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jazmina88's avatar

The throes of Menopause....How tough is it?

Asked by jazmina88 (11595 points ) February 27th, 2012

night sweats for 2 years and this week very emotional and crying spells. Are there important hormones and supplements to take? I know primrose oil is supposed to be good. Tell me about other symptoms. Is this a roller coaster ride, or what?

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13 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I have found this varies greatly from woman to woman. The sweats are usually combatted pretty well by hormones from what my friends and family say, but also many people I know who use hormones for hot flashes and night sweats when they try to come off the drugs they go right back to the symptoms and discomfort, even many many years later. While I have other friends who suffer through for a year or two, no medicine, and then eventually the symptoms stop. I can’t figure out if the hormone replacement makes things worse in the long term, or if those women would have had trouble no matter what. Then I know many many women who fly through menopause without barely a negative, they just eventually stop having their periods.

I would tell all women to get their thyroid checked while in menopause, especiallly if they are very symptomatic. I think the last stat I saw was 25% of women of the age of 45 have thyroid issues. Some of the same symtpoms attributed to menopause are also attributed to thyroid problems.

They used to say eating soy helps, because it gves the body estrogen. Some women claim it helps, but the studies that have been done that I have read showed it doesn’t help.

JilltheTooth's avatar

My menopause was medically forced so it was outstandingly harsh, but thankfully fairly short. During the worst of the hot-flash time I found, at my natural food store, a topical cream (I’m so sorry, I can’t remember the brand or the ingredients, but I know it was all plant-based) that provided a fair amount of relief of the physical symptoms at night. Probably a small amount of research on line, or even a basic question or two at the natural food store will give you some ideas.
Standing outside in a freezing cold rain helped, too. That, however, was not recommended by medical professionals… :-/

wilma's avatar

It seems that for the women I have talked to about this, if their puberty and menstrual years were fairly easy, then their menopause was as well. For those of us who suffered heavy periods and difficult peri- menopause, our menopause seems to be difficult as well. That is just my observation and may not be factual at all.
So far I am surviving without HRT (Hormone replacement therapy). Some days are better than others.
I am finding the hot flashes and night sweats to be the most difficult. To me, when I have a whopper of a hot flash, (some are worse than others for some reason) I have a bit of a panic when it first starts. I want to run outside and away from people. I want to rip my clothes off, especially from around my neck. I have changed how I dress. It’s winter where I live right now. No more turtlenecks and sweatshirts or sweaters that need to be taken off over my head. I usually wear a tank top and then layer clothes over that, that are easily removed. My friends understand when I get up abruptly and leave to go outside and literally “cool off”.
Some days are better than others. I don’t know why and perhaps if I paid more attention to my diet I might know what helps and what doesn’t.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Oh, Sweetie, it is a huge pain to have to deal with this. Good luck…..........

janbb's avatar

Different for different women. I had terrible problems with fibroid tumors and heavy periods in the years before menopause so the cessation of those was such a relief that the hot flashes and night warmth were bearable. A few years of those symptoms and they ended; other friends have had hot flashes for years. I didn’t take anything for it, just soldiered through. I did feel less sharp-witted than usual but I don’t know if that was menopause or aging although my mind has pretty much come back since I have no one else to rely on now.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Oh come on ladies. You complain about the vicious monthly hormonal flutctuations, the weight gain, the pain of the cramps when you have them, and then you complain about the withdrawal problems when it shuts down. I sense you’d really like my nuts on the chopping block about now. :)

marinelife's avatar

Pregnenealone, the hormone precursor, really eliminated my menopausal symptoms. 50 mg a day in the morning.

One caveat: it takes 30 days before it gets into your system. Then one day you will wake up and your symptoms will be gone.

auntydeb's avatar

@JLeslie is right, the thyroid thing can play a part, good idea to get that checked. It may be helpful to find out if possible, how your mother or any older female relatives dealt with any problems. I have been very fortunate in following my mother’s style of relatively symptom free menopause. But, I also eat a diet very rich in phytoestrogens. Much, much soya, chick peas, green veg etc, I also take 2300 mg of Evening Primrose oil every day and avoid too much saturated fat. It isn’t difficult, and the EP supplements certainly can’t hurt. Plenty of exercise helps too, lots of simple fluids, snacking on foods that have a low glycemic index etc, all this stuff actually helps if you can do the lot.

As for @Adirondackwannabe , just be thankful for all the pleasures of the flesh that come with these hormones. Botticelli wouldn’t have had half as much fun if Venus had been a boy.

wilma's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I know that you are kidding, but I wouldn’t push your luck around a flashing woman.

Coloma's avatar

3 years out over here and still have night sweats a few times a week. In my experience none of the herbal remedies made any difference, and I refused any HRT from my doctor. I never experienced the depression that some claim happens, just irregular periods and the hot flashes and some weight gain that I am still managing, bah!
If your emotional issues are feeling overwhelming you might benefit from some short term HRT. Talk to your doctor.

Patreesha's avatar

Evening Primerose oil and Black Cohash help alot so does flax seed oil.

rooeytoo's avatar

I am still having hot flashes and night sweats and it has been about 8 or 9 years since my last period. These are annoying but not life altering, although I have been thinking about a device that when I hit the button would lift the sheet and covers off the bed and have them flap like a huge fan until the heat fades. Bet I could get rich selling them! I keep thinking it has to end soon but in the meantime, I figure it could be a lot worse. I should try the Primrose, I have heard many say it works well.

auntydeb's avatar

Just an extra note on ‘Evening Primrose oil’, I see that others recommend trying it too. The active constituent is Gamalenic or Gamma linoleic Acid. This is an essential fatty acid which works in the body with hormones directly concerned with the oestrogen cycle. I have had gamalenic acid prescribed years ago, as I have MS and it is known to improve some symptoms. In particular it has a kind of smoothing effect on the more racy aspects of the progesterone/oestrogen cycle.

I continued to use the more complex, natural form of this fatty acid, as Evening Primrose Oil, where it naturally occurs in large amounts. *Starflower, or Borage oil has more, but also has some noted and unwanted side effects The support for the hormonal changes in menopause is also accompanied by positive effects on the skin, hair and joints. So it may be worth taking some for a few weeks anyway.

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