NRAS
21,697 members25,360 posts

Meds and menopause

Meds and menopause

New to this site, found after doing a search for RA and the menopause. Was diagnosed with RA approx 7 years ago. I take Methotrexate and Hydroxychloroquine. Also statins for high cholesterol. Do any of you older ladies take any supplements for the menopause? I am suffering terribly with hot flushes and night sweats which effect my sleep leaving me exhausted. Do not really want to go down the hormone replacement route as you here such bad thing about it. Just want something natural which I could take along with my meds.

19 Replies
oldestnewest

Whatever you do, don't take black cohoosh with MTX. "Natural" doesn't necessarily mean safe as it's hepatoxic, less so than MTX but together that's too much strain on the liver.

I never found any alternative remedy really worked for me, so ended up going for HRT as my quality of life was badly affected (and then came RA, so made things harder). I'm just coming off it now...so somewhat apprehensive as even just reducing dose has affected my sleep.

Yes there are risks, and you have to make your own decision about that, and also weigh up about your personal risk factors too. Personally I reckoned it was a similar risk to drinking alcohol, which I don't do. And for under 5 years use the risks are less...but do read up on the real risks rather than scary headlines, or anecdotes.

5 likes
Reply

Thanks for your reply, someone has mentioned taking a magnesium supplement. Think I best book in with the docs.

4 likes
Reply

I have RA 4-5 yrs and have been on HRT for 25yrs - I am now 70 my Dr only last week has agreed for me to stay on it for another 5yrs Google HRT and the benefits of taking HRT especially over many years and the recent research - you get more health risks drinking a couple of glasses of wine or eating meat etc etc - dont believe the scary stories - find out for yourself - I do know women who buy HRT on line because their Dr wont prescribe it !!

8 likes
Reply

As a Breast Cancer survivor I really sympathize with your predicament. Before my cancer experience I took HRT for 3 years. Not for menopause symptoms, but to reduce my risk of Osteoporosis, which was high. I have Osteoporosis now, but can't take HRT as the risk of a recurrence of BC is 50%.

4 likes
Reply

Good question. I'm the same, hot sweats just after i've had a shower, the night sweats... Bloody heck!!

Someone told me about magnesium recently, so started taking only this week, so obviously haven't noticed anything.

3 likes
Reply

Hiya Janeyannie, welcome. Well, when first had my FSH levels checked a good way in my GP & I were discussing my options, I decided because symptoms weren't bothering me overly I wouldn't go the HRT route. My greater concern was that once I hit around 70 & needing to stop HRT I'd possibly be lumbered with more bothersome symptoms than I have now at 57, did I want that plus RD & OA, I can cope now but would I then? Do your homework on HRT, ask professional advice re risk v benefit for you as it's you & nobody else you've to consider.

Because of the meds I'm on for my RD (methotrexate etc) & for cholesterol (statin) she strongly advised me (read told me!) if I was tempted not to take any supplements such as black cohosh as they don't mix. It's easy to think 'natural' products & supplements must be safe, that's not always the case & why we always advise if you're considering supplementing you check with your GP or Rheumy first for any contraindications with your repeat meds. Both MTX & black cohosh are metabolized through the liver & are a big no no taken together. I suppose much depends on how well or not you are as far as the menopause is concerned whether you choose the HRT route. Do bear in mind RD is your primary condition & any other conditions' treatment has to work in with it.

You could always ask to have specific levels checked if there's anything you think you may be deficient in.

I hope you enjoy being here. 😊

4 likes
Reply

When I was on the mend after having breast cancer the thing my Oncologist was most insistent on was no "Natural" supplements unless I ran them past her first.....she mentioned especially Black Cohosh & surprisingly Evening Primrose.

In fact she endorsed my opinion that a well balanced diet, light on the wine, was all I needed to recover well.

It was found I couldn't stay on Tamoxifen for the full 5 years as it caused extreme menopausal symptoms - I was post menopause ....& although there are hormonal ( not the usual HRT) remedies to deal with this, I chose in conjunction with my doctors to stop taking it after two years...that was 10 years ago & thankfully I'm still cancer free.

Self prescribing any supplements is a big No, No.....we are lucky enough to have free access to our doctors & really should ask their advice before taking any extra pills or potions!

