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July 09, 2012

Hot and bothered

Hotandbothered

Disclaimer: If you are a man, or a woman under, oh, about 38, or maybe someone who is squeamish about the middle aged female experience, this post is not for you.

Is it hot in here or is it just me?

Holy sweat balls, people, it's not just me, is it? Or is it?

So here's my little middle aged story of the week: a few years ago, I went on a low dose birth control pill to help with irregular special monthly visitors. The results were good. Fewer days in, ahem, the process, and fewer cramps.

I don't need to be on any birth control at this time in my life. Dan took care of that issue 6 years ago. (Thank you, honey! So appreciate you!) But after I met with a nutritionist back in May, she strongly urged me to stop taking the Pill if I didn't need it. She said I should see where I'm at naturally. I said, "Why not?"

Four weeks after stopping the pill the hot flashes started.

Let me describe them: instaneously, I'm super heated from head to toe and it lasts for, oh… maybe three minutes or so. And this now happens up to 8 times a day.

Doesn't really matter what I'm doing. I could be running, or sitting, making dinner or settling into bed for a crappy night's sleep.

And while I am thankful for reaching this age (and I truly am) and I realize that this is just part of life (I get this, I really do), I am still allowed to say that part of this new experience sucks total and complete ass.

I mean seriously.

So I guess today, I'm wondering about all of this. I have checked in with Dr. Google and found the following things can affect the issue:

• coffee
• wine
• sugar

Hmmm. Let's see… as an ex-smoker, there is a mentality that I carry with me and it goes something like this: you can take my coffee away when you pry my mug from my cold, dead hand. Granted, it's the caffeine they say can trigger the hot flashes, and my coffee is made from a half caf/half decaf custom bean blend, but still… a former addict needs some vice, doesn't she?

The wine? Well, honestly, that's just a new thing I'm trying out this summer. Not a requirement at all. I can deal with that one.

But the sugar? Well, why not just say my nemesis continues to bite me in the tushka.

And then there's this: I'm 46. Is this too young to be having this issue already? Does this mean by the time I'm 65 I will be hunched over an immovable?

I know you're not shy about weighing in ladies, so weigh away.

This perimenopausal mama needs some input.

And more ice packs. Thank you.

 

 

Comments

Not too early at all. I was right about that same age when I started with the hot flashes, irregular periods, etc. Maybe actually a year or two earlier than you, but by 47...I was DONE....no more monthly visitors, fewer hot flashes and on to the better side. Seriously it does suck for a year or two.....for me anyways, everyone is different. But once you get "to the other side" so to speak, it's awesome!!!!

I'm so sorry I can't offer you any exciting new advice. Alas, I am 25 and getting hot flashes and I have no idea how to make it suck less either!

My mother started with hot flashes in her early 40s and was done with all monthly visitors before 50. I'm almost 45 and still as regular as clockwork with no hot flashes on the horizon so I think it varies a lot. But I think this is completely normal at this age. Dare I admit this - but I'm a tiny bit jealous. I just want all the monthly stuff to be over with. Hang in there!!!

I'm so there with you!! and here's what you do . . . run, don't walk . . . to Sprouts. Wait, do you have Sprout's Farmers Market grocery stores back there??? Well look up online where you can get Enzymatic AM/PM perimenopause formula aka: LIFE SAVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously!!! Its herbal, which was the route my doctor recommended starting with and IT WORKS!!!! No more hot flashes and no more night sweats. literally!

Puritan's Pride Flash Fighters! Google it, Get it! Unless you have issues with soy. After two weeks I was much better, after I year it was mostly done. Seriously!

http://www.puritan.com/menopause-101/flash-fighters-006095

Sorry you're going thru this, but I'm glad to know it's not just me! I thought at 46 I was too young, my mom was closer to 50, but I'm getting the hot flashes and clammy feelings often now! My hubby and I are really looking forward to no more monthly visitors, if we can survive this stage!! Good luck (to both of us!)

Okay, I'm forty have been having hot flushes (i'm British don't you know!)for about 5 months. My diet has been all over the place with coming off lighter life then really struggling with weight gain and really bad stomach pain, bloating etc. Went alternative route and saw a specialist about my diet. Oh my I'm sensitive to wheat, oats, rye, cows milk,cows cheese and worst of all sugar. Yes I hear you when you say holly cow how do I cut out sugar. I'm struggling but I tell you after only two weeks of cutting out those nasty fellas the hot flushes have stopped. I'm getting less and less night sweats and better nights sleep. I don't think I have slept through since my babies were born 12 years ago. So maybe go and check out kinesiology testing in your area, it might be worth it rather than taking other substances to mask your symptoms.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I'm 51 and still waiting! My mother didn't hit menopause until 56. I was done having kids at 32, so where is the "off" switch? Seriously, an extra 20+ years of monthly visitors, cramps, mood swings... who needs it??? I hope you find a way to navigate this change that brings you some comfort and relief. I'll sit here on the sidelines cheering you on and waiting (impatiently) for my turn.

Other than sending a hug; I have nothing to add...sorry. I am right there with you, sister. I did, however laugh hysterically at your altered iPhone screen shot!

Hi Cathy,

My mom really suffered from this, and she uses Oestrogel (gel with estrogen in it, just a little nub in the crease of her elbow before going to bed every evening). I don't know if it's a global product (we're from Belgium) and she was a bit against it at first, because it's like taking the pill again (it affects your hormones as well), but she's thrilled that she's able to sleep through the night without changing the sheets or the pillow cover multiple times. I would recommend seeing a doctor for a remedy - there's no need to suffer through this when you don't have to...

