I am quite prepared to go off to the doctor to ask for medication to relieve or eliminate hot flushes and night sweats but I am stick in the mud stubborn to not ask for help with depression. Yet the medication that I received for the hot flushes turns out to be the same for depression. Go figure. It turns out that Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor medication or SSRIs in low doses can actually stop women in peri-menopause and menopause from getting hot flashes and night sweats. This side effect was discovered when doing anti-depressant trials. As I was researching hot flushes as how to get relief or get rid of them I discovered the SSRIs, along with black cohosh, soybean/tofu and wild yam creams.
I decided that I would try SSRIs and supplement that with soya milk. The SSRI that my doctor recommended was one with a long half life (slow release; easy to begin taking and easy to stop taking). Fluoxetine was what was chosen for me. Would it work? There was only one way to try. 10mg daily.
The first two weeks I became an insomniac and I was beginning to suffer from a lack of sleep but I managed to get into a normal sleeping habit and can now fall asleep within 10 minutes, for me that’s normal.
I discovered that I don’t like drinking soy milk, the natural unsweetened kind, no matter how many bananas or blueberries I put in to disguise the taste, I just don’t like it. So that idea went out the window. Tofu once or twice a week is a much more sensible option.
I don’t drink coffee or tea, as in no caffeine. I cheat once a month, but I don’t count that.
Because I don’t drink lattes anymore nor do I indulge in masala chai I don’t drink milk anymore. That was a natural progression. It didn’t occur to me for a while that I had stopped dairy.
I am not eating bread, noodles, rice or potatoes just now, I am a meat and vegetables eater.
I am not eating sweets from a bag. I have cut down on sugar a lot!!!
I do however still bake and make everything in smaller sizes. And instead of eating many in one sitting I can make the tin last for a week sharing.
I feel healthier and lighter and I am becoming leaner. All a welcome change.
I feel brighter too. Cloudy days don’t bug me as much anymore.
The hot flushes have gone. Hooray!
The sweats have gone. Hooray!
One particularly bad day I had hot flushes and sweats every half hour. Now. Nothing. Absolute bliss.
I am going into winter and the one good thing about hormonal changes is that my body temperature seems higher and I don’t feel the cold the same.
On getting home from the doctor’s that first day I went home to check the medicine, Fluoxetine. It gave me a bit of a jolt. That’s the generic name for Prozac. I panicked a bit and thought of addiction but then realised that I would not be upping my dose anytime soon this side of Sunday, or the other side either. A plus for Aspergers, being able to follow the rules. I was actually killing two birds with one stone. An ugly saying but one that seemed the most appropriate. Killing the sweaty monster and the dark shadow, what could be better than that? Was I hoping too much?
I just about cried in the car park. With relief. Why did it take me so long to get help for myself? Finding a good doctor was important. Moving around a lot makes it harder to settle on one. Now I feel settled.
So how do I feel?
Menopause feels under control.
Depression feels under control.
I feel that I have my life back again. I feel like someone left the gate open but I don’t realise yet that I can walk through. I can’t believe my luck.
For those of you wondering the difference between a hot flash and a hot flush, well, they are the same thing.
For those wondering what a hot flush feels like, honey, it ain’t anything like a royal flush in cards, it’s more like a wave of heat that hits you suddenly, and only you, it creeps up your body to your face and neck, it makes you come out in a sweat, soaking you to the point that you think everyone must be staring. You feel like you need to mop up fast in case anyone saw. You stand anywhere with a breeze so you get some relief. It can last for years, only weakening in strength with age. It affects everyone differently. Some don’t suffer from them at all. Probably a tiny minority.
Update: Exercise habit is almost nil. I’ve upped the dose from 10mg to 20mg to balance with my weight increase. Drinking tea and the occasional coffee. No night sweats, no hot flashes/flushes. Could do better. Why is it that we know what we should be doing yet we just don’t do it? That in itself makes it doubly frustrating. One day at a time. Don’t be hard on yourself. I know. I know. But still…
Read more on perimenopause and aspergers
Lou Reed – Perfect Day