And so it begins — welcome to *the change*

menopauseSo ladies, it appears that one month short of my 47th birthday I am heading into the unchartered territory of menopause (or peri-menopause to be precise). After two years of periods like clockwork after I gave up dieting, this month I skipped it.

And in its place I’ve had a little thing called hot flushes. Now in the scheme of life’s tribulations, feeling a little hot is no big deal (especially when I’m one of those people who is always cold) but I get hot, nauseous and dizzy. The worst is that I’m woken up a couple of times a night and push all the blankets off, then I wake up again freezing — I’m longing for a night of unbroken sleep.

On one hand I’m thankful my body knows what it’s doing, but on the other hand it’s hard not to feel a little like it’s letting me down. After all that hard work to restore a healthy relationship with my body, I feel a bit betrayed.

As I have no experience with this new transformation, I am looking to you ladies in the same boat to give me an idea of what happened to you. Any recommendations for natural supplements that will give me at least a chance to get through the night would be welcome. I am not keen on pumping synthetic hormones into my body.

There is also a part of me that worries about the threat of accompanying weight gain. I was just getting used to being slim, and don’t want to have to get used to being heavy again…

Do I just sound like a whingeing spoilt brat? There are many more serious things in the world than my hormones so maybe I shouldn’t even bring up the subject?

Help me out — is there anything I can do to relieve this … because I promise if I don’t get a good night’s sleep soon I’m going to get a little stabby …

{image source}

About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

14 thoughts on “And so it begins — welcome to *the change*

  1. A LITTLE stabby? God, I was insane from lack of sleep after more than a year of the interrupted nights. Hot flushes, insomnia, mood swings (from the sleep deprivation or hormonal upheaval: who knows?) all made me cranky as hell. There was no weight gain due to any mysterious bodily changes, but definitely due to a huge increase in emotional eating and a lack of exercise because I just couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings.

    I tried a few herbal remedies – one seemed to work for a while, but now I suspect it was just a cyclical thing with my hormones that would have happened anyway. The only thing I can honestly say helped a bit was a mixture of hops and valerian that tastes NASTY, but gave me some relief from the sleep dramas. Black Cohosh is supposed to be the bomb, but I can’t take it because of its link to liver problems which doesn’t sit well with a pre-existing condition of mine.

    In the end I got fed up and went to my GP for help. She vetoed HRT (she’s not a fan and thinks that the symptoms are worse when you eventually stop the drugs anyway) and suggested some low-dose antidepressants which have been shown to reduce menopause symptoms. So I’ve been on Efexor since February and have slept like a log for about 95% of the time since.

    As a bonus, my beloved tells me that I’m “annoyingly cheerful”. Nothing much stresses me out, but I’m not spaced-out or dulled-down. 🙂

    Maybe go talk to the staff at your local health food store and see what they recommend as a first option?

    1. Thanks Kerryn for the informative reply. The hops and valerian sounds vile — maybe I’ll keep that one up my sleeve for later 🙂

      Not sure about taking anti-depressants, I’m so happy now, any more happiness might cause me to explode!

      1. I agree – explore natural remedies first. I’m not a fan of prescription drugs when lifestyle or nutrition changes might help, but I was beyond desperate. There are lots of products marketed for menopause, so it’s worth trying a few to see if they help. I don’t know whether some natural therapies like acupuncture may even be worth exploring, but I’m sticking with my drugs for now.

        1. I hadn’t thought of acupuncture but that’s a good idea. There’s no judgement here about the drugs, if nothing else works I’ll be at the doctor’s too.

  2. I am truning 49 this year and for a couple of years I had hot flushes but not that often, didn’t think too much about it. Then the last year I just seemed to be hot all the time, which is unusual for me, as I am usually cold. I still have that problem, especially at night. Trying to get the temp right to sleep was driving me nuts. I now have to have the room really cold, but I have my doona on. Go figure. Sounds stupid but its the only thing I can do.

    Due to hurting my back and continued inflammed facet joints and the resulting pain I had it was hard to do exercise, so I put on 10kgs. Weight gain wasn’t due to MP but lack of exercise and stress at not being able to control the pain. But this weight has been really hard to get off. The hardest ever. But recently I started on a new drug that has significantly helped with the nerve pain and my sleep!!!! I hope not to be on it forever, it’s not habit forming but has made a lot of difference.

