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Is it time to start investigating coping with MP?... <long!>

(35 Posts)
Draylon Tue 13-Dec-16 13:58:54

I need to regain some control over my life. Sorry for the stupid question but, I need handholding about what steps I might take!

I'm 54, four years in the MP.

Hot flushes
I started with mild hot flushes that came in 3 monthly stints, coming and receding. Gradually they've become worse to the extent that I can spend hours every day actually dripping sweat, often when in bed, then becoming cold and clammy in my damp clothes. This winter, I've been known to go out at night in my nightie to stand out on the frosty lawn! They can make me feel a bit panicky and claustrophobic which is not 'me'. And it's embarrassing talking to a someone with sweat glistening all over your face.

Sleep Yeah, right. The only 'good' sleep I get is when I'm pissed. Last night, still reading (naked!) at 3.45am. And I can go 3 nights in a row like this!

Mood I Just Can't Be Arsed any more. I often can't be bothered to summon up any energy, and I was a 'hobby' person. I have to plan 2 opportunities to do anything is case I wake up on the first and discover all I want to do is go back to bed. My mood isn't often very low, and I don't get 'the rage'; but I feel that much of the time (not always) I can't see the point in doing stuff. I am also constantly low-grade anxious re my DSs, 15 and 17 (late starter, me!) tho they are doing 'okay'. I fear for thier futures.

Weight Always an issue, but it's crept up half a stone in a year to 13.5 (I'm 5'6"). This is exacerbating a chronic bad back which, in turn, is limiting my exercise options. I used to go walking and even bike riding with the family, up to about 2-3 years ago but I'd be too breathless and achey to go now- and I'm 'only' 54!- Thus self-esteem issues, as well...! I also know I'm self-medicating with pinot too often which doesn't help the weight!

Itchy skin didn't realise this was a PM symptom. Worse in the morning and a nightmare, in a heavy coat, driving to work with a terrible itch between my prickly, sweaty shoulder blades!

Libido This isn't actually a biggie for me. Neither DH or I are particularly bothered, and, tmi, after decades of slime and undie-liners, (sorry!) I don't mind this aspect of the MP; however, I know the dropping away of my hormones is also responsible for many of the above issues.

Work Stupidly I imagined I might be able to reture from my heavy, HCP, on-call job between now and 58 but it looks as if I'll be lugging 20 stone people around into my 60s. Which is depressing and worrying (see low back pain!).

My mum died almost 2 years ago which I think had more of an effect on me that I thought. I'm now 'the Oldie', as it were. And she never spoke about her MP apart from finger-wagging 'Just you wait!' type stuff.

I was hoping these coming years would bring more peace, a sense of contentment, comfortable in my own skin, seeing the DS off into their lives; walking holidays in the Alps with DH- even retirement to a villa in Spain (Brexit hasn't helped!) tho god knows how I'd handle the heat with these hot flushes!

However, right now if feels like a dark chasm of sweat, exhaustion, bored-with-my-life, worry and gripey pain.

So. What to do? Yes, see my GP but how do you know how sympathetic they're being? How do you know whether a sad smile and 'well, you are 54, what do you expect?' is all you'll get? How 'aggressive' do you have to be to be taken seriously? (Mine requires 3 visits for the same issue before they'll consider referral, usually!).

Does your GP handle it or do you get referred to a clinic? How 'holistic' is MP help? Where do you go (apart from MN!) to arm yourself with knowledge to fight your corner? I get the impression that, being wimmin's health, the help out there can be patchy.

Thanks if you're still with me, but I woke this morning, 'sick' from work as my back's not working, feeling quite miserable; sweaty, sleep-deprived, fat and hopeless.

DH will appreciate it too as so far, he, for the first time, is trying to make Xmas happen as I'm struggling to care.


Badders123 Tue 13-Dec-16 19:13:46


PollyPerky Tue 13-Dec-16 19:57:46

So. What to do? Yes, see my GP but how do you know how sympathetic they're being? How do you know whether a sad smile and 'well, you are 54, what do you expect?' is all you'll get? How 'aggressive' do you have to be to be taken seriously? (Mine requires 3 visits for the same issue before they'll consider referral, usually!).

There is absolutely no need to suffer with all of this.

HRT should sort it all. That's why it's there. smile

Decide what you want to do and ask for it.
If your GP isn't helpful or is one who doesn't 'believe' in HRT find one who does, or pay for a private appt with a meno gynae.

