Menopause… How I Got Through Hot Flashes and Weight Gain

August 2, 2012

in BLOGS,Health Protection,T-TAPP,Weight Loss

Menopause with its hot flashes and weight gain can be a challenge but I made it through or at least I believe I’m through it! I should be since I’ve passed my 69th birthday.
 
Perhaps someone can learn from my experiences and fair even better than I did. Everyone is different and lives under difference circumstances so the experience of menopause is going to be somewhat different for everyone.
 
At about age 48 I was sick and tired of dealing with fibroids, heavy and almost constant menstrual cycles so I made up my mind to get rid of them. I insisted that the surgeon only remove my uterus and the fibroids in it. My understanding was that I would be less likely to be thrown directly into menopause if I kept my ovaries. The surgeon was not happy about that because he believed in removing the ovaries in order to eliminate the risk of ovarian cancer. My decision was to take that risk and keep my ovaries.
 
Within 2 years of my surgery, I started experiencing hot flashes. My husband tried to make light of them by calling them ‘power surges’ and would tell me to take advantage of all that power and get lots of work done. What he didn’t understand about hot flashes was when you are having one; all you can think about is getting cool instead of working. Then after the hot flash and all the sweating, you can be chilled. Hot flash power surges are really not bursts of energy.
 
Hot flashes often occurred at night while I was asleep… the covers had to be kicked off no matter what the room temperature as I would be drenched in sweat… then I would soon need to get snuggled back under the covers. Of course, the night time hot flashes interfered with my sleep. During this time I was meeting insurance and securities clients either in their homes or in group presentations. How embarrassing it would be to be in the middle of a presentation and have beads of sweating running down my face from a ‘power surge.’
 
During my 40’s I took a ‘circuit weight training’ class at the nearby community college. It was pretty much the first time in my life that I had attempted weight training. The combination of weight training and dieting actually had my weight close to what I wanted. It always seemed that all I needed to lose was another 5 pounds.
 
One thing I was unaware of during my late 30’s and 40’s was that birth control pills were really messing up my hormones and were more than likely the cause of the fibroids. The real reason I took them was to keep my menstrual cycle more regular and reasonable… I had heavy menstrual cycles pretty much since they started when I was 12 years old which was an indication of hormonal imbalances even at a young age. My doctor refused to prescribe the birth control pills when I reached the age of 45 because of increased risk of stroke so where was the relief?
 
During my mid 40’s I started driving many miles working in insurance sales. That was when I learned that the caffeine in sodas would help keep me alert and awake while driving… besides they tasted so good on those hot summer days. I’ve never been a coffee drinker (don’t like the taste.) I drank diet sodas to cut back on calorie intake and soon became addicted. I know I was addicted because on weekends when I was home and didn’t have my sodas (we never kept soft drinks in our house) I would get a headache by late morning. I went through withdrawal just about every weekend.
 
Now I know that caffeine can contribute to fibroids and hot flashes during menopause but it took me many years to really give up my diet sodas 100%. It’s interesting that even when we know or suspect the cause of something, we will rationalize or make excuses and then be miserable later. Now I also know all the bad things otherwise in diet sodas which is another issue for another time.
 
It’s also interesting how I took birth control pills for years but when it came time to need Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) I refused to take it. Of course, by then I was more aware of the risks involved with taking HRT. HRT can reduce the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes but I personally still would not take it.
 
Despite the fact that I kept working out on weight equipment and walked 2 miles 4 to 5 days a week, at least part of the time, I still managed to gain 20 pounds while going through menopause. It seemed I was always on a diet to try to lose weight during those years. I would take off 5 to 10 pounds but soon it would be back. It was a constant struggle.
 
Looking back, what would I do different?
 
