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reader1

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Apr 22 10 7:57 AM

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Ladies:

I know we've been talking forever about weight gain and changes in libido as regards our methadone treatment.  Well, I went to my OB/GYN and had a complete blood workup done.  My testosterone is normal, but I am in menopause (according to my hormones).  I am 45 years old and my mom didn't go through this until she was 50 or 55.  So, I'm thinking that the methadone is having an effect on my hormones.

They are giving me the option of HRT.  I am undecided.  Do any of you have any thoughts about how it might affect my weight?  I have gained so much on methadone, I weigh more right now than I weighed 9 months pregnant.  I went from 123 to 152 without so much as a plateau.  I am thinking that the hormonal changes (whether they are natural or a result of my treatment) have caused the weight gain, so I am wondering if HRT will help me lose.  Also, I'd rather be heavy than dead of cancer, so I am really undecided.

Does anyone have anything to add?  Marot, I think it was you who is also wondering about this a lot. . . I posted this mostly so that you'd have this information.

Thanks,
walkersma

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ltomczak

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Posts: 789 Member Since:02/22/10

#1 [url]

Apr 23 10 7:53 AM

Reader1,
 
I know that it's common for men in MMT to end up with HRT as they age. I know that in men HRT can help replace their libido, give them more energy, help them lose weight, etc etc etc. The benefits of HRT go far beyond just feeling "better" for some men I have heard it's like literally giving them their lives back.
 
I'm not as familiar with HRT in women; but I can imagine it wouldn't be much different. After all, logically speaking if Methadone can affect testosterone in men wouldn't it affect it in women as well?
 
I'm sure the other posters here will have more concise answers for you. I will also take a look at some of the articles that I have to see if anything covers HRT in women more specifically.
 

lindsaytomcat@yahoo.com For those in and around the Chicago area - feel free to contact me if you need help with your treatment.

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lapy

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Apr 23 10 8:38 AM

walkersma,
 
It's funny you mention hormones having a part in weight gain. When I entered MMT I was already on HRT because of having a total hysterectomy at around 46 yrs old. I ended up using my Methadone doc as my primary physician becuse he had an office near my home and I wanted to finally have a Dr who knew and understood my history instead of hiding it from everyone becuse of fear of it getting out and my losing my nursing job over it. I had gone in to see him becuse I developed a rash shortly after starting MMT. I was in fear of it being an allergy to the Methadone. He convinced me to stop my HRT because I was close to 50 yrs old and been on it a while. That was during the really big scare about it causing breast cancer. I "had" already gained around 10lbs since starting Methadone which was OK by me because my H thought I looked too skinny. My normal weight was around 135-137 and I came in at 127. Well, very quickly after the hormones being stopped I packed on another 50 lbs in around 6 mos! I really can't say if it was hormone related or not but I know that most of my friends have gained during menopause but not to the degree that I had. I just thought it was from the Methadone because it was a few yrs before I found these boards and I heard a lot of people in line saying that Methadone packed the pounds on them. Since Methadone causes changes in testosterone for "some" men perhaps it causes "estrogen" changes in "some" women. I know that if I had it to do all over again I woulda stayed on the hormones cuz I "did" feel better on them. Removing estrogen either normally by menopause or from stopping it abruptly a few yrs after a hyst causes big time changes in mood, aging and weight. and, those hot flashes were the "worst"!
 
Marot

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reader1

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Apr 23 10 11:46 AM

Thanks, lapy, for that!

I was thinking that the experience you had would be a common one.  I've read that menopause puts on weight and the HRT keeps you from gaining it but doesn't help you lose, necessarily.  However, I am hoping that it does make dieting and exercise more effective in the weight loss effort.  I have finally decided that I am getting rid of this weight.  No matter what.  I've managed to lose 7 pounds in 2 weeks using the low carb/low glycemic school of thought.  I've had very little sugar, few carbs and have been existing on steak and butterfly pork chops for dinner and big "kitchen sink" salads for lunch.  I've had to really fight the sugar cravings.  I have never had a food craving feel like a drug craving before, but they do now!

I started Activella yesterday so we'll see how it works out.  I was surprised when she said my testosterone was normal. . . I expected it to be affected like so many of the male posters'.  I was surprised that it was estrogen that was the culprit.

Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate it.  I was hoping someone who had some sort of knowlege about it would speak up.  Heck, I'd appreciate OPINIONS at this point!

walkersma


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ltomczak

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#4 [url]

Apr 23 10 8:06 PM

Thanks for sharing that with us - this is something that we don't have a lot of posters talking about (HRT in women and estrogen levels) that I think we can use more personal stories and information on.

I know eventually I will be asked about this so I like to always arm myself with knowlege.

When people like you come to the board and share your insights and stories it helps ME help other people later on.

