Monday, August 23, 2010

Hot flashes, insomnia and mood swings, oh my!

My mom often spoke of her hot flashes. I may have thought she was exaggerating because I just couldn't understand how in the world your skin could feel on fire, or you could break out into sweat in the dead of the winter.

I was dead wrong. She wasn't exaggerating.

Hot flashes are, for me, the number-one-bar-none-worst part of this journey. Or wait, is it the insomnia? Or maybe its the roller-coaster of emotions that make me feel like I'm taking a ride on Ozzy's Crazy Train.

Hot flashes are so incredibly uncomfortable. A hot flash comes over you within seconds. You feel hot as hell, uncomfortable and occasionally its difficult to breathe. Quite possibly the worst part is the sweating. My face breaks out (or at least I feel like it breaks out) into a billion beads of sweat and its very uncomfortable. Not the kind of uncomfortable that working out and being sweaty brings, but uncomfortable like a heavy and intense flash of humidity.

Like I said in a previous post, I began experiencing "night sweats" when planning for my wedding. Since it never occurred to me I could be anywhere near menopause I didn't even consider that as an option. Night sweats seemed to go along with the stress and anxiety of everything going on in my life at the time. Looking back on it, I really should have known, shouldn't I have?

The weight gain was pretty obvious. Bless every one's hearts around me for not saying something especially because I was more swollen than usual for my wedding. Thankfully I have had no trouble getting the weight off. Now, its obvious that too was a sign I was near menopause (the weight gain).

The mood swings actually didn't become dominant until just recently. I actually think I handled the past year pretty well considering I was engaged, married, dealt with some pretty difficult people and relationships, had my dog pass, and am trying to make a career as a writer. Now, I look back and can see times where my mood swings were more severe than was standard for me.

Sleeping sucks. I mean, trying to get back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night sucks. Actually sleeping is heavenly, when it happens. I've always been a sleeper and definitely never had any problems with it! I had my doctor prescribe me something to help with the "insomnia" (waking up at 2am, 3am and not being able to fall back to sleep) she prescribed Rozerem. I would not recommend it. First of all it didn't do anything for me at all, and secondly the possible side effects are terrifying! So, I occasionally take a generic form of Tylenol PM. Other nights, I just don't stress if I wake up and can't go back to sleep.

I am against HRT (hormone replacement therapy) for both animal welfare and health reasons. I've learned a lot about acupuncture, herbs and oils as remedies for the symptoms related to menopause. I will go into detail about my findings in my next post. I have to go to work, and I have an appointment with a doctor at 1:00 today to make sure there is no underlying cause of the premature menopause. Which, I'm sure there isn't, just need to be thorough!

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