Menopausal M.E.

It has to be said having M.E. sucks, going through the menopause sucks, then there’s combining the two = double sucks!

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I feel for me the caption should say “ME & the Menopause”

I read a blog on the M.E. Support webpage which made me giggle and agree wholeheartedly “It has been explained to me that M.E. exacerbates the menopausal symptoms and the menopausal symptoms exacerbate the M.E. symptoms, and wow oh wow, is it a rollercoaster!” (you can read the full blog here). The author of this piece nailed it ~ the one does exacerbate the other to the point where you no longer have any control over your body (or that’s how it feels, I may be slightly dramatic here but there you go!).

I have gained SO much weight it’s ridiculous, yet no matter what I do I simply cannot shift it, it’s so frustrating! Also I am constantly hot, I mean constantly ~ I feel as if my body is burning on the inside and I get terrible sweats where sweat literally runs in rivers down my spine, under my boobs, on my hair line (so I look shower drenched ~ not “fresh”), then I get the chills yet still somehow hot, so shivery and sweaty whilst combining the strange sensation of being both hot and cold all at once. My ankles, my poor, poor ankles look like strange entities plonked on the end of my legs. The areas beneath my outer ankle bone look swollen and puffy, the best way I can describe it is like a boiled egg cut length ways and plonked under my skin along the length of my foot ~ so under my ankle I have two elliptical puffy swellings (attractive huh?). THEN the underside of my feet the skin is dry, flaking and sore. We then add onto these symptoms chronic pain in all joints deep into the bones plus the muscles are tender and feel bruised.

Are you still with me? I am wondering how many of you also have these same symptoms and are nodding thinking blimey, it’s not just me! So I continue as we  move onto the brain and it’s capacity to switch off as and when it feels like it. I end up not knowing words and fumbling around verbally trying to express myself, I forget what I’m doing, where I’m going and what I’ve done. My poor family look at me wondering what on earth I’m trying to say or do ~ thankfully they know me well enough to be able to guess accurately on my behalf.

I’m not quite sure if there is a solution to ease the many varied symptoms of ME and the Menopause when the gel together to make my body a raving lunatic BUT I am experimenting with a few options.

First of all I have come off my anti~ depressants which have not had any side effects as I was on such a low dose anyway. I am now replacing them with Maca Root Capsules, I have been advised by my lovely daughter, who was looking into supplements to help ME, that Maca Root can help with peri/menopause symptoms as well as ME (win, win). So I got to reading up on it “Maca is best known as an adaptogenic plant, which simply means that it balances the body’s response in dealing with all different types of stressors. Adaptogens are among the most useful medicinal herbs, helping individuals to better cope with fatigue, anxiety, stress, depression, and sleep problems. Maca is also amazingly rich in amino acids, phytonutrients, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.” Sounds good huh? Then I also read “Of particular importance to menopausal women is Maca research on the production of sex hormones, enhanced sex drive, stimulation of body metabolism, control of body weight, and increased energy, stress reduction, antidepressant activity, and memory improvement.”  ~ Oh I do hope so ~sounds like magic! For the ME the maca helps provide more energy and this is very much required right now. So far I’ve only been taking it for a week, so early days. However, I do feel a little better than this time last week, could be coincidence only time will tell.

Along with the Maca Root I take Milk Thistle because it has 7 great benefits; “1. Liver Detoxification & Health, 2. Helps Protect Against Cancer, 3. Can Help Lower High Cholesterol, 4. May Help Control or Prevent Diabetes, 5. Helps Prevent Gallstones, 6. Boosts Skin Health  and 7. Has Anti-Aging Effects.” My main reason for taking it is to reduce my risk of developing diabetes ~ I have family history of late onset insulin dependent diabetes and had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant which putting together with my weight gain due to ME and Menopause makes me at high risk of developing it! Although the anti~inflammatory benefit and it’s ability to help the liver remove toxins is also a great plus for me too.

The next supplement I am experimenting with is Co~enzyme Q10, my reasons regarding taking it for ME are because the Synthesis of CoQ10, which is a powerful anti~oxidant and involved in the production of vital energy molecules, is inhibited by chronic disease. I quote the fabulous Dr Myhill “I am coming to the view that many of my CFS patients are metabolically dyslexic – that is to say even when all the raw materials are available, they cannot make their own Co-Q10 in sufficient amounts and therefore levels need to be measured and supplemented.”…”It may take up to 30 days to get blood levels up to a good level and therefore to start to see clinical response. Most studies of the use of Co-Q10 in heart disease assess patients at three months. I would also expect to see improvements in heart related symptoms such as chest pain, dysrhythmias, exercise tolerance, shortness of breath and mitral valve disease. There are virtually no side effects.” It has for some sufferers helped reduce their fatigue, reduce brain fog and increase energy ~ so I’m all up for giving it a whirl. An added bonus for me being menopausal is that it is also considered to “aid in reducing other symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings and depression” in menopausal women. Yay!

Finally, my last supplement is Vitamin D, I take a 3000 iu supplement via a spray which requires just the one squirt under the tongue daily. I had my levels tested a while back and they were found to be low, which seems to be the same with most sufferers along with I suspect the majority of folks living in the UK to be honest. It is beneficial as a supplement to most folks, not just ME sufferers.

I’ve only been taking the Maca, Milk Thistle and CoQ10 for a few days so too early to see any real benefits yet, although I am keeping everything crossed it will help me regain some control back over my body and mind ~ I’ll let you know in a few months time how I’m getting on.

To try and gain some relaxation and exercise (ha!) I have purchased a Tai Chi for beginners DVD as we practiced some Qi Gong in our ME rehab group which I enjoyed and so read up on a few DVD’s and plumped for the Tai Chi one. So far I have only managed to move through most of the warm up, slowly but surely though I shall get there! It is a great way to exercise and relax at the same time (well it will be when I have learnt all the moves). I have to say initially it’s exhausting me as I am having to concentrate on the moves and posture but I can see that once I know and understand all the moves and what I am doing that it will help my improve my health and will make sure I practice it daily. So why did I pick Tai Chi ~ “Tai chi differs from other types of exercise in several respects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery.”

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A little photo I took of a flower in my dads garden – love it cos it’s purple (no surprise there!)

So onward we go into the week with Easter just around the corner, not that I celebrate it ~ all a load of hoo haa if you ask me, but horses for courses, each to their own. I’ll be making sure I take time to just relax and take some time out and wish you all, whatever you believe and however you celebrate, a great holiday.

x~X~x