Menopause is obviojusly a WAY off for me still but my Mom was going through it over the last few years and it got bad enough where it prompted her to actually see an MD for the first time in 27 years.

She has gained weight (she's not on MAT or anything) over the last few years and has been completely unable to lose ANY of it.

I saw her watch every calorie she put in her body; I saw her get desperate enough to be on a sub 800 calorie diet (which is like putting your body in starvation mode) and the weight still won't come off.

She finally saw a Doctor and they gave her thyroid medication and some form of HRT, but so far the weight really hasn't come off.

My personal though is that part of it is because she doesn't incorpirate exercise into her diet.

I think an essential part of losing weight isn't just changing your dietary habits but working hard to scuplt your  body as well. The human body wasn't build to sit around for 18 hours a day and watch TV or sit behind a desk.

Anyway, I hope all goes well for you. I hope you continue to post on the board!

lindsaytomcat@yahoo.com For those in and around the Chicago area - feel free to contact me if you need help with your treatment.

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boviewid55

Posts: 18 Member Since:02/24/10

#5 [url]

Apr 25 10 4:41 AM

Hi, after reading these posts, I am sure that methadone put me into early menopause also. I was 45 when "diagnosed" with it. I had been on a low dose of methadone for about 7 years. I chose the hrt management because I felt that I was just too young to start that crap! I had gained wieght before the hrt, and after. I am at a heavy wieght now, but it has evened out. I have not gained anything in years. I would recommend the hrt because hot flashes are so horrid, and you ARE very young to be thrown into menopause. They make lower doses now so the threat of cancer is less. I was on them for 7 years, and only got off because my OBGYN left town and I did not like the young punk who took her place. It was just easier for me to stop taking them than to go find new a Dr. and jump through all the hoops again. So, I am battling those dreaded hot flashes, but I think (hope) they are starting to calm down. Now I will be officially old. Not that it matters, since I also lost any libdo I might have had years ago. Can methadone really be to blame for all this? Wieght gain, hormone lose, libido loss? If so that sucks! I should mention that my sisters have shown no signs of menopause at the ages of 53, 50 and 45, yet I was officially in it at 45!!

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tlbtammy

Posts: 2 Member Since:02/22/10

#6 [url]

Apr 25 10 5:16 AM

I have been on methadone for six years. In the beginning I packed on a whopping 50 pounds. I went from eating maybe once a day, running my butt around from sun-up to sun down and the all of a sudden, I am eating and living like a normal person. 

The highest I went was 220 mgs. and then went down to 100-where I am still after four years. I have lost 40 pounds. I walk everyday, I am careful about what I eat, I stay away from the sweets and my weight is not a issue. I am premenopausal, turning 50 in August and no weight gain from that. 

Reports that I have read about methadone actually can cause a decrease in weight (imagine that!).

My advice-eat healthy, drink lots of water, keeping your body flushed of toxins and fat, walk, walk, walk,   and stay away from those sweet treats.

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jeffsgirl32

Posts: 8 Member Since:02/21/10

#7 [url]

Apr 25 10 8:09 AM

I have been on HRT for 9 years or so and the wierd thing is before methadone I couldn't miss my hormone pills I would get depressed and feel angry inside but I have noticed now if I take the hormone pills I get jittery feeling and agervated I can't take the pills anymore.....I had a hystro also so I havent gone without my HRT since until now and like I said now I can't take them.

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ashley

Posts: 36 Member Since:03/28/10

#8 [url]

Apr 29 10 9:29 AM

I have been on MMT for 14 years straight, and I think I have much the same problem, except I have not had a Hysterectomy, I HAVE noticed though that my hormones are WAY off, and I am only 36!
I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition, but not a "severe" one. I took the pills they gave me, to "stimulate my thyroid" and "increase my metabolism", but they made my heart RACE like I was DOPE SICK...I feel like my body has become WICKED sensitive to ALL medications since I have been on the methadone.
There are not enough studies for people in general, never mind women, who are on MMT that can show whether certain things are true or not true. This makes me PO'd because there should be, thousands and thousands of people under the age of 40 are on methadone!!! (and the numbers are climbing EVERY DAY)
I am seeing SO many 19,20,21 year old's coming on my clinic...it makes me want to write them a letter, even though my journey I consider successful, I wish I had never touched this stuff in a lot of ways!

Great topic! Maybe you could conusult a PAIN SPECIALIST, not because you are on methadone for pain, but because they know SO MUCH about how narcotics act on the body! They might know some of the answers to what you are seeking...just a suggestion.
OR an "Addiction Specialist". I have one, he is Board Certified, there are plenty of them that are flooding the health care community, it should not be hard to find one. They study this stuff, so maybe that could help! (if the Gyno or a Gyno specialist cannot help, is what I mean)
Good luck!

