Happy and hot, it just comes in flashes. Yes, I have suffered the emotional and physical problems of menopause.
After over 10 years of perimenopausal and menopause symptoms, I have found ways to embrace the changes and feel happier than ever. The 13th – 17th May is BBC Menopause week, so it really is time to talk and great to see the nation discussing something that affects 75% of women. That is 13 million women in the UK affected by many of the 34 menopause symptoms.
I have been having hot flushes since my early forties and had a lifetime of women’s problems. In my twenties, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, which is so painful as the lining of your womb grows in other places. I had minor operations to clear this up and then went onto the Mirena Coil which releases the hormone progestogen which helped to reduce all the problems. It was a complete shock when I started with perimenopausal symptoms in my early forties and had to rush out of board meetings at Nokia as my I got covered in clammy sweat. As well as that I had soaking bed sheets, sleepless nights and anxiety. None of my friends had gone through it and it was never talked about it.
Even when I went to the doctors they did not explain what was happening. I was given Ellesto Solo tablets oestrogen–only form of HRT. As they only contain oestrogen, they are most suitable for women with my conditions. The NHS was really helpful, but I had to be persistent and adjust my dose and choose a doctor who was knowledgable about Menopause – not all are.
There is now a UK register of menopause clinics around the country, https://thebms.org.uk/find-a-menopause-specialist/ so I would advise everyone to go get a consultation and not suffer in silence.
Lifestyle changes have also made such a big difference to me. It is all about making small adjustments and finding what works for you. Some of my friends are happy on Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, some use HRT patches or gels – you have to find what works for you.
These are some of the steps I have taken to feel better:
- Visit a menopause GP/specialist. NHS has them – I got my blood tested and discussed options to address my symptoms.
- HRT – It’s important to ask what is right for you. I think it is important to put the small risks in perspective.
- Testosterone therapy – very low dose can boost energy levels, libido and address other symptoms. You can get this on the NHS.
- Health supplements. I take Lumity to boost my natural production of vitamins and minerals but there are a number of supplements available.
- Diet changes – I have cut down on alcohol and caffeine and I eat healthily. If I am naughty then I pay for it with lack of sleep and sweats!
- Exercise. It helps balances your hormones and I find it helps with anxiety my moods and manages the weight.
- Talking helps – it can be an emotional rollercoaster so it helps to share and talk to others.
It’s great that the BBC is covered the taboo and incredible to share lots of advice. You can also download our own menopause guide with advice, tips and your questions answered by a menopause expert.