD was covered in my insurance two years ago, and the Mirena plus insertion cost about $1,000. One. Thousand. Bucks. And it's supposed to last five years. That would have pretty much been the cost of the Pill for five years, so that made it a little better. But after two years??? And removal costs $175.

My husband does NOT want me to get it out, because of money. I hate to go against him, but it's my body, and I don't like what's happening with it.

Hormonal Tests
One reason my neuro wants it out, aside from the reasons above, is so I can have a normal period and get my hormones tested. A few visits ago I asked him about getting my hormones tested and he said it wouldn't help, but that's because he thought my headaches were from muscle tension and I think now he realizes it's hormones, because all the anxiety meds and muscle relaxers didn't help.

Quasi-scientific Stuff
I will attempt to explain why my neuro wants my IUD out and hormones checked. The Mirena IUD has the hormone levonorgestrel, which is synthetic progesterone, a natural female hormone. Levonorgestrel acts like progesterone in the female parts and the brain for most women, but for some, like me, it doesn't fit the receptors. My neuro thinks that I need the progesterone because he suspects my levels are low and that is why I started my period somewhat late (age 15) and had heavy periods and cramping. My mom went through the same thing (she does not have headaches, but my dad gets migraines, with his fibromyalgia) so I thought nothing of it. If I do have some form of a progesterone deficiency, the hormone tests would reflect it and I could then take pills to fix it, and PERHAPS, my headaches would then go away.

Just the thought of there finally being a cause of my headaches is extremely exciting to me, and I want to yank the IUD out (ouch, not really) and get the tests done immediately! But, I have to wait for a normal period first.

Other Updates
Btw - I get to stop Abilify, thank the Lord. And I mean that. It was awful.

My neuro also recommended a book, Natural Hormone Balance for Women, by Uzzi Reiss, M.D./O.B. GYN. Yes, that's seven letters after his name! I checked it out from the library today and will do a book review post when I'm done.

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to comment to share your experiences, thoughts, or opinions!