Hot, Hot, Hot – Menopause

July 26, 2018
menopause, hot flash, hot,

menopause, hot flash, hot,


This post is part of the Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson.  I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way.  To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.


Pamela says:

There’s no getting away from it and by your 50s you’ll be experiencing signs of the ‘change’ (if you haven’t already been through it all). During and immediately after menopause you will see a difference in your mood, muscle tone and metabolism. There is plenty you can do to minimise the impact of menopause. Just look at the thousands of women who survive it looking better than ever.

She’s goes on to say:

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Current thinking is that hot flashes occur because lowering oestrogen levels affect the action of the hypothalamus – the region of the brain that controls body temperature. No one really knows why some women are affected worse than others. It’s probably partly genetic. Overweight women often fare better because fatty tissue encourages higher oestrogen levels; smokers are more likely to suffer from hot flashes. A few other points:

  • Some women sail through menopause without noticing a hot flush, others have to battle them for as long as 10 years.
  • Some days and nights seem to be worse than others. This is because oestrogen levels rise and fall as the ovaries cease production.
  • HRT can help but, these days, doctors prescribe the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. Some doctors prescribe particular anti-depressants, and certain blood pressure medication has also been shown to help.
  • Phytoestrogens – plant chemicals that mimic the action of oestrogen – can help. These include soy milk, tofu, soy flour, chickpeas, pumpkin and linseed.
  • There are concerns about over-the-counter ‘natural’ hormones because they are not regulated and production is not subject to the same rigorous standards of the mainstream pharmaceutical industry.

natural, menopause, tips,

My thoughts:

Firstly, behold this line of Pamela’s:

“Overweight women often fare better because fatty tissue encourages higher oestrogen levels”

Woohoo!  Finally, a time when being overweight is a good thing!  See, there’s a reason why us women store fat more so than men! 

Ok, moving on now.  Menopause.  It can feel like quite a personal topic can’t it?  So many women suffer alone and in silence and think they are going crazy!  Not talking about it with other women is what is crazy!  Menopause is a natural process of the female human body that all females will reach one day.  Some of us will find the process easier than others, but no-one will get a lucky pass!  So let’s talk about it so we don’t feel so alone with it.  By sharing our experiences and what has worked or not worked to help ease symptoms, we are helping others as well as ourselves.

Never has a topic been more relevant to me as for the first time (apart from a couple of pregnancies), I seem to have skipped a couple of periods, and NO I am not pregnant!  Will I get another one down the track or have they stopped forever?  That’s the big question!  I hope the latter!  I have not had a good time with periods ever since they started for me at the tender young age of 10 or 11.  They have been painful and debilitating and unbelievably became horrendously worse as I matured.  So at the age of 54 – !! YES !! – I am ready for them to leave me forever!  In saying that, I am quite a bit nervous about what the transition to menopause has in store for me.  For many, many years I have been peri-menopausal and suffered every symptom imaginable plus more.  It’s a big part of the reason the decision was made that I not return to the busy corporate life I’d lived since I was 17.  It just wasn’t possible due to all the problems I have been dealing with.

So, what’s different now that I’ve skipped a couple of periods?  Well apart from the missing periods, symptoms include the onset of hot flashes!  Previously I had a hot thermostat (always hotter than everyone else) but this is a bit different now as I’m fluctuating from feeling the cold to then suddenly feeling like I’m burning from within and then back to feeling chilly again (this is because it’s winter here right now, not because I am having fevers).  I’ve also noticed that I get stressed and overwhelmed and anxious more easily than ever before, and to my shame, I am quicker to anger.  My sleep is not great.  I average around 5-6 hours a night, always waking very early in the morning (it’s mostly still dark).  The good thing is that I am aware of all these things.  I know they are part of this process, and I’m taking steps to try and manage them (see below).

Of the 5 natural ways to tackle menopause, I’m not doing too badly!

  1. I do pilates 3 x week, walk 2 x week, yoga 1 x week
  2. I did Mindful in May to try and make meditation a regular part of my life, and I’ve taken up Yoga
  3. I don’t eat soy based foods but I do eat pretty healthy
  4. I can only stand to dress in breathable fabrics like cotton or linen and I dress in layers to accommodate my fluctuating thermostat
  5. I dress cool to sleep – even in winter. As it’s winter in Brisbane right now I’m under the covers to keep warm one minute, foot out to cool off a bit the next, and then completely on top of the covers … and repeat!

