Menopause Survivor

Posted , 12 users are following.

Hi Girls,

It's difficult to know where to start.  I had always been reasonably fit and healthy and had been quite thin all my life.  About 7 years ago a routine smear test showed a small cervical cyst, trip to the gynaecologist who told me during the procedure that I was perimenopausal.  Never heard of it and confused it with menopausal and, as I had no symptoms, I thought I was just going to sail through. Big mistake.  Shortly afterwards I developed a strange symptom that I haven't come across in this forum or anywhere  else - smelly feet.  Now this might seem trivial but my feet could clear a room, the smell was strong and sickly sweet and no amount of showering, bathing or deodorant would stop it.  I lost count of the pairs of shoes I had to get rid of because the smell transferred to them.  It stopped at the time of what turned out to be my last menses in March 2010 to be replaced with the REAL symptoms.I piled on 2 stones in weight in next to no time and looked and felt  like a badly stuffed pillow with bulges back and front and thighs that a body builder would be proud of.  My stomach was painful under the strain of bloating and I felt generally under the weather.  Mother Nature (The Bitch!) still had lots of plans for me.  I started with migraine, something  I had never experienced before, they were happening 2 or 3 times a week and the Migraleve recommended by my local chemist was not really effective.  I had problems with painful joints - particularly my hands when my fingers would swell to the size of sausages.  So my husband shipped me off to see the GP who was surprisingly unhelpful. She told me there was nothing she could prescribe for migraine that was any more effective than the OTC Migraleve and referred me for an Xray on my right hand.  When I rang for the Xray result I was told the doctor didn't  need to see me again - and she hasn't.  I felt I was being treated as a neurotic attention seeker.

The hot flushes and night sweats were in full swing and it was time to decide whether I was going to live with the menopause or was the menopause going to live with me?

I tackled the migraine with paracetamol combined with a travel sickness tablet (Kwells) to deal with the awful headache and nausea and found out this really worked for me.  My husband helped out and  came home with a copper bracelet and vast amounts of Glucosamine gel. He looked up different supplements and vitamins and I tried things like black cohosh, St. John's wort and a host of others including Evening Primrose.  The combination I came up with was 

A minimum of 1gm timed release Vitamin C - useful for weakness, bleeding gums, bruising, joint pain and energy

Basic multivit with iron

Vitamin D helps with absorbing calcium

Vitamin B complex

15mg Zinc (well, who wants to catch a cold ?)

But I found the best effect was when I added Sage capsules (300mg twice a day)  the hot flushes went from twice a day to about twice a week and they didn't last as long

I didn't change much diet-wise although I did find that red meat slowed down my digestion which could cause constipation so I made sure I ate a couple of small easy-peel clementines every day.  The potassium in a daily banana helped regulate my heart rate, I found the knock on effect was my anxiety levels went down. 

Under no circumstances would I give up chocolate...

Practical issues for dealing with hot flushes and night sweats for me included wearing lots of lightweight layers that can be removed quickly  ( you don't want to be struggling to get a tight sweater over your head when your body is steaming).  Get a dual control electric blanket, keep your side switched off.  Ditch the nightie and sleep au naturel,  kick off the covers as soon as you feel the hosepipe has been turned on.

My lovely husband helped me a lot, but I think he struggled a bit with the mood swings and the tears that came from nowhere and there were times when I felt I was the loneliest person in the world.

Okay, that was then but this is now...

I realised months ago that I couldn't remember when I last had a hot flush, a skirt I bought when the weight piled on dropped down to my knees, my side of the electric blanket is now switched on at night.   I feel better physically and mentally than I have for years, the lethargy and anxiety has lifted.  I can run up the stairs now instead of dragging myself up.

There is little or no support professionally for the menopause and no handbook could ever be written to guide us through it.  I can't say that anything I've written will help you through, I hope it does.  But there are things that I can say with confidence - it really does not last forever and in the not too distant future there will be lots of you writing on this forum as "Menopause Survivors" 

Good luck and a big hug to you all 

6 likes, 13 replies

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi dunnit

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and starting off the new 'Menopause Survivor' discussion which will help loads of women on this forum who are in the midst of all this madness!

    I see loads of tips which I will try myself and hopefully this will encourage others aswell.  This new discussion is there now for others to add to it and will be no end of help for all struggling with this.  thanks again lol

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  • Posted

    This was one of the best post i've read. Thank you so much for sharing. I have already started some of these tips and this will surely help me fair through this madness.

    Again a big thank you to you and I'm certain this will help with so many of the ladies here going through this transition of womanhood.

    Take care!!

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  • Posted

    Thank you SO much for this post!  This gives me hope that there is a light at the end of this menopause train wreck tunnel!  I am 54 and kind of a late bloomer in the menopause issue and am hopefully at the end of the peri-menopause and counting down to that magical I hear with no period mark.  The advice you give for the various symptoms is helpful and I am definitely going to look into following some of it!