3 likes
Reply

Evening Primrose! Thanks Kathy, I knew there was another commonly used one, I just couldn't remember it! I hadn't heard of tamoxifan causing menopausal symptoms, that was all you needed from something intended to treat you. I'm pleased though that you stopping it, along with a well balanced diet & the odd wine & of course support to stop taking it was all you needed to remain cancer free. No doubt it's an achievement to be happy about.

It's too easy to just go out & buy supplements, I think that gives a false sense of them being 'safe'. Not always the case as you know, if they do something they can just as easily do harm when medication is also taken but it's not always considered, this is why we need to check.

3 likes
Reply

I really can't be bothered to take extra pills, I'm sure if my rheumy thought I needed any supplements he'd tell me. I think I've taken enough prescription drugs since I've been diagnosed with RA ....not going looking for more.

But each to his own!

Luckily my RD treatment now is 6 monthly infusions & no pills....my fingers are firmly crossed they keep working.

3 likes
Reply

I'm the same, no need to take (or buy) something you don't need & I do take enough pills! If you're tested & have a deficiency or they're prescribed if needed that's fair, but to buy supplements, particularly a general multivitamin, no, I prefer to eat healthily & get what I need from food. I'm prescribed Calcium/Vitamin D, Adcal-D3 for a reason but the only other supplement I take is Omega 3 fish oil, because whilst I will eat oily fish I don't eat enough to have much benefit, & my Rheumy considered I may benefit from it.

I'd much prefer to take fewer pills but I don't think that's going to happen any time soon. My fingers are crossed for you though, your treatment is my ideal!

3 likes
Reply

Yes....it took me 17 years to land up where I am & I am eternally grateful to my very patient rheumatologist who remained optimistic every time I lurched into his office with yet another Dmard failure.

At one point I did look at supplements, but on the whole otc pills don't contain enough of what they claim to be to have much effect.

At the moment I feel I a cold is threatening so I'm gulping down Kiwi fruit.....at least I like the taste & maybe the Vit C content will ward off any lurking bugs! If not, bring on the tissues!

3 likes
Reply

Hello, Many have had great help from natural progesterone only. A well known product that has really helped me is Progest-E. Here some science based reading that may be of help.

raypeat.com/articles/articl...

4 likes
Reply

Thank you for all your replies.

1 like
Reply

High dose sage (2000 mg) daily, worked for me.

Clemmie

3 likes
Reply

I’ve been on HRT for 20 years . I was prescribed after the death of my husband when I was in my early forties and peri menopausal. Over the years there have been various health scares related to it but now the thinking is that is that it’s useful and the risks are minimal. You’re more likely to get breast cancer from being moderately overweight than from HRT.

I’ve had RA for 3 years and I think it’s good for the RA re bones etc ( there are scholarly articles supporting this) and it does make you feel better!

Personally I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a go unless your doctor has a good reason for you not to take it.

3 likes
Reply

Hi there know it's not exactly natural but have used hrt patches for some years now to avoid clashing with existing meds. Hope that helps

3 likes
Reply

Hi there! Do I feel your pain! I’ve had those crazy hot flashes for over 7 years now, but was diagnosed with RA a year and a half ago. What I’ve been taking is some drops called Hot Flash Eliminator (HFE drops). They’re all natural and even though they don’t stop them completely, they’re milder and less often than before. I’m from Canada and I can get them from our local health food store but I’ know you can purchase them online as well.

1 like
Reply

I too am suffering terrible hot flushes and night sweats. I spoke to my pharmacist who stated firmly NO to black cohosh, evening primrose red clover any of those natural supplements. I then spoke to my Rheumatologist who said the same but has given me the go ahead to start HRT.

Please anyone tempted to try any supplements to speak to your Rheumy and or pharmacist first. Rie

2 likes
Reply

I'm peri menopausal and on Simponi and SSZ but was advised by the Rheumi Nurse that it was OK to take Evening Primrose Oil (I take 1300mg once a day) and I also take Omega 3 Fish Oil. I've found it did help the night sweats. My new Rheumatologist also knows I'm taking it. I don't want to go down the HRT route so am hoping the EPO will help. I suspect the Omega 3 Fish Oil is helping my cholesterol which although still high overall has a high level of HDL so have never actually had statins suggested. As my mother and her brother have both had issues with statins I don't want to have to try them. Like so many I've recently been diagnosed with extreme Vitamin D deficiency (after I asked for it to be tested, never had been in over 7 years of RA) and am taking a sublingual spray for that.

2 likes
Reply

You may also like...