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reader1

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Apr 30 10 6:45 AM

Well, the homones (Activella) make me very irritable.  I mean VERY irritable.  It is too soon to say about whether they are going to make weight loss easier.   I am losing but at the rate of 2 pounds a week.  This is a loss, the recommended rate of loss, acutally; but we're not exactly setting the woods on fire with the rapidity of it, if you know what I mean. 

I think they may be affecting my methadone dose becuase the other morning, I had a sneezing fit.  You all know that we hardly ever sneeze on methadone unless we are withdrawing, so I wonder if it is doing something bad to my dose.

Thanks,
Walkersma

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tlbtammy

Posts: 2 Member Since:02/22/10

#10 [url]

Apr 30 10 9:44 AM

Just because you had a sneezing fit, does it really mean your dose or that you simply had a sneezing fit? I have watched many people sneeze and automatically they think they are going through withdrawls. After all, everyone sneezes! Are you still having this problem? If so, I would say it's your dose and if not, you simply sneezed. Good luck.

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ashley

Posts: 36 Member Since:03/28/10

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May 1 10 4:05 AM

I agree with you "tilb"...
Sometimes I think we on MMT "anylize" (myself included) our symptoms of cold, flu, allergies, etc a bit too much, and we run to the clinic and increase our dose, which actually can be a bad thing if a person is not on their personalized adjusted dose that is the right one for them.
Some can be on 40 mg and be perfectly happy, no real drowsiness, no w/d symptoms in the a.m., ...
Some people are on 150 mg and are saying they are dope sick.
I know you are all going to think I am lying, but for about a year and a half, I was a dosing nurse at a clinic (a detox, not a MMT clinic), and we had this girl, she was overweight, and must have had a thyroid condition or something because she was on 320 mg per day of methadone.
(I used to have to open ALL the 10 mg pill packets MYSELF, that is how  I know, and actually this girl took a LOT of crap from people for having that much, the thing was like a MILK shake when you were done with it) and she was puking her brains out in the tub , I had to give her a shot of compazine ...because she had a 5 bag a day habit of the "stuff".
So, as I was saying, one has to just be real honest and really observant, and not make any rash decisions, as you said TILBTAMMY, and sometimes a SNEEZE is just a SNEEZE (I myself have dozens of sneezes if something gets in my nose)..
Sneezing, yawning, eyes watering ...EVERY morning (or most mornings ) , that usually means you are in w/d.
BUT there ARE plenty of conditions that mimic withdrawal, as I said above in my other posts, thyroid medications, hormones as the person a couple posts up said, and other things can be the "culprit", or from what I have been told .
Keep a journal, that might help!
Thanks 4 letting me share and b long winded.
:)

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boviewid55

Posts: 18 Member Since:02/24/10

#12 [url]

May 1 10 4:12 AM

Wow, I never heard that people on methadone don't sneeze. I sneeze, when the pollen is high, or dust gets in my nose! I also yawn and have watery eyes every morning. I guess I learned something new here.  When I was on the HRT, I did not find that it made me jittery at all. I was on it for several years. But I am also on a very low dose. Either way you look at it, going thru menopause sucks!

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mac

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Posts: 515 Member Since:02/21/10

#13 [url]

May 1 10 5:52 AM

I had walking pnemonia twice and my husband had it once while on methadone and neither of us had ever had it before or since, nor did we have it during the same winter flu season (so we didn't catch it off each other) . 
The doctors at the local ER in both my cases (2 different doctors/2 different winters) thought that the methadone was keeping me from feeling the symptoms of the pnemonia untill I was in crisis and even then I wasn't all that 'sick' either.
My husband has been on a low dose of methadone since he left the clinic in 2003 and went into pain managment and he hasn't had any problems with colds at all.  Maybe it had more to do with the people contact at the clinic then the meds... Our clinic serves near 1000 people and most of them didn't take great care of themselves.

I haven't been on methadone since 2003 and I still wake up nearly every day with a mini allergy attack of watery eyes, stuffed nose/runny nose and alot of sneezing..

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lapy

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#14 [url]

May 1 10 8:15 AM

Same thing happened to me mac with the pnuemonia. I had it 3 times on MMT. The last one I was hospitalized for nine days. I thought I had a kidney stone. I couldn't sit back in a chair from pain and I was breathing fast and shallow which I thought was from the pain. I never coughed. Couldn't even give a sputum sample in the hospital. I had left lower lobe pnuemonia all 3 times.