Lots of support!

oh where to begin......

I am 51 and thankfully was done with the whole monthly thing about 3 years ago now. Early for some I know. I started having hot flashes then or as I called them "warm flashes" as they really aren't that bad. Now I am still getting warm flashes but they are more frequent. No sweating or anything...just plain warm!
I can't take any kind or hormone or natural hormone as I have breast cancer in my family. My doctor said no no no...so I deal. And like I said it isn't nearly as bad as some people get it so I am thankful in some ways. But....BE GONE WARM FLASHES!

And yes...wine doesn't help :( but that is my vice so like your coffee you will have to pry it from my cold dead hands!
Jane

That freakin' pic of you on the IPhone nearly made me fall off my chair laughing! On a sad note, I will be turning 60 this year and have been battling, and I mean battling hot flashes for 8 years. Here in Winnipeg, we are likely gonna hit record high temps this week, and I don't have air in my home. (Just flip me over in the frying pan!) Thankfully, I will be at the lake a bit this week.
I have tried some meds (put on weight), some herbal remedies and cutting out those favorite items of mine, but with no success. So, the battle rages on. Hope you can find something that works for you...I know others have. Good Luck!

Totally loved your post. In the middle of winter I would sit outside wearing shorts and t-shirt; sweating! I started in my early 40's and was done before turning 50. I told everyone I was in reverse puberty and yes it sucked. Herbal supplements helped with the hot flashes and so did laughter. I eventually went on a "happy pill" to help with the mood swings and sleepless nights. Yep that's all part of it...though I swear I wasn't moody. Everyone else took one step back and said yes you are. Be gentle with yourself; keep writing and laugh.

Oh boy, I laughed right out loud when I saw your weather shot! I know, it's just awful-I live in Dallas and in the summer this triple-digit thing is "normal" and it's not a dry heat. I don't have hot flashes much during the day but I do get them at night and I sleep pretty much like a newborn baby...I'm up every two or three hours.
One thing that I've done that I noticed has really helped (and I think you eat pretty clean already) is I went gluten free in January because of some complications with my arthritis (I have Psoriatic Arthritis..yes, the one that Phil Mickleson has). I'm not near as moody and I was beginning to get hot flashes (in January). I do think it's helped. I'm also trying to stay away from hormones because I'm just worried about the side effects..I have four funky auto-immunes going on already, I don't need anymore complications.
I hope it gets better soon and hang in there. When you are just about to die from heat, look up Texas (anywhere..just doesn't matter in the summer, it is so flippin' hot) and feel better:)

There was actually one time a hot flash was welcomed. We were on a ski trip in Colorado. One night, I was so cold in bed that I was shivering. The hot flash started at my toes and radiated all the way up. It felt wonderful---but only that one time. Luckily for me, they didn't last long. I'm 60 now and can't remember my last one!

I turned 50 this year. As in two months ago and BOOM! That was the same exact month I skipped the visitor that month. Seems to be an every other month thing (again this month). First time since I was 11 (talk about hell). Night sweats? Have been having them for 3 or 4 years. Hot flashes? Not bad. I get 'all red' and have to fan myself. But they are quick. I am also a coffee lover and refuse to give it up. Have not tried any of the cool chick tricks with hormones, or herbs or even birth control. However, some other things are going on (really heavy visitor when it does come) along with super bad pain when I ovulate - so I had a sonogram. Guess what? Two fibroids have decided to move in. Another lovely side affect of going through the change. I hear they go away after menopause. Lovely.

I don’t think it's too early, I've just turned 40 and I've been having the early signs of "THE END" for about 3years now, thankfully I’ve only had a few teapot moments (That burning up from the inside I’m about to burst into flames feeling) so you have my sympathy, I may have to go on HRT as I already have a issue with lack of vit D & bone density & I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, I’ve also been trying to lose weight (2 stone so far and kept it off for almost a year) and although I don’t drink alcohol as it doesn’t sit well with the drugs I have to take, I have found that I am sugar’s b**ch, we recently had a series on BBC called “ the men who made us fat” which open my eyes to all the things I had been doing wrong, I’ve always followed a low fat diet, as recommended by all the doctors & nutritionists over the years! And it turns out that it should have been a low sugar diet!
And I really didn’t realise how much sugar is added to our everyday basics & the diet foods! It sounds like getting my sugar demon under control may help later too! Anyway go get checked out by the doctor, they may advise HRT or something more organic seeya Hugya *G*

I started around 49 with the hot flashes. "Fortunately" then they were "only" in the middle of the night in summer so it didn't connect right away what was going on. I'd throw the covers off, strip down, pull the covers up etc all night long. For 3 months. Then I finally got myself in for a regular physical & had that conversation with my doctor, who sent me to another doctor in the organization. I am forever grateful for this. The doctor practiced alternative hormal therapies and works with bioidentical hormones. I am grateful for my bioidenticals. We found my thyroid was low - not out of the so-called "normal" range, but she deemed it low enough to treat. All the other hormones were low too & we are treating them as well. I had a few hot flashes after that depressing 3 months that were not at the best times - the grocery store checkout for example. But all in all, for me it didn't last long.

I'm hoping with the dietary changes I've made to naturally bring my hormones back in balance that I may some day be able to stop the bioidenticals. I'm over and done with the monthly visitor for a while now and with the bioidenticals, it was a relatively painless transition for me (maybe not for those around me though lol).

I've referred about 6 of my friends to this doctor and all of us love her - and now she moved and the center is still looking for a replacement that practices the way she does. In the meantime, we are enjoying seeing her PA who directed me to change my diet & go "caveman" eliminating processed foods etc. I think that is the last part of this process.