  • I would have sought out a natural solution to my menstrual cycle problems so I would not have taken the birth control pills. I would have never started drinking diet sodas and or caffeinated drinks. At one time I also drank lots of hot tea as well as iced tea. Just those 2 things would have probably eliminated the need for me to agree to a hysterectomy and would have decreased the intensity of the hot flashes as well as much of the weight gain through my menopausal years.
  • Vitamin E is very beneficial in reducing the growth of fibroids as well as being beneficial in reducing hot flashes. Not just any vitamin E will work. It must be from a whole food source that contains the full spectrum and family of E’s as well as being water-miscible for better absorption.
  • There are herbs that are quite beneficial in balancing hormones thus reducing the symptoms of menopause. St. John’s Wort, Vitex, and Red Sage are 3 of the more important herbs that support female hormonal balance.
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, radishes, kale, black and red mustard, and watercress as well as soy isoflavones help maintain optimal hormonal activity.
  • The essential oils from wheat, rice, and soy (without the gluten) are also very critical to proper hormone balance.
  • If I would have known about the exercise program I am now on, I believe I would have sailed through menopause with very few symptoms.
(note: I did take supplements during my menopausal years but because of other bad habits, I had more challenges than necessary.)
 
The combination of a healthy diet, plenty of fresh water, basic supplements, and an exercise program (only 15 to 20 minutes a day) has helped me lose over 12 inches and over 20 pounds in less than 6 months. It is a lifestyle I can look forward to living for a long time.
 
Calm those hot flashes and tame the weight gain so you can sail through menopause.
 
 
Have the best health possible!
 
Pat Moon
 

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  Pat is a Health, Fitness, and Nutrition Coach. 

Pat has been married to the same man for over 51 years, is the mother of 3 adult children, and gramma to 8 grandchildren.  Growing up in the country gave her a head start to living a healthy lifestyle.  This gramma became interested in nutrition as a mother and for the past 27 plus years she has specialized in teaching others the importance of good nutrition.  Challenges along the road have been many; her father overcoming congestive heart failure with nutrition, her husband's battle with GERD and avoiding a major heart attack, her daughter's battle with a brain tumor, her grandson beating Hodgkin's Lymphoma, her mother's stage 4 lung cancer, and others.  Her goal is to help others have the BEST REAL HEALTH possible and slow the aging process.  The products Pat has personally used since 1985 are featured at www.bestrealhealth.gnld.net.

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sharon O'Day August 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I remember the first night I woke up soaked, figured out what was in the offing … and declared I had no time for hot flashes if I was going to continue running my international businesses and my life.  Don't ask me how, but through focused meditation and sheer will I never had another flash.  But the weight struggle?  That's one I WASN'T lucky enough to skip.  It's just that much harder … but not impossible!  So T-Tapp is working for you, Pat?

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2 Pat Moon August 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Sharon, how wonderful you have not had to go through those ‘power surges’. Yes, I love T-Tapp. I’ve exercised for years but never had the kind of success I’ve had with T-Tapp. I started T-Tapp in Feb 2012 and have lost over 20 pounds as well as over 12 inches (probably more than that now… haven’t measured in several weeks). It is so nice for my clothes to be too loose rather than too tight and uncomfortable. I am an affiliate, not a trainer but will benefit if you order through my link (if you wish). http://www.t-tapp.com/affiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=293 Thanks for reading and commenting.

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3 Solvita August 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Thank you for sharing this, Pat. It is very kind of you to share so much of great information.

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4 Pat Moon August 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Thanks for reading ad commenting, Solvita.

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5 Susan Preston August 9, 2012 at 11:54 am

Loved this article, Pat! I was very blessed when I went through menopause. I was actually pretty young, I started my the time I was 45. Because I was already eating healthy and exercising it was pretty much a breeze. I found that my hair got thicker [I always had thin hair] and I got down to the smallest that I ever have been [I struggled with my weight for years]. Thanks for sharing this :)

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6 Pat Moon August 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Wow, Susan. So glad menopause was a breeze for you plus the other benefits of thicker hair and healthy weight loss. You were very blessed.

