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Aug 19, 2020 05:45PM
I had terrible hot flashes that started at the age of 36 when I was in perimenopause. By the time I was officially menopausal at the age of 40, they were worse and continued to cause me misery up until the time of my diagnosis at the age of 52. I had tried Black Cohosh and never felt it made much of a difference. After my younger sister was diagnosed with ER+ breast cancer, I gave up on that Black Cohosh because I also had read mixed studies about its safety in women with or with the risk of getting breast cancer. Then I was diagnosed myself and became even more cautious about the use of supplements.
While I had always had a healthy diet, there was room for improvement, and a cancer diagnosis was just the motivation I needed to get serious about it. Once I added more fruits and vegetables and reduced the red meat, sugar, and highly processed foods, I gradually noticed a significant improvement in my hot flashes. They are now much fewer and much weaker. I was worried that starting anastrazole would make them worse, but by the time I started taking it, I had already been eating healthier for a few months and thankfully did not experience any worsening symptoms. I still drink coffee and I still drink wine, although much less of both, and that has helped too, but honestly I feel that the amount of sugar in my diet has the most correlation to the number of hot flashes I experience. I still eat dessert once in awhile, but having really cut back on that has helped. I also started drinking much more water after a kidney stone took me by surprise 24 hours before my re-excision. That seems to help too. My oncologist also said she sometimes prescribes gabapentin for patients whose hot flashes are severe, but I am having enough success with the changes to my diet that I haven't felt the need to explore that option. I still get them, and I notice they get worse when my diet gets worse (as may or may not have happened during all of this Covid lifestyle....), but overall my improved diet (and regular aerobic exercise) helped significantly. Besides my calcium and vitamin D, the only supplement I take is fish oil for the omegas. I feel this also helps.
Hot flashes interfere so much with quality of life and quality of sleep. I can't explain it to my friends who are lucky enough not to have experienced them or to my younger coworkers who think a thermostat setting of 78 in our staff lunch room is still too cold. I always tell them I want to be witness to the first hot flash they experience lol!
"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, compassion, some humor, and some style." -Maya Angelou
1/15/2019, DCIS/IDC, Right, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
1/23/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
2/25/2019 Lumpectomy: Right
4/8/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Chest wall
5/11/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole)