ADT Side Effects I Have Experienced: Part 2

In Part One of this series, I covered my attempts to deal with the hot flashes and cardiac AFib that developed since being treated by androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Here in Part Two, I discuss my sleep problems. You can also read Part 3.

What I've tried to deal with sleeplessness

Sleeplessness has been a huge problem for me since starting ADT; I usually wake up every hour or so with a hot flash or having to urinate. Here is what I have tried to address my sleep problems:

Flomax

This slightly decreased the number of trips to the bathroom, but my use of Flomax seemed be associated with dizzy spells. I gave up on Flomax and the dizzy spells stopped, at least until I developed cardiac Atrial fibrillation (AFib).

Toviaz

My urologist gave me some samples of an antispasmodic called Toviaz to control my overactive bladder. It certainly seemed to decrease by bathroom trips, but it dried me up so much that it made me uncomfortable. I stopped taking it after a few doses.

Origins of Health’s “Sweet Dreams”

This is a sleep supplement from my lyme disease doctor containing melatonin, Vitamin B-6, 5-Hydroxytryptophan, L-theanine, and Inositol. This supplement does seem to help, but I am wary of introducing so many chemicals to my body. I am already taking too many medicines.

Milk and cookies

Sometimes in the middle of the night I will get up and have some yogurt mixed with a non-grain granola and wild blueberries (sweetened with honey). This definitely puts me to sleep, but also packs on the pounds.

Exercise

A bike ride or a session on my rowing machine after dinner usually results in a better night’s rest.

Wine with dinner

Alcohol exacerbates my sleeping problems and is a risk factor for AFib. I no longer drink.

Cannabis

A tea made with low THC cannabis seems to help me a bit, maybe. I am of the general opinion that many CBT products are snake oil, but this particular cannabis is from a local, trusted organic farmer.

Sex

I have found that intimacy with my wife is a healthy, natural way to ensure a good night’s sleep. But as a man living with prostate cancer there are sexual challenges that I will cover another article. Suffice it to say that it is wonderful when it happens, but it does not happen very often.

Zaleplon (Sonata)

Zaleplon can usually give me 2-3 hours of sleep, luxury for me, but I am worried about its addictive potential.  For this reason, I try not to take it more than twice a week.

Melatonin

This has proved effective and safe for me, but it wears off in a couple of hours. I am currently trying a time-release version.

Valerian root

Did not work for me, but I may try it again.

Dehydration

I have tried this before sleep, but it can result in leg cramps which are worse than frequent urination. I tried dried bananas to address the leg cramps, but this sweet snack stuck to my teeth and probably contributed to tooth decay. I am experimenting with electrolyte water in the evening, and this seems to help. Magnesium supplements also help.

Trying to get a better night's rest

My sleep problems have not been solved to a satisfactory degree, and I am usually exhausted by morning. If I could control the hot flashes, this would go a long way in getting a better night’s rest.

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