I’m not taking anything for menopause at this stage but have some interest in possibly trying HAPPY HORMONES.  In addition to their website they have a Facebook page here(not sponsored – I’m just interested and sharing)

I’d love to hear your stories. Are you peri-menopausal or menopausal? Are you out the other side? Was it horrendous or not too bad?  Tried Happy Hormones?  Thoughts on HRT and/or bio-identical hormones or over-the-counter natural hormones?  What tips would you like to share to help other women navigate the Menopausal years a little more easily?

Ciao for now,

Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit Kathy of 50 Shades of Age  |
Deborah of Debbish  |  Jo of The Hungry Writer – Joanne Tracey.
It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all five blogs.

 


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36 Comments

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee July 26, 2018 at 7:57 am

    I’ll be honest, I’m a little terrified of Menopause. I went and saw Aurore (go and see it if you haven’t – the french film that came out this year – it’s fab!). with a friend and her mother. Her mother informed me that some women get hot flashes and other symptoms for TEN years! I was unaware of this – I thought it was just 12 months. (What I don’t know about my body could fill a book – which is pretty weird for someone who has given birth 3 times). I think whatever works is probably good, but I’ve also been told that exercise and diet don’t really do much, it’s to do with genetics and the straws that disappear…we shall see, I guess. (Tho I know runners that swear by the healthy eating and exercise)

    • Reply Min July 27, 2018 at 10:07 am

      I’m actually a lot terrified of Menopause! It still seems to be such a mysterious thing and so different for everyone. I haven’t seen or heard of the movie but thanks for telling me of it! Yes I knew symptoms could be for TEN years or more. Awful isn’t it? I’m not sure how much exercise and diet improve symptoms but they are good for you regardless so I still think they are vital in helping ourselves during this time. You’re right though – a lot is genetic – though I seem to suffer much more than my mother ever did or any of my sisters are (though they are all younger than me).

  • Reply Jo Tracey July 26, 2018 at 8:38 am

    I have no idea where I am in the cycle. I haven’t had a period since I was 38 – a partial hysterectomy – but because I kept my ovaries, the hormone thing is still an issue. I feel as though I’m getting more anxious about more things & more easily, but as yet haven’t had the dreaded hot flushes. Although years ago when I was trying to fall pregnant I was on hormones that mimicked that & man that was tough!

    • Reply Min July 27, 2018 at 9:46 am

      Ugh what a shame the hysterectomy still left you with the hormone thing *ugh*! Yes the anxiety thing is not good. I’ve noticed an increase in that for some years so have adjusted my life to help minimise it. With regards to the hot flushes. I felt that they had started with me but now they’ve stopped *touch wood*?! So confusing!

  • Reply Natalie July 26, 2018 at 9:05 am

    I’m menopausal. It has been OK for me most of the time. I’ve done the five natural ways that you listed. I think they help in general, not just menopause.

    • Reply Min July 27, 2018 at 9:47 am

      That’s good that it’s been ok for you Natalie. Hope it stays that way for you. Wish I were as lucky! 😉

  • Reply Jodie July 26, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I’ve been pretty lucky so far during menopause. i have an occasional hot flash, but I don’t mind since I’m always cold!! And for me they aren’t as bad as some women’s!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Reply Min July 27, 2018 at 9:48 am

      That’s fantastic that it’s not a major issue for you Jodie! Re the hot flashes – I had what I thought were some but it seems to have stopped. It’s such a confusing thing! xo

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl July 26, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks for the insights, Min. No idea where I’m in the cycle either. I figure if I persist with the natural ideas you’ve suggested, I’ll be in good stead to face it all when it happens.
    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min July 27, 2018 at 9:49 am

      Good plan SSG – stick to the natural healthy actions and hope for the best! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Jan July 26, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    I am well past menopause and whilst I didn’t have a terrible time I do recall waking up drenched in perspiration – not nice. I did try some natural hormones and creams for a while but didn’t feel too much effect from either of those. I am curious about the overweight comment because post menopause is usually the time that women are more likely to be found having high blood pressure – and that is seen as having a high correlation with being overweight. It is so confusing really isn’t it, pluses and minuses for everything.

    • Reply Min July 27, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Wish I were on the other side too Jan! Unfortunately I always get the worst possible scenario for these kind of things. You’re very right – it can be a confusing time as there are good and bad and pluses and minuses for most things!

  • Reply Kathy Marris July 26, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    I hated menopause as it made me a cranky bitch! Thankfully I’ve come out the other side without murdering anyone, but I do get emotional and I still get hot in bed, plus I don’t sleep as well as I used to. I actually took HRT for a few years and it helped me tremendously, now I just use an oestrogen suppository a couple of times a week to keep my vagina moist (as it got very dry and uncomfortable).

