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What is the difference between perimenopause and the menopause? How do you avoid weight gain? Does the menopause magnet work? And ye gods, tell us how to get a good night's sleep! Luckily Gransnet has put together the most useful tips for navigating those muddy menopausal waters. Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns do consult your GP.

Menopause Insomnia and Arthritis

(37 Posts)
Oliversmumsarmy Sat 16-Jun-18 12:52:39

For the last few years my insomnia has been getting worse. Looking back I think it started around the time I was going through the menopause. Used to sleep for between 8-10 hours per night. Felt great in the morning. Now I wake at 4am-6am feel tired all day then crawl into bed around midnight -2am usually get around 4 hours sleep then it all starts again. Feel like a zombie most of the time.

Borrowed dc's fit bit which moniters sleep and that is saying I am getting nearer 3 hours as I am awake for times during the night. I am getting 14 minutes of deep sleep, 17 minutes of dream/REM sleep and the rest light sleep. Has anyone gone or is going through this.
Also just been diagnosed with arthritis. Is there a link between menopause and arthritis.

Really feel my body is falling apart

Oliversmumsarmy Sat 16-Jun-18 13:17:46

I was wondering if HRT would help with things like the arthritis and insomnia.

I have also put on more than 4 stone in weight in the last few years as I have been unable to excercise because of the pain in my knees

QueenoftheNights Sat 16-Jun-18 13:58:47

It's worth trying. Joints depend on collagen and it declines when estrogen falls off.

Lack of sleep for a long time is now known to be linked to serious disease ( heart disease and diabetes) because it disrupts our bodies so much in every way.

Insomnia was the main reason I went on HRT due to waking a lot and being unable to get to sleep.

You're probably going to need to make big changes to your food intake and what you eat too though to to lose the weight because exercise alone rarely shifts it . I can only stay a sensible weight by reducing carbs drastically- one portion a day- and reducing portion size overall. Good luck!

QueenoftheNights Sat 16-Jun-18 14:00:42

ps Menopause and actual arhtritis are not 'automatically ' linked but the lubrication around the joints and suppleness of cartilage is linked to estrogen levels. Weight gain is a real risk factor though too because you are loading your joints with a heavy weight all day and this will in time cause mobility problems.

Oliversmumsarmy Sat 16-Jun-18 18:37:49

I have an appointment next week to see the dr.

With my weight I thought it was my thyroid as I was displaying all the symptoms including losing my eyebrows.

I used to be so fit. But slowly my life in the last few years has been eroded.

I spend my day trying to stay awake and my nights trying to stay asleep.

Emerald13 Sun 17-Jun-18 10:46:54

I had pains at my bones, muscles and joints during peri and it is due to the loss of estrogen and collagen. Many women are diagnosed with arthritis after meno. Hrt made a huge difference for me.

ParisUSM Sun 17-Jun-18 11:12:39

Have you had your thyroid tested? It does sound like all your symptoms could be caused by hypothyrodism so best to investigate this first I think.

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 18-Jun-18 00:17:11

I have had my thyroid tested twice bit tests came back that it wasn't that. Although I am displaying one particular symptom of problems with my thyroid.
My eyebrows are none existent

user764329056 Mon 18-Jun-18 00:37:04

I can relate so much to this, used to sleep well and when menopause hit insomnia arrived full force and has never left, it’s just part of my life now unfortunately. I also ache everywhere all the time, again this started with menopause and although I am on HRT the pain doesn’t go away

QueenoftheNights Mon 18-Jun-18 08:55:51

Eyebrow and hairloss generally can be a sign of low estrogen (as well as thyroid issues.) Most women's eyebrows start to thin in older age anyway (mine are half what they used to be in terms of thickness and I've used HRT for years.)

Unfortunately you are caught in a vicious circle; the extra weight will make you tired because your heart is having to work really hard all the time to cope with the extra load on it. Your joints are starting to suffer because of the extra weight.

Although it's hard, shifting the weight by changing your food intake it key. Once you have lost some, exercise will be easier but you could start with a walking program - maybe 15 mins to start with a day and building up to an hour. There are other sections on Mumsnet for weight loss and fitness that might help motivate you.

I think you should also be tested to diabetes if you haven't been already. This lack of energy along with being overweight could be a sign.

You could try supplementing with kelp and foods high in iodine which support the thyroid as you may be borderline 'normal'.

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 18-Jun-18 08:56:17

If I could tackle the insomnia I think I could tackle the pain.

I have 3 areas of pain.

My knees and hips which I have been told that the x-rays show arthritis. I have a couple of friends who have the same. One lives in a hot country now and the pain has all bar the odd day here and there has disappeared and the other went to visit family for 2 months who again live in a hot country and she said after about 3 weeks she was running up the stairs to the house. Running up stairs and was generally pain free.

Part of my plan to buy a holiday home is so I can spend winters/permanently some where less cold and damp than this country and hopefully pain free.

I just have to have the energy to get things done first

I have just been diagnosed with arth

QueenoftheNights Mon 18-Jun-18 08:58:24

Just read your first post again- why are you going to bed at 2am? Can you get to bed earlier to re-set your sleep pattern?

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 18-Jun-18 09:00:24

My back also gives me pain. I have what is known as a Swan Back which if I straighten it the pain disappears but after nearly 60 years I think i need to wear something that straightens it as me trying to do it myself puts me in a strange position that would make walking very difficult

QueenoftheNights Mon 18-Jun-18 09:01:31

Is this osteoarthritis and not rheumatoid arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is wear and tear on the joints. Sadly, a lot of people who are overweight end up with mobility issues. The joints just take so much more wear and tear.