Marot

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ltomczak

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#15 [url]

May 1 10 11:46 AM

I know you are all going to think I am lying, but for about a year and a half, I was a dosing nurse at a clinic (a detox, not a MMT clinic), and we had this girl, she was overweight, and must have had a thyroid condition or something because she was on 320 mg per day of methadone.
(I used to have to open ALL the 10 mg pill packets MYSELF, that is how  I know, and actually this girl took a LOT of crap from people for having that much,

-ashley


320 milligrams is actually a fairly common dose; I know many patients who have been on 300 or more milligrams. I have known two patients seperately that were on 1,000 milligram / day doses and both patients were completely coherent. They did not slur their speech or nod or give any indication that they were being overmedicated.


It's unfair for other people to judge someone else's dose as there is no such thing as a "high" dose or a "low" dose - just the RIGHT dose! I know that it wasn't YOU who were making fun of her or ridiculuing her for her dose in your story; I'm just making a general blanket statement that we shouldn't judge or even really care about what kind of dose the person next to us is getting. (Just like we shouldn't judge someone for their weight, etc)

All that matters is that we get the right dose for our bodies.

In one of those situations the patient was on a medication for epilepsy that unfortunately made her metabolize the methadone very quickly and as such, she required that much to stabilize and keep her levels constant.

Of course the person standing behind her at the clinic watching her receive her dose or her carrybag of doses for pickups doesn't know that.

lindsaytomcat@yahoo.com For those in and around the Chicago area - feel free to contact me if you need help with your treatment.

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reader1

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#16 [url]

May 3 10 7:16 AM

I'm still rocking on with the hormones (Activella) - I don't like them though.  I have had no more indication of any kind of withdrawal so I think I was just being silly the other day - you know how it is.  (Funny enough though, I really haven't had a cold or any cold symptoms in the four years I've been on methadone.  I am rarely sick, but certainly not with cold symptoms.  I never sneeze anymore, I really don't.  Odd, huh?)  The hardest thing about taking the Activella is the irritibillity.  I was a lot easier to get along with before I started these. 

My biggest menopause complaint was the weight gain and libido. Regarding the weight, I'm thinking I'll just start eating with an eye to my glycemic index/carbohydrates and see if that helps the weight.  Mac, one of the ladies who post here that I really respect, says that might be the best way for those of us who crave the sugar to lose the extra weight. 

The meds have not helped my libido at all.  As a matter of fact, I stay so aggravated with everyone in my house that I am less likely to look at my hubby with that lovin' feeling.  Before now, I appreciated the man he was, even if I didn't want to jump in the sack.  Now, I'm just ill with him all the time and I still don't want to jump in the sack. 

I thought I'd update everyone - I was so glad to see so many ladies post about this.  I felt so much better knowing I wasn't the only one with these problems/situations.  : )  However, I'm tired of going on and on about my health; I feel like the old folks that you learn better than to ask "how are you?" because they'll sure tell you, in length and in detail!  : )

Walkersma

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oldnwise

Posts: 177 Member Since:03/06/10

#17 [url]

May 5 10 8:59 AM

as a matter of fact , at a doctor appointment yesterday (though NOT that kind of doctor) ..I was told that my menopause is why i have gained weight. Yes, I gained weight after getting on mmt.
and , sadly, I have retained that weight gain, but never went higher. Since menopause, however I gained ten pounds, and it is an ugly ten pounds.  Not to mention, uncomfortable.
I exercise and walk so much every day you wouldn't believe it.  My diet is not wonderful but I definitely do not overeat and I watch things like hydrogenated oils, fructose, corn syrup, bad fats, etc......I drink only one cup of coffee, and water all day long, supplemented by unsweetened herbal tea and green tea.
But it (the weight) is sticking on for dear life.

I have never heard of HRT helping with weight gain, but this doc yesterday was saying I have gained weight due to not enough estrogen. So?  I cannnot take estrogen supplementation however, due to a disease I have that is fed by estrogen. (I' ve been waiting for menopause; looking forward to it, for that very reason)

I would say if anything try soy, black cohosh, (if liver can handle that one) and if anything else, consider bio identical hormones. 

"When I was 40, I used to wonder what people thought of me. Now, I wonder what I think of them." ~Brooke Astor~

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lapy

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#18 [url]

May 5 10 9:56 AM

One thing to remember though is that if you are on synthroid for underactive thyroid soy is contraindicated.

Marot


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ammerie25

Posts: 7 Member Since:02/23/10

#19 [url]

May 5 10 11:50 AM

ltomczak-
 
Thank you,i was so mad when i read that!Errrr, thank you very very much for your Awesome responce to the 320mg dose....So so so many people judge others "number",it is so frustrating!
 

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boviewid55

Posts: 18 Member Since:02/24/10

#20 [url]

May 6 10 5:05 AM

oldnwise, I feel for you! I, also am getting fatter, since I stopped the hormones. I hate it! So uncomfortable!! I work on my feet cleaning houses, so I am not a couch potato!

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