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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