Yes dampness can make joint pain worse but it's not the cause and not the 'cure'. My MIL had terrible arthritis all her life and the treatment was exercise as much as possible; the less you do, the worse your mobility will be.

1 Lose weight and do some gentle exercise ever day to start with
2 Ask for HRT
3 Be checked for diabetes

QueenoftheNights Mon 18-Jun-18 09:03:07

sounds like you need an appt with a physio or an Alexander technique specialist to get your posture sorted out. Not being able to walk is not good. They will give you stretches and exercises to do at home to help your posture.

OhYouBadBadKitten Mon 18-Jun-18 09:05:13

How are your vitamin d levels? When mine are low my inflammatory arthritis and my sleep are much worse.

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 18-Jun-18 09:10:02

I have tried to go to bed earlier but I just wake earlier.

10pm bed time = 2am getting up

It doesn't matter what time I go to bed I have 4 hours and then I cant sleep.

The thing with readjusting my eating habits is I don't eat a great deal to begin with.

I ate out yesterday 300 calorie starter and 300calorie main (calories on the menu)

I ended up leaving some of my main because I was stuffed.

I had a couple of rounds of toast with hummus in the evening and a couple of cups of coffee and a glass of apple juice which i don't think is a great deal.

I have never been a huge eater. When i was younger i could go a day or two without eating but never seemed to drop huge amounts of weight. But i was very slim.

QueenoftheNights Mon 18-Jun-18 09:10:18

When you say you have a swan back, do you have a curved spine? You say you are almost 60 so you must be a few years post meno now.
If you have curvature of your spine has it been looked at? have you had X rays to see if you have got crushed vertebra through osteoporosis? It might just be bad posture but you should get it looked at.

mooncuplanding Mon 18-Jun-18 09:11:02

Having a look at your diet might be a positive and relatively easy intervention. There is lots of evidence around the negative effect of a high carb diet and inflammation in your body and hormonal dysfunction - going very low carb and high fat to reduce your insulin levels can have dramatic effects on menopausal symptoms.

I speak from experience as well smile

QueenoftheNights Mon 18-Jun-18 09:14:09

Weight gain happens slowly. I know you didn't have a huge amount yesterday but to be honest, if you are almost 60, the amount you had yesterday would maintain your weight now but not be enough (or too little ) to lose it if you are almost sedentary. Also, poor sleep patterns make it easier to gain weight. (Your toast, apple juice and hummus would be around 500 calories ) . It's possible you are underestimating what you eat- try My Fitness Pal where you enter every single thing along with your weight/height/ age etc.

Go and see your GP and ask for HRT . It might help with your sleep and then you can tackle everything else.

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 18-Jun-18 10:28:55

The swan back thing I have had all my life. My dm was supposed to get ballet lessons but she refused.

My weight gain was through pregnancy. I seem to put on 7 stone each pregnancy.
With first it fell off as it appeared to be water weight. I could pee for 5 minutes at full flow and lose 10lb by just going to the loo.

With ds I was also in great pain in my hip and could hardly walk so it stuck.
It turned out despite being under a consultant at an orthopaedic hospital no one looked at my back. Only when I went private did someone look at my back and sent me for an MRI.
I had been hobbling around with slipped discs for years.
I always put on here it was 5 years but I came across something which indicated it was nearer 8 years. It took sometime to get me better and then I seem to start with the menopause symptoms.

I lost some of the weight then in recent times seem to have put on 4 stone.

I feel if there was one thing that could be taken out of the equation I could tackle the rest. Just cant seem to focus on anything as it all seems so huge I don't know where to start.

Add to that a terminally ill dh and helping a friend through a messy divorce, home schooling ds who has dysgraphia, dyslexia and ADHD. He has just done his GCSEs as well as being responsible for all the cleaning, cooking, laundry (38 washer loads per week, we have n impossibly small washing machine) all the diy (house needs painting decorating, tiling and flooring in some rooms etc) and all the gardening including the laying of the new driveway etc it is all too much.

QueenoftheNights Mon 18-Jun-18 11:47:10

That all sounds a complete nightmare - I'm so sorry to hear about your DH.

If it's no more than 10 years since your last period, you ought not to have any problems being given HRT. Go and see your GP and lay it on the line about your sleep. if you have any other symptoms as well, say so at the appt.

Can you buy a bigger washing machine? 5 loads a day sounds an awful lot. Are you able to buy in any help? (Cleaner, gardener, DIY?) Are you getting C Allowance for looking after your DH?

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 19-Jun-18 11:03:24

Well that was the biggest waste of time.

It consisted of me explaining how I had no problem getting to sleep but staying asleep was the problem. And how I was losing my eyebrows.

She replied with
"I have many women your age coming in with the same problem"

Then saying "It's a hard one" over and over.

I suggested HRT

She said "We don't pursue that route"

I suggested sleeping tablets.

She said "We don't pursue that route"

Then some more of "Its a hard one" Over and over.

Then gave me a leaflet, the same one she gave me last year.

And that was it

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 19-Jun-18 11:04:11

I should add I waited a week for that appointment.

I could cry

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 19-Jun-18 11:06:17

But I did get a physio appointment to help with the arthritis in my knees and the recommendation I should try joggingconfused

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