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How to Survive the Menopause When Dealing With Illness

Updated on March 19, 2019
Nell Rose profile image

How I managed the slippery slope of menopause and thyroid disease, and the do's and don'ts that helped me through it.

Illness and the Menopause how to deal with it and keep your sanity
Illness and the Menopause how to deal with it and keep your sanity

*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.

Symptoms

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!


Keep Cool!

Cool Flash Sleeping Gel Body Pad by Cool Care Technologies - Feel Cooler While You Sleep - Pressure-Activated Cooling Gel Technology, No Water or Electricity Required - Mat Recharges Automatically
Cool Flash Sleeping Gel Body Pad by Cool Care Technologies - Feel Cooler While You Sleep - Pressure-Activated Cooling Gel Technology, No Water or Electricity Required - Mat Recharges Automatically

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.

  1. Night Sweats
  2. Aching arms and legs
  3. Sleeplessness
  4. Mood Swings
  5. Fast pace heartbeat
  6. Headache.
  7. Thumping heart
  8. Rushing (blood flow around the body that feels as though its speeding up)
  9. Chills
  10. Depression

Always separate Medication from Vitamins. And get advice before taking Herbal tablets or drinks!

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune Diseases

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

Daily Checklist

  1. Read two books, menopause and your illness.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. If you are capable, try yoga. You don't have to do the hard stuff, just gentle exercise of any sort can help.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Try and get as much fresh air as possible. A dry environment will make you either sweat too much or get dehydrated.
  10. 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

Keep Hydrated

  1. Drink lots of fluids. Water is always best, but cranberry juice and lemon barley are great for keeping your bladder healthy.
  2. 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.
  3. Do not drink alcohol or caffeine. Stick to fruit juice or water. Both will make your symptoms worse.
  4. 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.
  5. Some Meds can clash with nasty consequences. Even natural herbs and medication from your Doctor can do serious damage. Check and check again!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Sleep on cotton sheets with only a couple of blankets if needed. A duvet is pretty much a no no when you are sweating.
  9. 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.
  10. Surround yourself with color. Sounds strange? Experts say color does help with mental healing and calmness.

Keep Drinking!

Synopsis

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

Comments

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    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 days ago from England

      BGrey, I have deleted your comment because I believe you have put it on the wrong article. This is about menopause and pain.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      11 days ago from England

      Thanks Dianna, yes it was a bit weird at the time, lol! but if it helps others through the menopause then that's great.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      11 days ago

      Nell, I had little complications from menopause but I chalk it up to the good advice you share here and that I followed. You have been through so much yet you remain strong. Thanks for sharing from your personal experience to help others through this season of life. God bless you, sweet lady.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Thanks, Thelma, Yes I can imagine how cold you were going from a hot country to a cold, glad you are alright now, and thanks

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      3 weeks ago from Germany and Philippines

      I am sorry to hear that you have complications during your menopause. I am so lucky to have not experienced those hot flushes, etc besides being forgetful during that stage of my life. Well, feeling cold yes but I didn't wonder as I have always felt cold in Germany.

      Great hub Nell and the tips are very useful. Have a great day.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Linda, yes it was a bit fard at the time, but it got better with the Meds thank goodness.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It must have been very difficult to go through menopause while suffering from Grave's disease. I'm sorry that you had to experience that, Nell. Your suggestions should be helpful for people in a similar situation.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Peggy, it was like laying in cold water, Heaven!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      In reading this, I am happy to know that menopause is now in your past. I well remember those days, and it was not fun. Compounding it with another condition would have made it even worse. Wish I had known about that cooling pad for the bed when I was going through menopause. You may be helping others who are just now going through it.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Dora, it was a while ago, but I remember it well! LOL!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Ruby, yes that's one of the main things to be careful off. Thanks for reading.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Hi Linda, not sure who Wendy Williams is, I am in England so maybe she isn't on our TV. But yes, I must have fallen over/fainted loads when I was first diagnosed with Graves Disease. And yes a water infection is just another word for bladder infection. Thanks for reading.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      LOL! Paula, I wouldn't expect anything else from such a fabulous person as you! alway great to see you!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Linda, I know what you mean, I could have sure done with my mum too at that time, hope it gets better for you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Been over that hump, Nell. Glad you're over that difficult experience. Thanks for sharing some very helpful suggestions.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Nell, I had the night sweats and chills, glad that's over! Your piece was well written and informative, especially about mixing over the counter drugs with pharmaceutical meds.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      4 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Great information Nell. I am so sorry to hear what you've been going through. I have a question-what is a water infection-is it like a bladder infection? I'm sure you heard that the t.v. Personality, Wendy Williams just found our she has Graves disease. She fainted on her show on Halloween. She was dressed up as the statue of liberty. My guess is there are many of us that are undiagnosed w/ something. Just to find out what's going on with your body must be an important part of the healing process. Hope your symptoms are @ a minimum these days my friend.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      4 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Nell....Uh-Oh! You're not going to like me at all when I tell you that I breezed through menopause without the slightest issue of any kind whatsoever.....Sorry. My mother, my sister and I...all 3 of us, escaped the entire nightmare. Just lucky? Who knows, but no complaints.

      I took a night course in "chromosomes" and DNA to try to understand familial traits for many reasons. But alas girlfriend, the only thing I learned was that now I LOOK AT MY X AND ASK Y?? Love ya, Effer

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Nell, I'm sorry you've had such difficulties. This aging thing isn't for sissies, that's for sure, and going through menopause makes me wish my Mom was still here so that I could apologize for all the times she was probably feeling crappy and had a terrible teenager to contend with (when I was 13 she was 57).

      This will be helpful to so many people. Thank you for taking the time to write.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      I forgot to add, swimming is a great way for exercising and keeping cool! And I did it nearly every day, lol!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Flourish and Lorna, glad you found it helpful.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Pamela, yes lupus is painful isn't it?

      Good thinking Eric, yes you have to know what she is going to go through! lol!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      I am sure getting diagnosed with Graves disease at the same time as menopause arrives must be difficult, to say the least. I didn't have too much difficulty even though I have lupus. My mother had much for difficulty.

      I think keeping a journal is one of your best suggestions, and you had several good ones. Great article Nell.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Clearly this is not considered to be a man's issue. But--- I went straight to the about mixing up medicine and supplements as it applies to all matters.

      But more importantly I think we owe it to our spouses to be informed so we support in a healthy fashion

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      It sure isn’t easy aging! You provide excellent tips here, Nell. I’m sorry you’ve had it so rough.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      4 weeks ago

      This is an excellent informative article and one I will refer to when the Menopause hits. Thank you for sharing.

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