I agree with Susan too. Take a step back and laugh if you can thru it all.

47 here, the odd hot flush and visitors that may be here one month and not the next... good news though I'm not a coffee or wine but I do love my chocolate! So can't wait to get to the other side... (insert scene from braveheart) 'FREEDOM' :)

I was later...closer to 50..but I attribute that somewhat to living a great deal of my adult life away from hormone filled dairy products and most processed food. I think that makes a big difference, not that I knew at the time. I was blessed to have virtually no hot flashes but my BIG downside was periods that were gushers AND irregular. My female (younger) dr said "If they start interfering with your life, come back and let me know." I too have breast and uterine cancer in my family history so I just stayed very near the bathrooms. About 18 months of this and my life got...WOW. So much simpler without this companion of so many years.

i'm right there with you. plus i have MS. which also gives me night sweats and has made me heat intolerant + lots of other fun things. i get really sick in the heat. so i spend my summer days in the AC, thank you hunny bunny! i literally have no use for summer.

menopause + MS does not = anything good, let me tell you!

my friend swears that life on the other side is so good, so that's what i am living for and i am not giving up my freaking alcohol!

WOW interesting post and very topical foe me - I just turned 47 and have noticed the hot flushes in the last couple of months, the first month I just thought I was getting a cold, the weather in the UK has been very unpredictable recently too so I thought it must just be me DOH !

Me Husband actually commented yesterday that I was super heated and he'd prefer it if I didn't stand so close to him as I was making him sweat - err Hello Honey . . .

I have said "is it hot in here or is it just me" about a dozen times to my work colleagues today - YUP it is just me .

Sorry no useful or thought provoking advice to offer other than to ask you to come stay in the UK for one week out of each month as it is cool and breezy at the moment because someone STOLE our summer !

I will be watching this post with interest.

Louise

(fellow late forty something, graphic designer with very short dark hair and a very bad sugar habit)

Kendra, Ill totally check that out~!

All I can say is, this too shall pass - but it may take a few years. Just grab onto something cold when it starts, and that might help. Even touching a cooler part of the sheets (at night) helps. Unfortunately, this is part of the normal process, but you do get through it. Sometimes you just want to stick your head in the freezer like that old TV commercial.

When it began for me, I was having those "personal summers" up to 15 or more times a day. And sleeping LOUSY. Not wanting to go the hormone replacement route, I found an herbal supplement at my grocery store (where I was standing in the aisle, glowing and desperate) and it helped tremendously. I sleep great and have very few if any flashes now. However, it took 4 weeks of taking one supplement a day to take effect. It's called NewPhase Complete. I've been taking it for about a year and a half, and it still works well.

I don't drink alcohol, nor do I like coffee (gasp!) but I wholeheartedly embrace the sugar thing. Especially in my morning hot cocoa. So this enables me to keep it in my life without suffering ... those consequences, anyway.

I don't know about the too young thing... but my mom keeps telling me I'm too young @ 49 & 11/12ths. (someone may be having an issue with turning 50 next month) I HATE HOT FLASHES! Especially because I go from shivering inside a hoodie in this overly air-conditioned house (thanks hubs), to wanting to sit in a bucket of ice water. It's too much to handle!

And I have NOT enjoyed some of these comments! Can we all just join in the chorus of "I enjoy being a girl!"

Me too! I'm the exact opposite as well. I'm 51, still get the monthly visitor (although she's old and angry now!) and there isn't hot flash in site. In fact, I'm always freezing! I can't wait to get rid of the "visitor" and I'd welcome a little warmth now and again.

OMG! I am right with you! I am almost 54 and just starting to go through it. I missed my visitor for 3 months beginning in January and then got it every 2 weeks for the last 6 weeks!!! Where is the justice in that! I was having alot of night sweats and hot flashes and started taking Evening Primrose and so far that has worked wonders. No more night sweats or flashes. It certainly is effected with diet, red wine is a big trigger for me, so sad :( I could almost put up with the heat if the visitor would stop coming!!! She is no longer welcome! :)

Not too young by any means, and right in the throes of it with all the rest of us. I was the most regular person on earth - could calculate right to the day, until I turned 40 and all of a sudden - BOOM - nothing for two months, then a 3-day teaser, then nothing for six months, then two in one month...you get the picture. Then they dwindled. I have been done for three years now at age 50. Still get the hot flashes, esp at night. I can honestly say though, and of this I am quite sure - when I eat healthily (and I mean lots of fruits and veggies healthy) they are much less frequent. There is something to that sugar thing. When I did a three-week vegetable juice detox they disappeared completely and didn't come back for almost a year! Then I started eating poorly again and back they came. The 100-degree heat doesn't help, fer shure...hang in there! You're not alone!

I'm 44.5 and had my first hot flash the other day. Dripping from head to toe in sweat. Not my favorite experience. Here's to hoping a solution can be found for all of us!

I started that craziness at 41. Now at 54 I have been finished with the monthlies since I was 49. Hang in there - it does get easier.

Exactly!! Everything you've just said, I can relate. Turning 49 this year and these hot flashes just stared a few months ago. Why now in the summer?? It's miserable and I find they occur more when I'm stressed about something, which means I have them just about.. ALWAYS!

HI, I love your are getting so many wonderful responses! Women should talk about this stuff and maybe blogging will make it easier. I am 56 and I have to tell you I have happier and healthier than ever! Yes the hot flashes are awful but they will end - or at least they did for me. I am sure diet and exercise probably helped me but I can't pinpoint one thing. I'm afraid it's just something we all have to go through. But I hope you can understand that it will probably end and life on the other side is wonderful!

