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: :   Your Stories Barbara’s Story - Hot Flashes & Migraines

Barbara’s Story - Hot Flashes & Migraines

I had my last baby when I was 40.  Soon thereafter I began to experience hot flashes.  It’s hard for me to say how the various parts of the thing relate, but I know that many of the parts are affected by hormones, which might be the link.  I’ll mention things that all were part and parcel of my life as a woman for the next eight years.   I know that my hot flashes began during that first year, postpartum.  They never were as troublesome as some I’ve heard described by friends, or in the media.  I know that I’d quite suddenly feel warm, then, within a minute or so I’d feel hot and sweaty, as if I’d been sitting in full sun for too long.  I learned to dress in layers, and I’d almost immediately start peeling off clothes until I was bare-armed, at which time the air on my arms and throat calmed me.  In the early months of it I think I would frantically strip off clothes, then look around to others as if to say, “What the hell’s going on in here,” only to realize that apparently I was the only one sensitive to the sudden rise in temperature.  “Or is it me?”

I don’t remember night sweats, like other women describe.  For me, it was little more than waking at night and kicking off covers.  I come from a line of what my family always called “good sleepers,” and I’d return almost immediately to dreamland.  

Most troublesome for me during my peri-menopausal years were headaches.  From the beginning of my menses at thirteen, I usually had headaches with a period.  Around the same time that my hot flashes began, so did migraines.  It was years before they were diagnosed, during which time I was prescribed a laundry list of narcotics – none of which gave me much relief.  It wasn’t until Imitrex was proffered for migraines that I was able to “pop a pill,” and feel normal again.

This chapter of my life as a woman ended quite suddenly and dramatically.  When I was 48, I had two or three periods that resulted in very heavy bleeding.  The bleeding was so heavy that I could barely leave the house.  Then, my periods stopped.  Just like that, I had no more periods, no more hot flashes, and great relief from migraine headaches.  Subsequent migraines were very much milder and infrequent.

About the only other thing I’ll add may or may not relate to hot flashes, per se, but since it’s another hormone-related element…I did breastfeed that baby for four years.  For about 18 months (I think) I didn’t have periods.  I had a tubal ligation when she was 6 months old, however, and I believe that it was at just about that time that my hot flashes began. How all the pieces fit together to complete the puzzle, I can’t say.  But that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.     


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