Tag Archives: menopause

Menopause Discomfort (50 excerpt)

Another major issue I have to contend with at the age of fifty is the menopause. My poor body is so confused. The other day I went outside to admire the natural wildlife meadow that is my back garden, when I sneezed and slightly wet myself. Sometimes I put on a jumper because I’m feeling cold then immediately break out into an intense sweat all over my body – I’m cold enough to need a jumper, then literally one second later so hot I can barely stand to be just in my bare skin!

The menopause is a constant irritation, a battleground of extreme temperatures, a never-ending reminder of my stage of life and bodily misfortune. I never feel comfortable. I’m twitchy all the time with a niggling, perpetual aggravation, whatever I’m doing, wherever I am. If I’m not sweating and wetting myself, my back is aching, my knees and hips are giving way, or I have a hideous, painful migraine. And I’m rapidly putting on weight in the middle of my body.

Recently, I got so fed up with all this, that I made a doctor’s appointment to try hormone replacement therapy, hoping that perhaps it’ll stabilise the migraines and sweating. I’d try most things if there was a chance of living without this continual discomfort.

I thought I’d use natural remedies as well, alongside the medical solution, so I did some research into the most helpful supplements to take. Apparently all of these can all help:

  1. Black cohosh
  2. Vitamin B6
  3. Sage leaf
  4. Oil of Evening Primrose (for omega 6)
  5. Fish oil (for Omega 3 to balance out the omega 6s)

Utrogestan

Utrogestan is a medication women take when they use HRT. I have just started taking it five days ago because my mirena coil has gone a year-and-a-half past its sell-by date and I’m on estradiol HRT. I’ve decided to reduce my HRT with the goal of stopping it completely. But I have to wean off it gradually, over 2-4 months. If you stop suddenly and go cold turkey you could get an overnight menopause with severe symptoms.

My HRT consists of taking oestrogen gel and a progesterone tablet. You have to have the progesterone tablet if you take oestrogen because if you don’t, the lining of your womb can be damaged. Utrogestan is a body identical manufactured hormone so it’s pretty good, but there is a major side effect. About twenty minutes after taking it, you feel extremely sedated, like you’ve been drugged. It’s hard to get up and walk. You feel dizzy and your eyes want to close. Your body wants to fall to the floor and sleep. This is very strong for about 15 minutes but then slowly wears off over the next hour.

At the moment I’m undecided whether I can cope with this every evening for 2 months. I’m desperate to come of my HRT but I have to take it slowly, which means using the utrogestan for a while. It’s a daunting prospect. But perhaps this effect will lessen over time. I’ll let you know. If I forget, remind me! ***

But the main point of this post was to let other women know that the dizzy, soporific, druggy effect they feel after taking progesterone is normal, and caused by the fact that you have to take a high dose in order for it to make its way through your system to your womb before it’s all digested. There are other methods for getting progesterone into your system so if you don’t feel a reduction in the sedation you could speak to your doctor about this.

*** UPDATE Yes, the effect not only lessons over time it doesn’t happen at all. I only experienced the sedative effect about 2 or 3 times and then never again.

*** ANOTHER UPDATE From time to time, I still get the effect of suddenly being very drunk/drugged/sleepy for 20 minutes. I’m wondering whether, to prevent this, the utrogestan pill must be taken at the same time as applying the estradiol.

Hormones Are Powerful Things

And now I’m worried I’ve given myself cancer. I take HRT to help prevent hot flushes and migraines relating to the menopause. It comes in the form of a colourless, odourless gel that you spread on your arms, but you can only use this if you also have the Mirena coil fitted in your womb giving you the progesterone component of the HRT. If you just have the gel alone it’s likely to damage your womb and/or give you cancer. The Mirena coil works for 4 years as part of the HRT process. The other day, I looked in my diary to find out when I’d had the coil fitted and it was five-and-a-half years ago. I’ve been giving myself the oestrogen gel for a year-and-a-half without the progesterone component and no-one from the medical profession ever got in contact with me.

I panicked, naturally, and sent my doctor an econsultation message (there’s no way I could get an actual, real, face-to-face appointment in Covid times, they simply don’t allow it). Over the phone, the doctor prescribed me progesterone pills to take as a matter of urgency and asked me to book an appointment to have my coil taken out and a new one put in.

However I don’t want to be on HRT at all, or to have a new coil, I want it removed for good. But because I started down this route of tampering with my hormones I can’t suddenly stop. It’s going to take me about three months or more to wean off the HRT, slowly and carefully, and I can’t leave my womb unprotected that long. And actually, if I get unbearable hot flushes I might decide I need HRT for a bit longer after all. In which case I’d need the coil.

The progesterone pill has to be taken on an empty stomach and I NEVER have an empty stomach, so this is very difficult for me. It says in the documentation that the pill should be taken two hours after eating and an hour before eating. Well, I managed it for two days but it’s not sustainable. I was STARVING. And I’ve also been getting continuous powerful migraines (I’ve had six in the last nine days). I have no idea whether they’re connected to suddenly starting the progesterone pill, probably unlikely, but in any case, I stopped taking them today. I’m going to have to leave my womb to get damaged for a little longer. What’s another four days after 1.5 years?

But BOY am I getting cramps now. Which is very worrying. I only took the progesterone for two days but it was obviously powerful stuff. I feel like I’m ovulating again.

I’m all messed up internally and I feel out-of-control over my own body. All I want is to be natural and have no HRT and no coil. But it’s going to take a long time to reach that goal.

Here’s hoping I don’t develop womb cancer before Thursday.

Hot Flush

What does it feel like to have a hot flush when you’re in the menopause? Well, I write about this in 50:

Everything is normal, then suddenly it begins with a mini explosion of heat originating around the ears and neck, before swiftly radiating out over the shoulders. The heat then expands in all directions over the head and down into the body in pulsating waves of such extreme heat that it demands immediate adjustment of clothing. Perspiration breaks out everywhere, including in places I’ve never sweated before: on my chin, shins, stomach, back, and inner arms. The back of my neck becomes moist, and hair clings to the skin as if I’ve just done a work-out at the gym. Rivulets of sweat run down my chest between my breasts. Sweat breaks out on my face and forehead, which shines and glints in the light, even if it’s an overcast, gloomy day. The temperature remains at an unbearably hot intensity for about three minutes, pulsating in slow waves from extreme, to impossibly extreme, before it suddenly, rapidly dissipates and I start to feel a magnificent relief. Sadly, this is instantly followed by being unpleasantly cold as my body instantly cools, the sweat useless on my body, my clothes hanging in chilly wet patches. This happens about twenty-five times per day and every time I wake at night, which can be up to five or six times. Bed sheets, pillow cases, and pyjamas have to be changed every few days. I need to wash frequently, especially under the arms. The need for antibacterial soap is paramount. Everything about this is tedious and irritating. It’s not painful, but it’s deeply unsettling and exasperating.

The menopause induces a raging internal climate change.
But why? What is the point of this suffering?
I don’t think anyone knows. Mother nature has not revealed her reasons.