Because stumbling blindly through menopause is less fun than it sounds

Is it possible that my thermostat is broken?

Posted by Robin Donovan

I mean we know that entering menopause is likely to cause our internal temperature to fluctuate – but this is getting ridiculous!

The worst time for me is in the morning. I wake up and experience several “heat waves.” Now I’m not talking about hot flashes – these are just momentary spikes in my body temperature. Doesn’t sound bad? Well think again!

Day and night, winter or summer - my menopausal temperature spikes leave me with that "not so fresh" feeling. When will this end?

I get out of the shower and dry off. I start to apply scent and layers of clothing when WHAM my temperature spikes up and I’m perspiring heavily. Now I don’t feel like getting dressed. I’d rather get undressed and get back into the shower – but I know it would just happen all over again. I absolutely hate that feeling of starting my day not completely ‘shower fresh!’ On top of that I’m tempted to dress for mid-summer. Even in the heart of the coldest winter the thought of sweaty wool makes me cringe – so I have to watch myself carefully or I could end up underdressed and freezing for the rest of the day!

Then I’m driving into work. Even on really cold days I leavely overcoat sitting in the passengers’ seat. Does something occur at some point to put my system on red alert? Do I get cut off by another car? Not necessarily, but often I experience yet another temperature spike – this time convincing me that leaving the overcoat off has once again saved my life!

There are other times of day that the spike occurs. I know it happens most nights and I find myself changing into lighter weight sleep attire – but I think they call that ‘night sweats.’ I don’t know if they are caused by dreams or by my sleep cycle. And I’m not sure if they’re the same as the ‘spike.’

The ‘temp spike’ will also occur if I’m rushing around – like when I’m entertaining (I no longer qualify as the hostess with the mostest, now its more like the soggy mess visibly showing her stress) , or when I’m drying my hair – which is why I always wash it at night and never during my already challenging morning ablutions.

It goes away really fast, but I’m left with a sweat mustache, soggy hair and an unclean feeling – three things that I hate a lot!

I’ve been supplementing hormones naturally for a long time and there’s a good chance that I’m actually past menopause (they say it’s hard to measure when I have a good flow of hormones in my system) so why then am I still experiencing all of this heat? Is it just that my thermostat is broken?


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4 Comments to

“Is it possible that my thermostat is broken?”

  1. On April 14th, 2011 at 9:31 am Catherine Wilcke Says:

    If your thermostat is broken, so is the thermostat of multitudes of other women around the world. I had the unfortunate experience of crashing headlong into menopause at the tender young age of 30. All of a sudden, there I was — a walking poster girl for every recognized menopausal symptom. Due to other circumstances, I ended up with a complete hysterectomy five years later, which actually turned out to be one of the best decisions ever made. After much research and debate, I opted for estrogen replacement therapy. My doctor attempts to wean me off my pills every couple of years, but to no avail. Even lowering the dose brings on huge waves of hot flashes and night sweats, brain fog and swollen, tender breasts. With the prescription, I can function and my personal heat waves are much more manageable. At least I don’t have to change the sheets every day anymore! Hormone replacement therapy isn’t for everyone, and there are risks. What I advocate each of us determining for ourselves what is appropriate and acceptable. Don’t let a doctor (especially one who will never experience menopause) make all the decisions for us. Okay — now I’m off my soapbox!

    Love your essays, Robin! Keep sharing.

  2. On June 7th, 2011 at 2:14 pm robin Says:

    Wow, Catherine. You’ve really been through so much. I absolutely agree with your conclusion. Thank you for sharing your story – I think a lot of women could learn from your experiences. And I know, for a fact, that a lot of doctors make light of some of the horrors we’re experiencing – because it’s happened to me!

  3. On June 8th, 2011 at 1:32 am Dorothy S. Says:

    Had hysterectomy at 29 immediate menapause. started taking H.R.T. Very next day. Im now 59 still on H.R.T. and in the past year have had concerns that indeed My thermostat was broken.
    A month ago a friend of mine suggested that my body was maybe trying to tell me its had enough estrogen Thank You very much!
    I thought about it and decided to cut down and hopefully eventually stop
    I’m down to half a pill twice a week and the results are FANTASTIC. I’m a new woman 🙂 cant believe it. My story was exactly the same as Catherine Wilcke.

  4. On June 8th, 2011 at 9:05 am robin Says:

    That is great information to have! I was doing really well and they adjusted my estrogen – lowered the bad and slightly raised the good – and the night sweats started up with a vengeance! I may need a reduction in estrogen as well – I’ll look into it. Thanks for the tip!

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