    Thank you!

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  • Posted

    I believe you gave us all a bit of hope!
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  • Posted

    Great post, I just wish sage would have worked for me. I tried it and apparently I'm allergic to it such that I ended up in the ER. I had to opt for Hot Flash pill OTC, which was a blessing to be able to take. I also did the flaxseed oil and drink. Vitamins B complex, D, and C also helped. Just so you understand, zinc is for the heart, zinc gluconate is the one for colds. Also, I went through the smelly feet thing but I quickly found ways to get rid the smell by using baking soda, a powder made for vaginal odors, and a shoe spray. I really think the vaginal powder worked better, my sweetie also had smelly feet but he started using my powder he no long has it. Did it for about a month or so until I got rid of it. Once it's over, we're free to live without that menopause gorilla attached.
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  • Posted

    dunnit, I just LOVE the way you have presented your experience ......i believe it might have covered a seven year period ? step by step, in order of occurence.....i feel from your realistic approach you are one of us - a true guide -- you are our hero !!

    yes, Im gonna read it again and again. hope im going to be able to climb our flight of stairs as swift as you one day  !


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  • Posted

    Thanks for that,

    You really make me wonder if I should have hung out just a bit longer. I had noticed last year that I was managing the stairs without dragging myself up using the banister. Not running but it was certainly a little easier.

    Also bad taste had gone from mints all the time to only an occasional one.

    You didn't say how long your periods had stopped for before you found things were better?

    I didn't have smelt feet but on my last 3 to 4 periods I had this awful smell about me. I don't know where it was emitting from (not my underarms or down below) I just couldn't figure out where it was coming from. I can only s describe it as a dirty sorry of smell. I could sometimes smell it whilst I was bathing and after the bath and hair wash. I worried that I had some weird cancer or something. Thankfully it was short lived.

    It was my libido that was suffering I'd gone from just putting up with it to absolutely hating it.

    I'd never heard of using sage but will bear it in mind when I can no longer take HRT.

    It's so good to know it does get better. Thanks again you've made my day!

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  • Posted

    Wow what you have written is brilliant it gives hope I think to everyone that with a lot of trialling things you can find a way through.

    I too use herbal and vitamins and find they do help . I think if we all contributed to a menopausal manual what a huge wealth of knowledge we would all be sharing !!

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  • Posted

    What you have written HAS helped me. Thank you for your post. I look forward to joining the 'Menopause Survivors' club. I just hope it's sooner rather than later. BIG THANKS TO YOU!!
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  • Posted

    Thanks Dunnit! Some days I feel good, other days not so much, but I do believe vitamins help some. Trying stay all natural on taking things to control it. I do usually have a banana everdsy yo get my potassium too.

    I just recently had experienced some bad headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and my forgetfulness has been unbelievable some days. I''m amazed I make it through some days.

    Night sweats are pretty bad too, but I do mostly sleep in the nude now, and the ceiling fan is my best friend. It's on every night.. So both things do help.

    Luckily, I don't have the anxiety like I used to and now put back in some weight too. I don't mind being a little heavier though. I lost way too much weight last Spring/Summer. Got me really scared. I think it was mostly my anxiety, and wasn't able to eat that much. Now just the opposite. I'm hungry and probably eating too much.

    So yes there are so many ways to deal with all these peri. symptoms. I mostly try to stay busy exercise, and try not to focus on all my symptoms. I'm still in peri., but think im getting closer to plsin menopsuse. Some of my symptoms are subsiding a lttle more, and now almost 5 mos. Eithout a periiod. Knock on wood. Can't wait til its all completrly over. I just want to feel my old self again.

    Anyway thanks for all your advice. Good to know there is a light at this very long tunnel.

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  • Posted

    As I woke up with a racy heart and feeing anxious I thought about all of the other ladies going through this.  I echo all the other responses in that just the hope that this goes away keeps me going.  I decided to write today because i realized how much its helps to read the symptoms that others have and know that I am not losing my mnd, and even more, hearing from someone whose symptoms have subsidded. Just a big thank you for all who share their experienes. Mine are heart palps, really bad anxiety and feelings of a foggy brain, like I can't focus. Prayers for all of you and myself are a daily practice. I just keep saying "this too shall pass" Heidi from the USA  
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    • Posted

      Hello Heidi,

      I'm also in the US. You are not alone. I have the really bad anxiety, feeling like my head is under water at times, and all sorts of other symptoms. This forum is truly a blessing to me. If not for the ladies here I would have been a basketcase. I can't seem to talk about how I feel to anyone else because they don't understand and I've grown tired of trying to get them to understand. So I come here for reassurance and to not feel so alone. Like you, what keeps me holding on is knowing that one day I feel like myself again. We will get through this. Big hugs your way. Take care!!

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