Have a good read of which is owned and written by a consultant gynae, chair of the British Menopause Association. Look at the HRT section of Treatments and also natural lifestyle type treatments and decide how you want to proceed.

80sWaistcoat Tue 13-Dec-16 20:02:24

HRT, Agnus castus for moods and menopace. Vit d. Blood tests to check thyroid, b12 in case causing tiredness. Wool duvet for night sweats.

Talk to other women your age about it.

HRT had a miraculous effect on me after a bit of tweaking. Really helped with anxiety. Not do much with the depression but I think that's probably because I am depressed.

ShebaQueen Tue 13-Dec-16 20:18:34

I'm 53 and 3 years in, I've suffered most of the same symptoms, although not the itchy skin.

I'm not on HRT but have found some ways of coping:
Low carb diet - really helps avoid the weight creep and somehow I am not so hot/sweaty
Exercise - don't enjoy it at all, but I force myself to go speed walking every day, I avoid thinking about it, just get changed and go and I've made a walking playlist and listen to podcasts etc to distract myself - I have an office job so don't move much otherwise, this is a tricky one for you though, given your bad back and physical job - could you swim perhaps?
Sleep - I still wake at odd times and can't get back to sleep but I've changed my habits, I go to bed a bit later than I used to and I get up at the same time every day

The exercise helps my mood and obviously sleep does too, but I also try to be kind to myself and treat myself regularly - nothing extravagant just a nice oily bath, a coffee in a lovely little independent coffee shop, a lipstick, a trashy celeb magazine every now and then...

You sound really low OP flowers for you

Draylon Thu 15-Dec-16 09:26:56

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

Yes, I was feeling pretty 'down' about it when I posted- it was actually quite cathartic typing it all out and also forced me to see that actually, I need to do something about it.

After 4 hours' sleep last night and having to get up at 7am to organise the DSs I am sitting here trying to muster enthusiasm for Xmas shopping (argh!) while sitting in a pool of sweat. Nice.

Backingvocals Thu 15-Dec-16 09:38:54

You shouldnt put up with this at all. I dont have all your symptoms but I thought "sod it". I dont want to live with no sleep, aches and pains etc. So Im on HRT. It's fixed the sleep which was my main problem. I'm also not so achy in the morning.

I just went to my GP and asked for patches. It wasnt particularly holistic (in the typical ten min GP appointment) but I was quite clear I wanted a solution. I'm younger (46 when I started) so I could see that it wouldnt be a bad thing to supplement my hormones for a few years - it felt a little too early iyswim. Younger than my mother for sure. Also we have no family history of cancers that would contraindicate. GP has done follow up monitoring but all fine.

You've tolerated this for too long.

PS I also am overweight and have a chonic back issue. Weights with a personal trainer have really helped. I hate every second but I feel back in control.

PollyPerky Thu 15-Dec-16 11:22:03

You just need to go along to the dr and ask for HRT! (if that's what you want!)

Living as you are is like living in the dark ages before treatment existed.

Some women feel they 'resort' to HRT as if it were some evil substance, and are scared of the cancer risks, but in all honesty you / we / everyone is at more risk of other types of illness through other lifestyle issues than cancer from HRT.

Hope you get some help.

Cherylene Thu 15-Dec-16 11:40:01

I just went to the doctors and asked.

I chose the doctor carefully - one that the cervical smear nurse had suggested for prolapse worries, but needn't have worried as it was a big practice with clear policies and she prescribed hrt and after the 'warnings', told me I was doing the right thing. I have had no problems since, even though I have changed prescriptions and also had to change to a less helpful practice, as no one has questioned her diagnosis.

PollyPerky Thu 15-Dec-16 13:02:07

My understanding of all of this is that women have a choice in their treatment. NICE says that it ought to be a partnership based on individual needs. Unless there are very sound medical reasons NOT to prescribe HRT (and there are very very few- many women misunderstand what counts as reasons) then a dr can't refuse if it's what you want.

Some of the only reasons you can't have it include recent blood clots, recent breast cancer, liver disease, and 2 or more first degree female relatives with breast cancer before age 40 (and even then it's not a hard and fast rule.)

Draylon Thu 15-Dec-16 15:37:48

OK, I've made a GP appt! It's the middle of January, which is fine.

Cherylene Thu 15-Dec-16 15:51:32

Have a look at the info on the menopause matters website and make a list of your symptoms (with the sweats - vasomotor - at the top - for some reason they all think meno is just sweats hmm ).