Oh my gosh, I'm still laughing too hard to comment. I'm exactly your age, so I don't have any advice at all! I will go back thru and read everyone else's comments. Hang in there and get more ice packs.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs! I never believed it if someone had told me 2 years ago I would be doing acupuncture. But boy oh boy it works wonders! No hot flashes or night sweats. OUTSTANDING! He also orders a special mixture of a variety of chinese herbs that I take daily. Its awesome. My OB/GYN is in full support of this treatment. Since I am "stable" and have no flashes or night sweats, I go once every 4 months for a tune up treatment. Plus it's actually relaxing! It's at least worth whole looking into. I also work out 5 days a week and eat 80-90% healthy. It's all part of the plan.

I am 50 and in the exact same place. I am almost about to panic of our expected high of 109 tomorrow !!!! I will NEVER take out ac for granted.

Totally sucks...I know where you are coming from.
Been taking Estroven...all natural over the counter...for about month now...seems to help a bit...wish I would have done that about a year ago...
It has to stop sometime...at least thats what I am hoping for. Hang in.

I had my last child at 30, spent 18 months diligently searching for a dr who would yank my uterus for 'no reason' except for disturbingly heavy flow; and was done with all that by the time I was 32. No hot flashes. No cramps. No midnight runs to the drug store for paraphanelia and stronger pain meds. Go ahead, hate me. Single best decision of my life.

I'm happy to say that my menopausal symptoms have been very minimal thanks to paleo eating. I think I am officially in menopause now, and it was not a really rough transition. I'm 52. When I was having a few hot flashes, I did notice that wine really made it worse, darn it.

I had hot and cold flashes. Started at 48, still have the hots at 68. Runs in the family, although my sister says she 'thinks' she's had one. Can't take any estrogen supplements due to family cancer history. I'[m with you on the coffee, my one remaining vice and I'm sticking with it. Along with the HF's, my thermostat in general seems to be stuck in the Southern latitudes. The latest heat wave and storm left us w/o electric for 7 days, and when we got it back, the AC compressor was shot. I only move away from the fan for coffee -- chilled. Hope you have the one year adjustment version of MenoP!

Wait, you had an elective hysterectomy? I dont hate. I ENVY. : )

I am 37 with a 2 and 4 year old kids. I have been having hot flashes since I was 16! They stopped after having babies. (WHAT?) So yeah, I had them for a long time... and hopefully I did my time. I am happy to get "the curse" every month since it means I am healthy, alive and very much a woman. However, the PMS mood swings, chocolate then salt craving, and then eventual good 24 hours of raging at everything could go. There is at least 24 hours of pure elite Marine killing machine that takes over this humble housewife's body once a month. Somebody cure that without a machine gun!!

I'm 51, no hot flashes but there are occasional night sweats and I'm still as regular as clockwork. I'd like to say I'm looking forward to no more monthly visitor but I really am not. Not looking forward to hot flashes or the lovely personality changes I have read that come with menopause....I fear I'm already difficult to live with as it is; don't want to send my husband running for the hills! As for those vices....they will have to pry the glass of wine and the piece of chocolate from my cold dead hands!

Thanks for opening the discussion on this, Cathy. I am 38 and starting to have signs, but people my age know nothing and my older friends tend to be teasingly dismissive of the idea of menopause at what they consider to be my young age. I listen, but their issues aren't quite mine, especially my fears about what it might mean to go through this early. Hunchbacked and creaky at 55 is my fear! My mom died 2 years ago, and I don't know how it went for her. Will be following your story with interest, even if I have nothing helpful to contribute.

I entered the kingdom of menopause at 45. The Vivelle estrogen patch has kept me sane for over 10 years. I have gone off at doctor's suggestion. But, trust me, it is much better for your household (and the world) with the patch on.

Well, I'm 50 and 5 years post menopausal. So, yeah. Sounds about right to me. I would like to tell you what's normal from where you are, but I was diagnosed at 47 with breast cancer and did chemo. It's been really forked up since then, so I have no idea what normal is anymore! But, I feel ya. I really do. Former smoker here too, and there are some things that will go to the grave with me- coffee, beer and chocolate being three of them. You know what they say- you can give all stuff up and you will live forever. Or at least it will feel that way. ;-)

I can sympathize. I started having hot flashes about 6 or 7 years ago and am still having them. I have been post-menopause for 4 years now. I have had really bad, intense, frequent hot flashes. About 3 years ago, they seemed to peak and I timed them one hot summer day and they were every 40 minutes (24/7). I still have them, but they have eased up recently. I gave up caffeine a few years ago (found a decaf that tastes the same for me) and limiting the wine and sugar has helped as well. I have read that a small portion of women have hot flashes the rest of their lives ... I suspect I may be one of them.
The "Dishing Up Nutrition" ladies suggest a hormone cream that I tried, but it didn't seem to have any impact on my hot flashes, so I stopped using it. But it might be worth a try for you. I have debated trying some HRT, but my doctor wants me to hold off.
I also think exercising more and keeping your weight down helps ... but this does get harder during/after menopause. So keep moving more and eating well!! I have always had a tiny waist, flat stomach and carry weight in my hips and thighs. So the flab that has developed post menopause around my middle and my BOOBS is very disturbing to me. This may not be such a dramatic change for people that are more apple shape ... but for me this has been almost worse than the hot flashes.
You are not alone Cathy! Hopefully you will be one of the majority whose hot flashes go away after a few years.