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7 Nancy Tierney August 9, 2012 at 11:52 am

Great guidelines for those of us at a certain age! Those hormonal shifts are so powerful! They influence so many aspects of our well-being. I've had to ride a pretty dramatic hormonal rollercoaster in the last 5 years or so, and I feel blessed that I'm in a kinder, gentler phase. And I know my diet and exercise regime contributes to that.

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8 Pat Moon August 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Nancy, good for you in turning to diet and exercise in getting things more in balance. So glad you are in a kinder, gentler phase right now.

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9 karen p August 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Wow, very informative!  And courageous to share your story. :-)

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10 Pat Moon August 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Karen, thanks for your support.

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11 Meryl Hershey Beck August 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Oh yes, hot flashes! I vividly remember sitting with my grandmother when beads of sweat would appear on her forehead and she would wipe them with her hanky. For me, I got acupuncture every week for awhile and it wasn't that bad (or I have a faulty memory) and when I did have a hot flash (it would start at my scalp)  I saw it as a "rewiring" and that made me smile. Glad you are on the other side and shared your story and some helpful tips.

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12 Pat Moon August 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Meryl, thanks for sharing. Yes, hot flashes seem to start at the scalp for me too. Your ‘rewiring’ is similar to my ‘power surges’ Looking at it that way will lighten the experience and make you smile. Hopefully, these conversations will benefit others.

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13 Lisa Birnesser August 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Great advice, Pat. Menopause is difficult to go through and even more difficult to keep off the weight. Thanks for sharing this information- passing this along!

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14 Pat Moon August 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Lisa, I am excited that I have info that can help menopause be a pleasant experience for others… weight gain and all. Thanks for passing it along.

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15 Catherine Doucette August 8, 2012 at 7:34 am

I'm with you! we can control so much with how we eat!

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16 Pat Moon August 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Catherine, happy to met you and share the common belief of what we eat definitely affecting our health. More people need to realize this.

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17 Sherie August 7, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Pat, great information that you have shared. I have a dear friend who is dealing with similar issues and will pass this on to her!

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18 Pat Moon August 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Sherie, thanks for sharing my information. That is the reason I wrote about it. Perhaps the info can make someone else have a more pleasant experience.

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19 Barbara Peters August 7, 2012 at 6:19 pm

oh I wish I had met you soon. I'm glad to read this information and will pass it on! Thank you Pat I'll be sharing!

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20 Pat Moon August 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Barbara, wish we would have met sooner also. Hopefully there will be future tips that can be helpful to you. Thanks for your comment.

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21 Martha Giffen August 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Great information!  I'm so glad there seems to be a real return to holistic type treatments.  Docs were way too quick to dispense a pill for anything we complained about.  Glad you are promoting good health the "right" way!

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22 Pat Moon August 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Martha, I so agree with you about seeing a return to more holistic type treatments. My prayer is that the next generation will make huge strides in that direction as well as the medical field.

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23 Alexandra McAllister August 7, 2012 at 11:27 am

Oh, I can relate to this article, Pat.  I think I've tried everything you mentioned! Some worked for a while and others did not work at all. Finally, after 10 years, it is 95% gone! My healthy diet, exercise and meditation helped so much. Thanks for writing this as I know it will be of benefit to any woman going through this at the moment! Bless you!

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24 Pat Moon August 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Hi Alexandra, It is so interesting how when we share something, we usually find out there are many other people who have had similar experiences. Thanks for sharing in your comment.

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25 Jenny Shain August 6, 2012 at 2:22 am

Thanks for being honest & sharing your story! Good tips also. I feel like we are seeing a revival of health in our country, people seeking out real answers & truth about healing & health! Thanks again.

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26 Pat Moon August 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Yes, Jenny, it is great to see the revival of people seeking to take responsibility for their own health by seeking out the truth about the things that affect their health. Thanks for the support.

