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MS and Menopause

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    MS and Menopause

    I'm seeking input from my fellow MSers, please. I just celebrated my 52nd birthday, and I have been having increased anxiety and bouts of insomnia. I've never had insomnia and have always been a "good sleeper" so this new symptom is problematic.

    Although I am still menstruating (hit and miss), I would like to know what typical symptoms are associated with starting menopause and how they impact MS. What tips can you share when going through "the change."

    I'm just curious how is MS impacted by menopause? With the hormonal changes, I hear MS can "uptick" after menopause. Generally, what should I been aware of?

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's learning to dance in the rain!

    I was diagnosed with MS in 2003 and then in December 2007 I had to have a full hysterectomy with put me into menopause for good. However, the hysterectomy was not tied to my was a result of ongoing endometriosis issues.

    Once in the state of menopause I had to deal with hot-flashes that made my life horrible. With me, when I am overly heated, my MS will dump an extra dose of fatigue and aches on me, so I had learned (prior to 2007) how far I could push myself before becoming overheated. I also had learned to stay out of direct sunshine and to avoid overly humid weather. So, when the hot flashes started I was really worried that they might trigger more fatigue issues.

    Between my PCP and my neurologist, we ruled out all kinds of things that "may" have triggered the hot flashes and I eventually elected to go on estrogen-replacement, taking the lowest possible dosage...and this did the trick. No more hot flashes and I was really pleased about that. I have regular blood-panels done to make sure that all of my minerals/vitamins/enzymes and liver are healthy, and my PCP keeps a very close eye on my taking these hormones. Without them my life was sheer misery. And, while the hot flashes initially caused me all kinds of energy issues and extreme sweating and sleep problems, they're all about 96% gone. The insomnia that I deal with now seems to be age-related and we're working to figure out how to handle that as I really don't want to take any more pills if I can avoid it!

    Hope this helps!
    "There are signs everywhere...."
    "Life is wasted if it's not lived as an adventure."


      Originally posted by dm0329 View Post
      I'm just curious how is MS impacted by menopause? With the hormonal changes, I hear MS can "uptick" after menopause. Generally, what should I been aware of?

      Thanks for sharing your experiences!
      I don't have much to share. My peri-menopause stage lasted only two years, from the ages of 50-52. Although I had brief hot flashes every night after returning to bed following a BR trip, that was my only symptom. Gratefully, my menopause didn't seem to be impacted by my MS.
      ~ Faith
      MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
      (now a Mimibug)

      Symptoms began in JAN02
      - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
      - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08

      - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
      - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.


        Hi dm0329.

        Perimenopause can cause a whole host of symptoms, each woman is different in how perimenopause effects them.

        MS wise I experienced more MS symptoms with hormone fluctuations, which is very common for women who menstruate. I actually felt better when I wasn't menstruating. So the less spotting or menstruating the better I felt.

        Postmenopausal I had problems with hot flashes which affected my MS (as heat has always done). Once I went on HRT the hot flashes went away and I felt better.

        With the hormonal changes, I hear MS can "uptick" after menopause.
        I had read the same things over the years, but I have not found this to be true in my case

        Diagnosed 1984
        “Lightworkers aren’t here to avoid the darkness…they are here to transform the darkness through the illuminating power of love.” Muses from a mystic


          I am so sympathetic
          I'm smack in the middle of menopause.
          I have been struggling with sweats, insomnia and anxiety. of course these all increase fatigue and this exacerbates nerve sensations and other symptoms.
          I turn 52 in May.

          hormonal fluctuations always played havoc with my ms.
          I'm spms now though and to be honest other than the things i mentioned i don't think menopause has had a huge impact- not like hormonal changes did before anyway .
          Tried HRT for a year but didn't seem beneficial. i wasn't having hot flashes then though so maybe i should give it another go

          Rest and management of symps seems most important.


            I had a hysterectomy 20 years ago and went right into menopause. The hot flashes were terrible with night sweats. (I didn't know yet that I had MS.) My doctor put me on estrogen replacement and the hot flashes went away. Then in 2010 my doctor found a lump in my breast. She says it was caused by the estrogen replacement.

            Fortunately, the lump was successfully removed, and it was malignant. It was small and had not spread but the hot flashes are back with a vengeance! Now I just keep a fan by my chair and by my bed.


              Dear dm3029,

              I have had MS for a long, long time. I feel that my transition from RRMS to SPMS was partly do to beginning menopause. I had my last period while I was in the hospital for pneumonia after a very stressful move to a new area. It was months before the linings of my lungs grew back. During that period my diagnosis changed to SPMS, and from that time my disability has increased.

              Fifteen years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer, had the big surgery, and endured five years of chemo that eliminated all estrogen from my body, even that which is normally produced by fat cells after menopause. It's been a roller-coaster, mostly rushing downward.

              Daily water exercise, good nutrition, and spiritual practices have helped me hold on.

              I hope my sharing my story does not discourage you. You said you wanted to hear the experiences of others. Do everything you can to improve your general health and remain active. Keep strong.

              Stay lifted,
              Mermaid Susan
              "Life is short, and we have but little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us; so let us be swift to love, and make haste to be kind."
-Henri Amiel


                Hi dmo329~

                I have a different story but don't we all? I was going through the change for a couple years leading up to and around my 50th birthday. I got a really bad flare of ON that led to a dx after 10 years being in limbo.

                So, I was having emotional swings and anxiety with menopause and then this! On one hand I was relieved to know what all the strange sx I was having all those 10 years, but the anxiety went through the roof. My doctor thought I could use an anti-anxiety med which helped immensely!

                I also took "Reminfemin" that I bought at a drug store - It's mainly the ingredient Black Cohosh that really helped with hot flashes. They didn't completely go away,but the severity and length of the flashes were noticeably less.

                I didn't notice any uptick on MS symptoms during menopause aside from the flare with resolved itself within 2 months.

                Now postmenopausal for many many years, I notice I'm more affected by the heat. I didn't transition to SPMS until I was almost 60 (clearly postmenopausal).

                Hope you can find strategies that help you during this time
                1st sx '89 Dx '99 w/RRMS - SP since 2010
                Administrator Message Boards/Moderator


                  I am about the same age as you and believe that I have just gone through menopause. I was fortunate enough to have signed up for an online UCSF Lecture Series on Menopause and MS with the National MS Society, in February. It appears that the lecture will be repeated in September. You may want to sign up to participate.

                  Dr. Bove was a great speaker and took live questions at anytime during the lecture. She also provides her email address in the event you have questions any time after her presentation. Here is the info. It is not possible to sign up yet, as I checked the NMSS website.

                  MENOPAUSE. Living well with MS: Management during menopause and beyond
                  Monday, September 30, 2019 | 6:00 – 7:30 PM

                  The challenges of living with MS can be compounded by menopause symptoms (like hot flashes, or changes in mood or bladder function), changes in family or work structure, and sometimes progression of MS. This is a great time to reevaluate MS care in the context of a woman’s journey. Join us as Dr. Riley Bove, Faculty in the UCSF MS Clinic Gender-Based Care programs, discusses whole-person approaches to wellness during menopause and beyond.

                  I'll also provide the link given to us by the NMSS after watching the lecture. It is very similar to the live talk she gave.