Hi Cathy! Nope, you are not too early. I started at about 47 and you are right, it bites!! :) I had to reduce the caffeine way back and it did help! I quit smoking almost right at the same time, so I was (am) a raving lunatic!! Good luck :)

it was about 10 years ago for me. Glad it's done. The warm flushes were miserable enough. The hot flashes pushed me over the edge. So I talked with the girls at work. They said Soy Milk. Warm it int he morning, add some powdered coffee and chocolate syrup, It tastes like a latte. 3 Days later, the hot flashes were gone and I had a new favorite morning beverage. I kept drinking it for years partly because I liked it and partly because I did not want to go back! When I ran out one day I decided to see what happens. No more hot flashes anymore and so I am back to my regular coffee. I know it doesn;t work for everyone but I am so glad it worked for me

Hi Cathy,
I don't have any words of wisdom either...but I have a story.

I was sitting in the ice hockey rink last week watching my 52 year old husband take face offs and win the Mens Spring League Championship...in my shorts and tshirt.

The 8 year old boy next to me said 'lady aren't you cold'...and I just laughed and said 'no buddy this is the greatest cold I've ever sat through'....he was confused but his 28 yr old mother smiled....

Love your altered screen shot!

Julie

My mom was completely through menopause by 45. I'm 43 and have been having hot flashes and not sleeping, etc. I had my hormones checked and they said they're normal! What! If this is what normal feels like I'm in tears thinking about actual menopause! The thing that sucks more than anything is having menopause symptoms AND my period every month! Totally not fair. :O(

I think I have that cream and have been trying it out, but it doesnt seem to do much. : ) Ay yi yi! I hope to be one who they go away after a few years, but you can never bank on anything.

Oh my! I so can empathize!!! :) I've been doing the menopausal thing for about 10 years....but I STILL have hot flashes (I can deal with those)...but the crappy sleep and night sweats! OMG!
I with you on the coffee....I try to eat right, I exercise....but you ain't getting my coffee!
I tried over the counter remedies like Estroven, Black Cohash, etc....but nothing helped. I tried over the counter sleep aids...same thing! I was a mess! So...

I'm on HRT. I get hormones delivered painlessly by patch! It has made my life liveable and has made being around me mostly bearable! I went off hormones for about 3 of 4 months last year and I was miserable. I'm all about what will improve the quality of my life! And I'm on the downhill swing of 55.

Good luck!!!

Oh the 7 wonders of menopause. I have the Arctic moments more often than tropical moments. My last monthly visit was when I was 60 years old and I started at 10 1/2 - my doctor just laughed at that. Sometimes it is hard to remember this is all a natural part of aging and yes I would rather get older than the alternative. We could sit beside each other Cathy and create a temperature balance. :-)

Hi Cathy;
My mom has been suffering with this since she was in her mid 30's. She's turning 60 this July and has tried many things with some success. Diet and exercise helped to some extent, she was also on estrogen cream for a bit. It has slowed down, she has fewer episodes but it comes back every now and then. I think it's different for everyone. Good luck!

What a timely post! From the beginning I had a sporadic monthly visitor which would come and go sometimes several months in a row, then skip 5 - 6 months, then "hello!" again - always unexpected (you can imagine how fun that was!). Then in my 40's it finally got regular - how cool was that - but also uncool in that I enjoyed my several months off too! I figured I'd not go thru menopause 'til my late 60's considering how many previous visits I'd missed out on, so imagine my surprise when hitting 50 I started to get some hot flashes - & then skipped visits occasionally 'til they completely stopped for almost 8 months - still with the occasional, but not bad flash, then they vanished completely. I thought "yay, that was easy!" until suddenly I was back in the monthly visit game again... Ah that's why I quit the flashes... So disappointed to start counting once more when they quit - "will I make it a whole year this time?!" I actually welcomed the hot flashes since I knew if they quit something else might come knocking at the door & I'd have to start all over again! Well I'm happy to say it's been 20 months and counting, so I think I can safely say I'm post menopause. I still am having hot flashes - but they're not that bad - 3-4 minutes, then gone, and I still somewhat welcome them since the alternative proved to be BAD! I actually get a bit concerned when I can't remember when I've flashed last!
I do notice they happen with coffee, so I just have one cup in the morning. Also alcohol will bring them on, so I've avoided that too most of the time (it helps that my honey has discovered alcohol gives him a bad rash - we joke he's already sipped his lifetime allotment of alcohol!) I'm trying to eliminate sugar, but it's the hardest to get away from with birthday parties, potlucks etc. I really hope this won't last forever, but it's one of the reasons I've taken up daily exercise - to help with any mood issues & hopefully counter other menopause symptoms. I'm staying away from any meds. or herbs, thinking this is just something I need to get through, and those might just postpone & then possibly prolong this lifetime change! At 53 I love not dealing with that monthly visitor, and think the flashes are tolerable (tho I don't enjoy the sleep issues - another reason I exercise to tire myself out more!) One evening out of curiosity I took my temp during & after hot flashing - and yes, it did go up - it's very real - & hot summer weather does not help.
You're right at an average age to begin peri-menopause---I'd think with you exercising like you do, you'll be less likely to loose bone density, or become hunched ever! Even walking regularly keeps your system strong and healthy, and eating right helps too. I actually feel more fit and strong than I have in ages - I still think and feel like I'm barely 30... Yeah, call it denial, but you're only as old as you feel they say!

