……”but you’re too young!” – this is what I was hearing constantly for the best part of a year……
“1 in 100 women experience early menopause before the age of 40, 1 in 1000 before the age of 30 so, nope, you’re certainly not too young!” were the words of my Consultant as she told me that I am peri-menopausal!
So, I have been experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms (which basically means the transition to menopause) for around a year now, starting mildly and getting much worse, especially at the beginning of this year.
At the beginning, I blamed the pandemic for many of my symptoms – the worsening anxiety, the panic attacks, the sleep disturbances, the incredibly sore, itchy and hot hands which I put down to all the hand sanitiser….and being only 36 at the time, it didn’t occur to me that they could be symptoms of peri-menopause….not until I started getting bad hot flushes, nights sweats and periods every 7-10 days!
It was one of my patients who recommended a book to me called “The New Hot” by Meg Mathews as we talked about hot flushes! I promptly downloaded the book and wept into the pages as I felt like I was reading my own story – it was that wonderful book that helped me diagnose myself with so much certainty that I felt more confident about booking further appointments and pursuing what I thought.
I was back and forth to my GP (either virtually or in person) countless times, I had numerous blood tests, ultrasound scans, internal examinations, was poked and prodded, was put on the Pill in a bid to “reset my cycle” which just made me feel so much worse, had further Consultations and was still being told that nothing was wrong, until I saw a Consultant specialising in menopause and reproductive health who confirmed straight away that I am peri-menopausal.
It has been one hell of a struggle to say the least. I have been absolutely exhausted, struggling with the most basic tasks, barely able to do any of my workouts, which is what I do for fun, and feeling tired as soon as I wake up. I have been all the place emotionally – when women say that they feel like they’re going crazy when they go through menopause, they’re really not exaggerating! My mind has been somewhat questionable – I’ve found my door keys hanging outside in the front door hours after I got in from work, one evening I went traipsing all over the staff car park in the rain looking for my trousers only to find them in my bag, I thought I’d lost my husbands’ bank card in a shop when I went to pay, came running out to the car to tell him to block his card, only to find it in my pocket, I’ve been so clumsy, breaking things, dropping things, walking into things and brain fog so bad I sound like I’m a slurring alcoholic!
But hey…all part of being a woman eh! The Consultant did explain to me that going through peri-menopause at my age is a lot more of a complex situation than ‘just a bit early’ and that would explain the severity of all my symptoms! Well at least we’re saving money on the heating! LOL! I suspect even the thermostat is getting fed up with my ever-changing temperatures! 🙂 A few months ago, I had such a bad hot flush when I was holding our baby Niece that I had to whisper to my husband to take her off me and I ran off to the bathroom so I could have a wash – our older niece looking at me like she knew something was wrong as she saw me take my handbag to the bathroom!
So, after all this, I am so glad to finally get a diagnosis.
It really is concerning though how little GP’s know about peri-menopause symptoms especially in women as young as myself – my GP wouldn’t even consider that this could be peri-menopause, which just accentuated my stress and anxiety making me think I was imagining it all. There was a great programme on recently with Davina McCall about the menopause, I highly recommend it, a great watch as I sat there blubbing and realising that I wasn’t alone in what I was going through!
I have now been on HRT for 5 months and it has been an absolute game changer! I feel so much better. I hadn’t actually realised quite how awful I was feeling until I started to feel better and the fog began to clear! I started to feel like my old (young 😉 ) self again. I still have some bad days, I can feel when my hormones are fluctuating and I feel like I am in a cloud again but now, the good days outweigh the bad and the bad days are so much easier to deal with!
Alongside my HRT I have been using an Intimate Wash from MegsMenopause. Now, us ladies often speak to each other about the hot flushes and night sweats and the more well-known symptoms of menopause but we don’t often talk about all the problems we can have ‘down there’! The pain, itchiness and inability to use tampons because it’s all so sore as our bodies are depleted of the hormones we need …..I was really suffering, as much as my HRT had improved things, I was still having trouble – I ordered on the off chance that it would help and it’s been amazing! I feel pretty much back to normal and better than I have for a long time! I would never have thought that a simple wash could make such difference but it really has!
The last few months I have been trying to do a lot more with my life, a kind of bucket list if you will for my life – experience things I’ve never done before, feel things I’ve never felt before and find something amazing in everyday, no matter how hard it is. Entering menopause is known as “the change” so I wanted to make this change a positive one and look back at all the wonderful things we have done and experienced, all the fun we’ve had and when I look at photos, remember the days that were amazing even though I may have been having a bad hormone day.
So, there you go, for those who showed concern through all this or noticed that I hadn’t been myself, this will explain a few things! I’d like to say a massive thank you to my Kevin and all my friends and family who have helped me through some pretty horrendous and confusing times. To Kevin for all the extra hugs and understanding, listening to my garbled ramblings and rants and all the hot water bottles. Thanks to my girls at work who have literally held me up on some shifts when I could barely stand either from pain or from the hot flushes making me feel like I was going to faint!
Here’s to the next chapter, oh to be a woman eh! 🙂