Jude's Story — My journey through hot flushes and night sweats.•
Posted on February 05 2020
I’m 54 and I have been going through the menopause for 18 years after starting at just 36. I was on HRT initially but I came off it after just under two years for medical reasons. I was experiencing a number of menopausal symptoms at this point, including hot flushes, but they were manageable.
After my second daughter at 39 I went back onto HRT but I found out I BRCA2, the gene that gives me an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer so, at the doctors recommendation, I came off it. Hot flushes came back but were OK until I received risk-reducing surgery and had my ovaries and tubes removed. This is when my life really changed and the flushes became utterly unbearable.
“18 hot flushes every 24 hours”
I started getting around 18 hot flushes a day on different levels; light, strong and severe; clammy and dripping. It affects everyone around me including my family, friends, colleagues and even patients. I’m an NHS Newborn Hearing Screener, and I regularly get them on the ward while around the new mums and their infants. I get so many hot flushes during my shift that my uniform will get soaked through and I’ll have to change around 4 times on an average day. Usually the women are so accommodating and don’t make a fuss but it’s tricky to navigate as I know it can make them feel uncomfortable to see me flushing so much and soaking through my uniform.
Having so many hot flushes is completely draining and affects all areas of mine, and my family’s lives. It impacts my sleep, the fabrics and colours I wear, my temper and even my hairstyles. I cut my short to keep me cooler and I haven’t worn makeup for as long as I can remember, it just sweats off in minutes. My wardrobe is entirely black as all my clothes have been chosen for their ability to mop up the sweat or reduce the look of sweat patches. I would love to be able to go out in a pair of light jeans or party dress, but I’ve been on nights out where the sweat has been so noticeable that I’ve actually gone to the ladies and soaked the whole outfit so it looked like one colour. It actually cooled me down too but it’s hardly a long-term solution!
At night I sleep with a plastic waterproof cover on my mattress, a towel on the bed and pillow plus a spare on the floor to mop up excess sweat. I usually get around 6 hours sleep which is broken hourly with night sweats. It disturbs my husband too as sometimes I need to get up to cool off and wipe up the water. I never stay at people’s houses, not even my family’s, and even hate staying in hotels because I know I will just soak through the bed linen. I’ve only been on holiday twice in 9 years.
“The flushes are less frequent and less intense”
Last week I met with ladies from Become and they gave me a cooling set to test out. I actually cannot believe how much it has helped. It has shocked me how it keeps me so much drier and cooler. The flushes are less frequent and less intense. Where I used to get around 18 in an average day they have reduced to around 8-15 depending on what type of day I am having. The ones I do get while I’m wearing the set are so much more manageable than ever before. I still get warm but when I feel like I am having a major flush, my skin stays dry and I don’t feel like I’m melting nearly as much. Sometimes I feel as though the water should be streaming off me but it just feels a bit damp and you can’t see a thing. I have even managed to go a whole day at work without changing my uniform! I don’t remember the last time that happened.
My sleep has also benefitted from wearing Become at night*, which is better for both my husband and me. We have more energy than we have in a long time and I feel as though this will only get better. Wearing Become I feel more alive in the mornings, I am happier and it has helped with my mood swings. Before I was sure I was a pain to live with but my daughters have even noticed how much my moods are improving, they say I’m like a different person!
Become has really helped me to manage my hot flushes. I feel like they are under control so much more than ever before. It feels like having a second skin, but one that actually works with you, not against you during a hot flush. Become allows me to wear colours and I’m exploring my fashion style again, it’s so liberating!
Become is not a cure for my hot flushes or night sweats but the clothing has made such a change to my life by reducing how noticeable they are and making them making them more bearable.
Now I won’t go a day without Become now, it’s changed my life.
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