Monday, 30 July 2007

Summertime, and the livin' is easy (this one's for the ladies)

We have had two WHOLE days of sunshine. What's up? Still not warm enough for my liking, but who's complaining?

I say not warm enough, but a mere two weeks ago I was dying of heat. Hot flushes, to be specific. I had been suffering from them for months, night sweats for a year or two. Silly me didn't put it all together till this year. I thought I was depressed because that's me. I thought I had no energy because that's me. I thought the half stone in weight I put on that would not shift was because of my drinking habits. I never dreamed I'd be going through The Change at 46/47. No, I thought it would be more like 52 because that's when my mom's twin sister went through it. My mother had a hysterectomy at 49 because of endometriosis.

So I went through denial first. Not me. I'm too young. Everyone tells me how much younger I look than my real age. Then anger. Why me? How come I have to go through it now? Then depression. I'll never be a real woman again, boo-hoo. Then, finally, acceptance. Maybe there's some good news about this.

I always meant to read up on menopause, but thought I'd have plenty of time to do it. Suddenly, I had to read as much as I could in a short period of time because I decided I needed to see the dr. I couldn't take sleepless nights for much longer. And so I looked at my options. Natural remedies or HRT. I read a lot about HRT. I took a breast cancer risk assessment test. I took another, then another. All three had different risk assessments, surprise, surprise. The bottom line is that the risk for me goes up dramatically after 50. But not before. And the research on HRT shows that before the age of 50 it doesn't have an effect on breast cancer rates.

So I've been on it for two weeks. And I sleep like a baby and hubby is a happy man again. I will take it till I'm 50, then reassess my options.

A side note: A friend of mine who is younger than me was told by her dr. that she also is menopausal and that she needed to go on HRT. She had none of my symptoms, which were more than just night sweats and hot flushes. The HRT made her feel terrible. She would have horrible temper fits, etc. I've had none of this. I reckon her doc was wrong to put her on HRT if she wasn't symptomatic. He told her it was to protect her bones, but there are other ways to do that.

I haven't told a lot of people I'm on HRT because I don't want the naturalmaniacs baying for blood. The truth is there's a lot more scientific research done on HRT than there is on natural remedies. Also, I have to take my particular circumstances into account, as everyone should.

13 comments:

Annie said...

My Mum has been struggling with menopause for over 10 years. Her docs pulled her off HRT as a blanket move - without researching her specific risk factors - her GP just decided she wouldn't prescribe it for anyone! Glad you're getting a better quality of life.

When you get to 50 - look into sage drops and see if they are a natural solution that could work for you. Some people, my mother among them, claim some benefit from them. Whether this is a placebo effect or not she doesn't know but isn't complaining!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Sorry to hear about your mum, Annie. I'm not against the natural remedies, probably will go onto them in due course. So I'll keep the sage drops in mind.

J said...

Good for you! I'm so glad you are feeling better!

I'm dreading menopause. I already have a bunch of perimenopause symptoms. That, I understand, could go on for 10 years before real menopause hits. LOVELY!

There is no blanket right approach. Everyone has to make their own decisions - glad you had to opportunity to make well-informed decisions!

Enjoy your sleep.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

j. I think I was going through perimenopause for a few years without even realizing it. In a way, I'm glad of that. A good friend kept telling me that's what was happening to me and I kept saying, no, not me.

jenny said...

My most recent post touched on having periods and I actually look forward to menopause as an end to my dreaded monthly visits from "Aunt Flo". But after reading your post, maybe I should be careful of what I wish for?!! At least I still sleep soundly...

Am glad the HRT is working for you.. And hopefully there will be no negatives for you as a result of them, later on. Sweet Dreams!

laurie said...

i have a friend who went through it, for no apparent reason, at age 38. she put a little fan up at her desk and sometimes when she was talking to me she'd suddenly grab her shirt and start blowing into the neckline. she finally told me what was going on. she's lesbian, and had had no plans to have children, but she sobbed anyway because now that choice had been taken away from her.

she found herbal remedies--super vitamins, and black cohash--to be very helpful, despite the fact that there's no medical testing that backs it up.

but i also have a friend who did what you're doing--HRT for a short time. and that helped her, too. helped her get through those first couple of difficult years, and after that she did much better on her own.

good luck to you! you can whine to us ANY time.

oh, and ps--if sleep gets to be a problem again, i find one tylenol PM puts me out nicely. two is too many--i'm groggy in the morning. but one works well.

DJ Kirkby said...

Ah poor you, well no longer as you seem to have got yourself sorted for the enxt couple of years anyway. My Gynaecologist can't figure out whats the matter with me and has stuck me on Progesterone for 3 months to see if that stops the problem, if not then biopsy time. Sigh which means diet till I lose 2 stone time, now I am grouchy!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Jenny: I started having periods when I was 9. They were such a part of my life that when they weren't there anymore I actually missed having them.

Laurie: The end of your reproductive years, even if you have no plans for children, is a bigger wrench than I thought it would be. We expect it in our 50s, but not 30s and 40s. I was taking all sorts of sleep remedies but nothing works if you wake up in the middle of the night feeling like a furnace.

DJ: Have you tried the Mirena coil? I had one for five years and it worked like a dream after taking a year to settle down. And you can't even go running till your toe heals. Poor you.

Kelly said...

My mum had a hysterectomy in her mid-forties and was on HRT for almost ten years, then slowly weanedoff rceently. It had no effect other than a positive one, and allowed her to feel younger, until she was ready to become post-menopausal.

I have to say that she was a nicer woman on HRT than on PMT....

Kelly said...

Glad yo uare feeling positive about the whole thing. I appreciate that as someone trying to get pregnant, I'm not the ideal candidate for advice/support, but you have to do what you feel is right, you've done your research, you plan on reassessing and this is your solution. It works for you. You feel good about it. Sod everyone else.

DJ Kirkby said...

I know I am turing into such a bloater! I am too chicken to have the coil in though it has been reccomended before, I know of too many people who did not get on with it.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Kelly: thanks for your supportive comments. I have to say I'm a nicer person on HRT too. And good luck with getting pregnant.

DJ: It took me a good year before things settled down with the coil. I think too many people expect it to be perfect right away. It isn't at first, but once it is, you don't even think about it. And it had the beneficial (I think) side effect of muting the early stages of menopause.

Queeny said...

I read this after reading your comments left on my most recent blog. Just between you and me (and the rest of your fan club), I'll be 41 in a couple of months. Although most of the information I've read says perimenopause usually starts around age 45, I'm convinced it's hitting me now. I will be seeking a doc's advice.