I agree with the not to early crowd. I'm 49 now, and my hormones started going wonky at about age 35. B vitamins and a low dose antidepressant helped a lot until I turned about 42, then OMG! My personality changed and the sleeplessness and night sweats started. I was an increasingly unpleasant person to be around until I couldn't handle it anymore and started looking for some help. Ditching BC pills was a great start- it allowed my system to stabilize and took away the worst of the personality change. Yoga, acupuncture, Thai body work massage and Chinese herbs also helped me a great deal. But it was only after starting bio-identical hormones that I truly began to feel like myself again. It amazes me that it is still so hard to find practioners/clinics that take perimenopause seriously and offer real solutions, but the Twin Cities does have a few. Good luck, run the AC, and wear lots of shorts and sleeveless shirts!

For the last 3 weeks, I have had awful night (and sometimes day) sweats. Been depressed and moody, as well. Is this is the start of it all? If it is, I am in big trouble. Wet with sweat then cold because I am wet in an air conditioned house. Thinking of renting a room in a hotel so I can crank the air down to 60 degrees. I should probably consult my doctor rather than my internet friends, but you are all so much more entertaining.

Well of course I have to weigh in on this...I have tried every miracle drug known to man in an attempt to avoid HRT... & as my Dr says... there are 10% of women who could have hot flashes & bed sweats in to their 80's... So, I've been on again off again for 12 years now... It's not pretty when I'm off & actually TWICE have been told by my family & friends to get back to the Dr!! In the beginning I felt like such a failure... I went thought 2 -3 sets of sheets every night for about 6 months in my late 40's then depression sets in because I couldn't sleep...They are still very much a part of my day & night,even with medication.It is what it is Cathy Family history does make a difference & hysterectomies DO NOT guarantee absence of hot flashes! I live a VERY HEALTHY life style & yes, you can never have my coffee... Do what YOU need to do... there is a lot of mis-information out there & remember we are all different:o) Talking about it helps everyone & thank you for that!

I'm 47, my doctor says that all my hormone levels are totally normal and that I show no signs of the inevitable "change of life." However, if this is true, can someone please explain why the hell I drip like a faucet from my head only when I'm doing as little as folding a load of laundry, have cramps like a 16 year old and sleep like shit?? I have 9 kids and am more than done using my girly parts and would love to turn this all off, but alas I wait for Aunt Flo every 28 days like clockwork and invest in Playtex Ultra size. It seems as though it's too early to count the days until it ends... Cathy, I feel your pain.

Oh, man... I should have heeded your warning not to read on if you're younger than 38 (I'm 36). Now I'm scared... And feel like I need to hurry up and have more babies! Yikes! I have had a few hot flashes and night sweats (when I was on Clomid trying to get pregnant and again once I finally got pregnant). They are not fun at all. So... no advice, but I do hope you find something helpful!

I read all of the comments with great interest...I started going through meno when I was 47....completely through with the period by 51 and have had severe hot flashes and night sweats for the last 7 years. Night sweats are SO bad I have to keep a towel by the bed, I literally drip...ugh.

Hi Cathy!
I am 65 and I found that just plain old Vitamin E is what got me through menopause pretty much unscathed and for me it seemed to shorten it? It's inexpensive and natural and while helping with menopause symptoms, it's good for our systems in other areas as well. No hormones for me! If you're interested, check out this website and then I hope that you will give it a try.
http://vitamins.lovetoknow.com/Vitamin_E_Menopause

I'm right there with you! At 47 there are so many changes going on inside me and I'm very thankful my husband is supportive as I am on a path of self-discovery.

I started with hot flashes around 47. They lasted on and off for a year or so then went away. They came back for a couple months around a recent health event I had. I've noticed they are just about non-existent now but do surface with a great deal of stress. Caffeine, chocolate and wine had no effect whatsoever. Consume away!

I am 45 and walking lock step with you. My flashes started a year ago. They are more frequent some months than others. This crazy heat we have been having in the midwest is just adding to it lately. My older sister told me she started at 45 and was done by 50 so I am hoping that I will follow that route too. So no, you are not too young at all...

Oh Cathy, I feel your pain. I HATE hot flashes. I admire those women who make it work without medical intervention but I am not one of them. I am on a low dose HRT. It helps; the hot flashes have decreased in intensity although they haven't disappeared. My doctor said some women have hot flashes for their whole lives after menopause; I am so hoping that is not my case. Sorry I have no great advice for you! Just know that I empathize with your plight.

One more thing- I tried the herbal route, no effect,at all for me. That is why I went the HRT route.

I was really looking forward to no more monthly visitors, but I can say now that I would take the monthly visitors over the multiple times a day hot flashes any day. Some women have a fairly easy time; I can't tell you how jealous I am of them!

well I can see by the many posts that you aren't alone this wondrous, hellish time of your life. I started perimenopause at 43 and know exactly how you feel. There will be no sleeping ( suggestion- sleep in the nude , it helps as you don't have to change your nightie);in the wintertime, you don't need as much clothing!I did miss the nightly spooning with dear hubby, but I got over it. Not to scare you, but this lasted for about 7-8 years!!. The best part, my migraine headaches went away and no more buying pads. I didn't take hormone replacement therapy either, too scared of the possible side effects. More wrinkles have appeared, but I tell everyone" it's cause I smile a lot". My worst fear was the weight gain and yes it did happen, no matter what I ate or didn't eat or how much I exercised, it came and has stayed, but not to say that will happen to you, everyone is different.Cheer up, it will be over soon, I hope. Have a glass of red wine and whine about it to us "matured" ladies. Love your blog for many reasons, thanks for sharing.

