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Menopause & MS - Headaches help!

Hello, can anyone share their experiences/offer help re dealing with the menopause on top of having MS?!

I am using HRT patches and they do help re night sweats but although I didn’t any side affects for the first 6 months I now seem to get headaches every day and they can last for ages… they might just be part of the process and nothing to do with using HRT but I don’t know.

my partner keeps saying to go to the doctor but I am reluctant to do so as I know headaches are one of symptoms of menopause and I also don’t want to be taken off the HRT. In short the menopause is something that I really do not need on top of my ongoing fatigue and other MS symptoms and it is now really getting me down.

Any advice on how to deal with this greatefully received ??

thank you

ps. I take modafinil, co codamol (4 tablets a day) and gabapenthin.

I was experiencing horrible hormonal symptoms last year and took it that I had started the menopause (I am 50 next month) - I just felt all over the place inside and had warm skin all the time and got hot flushes at night and sometimes during the day. It has exacerbated my MS Symptoms and basically I have not been having fun. I am on Gilenya tablets and have to be careful with other medication as there is a lot you cannot take with it which makes me nervous and other than paracetamol I don’t take anything else.

I got told about this magnetic therapy (ladycare - sold in Boots and on Amazon) and I have really noticed a difference. I am not so all over the place - I still have the odd warm skin day but nothing like before. I would recommend it but you might need to speak to your doctor as not sure about whether you can use alongside HRTs. It also does not work for everyone about 70 odd % of women find it helps them - it did not help my friend when she tried it unfortunately.

I did talk to my MS Nurse about the menopause and MS and she did say that unfortunately it does play havoc with your symptoms. At least you are doing something about it being on HRTs - it might be worth speaking to your GP in case its not mixing well with your other medication and that might be why you are getting headaches - there are different types of HRT so you could get issued another type that might be better. You don’t want to be suffering with headaches along with everything else if you don’t have too.

Try relaxation techniques too - I swear by my 20 minute audio relaxation - I actually crash out for 20 minutes but always wake up when she says open your eyes. I don’t think that is how you are supposed to do meditation - I think you are supposed to be more present but it is just nice to have a complete shut down so it works for me. Find something that will work for you even if it is just deep breathing exercises.

Hope you feel better soon.

Thank you Delia50 … I will investigate the magnetic therapy you mentioned.

It helps hearing how others cope with things as I do feel quite on my own with all of this (although I know every woman goes through it, but then again not every woman has MS!)

I agree it is a case of finding what works for each of us and I guess I will work things out but headaches like the ones I am getting every day just drag me right down + my partner is understanding to a point but he is just one of those ‘go to the doctor and get it sorted’ kind of people (not that helpful when you have MS really!).

So far I have just resorted to lying down in a quiet room and closing my eyes (as light and noise makes things worse) the co codamol has little affect. The headache seems to go away after 1/2 hr or so and then when I try and do something it comes back !

If I do find a miracle cure I will let you know. thanks again

Janet

Hi, with all that was going on with MS, I am crashing through menopause without HRT. When I tried HRT I too got absolutely huge, unbearable headaches. I kind of don’t notice my menopause now because I am so busy with everything else. Hot sweats at night…I sleep so poorly now that I am often found barefoot in the garden at all hours! Good luck x

Hi Oneshot

im in the menopause at the moment, I’m also on Hrt I was on patches but swapped to a Mirena Coil and Gel as it’s easier to adjust the dose to what suits you. Could the headaches be down to your menstral cycle as although I have the Mirena fitted and no longer have a bleed I still get some symptoms every now and then, in fact I had a blinder of a headache yesterday well middle of the night actually! Hrt in topical ie goes through the skin is better for you causing less headaches than pills.

If your still getting flushes you may need to increase your patch dose you don’t say whether it’s 50 75 or 100 or more.

Could your headaches be ms related?

I had terrible Hrt symptoms I actually thought I was going mad at one time as I was diagnosed the same time as my ms.

Could you perhaps cut a piece of a patch off and add it to your original one to see if that helps or makes your heads worse you can always take it off again after a few days if you have a negative effect. If you feel better you then know you need higher dose patch.

let me know how you get on

Ann x

Hi Smokey, I’m using patches … FemSeven 50 micrograms/10 micrograms transdermal patches. They are supposed to stay on for a week at a time but they always come off after a few days (they don’t stick well especially if you have a bath!) … I think I will go back to the doctor to discuss things… I also have a mirena coil but it was fitted 13 years ago so the impregnated hormones will have totally worn off long ago.

I don’t think the headaches are MS as I was diagnosed 15 years ago and I’ve never had headaches like these. Anyway, I have one now so I must crash … I will keep you informed on how I get on but thank you so much for your advice & support

Janet

Hi Ladies

i think we we need to keep in contact to swap symptoms ms wise and menopause wise we may be able to help each other

at this trying time of life.

Oneshot If you do decide to go to you Docs and decide you do want to stay on Hrt I would ask to be changed to a different patch I was on Everol patches they stick very well in fact you get left with bits of glue on your skin, this can be removed with baby oil on cotton wool.