    It honestly didn’t hit me that I could have been pre MP, everyone said I was too younng. I have been on Inplanon and have had no problems, or periods for about 18 months on that, now they have started again, (about the same time as they did last implant) but it has just been awful. I get cranky really quickly, terrible PMT, and well lets say they last longer and well you can guess the rest. Not pleasant.

    Apparently this young isn’t too young 🙁 So I went to my Doc who is brilliant, and will have a few blood tests. So far I am doing ok, except for the need to stab someone on a regular basis (I think they need to put that down as a symptom) and a bit more teary than usual. It would be nice to have a little control over that. But I am just trying to increase my exercise and eating healthy – not dieting – and treating myself. So far the weight is coming off slowly, without me stressing about it or counting calories etc.

    I will follow with interest, oh another thing that has changed is my skin, not talking wrinkles, it’s just ‘yuk’, so I’m looking for some new products to help with that.

  3. Acupuncture and traditional chinese medicine (herbs) – that’s my answer for everything these days ;).

    Dr Christiane Northrup (in her book Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom) suggests (for hot flushes) Vit E and citrus bioflavonoids with ascorbic acid, reduce refined carbs, caffeine & alcohol :(. Soya protein (eg tofu) as been sown to decrease the intensity of hot flushes. Phyto-oestrogens (found in soyabeans and soya products and also found in cashews, peanuts, oats, corn, wheat, apples and almonds have been shown to decrease menopausal syptoms.

    Herbal – black cohosh, siberian ginseng, dong quai, fo-ti and wild yam as well as Chinese herbal remedies.

    Natural progesterone has been shown to help hot flushes in some women.

    If hot flushes are due to decreased oestrogen levels then oestrogen replacement.

    Energy medicine – meditation and relaxation can help relieve hot flushes.

    ps apparently black cohosh also helps to restore vaginal lubrication if God forbid you are experiencing that!

  4. Thanks Shelly, there are lots of things to look at there! Not sure about acupuncture, only because I’m not sure of any really good pratitioners here. May need to look into that. I have certainly removed refined carbs and feel much better. I’ve also started meditation again. I think I might keep my glass or 2 of red, as it’s got other good benefits :)! As for the last point…. no problem… no man ;). But hey Katie says the Universe provides and I believe here!!!!!

  5. Hi Katie, my cycle ran like clockwork from age just under 12 to earlier this year (46)…then I didn’t get a period for ten weeks and thought “this is it”. Those three or so months were horrid, though. I spoke to a lot of older friends about it and one suggested Femme Phase by Dr Sandra Cabot. I ordered it online and the tablets kicked in within days of taking them. I was also suffering from hot flushes 24/7, my mood swings were worse than that of my teenage daughters combined, and I had uncommonly high levels of anxiety. My period is back, not quite as regular, but usually give or take a week. However I am “back to normal” and NO more hot flushes…Best of luck xo

  6. Thanks for all the interesting information ladies. I went to the chemist and got Hot Flush Fix from Ethical Nutrients which has many of the Chinese Herbs mentioned above. If it doesn’t work, I’ll look into the Sandra Cabot one. After another sleepless night, I’m exhausted. I think I need a nap.

  7. Shoulda known you’d be going through this. too …! I’m turning 50 next month. I have lost more than HALF my hair in the past year … the year of The Divorce, the Two Heartbreaks, The Big Move Out, The Missing My Kids, and other assorted stressor-outers … I am NOT wanting to be BALD, even if it turns out I do have a fabulously-shaped head!

    I’ve been on microgestin for HRT (not b/c) for the past year … but now that I’m uninsured, I’m going off of them … have been tapering off, am down to half a pill every other night, for the next few nights … then done.

    HOPE-ing that it restores my hair loss … seriously, I am despondent over the hair loss.

    ANYone have a clue about this? Remedies? Cheap ones? Also … any natural HRT? I eat tofu … thyroid … antioxidants … do not want to lose lubrication, libido, or sanity …or hair.

  8. Oh, and just for good measure. No electric alarm clock, mobile phone or any electrical device within one metre (if possible) of your head in bed. Not strictly to do with menopause but just in case it’s contributing to the sleeplessness. I’ve just learnt this too :).

  9. Gawd Shelly!!!! Now if I put my mobile a metre away from my head – my alarm clock – I’ll have to actually get out of bed and turn it off instead of going onto snooze….. mmmmm maybe not such a bad idea ♥♥♥

Comments are closed.