You can also look at the lifestyle bit - it is always worth doing a health/exercise audit and this is a good chance. HRT needs a helping hand wink Also, take a look at the forum.

Then by the middle of January, you will know exactly what you want. grin

Draylon Thu 15-Dec-16 17:33:43

Thanks, I've begun to have a look at that site and I think it's going to be useful. When I booked the appt I told the receptionist is was for a chat about HRT so hopefully she's directing me towards a sympathetic GP!

Interestingly, I've been reading a 'I hate Xmas' thread on MN and I now maybe recognise that this is only the second Xmas without my mum who I never properly grieved due to us not being terribly emotionally close, tho I'd seen her 3 times a week for 14 years til her passing, aged 81, quite swiftly, so none of that drawn out trauma or association with Xmas. I know it still gets me because I had to steel myself before searching her address book this evening- and the fact I send written cards to mum's old friends as I know they miss mum, too.

I suspect that has a part to play, as well.

PollyPerky Thu 15-Dec-16 19:40:39

It's an emotional time of year for many so it won't be helping you. Sorry for your loss.

Cherylene Thu 15-Dec-16 20:38:55

Your mum sounds a bit like mine with the finger wagging - she never shared much about menopause either. My sister and I have no idea when she went through it although we know she got hot a lot because she used to freeze us out with the wide open windows in the middle of winter!

It sounds like you were a good daughter, seeing her 3 times a week for all those years. You always think you should have done more when people die, but you can only do what you can do.

Draylon Thu 15-Dec-16 21:34:56

TBH a major reason I never discussed it with mum was because of boundaries. Mum wsa a real gossip. . Through her conversations with her sister and SILs, (and similarly aged friends), all of them with DDs I knew; I was party to all their obstetric and gynaecological issues, stuff I absolutely would not want my cousins or mates knowing about me! Mum and I would speak every night (me calling her!).

So I never spoke about my medical issues!

Nellyphants Thu 15-Dec-16 21:50:36

I've been peri for 18 months after a total hysterectomy. I went on her a year ago suffering from every symptom known to woman, after reading posts from PP. (Thanks PP!). The last time I was at my doctor he said cheerfully 'well we probably won't need to have you on get any longer, this is probably your last prescription'. Feck that, if he won't prescribe I'll go elsewhere. I'll be 48 in 2 weeks.

PollyPerky Fri 16-Dec-16 07:57:21

what's so depressing Nelly is that so few GPs seem aware of the new guidelines. The BMS (chaired by the consultant behind Menopause Matters) knows this which is why they are running workshops across the UK all year round but of course GPs don't have to attend.

The guidelines state very clearly that there is no time limit on HRT and furthermore that any woman using it should continue until early 50s at least (time of natural menopause.)

It's really now up to women to make their GPs aware of all of this and stand up for what they want (as long as it's not medically inadvisable.)

Badders123 Fri 16-Dec-16 07:59:47

Anyone know how to make the bloody patches stay on!?

Scottishthreeberry16 Fri 16-Dec-16 08:09:08

Some patches stick better than others in my experiences. My HRT patches don't seem to be working any more - a pain cause I'm on quite a high dose.

This is not to say they won't work for you, OP. You do sound low and I have most of what you describe. The sleeplessness and night sweats are just sapping of energy. Good luck with your appt in Jan - hope you get some relief

Nellyphants Fri 16-Dec-16 08:36:26

I'm in Ireland Polly but many God seem to have the same prejudiced as the UK. I wouldn't mind but my gp is young & progressive. If he suggests "getting me off that stuff" as if I was on craic again I'll go through him for a shortcut! We pay here in Ireland for your gp. Any issues I'll just change go

Nellyphants Fri 16-Dec-16 11:25:26

Haha autocorrected GP to God. Some of them think they are!

Cherylene Fri 16-Dec-16 13:12:11

Badders - you need to make sure they are thoroughly warmed first (stick it down your bra whilst you have a cuppa) and that your skin is clean and properly dried. Then hold them down for 2 minutes.

If it is femseven, I have heard of people using a hair dryer confused

Badders123 Fri 16-Dec-16 13:50:09

It is femseven!
I don't know whether to ask re different ones when I go back in Jan...
I did mention cream/gel but the dr I saw said she has never heard of hrt cream/gel? it only available privately?

Badders123 Fri 16-Dec-16 13:50:38

ATM I'm putting mypore dressing over them!

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