The latest discussions, tips and advice from the Live Better With Menopause Community forum...
The Live Better With Menopause Community is filled with real people with lived experience of the menopause: from hot flushes, to aches and pains to foggy brains. It’s a space to go to share stories, find support, and pick up hints and tips for all things menopausal, from the people who understand - other menopausal and perimenopausal women. Here’s a round-up of some of the latest forum discussions...
Crawling sensation - a menopausal symptom?
Most of us are familiar with the most common menopause symptoms, such as night sweats and weight gain, even if we haven’t experienced them. But there now are over 30 symptoms that are recognised as being linked to menopause; some are quite unusual and you wouldn’t necessarily associate them with menopause. In August, community forum member, Manjit5, posted what she thought was a: ‘Bit of a strange question - just wanted to ask does anyone get a crawling feeling in the back and shoulder area like there is something there?’
Other members were able to reassure Manjit that it was not a strange question and that the crawling sensation – which is called formication – was not as unusual as she might think.
Kaz said that, while she hadn’t experienced that symptom herself: ‘I have seen other women describing similar. Sounds awful for you! Would taking an antihistamine help at all?’
Julie20 said that she could ‘totally relate’ to what Manjit was describing:
‘It feels like you have ants crawling on you. I can sometimes scratch so much I make my skin sore. I even get it in my ears. Not sure what causes it but I have found my skin has become very dry also. I use a good moisturiser. Not an expensive one but just one that is quite oily and when it gets really bad I take antihistamines. Natural aloe Vera is very good but not very easy to get so I use cocoa butter.’
Jeani had also experienced this strange crawling sensation: ‘…over my shoulders and also on my legs.’
Meanwhile, Julie20, had been busy reading about the subject and had come up with some answers: ‘It seems it's related to the body's change in hormones which does make sense. They recommend an unscented good moisturiser to applied often and drink lots of water as this hydrates the skin from the inside out.’
Manjit really appreciated the reassurance and the information: ‘Thank you so much, I thought I was imagining it!’
Sea buckthorn capsules for vaginal atrophy?
When new member, Genejeanie, posted a question about a popular menopause supplement, she received some very helpful suggestions from another member, Kaz. Genejeanie is 62 and suffers from vaginal atrophy; she lives in Spain and started taking Omega 7 sea buckthorn capsules, on the recommendation of a local pharmacist:
‘The vaginal atrophy is much better, my skin and hair look much better the only thing that seems "bad" about taking the capsules is my hot flushes have returned! I wondered if anyone else had suffered the same results on Omega 7? Maybe I need to change the dose or brand? The capsules contain (translated from Spanish) sunflower oil 700 mg, sea buckthorn 300 mg (which provides 198 mg of Palmitoleic Acid O7). Any help would be greatly appreciated as I really don't want to stop taking them now I've got my "mojo" back!’
As it turned out, Kaz had also taken the same type of supplement: ‘I took another brand of sea buckthorn Omega 7 for a while, but it coincided with the start of HRT patches…’
She wondered if wonder if there had been any changes in Geanjeanie’s: ‘…diet or circumstances, other than the sea buckthorn, that may have triggered the flushes again?’
In Kaz’s case, her hot flushes, which had been under control for several months, suddenly came back with a vengeance. She started having a glass of wine in the evening with her husband, who was back home after working away for some time. ‘It's amazing to think the change in my daily habits, with the addition of alcohol, had such a significant impact. The same can happen with spicy foods, caffeine (I've cut out my evening mugs of tea and coffee), stress, anxiety etc. I wonder if any of that rings a bell for you?’
Kaz had some other good advice for Geanjeanie: ‘I always recommend a book (Me and My Menopausal Vagina) by Jane Lewis - I think every woman (and GP) should read this. It's full of really helpful information, and … helped me get on top of some horrible symptoms.’
Kaz’s reply certainly struck a chord with Geanjeanie: ‘Like yourself I enjoy the odd glass of wine so that could well be it. I do drink far too much coffee, I must try cutting down on that too. I'll buy the Jane Lewis book too, think it is going to be a good read! Thank you for your help.’
Ask the menopause expert: Maryon Stewart*
Another piece of research into HRT was published in late August, setting off alarm bells yet again for women who rely on HRT to ease their menopausal symptoms. According to the Guardian:
‘The risk of breast cancer from using hormone replacement therapy is double what was previously thought, according to a major piece of research, which confirms that HRT is a direct cause of the cancer.’
It came hot on the heels of reports, just a few weeks earlier, about shortages in the supply of HRT tablets, gels, and patches. While we can’t comment on the research itself, we do know, from your queries, that many of you are interested in finding a safe, reliable alternative to HRT, whether you are currently taking it, or are unable or prefer not to. It’s a subject that Maryon Stewart discussed in the forum in April, in response to member cazita14’s question.
‘I have just decided to come off HRT,’ said cazita14,’and, although, 69, I am now experiencing hot flushes during the day and at nighttime. I always felt extremely well on HRT but now feel tired as my sleep is disturbed. I have been taking Femmetrinol, which does help marginally. I have just received your day and nighttime spray - so hopefully this will help. Any more suggestions?’
‘I never suggest women come off HRT suddenly as it can make hot flushes and night sweats even worse,’ said Maryon. ‘I usually get women established on a natural programme and then gradually wean them off the HRT in conjunction with their doctor. Having said that, if you have already stopped completely I would suggest you quickly get established on an alternative programme. My programme consists of making dietary changes, taking regular relaxation as well as supplements that help to control symptoms.’
*Maryon Stewart is a healthcare expert and author who is often referred to as the Pioneer of the Natural Menopause Movement. For almost 30 years, Maryon has been helping hundreds of thousands of women around the world overcome PMS and menopause symptoms, reclaiming their wellbeing. In 2017, Maryon launched a six week virtual Boot Camp, a live online learning initiative, based on her successful five-month programme. She says: ‘I believe passionately that all women should be able to reclaim their wellbeing at menopause. My goal is to help all women go from being a slave to their hormones to feeling better than they can ever remember no matter what their circumstances improve their, quality of life and relationships.’
You can read the full thread of community forum members’ Q and A sessions with Maryon Stewart here (scroll down to cazita1’s question ) and browse Maryon’s menopause kits and products in the Live Better With online shop here.