Didn't read any of the above posts.... I have a friend who is going through early menopause at 40. She had the worst hot flashes. Her OB/GYNE does accupuncture for it, she had 2 sessions and hasn't had a hot flash since. I'm not a believer and neither was she but it worked for her. Just a thought. Good luck!

I know we're supposed to be all open minded and holistic about menopause nowadays but other than eventually no longer having a period, the rest of it sucks pond water. Well, unless we apply the quote credited to Maurice Chevalier: "Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternative."

If I remember correctly, it was Cybil Shepherd who tried to give menopause a makeover by calling hot flashes and night sweats "Power Surges". Nice thought, but I call Horse Puckey!

By the way, the average age for menopause in the U.S. (it does vary by country) is 51.

Good luck Cathy! And hopefully we'll all be thriving, period-free and much, much cooler on the other side of this "passage"!
;o)
- Lee

You're not too young at all! Sorry! Mine started at 36. At 38, I had a full hysterectomy due to fibroids and now I'm currently trying to find a HRT that will rid me of hot flashes and headaches. So far my answer is the Combipatch. I am going to try some natural therapies as well, but we're trying some other therapies first due to other health concerns. Now at 39, I'm the youngest of my friends not having to deal with periods any longer- thank goodness. But I'm also the first to stick my head in the freezer during a hot flash! LOL Anything for a moment of relief! They laugh- I just tell them their time is coming! ;)

Not too young..i probably started around then though my "hot" flashes were pretty much night sweats...Try flaxseed oil vitamins...really helped mine! or adding some flaxseed to your cereal or yogurt.. Celebrated my 50th birthday offically in menopause and i wanted to shout it from the highest mountain...Goodbye ole "friend"...now i have to start explaining all about the "friend" to my 9 year old daughter ...i have an easier time talking to my 12.5 year old son about the changes in his body than figuring out how to present all this woman stuff to my daughter... :) best of luck to you!

I do not look Forward to these...after my last c-section I honestly considered asking the doctors to take it all out rather than do my tubal since I knew I would not "need" that equipment anymore!

Speaking of the inevitable aging process....i am a mere 44 years of age and i just came down with shingles! Trust me, it's no pony ride!

Hi Cathy
Where you lead, I will follow! I'm 49 & 7/12 (not that i'm counting) and have had no signs of anything yet. I started late and had extremely irregular periods until after I had my girls at 39 then, poof! Everything kick started again. I just got the Murena iud so my GYN says I may "skip"some of the nastier parts of menopause because of the small ants of hormones in the iud. We'll see.

Hang in there! Will be cheering you on and taking notes!

I'm just jealous you have rain in your forecast! :)

I haven't read all the comments so this might be redundant, but my vote is this: go back on the Pill! I had a very long conversation with my gyno about just this. It will help those symptoms, and if it means you have an extra five pounds? Well. I'd take the pounds over the hot flashes!

(end of my thoroughly not-medical, just-based-on-my-experiences opinion!)

I'm 48 and in "official" menopause as of this month. 12 months without Aunt Flo, hooray! But the hot flashes are killing me. I am a CA girl visiting the Midwest. For the 4th of July parade, it was 100 degrees with 99 percent humidity and I'm in menopause!!! Whose bright idea was this?! I had to walk around with something to towel off with like an old lady. I'm not going to take this lying down! Who sweats in an air conditioned house while doing nothing?!I. , like you, have just begun the research. I, also like you, am adopted so I have no frame of reference. I'll let you know if I find anything great in the next couple of weeks. Hang in there, sister!!

In surgical menopause since age 34, I have about 15-30 hotflashes a day that have my scalp wet and sweat running down my face and back (great----not!!!!). I found that a short hair cut helped, and trying to cool off by a fan or even fanning myself with a newspaper, fan....anything to stop the hotflash in it`s tracks early offered the most improvment for me. I can`t take HTR and I am hesitant to try herbal stuff, but the acupuncture sounded interesting...maybe I´ll give that a try in my quest to stop sweating so much. Stay cool :-)

I've been having hot flashes for several years now. At this point I'm so used to them that its my new normal. I dress in layers and keep a small paper fan in my purse and a large fan near my bed. I would rather have flashes than periods so I think it's a good trade off.

Totally sympathise Cathy, it really sucks. The only time the hot sweaty horrors stopped was when I went on a detox for 3 weeks. And I also dropped a dress size, yay! But I couldn't sustain that sort of lifestyle. In my experience, alcohol makes it much worse at night, I drink decaf and still get them and I'm not sure about sugar. I was also taking Omega 3 and Dong Quai (I think its called), but I'm crap at remembering to take tablets so its possible that things got worse when I forgot.

I'm personally not a huge advocate of any chemical drugs, so I would always try herbal remedies first or dietary changes. But everyone is different and what might work for me, might not work for you. PS: Giving up caffeine totally sucks, I was like a zombie for the 3 week detox!!!! Best of luck Cathy, hope you find something to help!

My periods stopped at age 44- which sucked because I went through menopause with a 9 , 12 and 15 year old in the house. Wow! hot flashes did bother me, but not as much as the insomnia! Still take a small dose serotonin to regulate my sleep cycle and I feel so much better. Make sure you get a bone density - I had one at 46 and found that I have osteoporosis ( I thought I got plenty of Calcium in my diet, but genetics does play a role). Good luck; you will get through it, Cathy.

Woohoo! Loved reading all the tips&tricks. I'm 48 and my monthly period is long gone. However, the hot flashes are here, and boy are they HERE! I must say that it comes and goes in a wave though: I have several weeks with LOTS of hot flashes, and then a few week with less of them.
Coffee and sugar trigger mine as well. I do drink a few cups of coffee a day but try to take as little sugar as I can.

laughing so hard at your writing, love the way you can make any subject funny. sorry for the suffering your going thru though.