I wonder if it’s the lack of progesterone causing your headaches as you won’t have any left in your Coil, you do t mention about getting any bleeds so I presume your post menopausal or have had Hysterectomy as it’s not advised to Take oestrogen on its own as it can thicken the womb and thus make your Hrt risks much higher. I think if you go to Doctors and mention headaches he may take you off the Hrt. You could try asking him to add a progesterone patch to your prescription this may help however it will probably cause you to have a bleed each month, I think your current patches are not meant to cause headaches anyway.

May I ask how long you have been on them for?

Are you on anything for your Ms apart from the medication you mention in your first post?

If you don’t mind could you also tell me about the Modifinal you are taking I presume for fatigue and how it affects you I’m seeing Nuro on 10October and he has promised to address my fatigue as this is my worst symptom at the moment. I’ve tried Amentadene but not successful.

I just thought you could just take off your patch for a couple of weeks or indeed when you apply the next one just cut it down a bit it just might be a bit to strong for you but you maybe ok on 3/4 of a patch or 1/2 it maybe worth a try. If it is the patches causing your headaches this may be the solution without coming completely off them I think in my experience the patches work in about 48hours.

Just seen your previous post and that your on 50 patches they do do a 25 I believe.

Ann x

Hi Ann, Firstly as I’m sure you have guessed, there is no guaranteed remedy for fatigue (sadly). It is also my worst symptom and always has been, coupled with Brain fog which equally drags me down. I have tried various other meds to see if they help with fatigue, I changed my diet, lost weight, tried to build up my stamina by exercising but nothing other than taking modafinil makes any difference for me. I started taking it when I was still working full time (I was about 35 then) . I had a high powered job and I was finding that I could not stay awake during the day, I’d regularly sleep in my car at lunchtime (I would even sit on the toilet and rest my head against the cubicle wall and close my eyes I was so so tired). I’d researched modafinil on line and while it is only licensed for Narcolepsy I argued with my consultant that MS fatigue is a type of narcolepsy, as it literally drains you so much you just would give anything to sleep even when you haven’t done anything to warrant it. My consultant agreed to prescribe it and when I first started taking it I honestly thought I had found a miracle cure, I was able to go all day without any fatigue and no brain fog! but sadly the effects soon lessened and the fatigue and brain fog started to return after a week. However, the modafinil still enables me to have part of the day without too much fatigue and I know that without it I would find really hard to function at all. I was told by my current MS nurse that no doctor or consultant in our county (Norfolk) will prescribe it to new patients now as it is too expensive (not sure if this is true) but I can honestly say that for me it works (albeit not completely). Also I have no side effects from taking it. re the patches … i’ve stopped using them for now as I want to see how things go before I then go back to Docs … will keep you updated though.

Hi Oneshot

Thanks for replying.

Im glad you’ve found some relief from the Modifinal if only for part of the day, you have answered my nagging to my self what if

i tried to get Modifinal would it help me and now I realise that it is mainly for the sleepy fatigue like you have.

Mine is exhausting fatigue, is worse in the mornings my routine is get up shower etc then I’m exhausted and have to rest if I’m lucky I get to make a cuppa beforehand and have snack, can’t read do much then except read or watch tv. I can’t miss snack otherwise I feel bad, I then do lunch sometimes that’s an effort in itself if I’m late eating and having a sandwich it’s sometimes hardto spread butt or slice bread if it’s uncut. It does get better after lunch, but then I’m exhausted again by about 5pm when it’s time to start preparing tea, luckily my husband helps when he gets in. It’s as though I only get energy after I’ve eaten but then doesn’t last very long.

I hate not being able to do all the housework my husband also has to do that at the weekend too, I do ironing ever day if I can usually about 4/5 items only my own luckily my husband does his own.

I wish I could go shopping looking around shops for more than about half hour before I start feeling bad again.

i can however take my golden Labrador out for a walk but usually only about 1/2 hour but he’s happy with that as hubby takes him out early before work.

This week I’m trying out eating more food with fat in it as my ms nurse thinks my ms tabs Tecfidera is causing me stomachache and nausea as well as light headedness if I’m late eating.

Do you take anything for your ms? Apart from Co codamol

i hope your feeling ok today and don’t have any headaches, I felt sick after breakfast but that passed by 10.30, together with my bloating and flush which I also had this morning.

I think the patches can take up to 12 weeks to come out your system completely so maybe your headaches will gradually get better or less as time goes on.

Do you still work?

I had to stop for because of my exhaustion, which makes me sad as I loved my job.

keep in touch. And keep well.

Ann x

Hi all, quick update … I decided to ditch the HRT … the headaches are less now (not sure if the two were connected or not) but either way I feel able to cope with the hot flushes etc now (they have reduced a lot so maybe I am lucky and they are on the way out). Re other meds then I have also tried to reduce the co-codamol but I found I couldn’t cope with the overall pain. Gabapentin at night helps but makes me feel drowsy if taken during day. Seeing MS nurse next week so probably talk meds etc with her … also want to ask about the cannabis thing i.e. is it an option for me .