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27 Jessica Stone August 2, 2012 at 7:58 pm

What a great post to read long before I get there :)  And I am all about keeping up the exercise and eating right!  Thanks for sharing this valuable info!

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28 Pat Moon August 3, 2012 at 11:18 am

Jessica, keep up your habits of exercise and healthy eating. It will benefit you as you go through the various stage of life. Thanks for reading.

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29 Claudia August 2, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Pat, thank you for the advice. Lots of women need this info especially on supplements, essential oils and exercise.

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30 Pat Moon August 3, 2012 at 11:17 am

Claudia, you are correct… many women can benefit from supplements, essential oils, and exercise. Thanks for your support.

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31 Mary Marriner August 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Wonderful information, Pat!  I clearly remember those days.  Fortunately, that was about 15 years ago for me.  Thanks for sharing.

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32 Pat Moon August 3, 2012 at 11:15 am

Mary, I’m glad you are through that stage of life and doing well. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to share info with those who are experiencing that stage or going to soon. Thanks for your comment and support.

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33 Penny August 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm

thank you so much for the advice, I have just started to experience "power surges" lol and want to go through this process as easy as possible…thank you for sharing!

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34 Pat Moon August 3, 2012 at 11:12 am

Hi Penny, I pray that my article can be of benefit to you in handling your ‘power surges’ and even other symptoms that could show up along your journey. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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35 Carolyn Hughes August 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm

What great advice here! I'm on the verge of menopause and there seems to be so much conflicting advice as to the best thing to do.
I was impressed with your straight forward and common sense approach of healthy diet and exercise. Thank you ! 

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36 Pat Moon August 3, 2012 at 11:09 am

Carolyn, yes, there is much conflicting advice that is available now… definitely more than 15 to 20 years ago… mainly do to the internet. You must be close to my daughter’s age as she is having premenopausal symptoms. I believe some of her’s are side effects from the oral chemo drug she is on to help reduce the chances of her brain tumor returning for the 3rd time. She has been unable to take the herbals because they would interfere with the chemo. I hope my info can be of benefit to you as you embark on this new stage of life.

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37 Olga Hermans August 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm

oh my Pat, what a journey…you are passing your 69th birthday!! I love the way your husband talked to you, because that is exactly what my husband could say. It's not fun though and you gave a great description of what we go through; some women a little less than others. But the fact is that it is a difficult time and I am happy for you that the end is in sight.
The best thing is now that you are reaching out to others with the same symptoms; thanks to your blog!! 

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38 Pat Moon August 3, 2012 at 11:02 am

Olga, actually I’ve pretty well been over the hot flashes for well over 5 years… once in a blue moon they will show up briefly but are never very intense. My husband was very supportive of me during that time and was definitely understanding of what I was going through. My prayer is that others can benefit from my sharing. Thanks.

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39 Susan McKenzie August 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Oh wow…. thanks, Pat! I wish I had read this 10-years ago!!!
I went thru much of the same, even to the point of letting the bleeding get to the point of almost taking my life. I had no health insurance. God intervened, though, and healed me.
Sometimes you stumble upon the answers… and for me, it was noticing that a new vitamin drink seemed to coincide with my hot flashes and night sweats ceasing. When I stopped drinking the vitamin drink, the "power surges" resumed.
Then a friend suggested drinking a lot more water…. and I noticed that drinking water had a direct affect on reducing hot flashes!
I love how open and transparent you made this very vulnerable part of your life shine through…. oh how I wish I had read your article many years ago! I'm so thankful all that is past now, but just think of all the women you will be helping!!!
A standing ovation from this woman to you, Pat!

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40 Pat Moon August 3, 2012 at 10:55 am

Susan, thank you for your encouragement & support. You are correct in giving water and a nutritional supplement credit for helping your body function more as God intended. God intervenes when we trust Him to do so. I took supplements & herbals throughout my hot flash time but drinking sodas instead of water was not allowing my body to function properly. God had to finally hit me over the head about the sodas;-)

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