So yeah. You read the title right. I'm going to talk about an uncomfortable topic- hot flashes and night sweats. Why? Because they suck. In fact, hormones suck and too many ladies out there suffer in silence because they don't want to talk about it. Me? I don't care. I'll talk about anything especially if it will help someone.
Two years ago, when I went for my physical, I asked the doctor to check my hormones. I was starting to wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat and it was driving me nuts. I was also bitchy. I was 110% convinced that I probably needed some kind of hormone replacement therapy and despite the fact that I don't like to take medications, if it would help me sleep, I was all in. Sadly, my hormone levels came back normal. Why? Perimenopause takes a really long time. Your estrogen can lower gradually over time giving you all kinds of unpleasant symptoms and still not be low enough to qualify for official hormone issues.
Menopause technically occurs twelve months after your last period. The average age in the U.S. is 51. I am going to be 49 this year and I've been having all the symptoms leading up to the end of menstruation for the past five years. During the day, I'll have periodic hot flashes that I've tried to joke about. It could be suddenly hotter than hell in the room for everyone, right? Nine times out of ten it isn't. It's just my body reminding me that my hormones are really trying to say good-bye to old Aunt Flo and eventually she'll leave the building. It's time.
By my estimations, I've had somewhere around 430 periods in my life. I figured that out last night as I was staring at the ceiling because I couldn't sleep. I fell asleep with no problems but woke up hotter than hell so I changed my pajamas. Still didn't help. I woke up a sweaty mess about ten more times. So, as I was wide awake petting my dogs, I did the math. Thirty seven years of periods, many of them I didn't need since it's been almost sixteen years since we found out we couldn't have another baby (it's also thousands of dollars in feminine hygiene products). My opinion? Once you no longer need to menstruate, your body should just give you a break and quit. Too bad it doesn't work out that way.
Essentially, I'm stuck and it's probably time to start looking at more than just essential oils to relieve some of the symptoms. One of my friends created Alvoru clothing a few years ago to deal with all the hot flashes and night sweats. I remember listening to her talk about the “nighttime swim” and thought I'd hopefully avoid it. I'm not so I will definitely be checking out the jammies. I'm also thinking of checking out this hot flash pillow (what do I have to lose? If it doesn't work for the flashes it may help my people with their migraines). There are a million supplements out there to help alleviate symptoms but who knows what works (if you do, please share it with me)? There are tons of books and some hilariously funny games. I'm not the only one trying to have a sense of humor about all of this.
So, there you have it. Hot flashes and night sweats suck. I know it's a topic that makes some people squirm but hell, it's all just part of life. We're all going to go through it just some of us faster than others. How are you dealing with all the symptoms of perimenopause?