    • Reply Min July 27, 2018 at 9:55 am

      I can be a cranky bitch too Kathy haha! No murders yet thankfully! I can be emotional too and yes … get hot in bed … nor do I sleep as well as I used to! I never knew there was an oestrogen suppository .. and I’m still a little scared of HRT. So far I’ve survived taking nothing but if my symptoms persist or worsen I may need to consider something!

  • Reply Leanne July 26, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    I’m not having hot flushes (yet!) and all I saw in your first pic was the lovely diamond the lady was wearing (I’m sooo shallow!) I had a rough time for a few months at the beginning of the year where my period wouldn’t stop – two lots of never ending bleeding and the resultant no iron and tiredness and plain inconvenience + a bit of flooding thrown for good measure. I had my first gyno visit since my birthing days and after a D&C and then an ablation, I am period free – so far but who knows what lies on the horizon?? It’s a weird time of life but not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things (altho’ I got tired of thinking about my nether regions!)

    • Reply Min July 27, 2018 at 9:57 am

      You’re the least shallow person I know of Leanne! lol Your rough time sounds very similar to aspects of my ‘rough times’ but no procedures or hospital stay for me as yet. Strange things happening with me at the moment. It’s quite confusing! I hope it’s smooth sailing for you hereonin! 🙂 xo

      • Reply Leanne August 8, 2018 at 5:35 pm

        Fingers crossed that things improve for you Min – I’d like to think that you’re over the worst and sunshine and blue skies are in your future. I saw my GP today and she says I should be good from here on out – so I’m holding her to that!
        #MLSTL 🙂

        • Reply Min August 9, 2018 at 10:53 am

          Good news from your GP Leanne! Things are still weird for me. Strange stuff going on. I hope it all settles soon. I’d like to get on with life without all this stuff! x

  • Reply Chris July 26, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Thanks for this article, Min. Very interesting. So many comments to make I suspect it’s a separate blog post in itself. I can say that I’m post menopausal and that it has been very difficult, and six years in with various remedies used, it still bothers me. Personally I found diet and exercise (I eat well and exercise regardless) had no discernible effect. And ladies – forget being horrified about the possibility of hot flushes for 12 months or 10 years. For some, it lasts for the rest of your life!

    • Reply Min July 27, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Oh Chris – I’m glad you’re on the other side (ie post menopausal) but I feel for you! Ugh – not a good thought that hot flushes can last the rest of your life. I think the hormonal imbalance and repercussions from it can too. I guess the best we can do is do our research, try different things and hope that something works to help us feel balanced and reasonably normal (those of us who suffer badly through it anyway). All the best to you! xo

  • Reply Deborah July 28, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I went for over 6mths or so recently without getting a period and then got it again. Very annoying as I’d decided that was it. (I’d stopped for 3-4 months previously but this seemed to be it.)

    I must admit I can’t actually tell whether my mood, sleeping trouble and the like are age / menopause related or just how I am now?!

    • Reply Min August 1, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      I’ve a friend who had the exact thing happen Deb. I myself have gone two months without one but feel that one is is on it’s way for me now *groan*. It’s not fun! I’m not sure where I am in the process either. I’m assuming my mood changes, sleep troubles etc are all related to hormonal changes. The joys of being a woman!

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit July 30, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    I’ve got no idea where I’m at. Moods are a bit dodgy though. Like Deb – not sure if it’s just the new me or menopausal.

    • Reply Min August 1, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      I’ve no idea where I’m at either! LOL – my moods are dodgy too!!

  • Reply Sue August 4, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Min, menopause is such a complex interplay of hormonal changes, isn’t it!! And it impacts so many other metabolic and physiological functions!! There are plenty of horror stories out there too, which can make things so much worse just by the anticipation of how it might be. I remember one of my managers about 15 years ago had a terrible time with hot flushes during menopause, fanning herself often during meetings as the sweat beaded on her face and ran down her cleavage. For me (early menopause at 47) it wasn’t too bad in that regard, although there was definitely an unexpected effect on my autoimmune condition, which flares more readily these days. I also found that there is not a lot of information out there about the far-reaching impact of hormonal changes in midlife, and it seems that anything and everything is considered “normal”. Unfortunately I think there’s no predicting what menopause will be like for any one person and as with so many things we just have to ride our own wave as it comes.