I read some of the comments, great stuff there. For me I've had bad, heavy, miserable monthly's since 6th grade and have been waiting for menapause to come. My mom started early in her 40's but mine are still going strong. In May my period got so bad very fast that I had to go in and have a blood transfusion. Now the plan is to have a procedure called an eblasion which will help make my period not so heavy or as long each month. Some women don't have any after this procedure and that's what I'm hoping for. SOOOOO DONE WITH THIS EACH MONTH!! When my girls started theirs within 3 months of each other my whole cycle got even worse and all wacked out, each time they would have theirs I would get one, kinda like an extra one each month. NOT FUN AT ALL!! Finally took about 4 months till it got normal again.

Hang in there girl, do what you think is best for you. I can just imagine it not being fun, hope it gets easier and you find something that will help. Keep the ice packs coming, the AC on HIGH and COLD SHOWERS EVEN!!

HUGS!

I'm not there yet, but have learned A LOT from this post. If "where you are naturally" is hell-ish, why not go back on the pill? I know natural is the ideal way to be, an I'm not a proponent of unnecessary meds, but it kind of affects your quality of life. Really. Think of it as technology, like your iphone. Either way, thanks for sharing your story!!!

Oh man, my mom had that and said it was horrible! I had chicken pox as a kid, so its always a possibility for me too! Sorry.

You are not alone!!

I actually welcomed my 'power surges' because they were a sign that the monthlies were coming to an end. WOOHOO!! (and not a moment too soon - 2 teen daughters in the house - the estrogen levels were becoming toxic)

I'm 48 and this transition started about 5 years ago - the hot flashes are aggravated by caffeine, alcohol, junk sugar and... STRESS!!!
While the 'sunburned on the inside' feeling isn't much fun, they don't last more than a couple of minutes and I'm very grateful to not have major problems sleeping.
There is a LOT of information out there about how diet/medications/exercise and stress affect our hormones and I hope you find the combination that gives you relief.

in the meantime - think about how you'll be able to wear cute little tops and show off those swimmer's arms when the rest of the world is in sweaters!!

I'm so sad.
I'm 37 and that all sounded far too familiar.
Crap.

Aahhhh, the joys of womanhood. This too shall pass, though perhaps not quickly enough. Dress in layers and treat yourself to a sleep aid occasionally. As for wine and coffee- essential to maintaining sanity and perspective as we cross this bridge to "freedom!" Hang in there.

FYI, there is a shingles vaccine that people over 50 can get (something to put on computer calendar?) -- not for everyone, of course: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/shingles-vaccine [Note: I'm not a dr. and don't play one on TV. *grin*]

I have no useful suggestions (other than to check with your doctor before taking unregulated things + make sure your family knows what you take in case, heaven forbid, you need medical care because some herbs can interfere with medications.)[I can't help but think that if men had to deal with menopause, there'd be good solid research & safe treatments for all of this.] But this post is making me wonder whether my disturbed sleep and hot legs isn't just "summer" -- ack!

Who sweats in an air conditioned house you ask? I do, I do and I do! My daughter thinks im crazy.

Nope 46 is not too young. My monthly visitor stopped 11 years ago - thank you hysterectomy. But the dr left the ovaries. Lucky me. On the eve of my 50th birthday I can say the hot flashes and other symptoms have not been that bad. I do have the dr take blood every year to see if I have crossed the line into totally being menopausal. But I do keep those blue ice pack things in the freezer, put them on your neck and wrists. Guess the saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" applies to all us girls when we reach this point in life. Hang in there and remember you have a great support network.

I wouldn't just assume your symptoms are from impending menopause. When I went off the pill when I was only 26 I had similar symptoms but then it subsided once my body got back on track. Your body is used to a certain amount of estrogen that you have been giving it and now it's not getting that and it might take a few months for your hormones to adjust. Have you talked with your doctor of the side effects of going off the pill? You could ask your doctor to have you go in for a blood test to see exactly where you are at hormonally. Personally I don't think any estrogen replacement is a good thing at any age since I now have PCOS which I believe is from taking birth control pills at such a young age. I also have very large fibroid tumors from what my doctor describes as "estrogen dominance" but I digress... I think you did the right thing ditching the estrogen pills and letting your body do it's own thing. Just give it some time to figure things out before you think it's menopause.

One word: Progesterone.

I take a natural compounded formula, and for me, it's been a: sleep inducer/enhancer, joint pain reliever, hot flash controller, and night-time bathroom visit inhibitor.

Not sure how you feel about taking bio-identical hormones...they're not everyone's cup of tea, but for me, it works!

Kathy - hope you see this!
My mother was 42 when she had my sister. Doc said sis was a 'change of life' baby. (No BC whatsoever for 21 yrs after having me.)

At 44, Mom was done. She's now almost 75; not hunchbacked, not creaky. She had her knees replaced but that isn't attributed to menopause.

Me? Started perimenopause in my late 40s. It's been three years since my last period. I still get night sweats. And I sweat at the littlest bit of exertion. GROSS. I never sweat like this before.

I just had a hysterectomy and the idea of the dr. taking my ovaries and putting me into instant menopause was giving me hives. I got to keep them, but at 47, I know it's just a matter of time before I start having hot flashes on a regular basis. Blah! :-/ Hang in there, Cathy!

Its just so interesting, reading these comments… SO many different experiences for every woman. We definitely are not cookie cutters, are we! : )

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