I’ve never been one to mince words so I’m going to talk about a topic that is uncomfortable but so important. Night sweats and hot flashes. I’ve been experiencing them for over 5 years which generally means that menopause is around the corner. Three years ago, I complained to my regular internist. She drew blood and then told me my hormone levels were all normal. My OB-GYN did the same thing, so I’ve been suffering for a few years.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of having hot flashes, they are like little slices of hell. One minute you’re standing there feeling perfectly normal and the next minute your sweating profusely for absolutely no reason. My hot flashes are bizarre. Sometimes it’s my entire body. Other times, it’s just on an arm and under my glasses. Regardless, they are uncomfortable and inconvenient, especially in the heat of the summer when it’s hot out already. It sucks.
The night sweats are even worse. I’ll be sleeping comfortably and all of a sudden I’ll be hot and by hot I mean HOT. When it first started, I tried sticking a toe out or moving the covers and that helped a little. Now? Nothing seems to help. I’ll be sleeping soundly (or not since insomnia is also a symptom of menopause) and suddenly I’m on fire, drenched with sweat. Lately, I’m hot all the time so I’m no longer sleeping under a comforter.
I mentioned all of this to my doctor in December at my physical and once again got no help. I couldn’t believe it. Especially since I was about to turn 49. I’m the perfect age to be perimenopausal. In fact, the average age for menopause is 51. Sadly, it just doesn’t happen. You have all kinds of crazy things that happen in your body as your hormones change. None of them are pleasant and all of them can be helped with hormone replacement therapy. I just needed to find a doctor that actually believed me and wanted to help.
Last Thursday, I finally got in front of a doctor that specializes in HRT. He listened to my story intently and even apologized saying, “you ladies go through so much. I feel sorry for you.” Finally, someone who actually believed me and acknowledged that it sucked. He drew my blood, explained my options and set my next appointment. The next day the pharmacy called for my billing information. Today, they’ll be delivering my prescription. Simple, right?
The journey to get here wasn’t and it makes me wonder how many women experience the same situation. Once again, it’s a great example of why you need to advocate for yourself. It shouldn’t take three years to get help. It should be simple but it wasn’t and that’s terrible.
I’ll post my results after I start taking the hormones. Once again, hopefully it will help someone else going through the situation. Stay tuned.