    • Reply Min August 6, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      You’re so right Sue – it’s very complex and differs from woman to woman. Unfortunately, I am one of those women who gets the full gammut of possible symptoms and problems. It’s been a rough road for me since I got my first period at 10 or 11. I’m riding the waves though – even though I feel a bit crazy at times!! 😉 I hope your autoimmune condition is settled these days. You certainly look fit and healthy! 🙂 xo

  • Reply cherie August 8, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    I am dreading menopause. For the past few years, I have been having night sweats. Now my sleep is getting much worse, I am SO emotional(never an issue before, rather stoic really, or used to be) and I have a very short fuse(also something new to me). I know it is a “normal” transition, but it does bother me that many women do not share their experiences, so it’s hard to know what is “normal”.

    • Reply Min August 9, 2018 at 10:55 am

      Hopefully menopause won’t be too much of a drama for you Cherie. The night sweats (or hot flushes) seem to have disappeared for me. I thought they were here but perhaps I was mistaken because I’ve not noticed them in ages now. However, other things are going on that are weird and yes I too experience much of what you mentioned. I think women need to talk about menopause a lot more so that we know what is normal (as you say) and also what others do to help with various symptoms etc.

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond August 9, 2018 at 6:40 am

    Hi Min, thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and I’ve shared on social media. Such an important topic for Women and fortunately, I didn’t really suffer too much with the hot flushes. I do believe exercising helped me through menopause not just physically but mentally as well. Have a great week!

    • Reply Min August 9, 2018 at 10:55 am

      Thanks for sharing Sue. Yes exercising is vital to helping through this phase! It’s good for the body AND mind! xo

  • Reply Victoria August 9, 2018 at 8:31 am

    I had a fairly easy time going through menopause. My doctor put me on a low dose of hormones. The night sweats were the worse and not sleeping well, I am making up for that now. lol

    • Reply Min August 9, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Oh I’m so envious of people like you that don’t suffer too badly through menopause. I thought I had the night sweats (or hot flushes) but I think I was wrong as I’ve not experienced them for some time now. My sleep is ok at the moment … just far less of it. I average between 5-7 hrs at night, always waking very early in the morning. It’s all the other symptoms I have that are more of a hindrance and drag though! Hoping to get to the other side symptom free one day soon! *fingers crossed*

  • Reply Donna McNicol August 10, 2018 at 7:11 am

    I was put into surgical menopause at age 50 (had a partial hysterectomy at age 30 so no periods, ovaries removed at 50) and they immediately put me on hormones. I stayed on them until my early 60’s and slowly stopped, thinking being on them so long was a bad thing. After a year the hot flashes hit as well as belly weight gain (that I’d never had) and bigger boobs…LOL!

    I learned a couple of things. Diet soda made the hot flashes worse and more frequent. If I drank cold water and put a fan on myself as soon as I felt it coming on, the duration would be shorter. I also had to deal with vaginal dryness and eventually chronic bladder infections. I ended up on long term antibiotics.

    A new doctor, female, after we moved to a new state, put me on a low dose hormone patch. Within the first month, hot flashes completely gone and I got to stop the antibiotics without getting a UTI (urinary tract infection). I’d been having them for ten years! I still use the cream since this is a very low dose of hormones in the patch. Obviously, this wouldn’t have been possible if there were any personal or family history of breast cancer.

    #MLSTL visitor

    • Reply Min August 11, 2018 at 7:33 am

      Ugh the belly weight gain. I’ve noticed that! Don’t like it! Wow – you’ve had quite the journey Donna! I toyed with the idea of a hysterectomy but I was too scared. It would have been a full hysterectomy and I was scared of the unknown consequences … so I kept and keep chugging along with the suffering I do know! I’m pleased to hear things have settled down for you now. I hope it stays that way and you can get on with enjoying life! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Mary Lou August 13, 2018 at 2:49 am

    Hi Min ~ I’m post-menopausal and I can attest that there is such a thing as Post-Menopausal Zest! Once I was through the hot flashes etc. I’ve made the most of every day and not looked back. I didn’t take HRT, except for a short time on Prempro. I developed a cyst in my breast which turned out to be benigh though caused by Prempro. Learning meditation, excercise and other ways of coping made things a lot easier. I’ll be sharing this for #MLSTL on my social media.
    http://www.meinthemiddlewrites.com

    • Reply Min August 17, 2018 at 6:53 am

      Thanks for telling us about the Post-Menopausal Zest Mary Lou! We could all do with a bright light on the horizon – knowing that there is hope ahead of feeling more balanced and peppy again!

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