How to Survive the Menopause When Dealing With Illness
*This is aimed at patients who are suffering from autoimmune illnesses on top of the Menopause. But it can apply to all other illnesses and diseases too. The advice about mixing medication and herbals apply to all.
Hot Flashes, fatigue, night sweats, a possible weakness of the bladder and terrible premenstrual tension. Yes, you still get that even though your periods may have stopped.
These are just some of the symptoms of the menopause. For some people, it hits you like a sledgehammer. And with other people, it creeps up on you. But most of us tend to recognize menopause when it hits. Unless of course, you are suffering from another illness at the time.
My personal experience of the menopause was overlapped with thyroid disease. I had been diagnosed with Graves smack bang in the middle of my menopause. And trust me when I tell you, that was not fun!
One of the worse things about menopause is that you don't get enough sleep. You toss and turn all night long and wake up feeling like hell in a pool of sweat!
My hubby bought me this for my side of the bed when I was suffering so much from hot flashes and thyroid illness. It was part of a package including underwear, vitamins etc. I can't tell you the relief it brought! Well worth buying. And you manage to get some sleep, and he did too!
Try and Keep Cool!
Check out Clothes shops and Online for Menopause underwear! Specially made for those hot sweats!
Hot Hot Hot!
The trouble with the menopause is that the symptoms can be very similar to certain illnesses.
For example, if you suffer from any thyroid disease its possible that you will sweat heavily throughout the day and night. Your bones will ache and your heart will race faster than normal.
Here are a few symptoms of both menopause and thyroid illness that overlap.
- Night Sweats
- Aching arms and legs
- Mood Swings
- Fast pace heartbeat
- Thumping heart
- Rushing (blood flow around the body that feels as though its speeding up)
Always separate Medication from Vitamins. And get advice before taking Herbal tablets or drinks!
Medication for your illness can make the menopause worse.
When I started taking carbimazole, I suffered badly with fibromyalgia. This is where your whole body rather feels like it has been run over. Pains in your arms and legs can be excruciating. And it made my menopause much more painful.
I didn't have just hot sweats, but dripping boiling blood sweats. And trust me it wasn't pleasant.
So the point is, how do you know which is which? Is it the menopause that is causing you all this distress?
Or in my case thyroid disease?
Well don't panic, there are ways to find out and put them both in their rightful place.
At this point, I have to say that not all illnesses are similar to thyroid disease.
But if you have any autoimmune illness then being menopausal can make you feel and look a mess.
Always get a blood test done if you suffer from autoimmune illness when your menopause starts. This is to make sure you're not taking too many meds or too little. Once menopause starts it won't be easy to tell the difference.
Be Gentle With your Hair
Along with the chills, lack of sex drive and mood changes it can be a distressing time. Many people do sail through it without a problem but if you suffer from anything else then it exaggerates every symptom. I remember trying to drag myself to work through all the pain sweat and tears.
So what can we do to alleviate the problem?
Well, first of all, you need to know the differences between your illness and menopause symptoms. Now that may sound obvious, but there are ways that you can do this.
First of all buy a book that explains your illness. You may have had the illness for many years and think that is a waste of time. Trust me it's not. I went out and bought a fantastic book about Graves disease and all thyroid illnesses. I was surprised to find that I had missed so many symptoms.
One of the horrible things about thyroid illness and menopause is hair loss. Try and keep away from hair dryers, coloring etc. Just be gentle with your hair, and it should be fine. Vitamins are a great help with this problem.
Writing Notes to Help Memory
- Read two books, menopause and your illness.
- Check to see if your tablets affect the signs of menopause and see your GP to see if you can higher or lower the dose or even change the time of day to take them.
- Try not to have too many hot showers. If you can bear it make the water a few degrees cooler. This will balance your body much better than too much heat. Hot water will work for a few minutes but when it cools you will sweat again.
- Write down everything you have to do the next day, each day. Illness crossed with menopause will make you more prone to memory problems. If you write down keywords for the next day you won't forget to take your tablets or other meds.
- If you start to suffer from anxiety or mood swings take a rest. It doesn't matter if you are still working, tell your employer that you have to have a few minutes to calm your mind and body.
- If you are capable, try yoga. You don't have to do the hard stuff, just gentle exercise of any sort can help.
- Talk to your family or friends about how you are feeling. If you feel that it is much too personal then join an online group or local help group to discuss how you are feeling mentally and physically. This can be more useful than seeing your GP as they are usually in a hurry and don't always understand your fears.
- Keep an eye out for water infections. As your hormones start to drop you can suffer dryness which in turn can cause trouble with your bladder.
- Try and get as much fresh air as possible. A dry environment will make you either sweat too much or get dehydrated.
- Don't be surprised if you find that you are crying a lot. Don't worry about it, cry as much as you would like. Crying releases chemicals in your body that calm and help you to feel better.
B Vitamins for the Menopause
- Drink lots of fluids. Water is always best, but cranberry juice and lemon barley are great for keeping your bladder healthy.
- If you are feeling generally run down on top of all the other stuff, check out the right vitamins that you can take for your menopause. B6 at a 100 milligrams is said to balance serotonin levels that cause low energy, depression and weight gain.
- Do not drink alcohol or caffeine. Stick to fruit juice or water. Both will make your symptoms worse.
- Take Black Cohosh as this contains chemicals similar to the hormones that you lose during menopause.*Warning! Only take with your GP's advice. Never mix Vitamins, Herbs or any other natural medication without checking with your doctor and herbalist to make sure it doesn't mess up your illness medication.
- Some Meds can clash with nasty consequences. Even natural herbs and medication from your Doctor can do serious damage. Check and check again!
- Limit your food to small portions instead of a huge meal at dinner or in the evening. This way you are helping your body to maintain energy throughout the day.
- Try to do a lot of exercises. Sounds strange? Even a ten minute work out can balance up your body better than any medication! Of course, if you are chair bound or hurt too much because of your illness then arm swings, feet lifts etc can be just as useful.
- Sleep on cotton sheets with only a couple of blankets if needed. A duvet is pretty much a no no when you are sweating.
- Relax. Read, watch TV or just sleep. If those hot flashes are being a pain, put your feet in a bowl of cool water. It balances the rest of your body.
- Surround yourself with color. Sounds strange? Experts say color does help with mental healing and calmness.
Thyroid Disease the Silent Killer
- What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You About Hyperthyroid...
A personal guide that will help you recognise thyroid symptoms and side effects that your doctor may not know, from harmful tablets to seeing the illness in your face and body.
Rest, drink lots of water and juices. Keep an eye out for water infections. sleep on cool sheets and blankets, not duvets. Take herbals as long as they are safe, and buy books to tell you the difference between your illness and menopause. And keep them handy. You can't remember everything.
And take notes. Lots of notes if possible. If you are starting to get memory loss then its the best way to keep on the right track.
One thing I did notice about thyroid illness which you can read about in more depth above, is that along with the menopause my brain turned to sludge.
So ask your partner or family member to watch out for you acting vaguely. It's possible that you will forget your tablets, appointments etc.
If they see you staring into space for more than a few minutes, let them know and then make a doctors appointment to see what he can do to help.
You can and will get through the menopause, hopefully with these tips a lot easier than you thought.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Nell Rose