I remember the day like it was yesterday, I had stopped to talk to a neighbour and we were chatting about the landscape and I couldn’t remember the word for tree, my reply to her question was ‘that thing over there with leaves on’ – I know she looked at me as if I had gone mad and to be honest I thought I was beginning to lose the plot. This wasn’t the first time I couldn’t remember the name of something and it most definitely hasn’t been the last.
My peri-menopause journey started about 10 years ago when I was 45/46 one of my first symptoms was getting very emotional I was walking my dogs and just bursting into tears for absolutely no reason. At this time I was still having regular periods and had no idea I was peri menopausal my mood would deteriorate at the drop of the hat – trying to get the office printer to work ended in me stomping out the office door printer in hand ready to throw it in the skip. After a few more incidents and chatting to others in my age group I realised that I was probably going through peri menopause.
After a little google self diagnosis off I went to the local health shop for some advice on what I could take to help with my symptoms which had now progressed into mood swings, slight anxiety and tearful. They suggested Black Cohosh and Red Clover which worked for about 2 years together with me having regular acupuncture sessions. At the time I thought this was a breeze and didn’t know what all the fuss was about, my periods had become irregular but not stopped completely.
I then went through a lot of personal change in my life and all of a sudden the symptoms got much worse, I had bouts of severe anxiety where I could feel my heart pounding, was very emotional, couldn’t focus and had extreme brain fog in all honesty I felt like a zombie and was watching myself from afar.
In March 2017 I had just turned 53 and was a mess, I went to see my GP who was very dismissive and wanted to prescribe me anti-depressants. I did ask about HRT but was informed that they would not help with the symptoms I had? I declined the anti-depressants and walked out of the surgery not knowing where to turn to next.
In July I saw a local advert for a Nutritionist specialising in Menopause who was visiting the area and offering free hourly sessions, I had nothing to lose, booked a slot and was sent a food diary for me to complete for the next 7 days.
That was the day that changed my menopause journey for good, the Nutritionist Mr Nigel Denby sat me down and went through my symptoms and food diary. I was living a very healthy lifestyle he could find no fault with what I was eating and my exercise was spot on, with that I burst into tears as again I thought he was going to send me away with nothing. He took one look at me and said you should not be suffering like this have you tried HRT? I told him about my 2 GP experiences and he recommended a private clinic in London.
A week later I was on the train to London to a private Menopause Clinic in Harley Street I sat down with a female Dr who was roughly my own age, she took bloods and we had a long chat about the pros and cons of HRT after which I decided I needed medical help. I was given a prescription for HRT and within a couple of days I started to feel my old self again, I stayed on this particular HRT for the next 4 years. That was the best £150 I have ever spent and I know for a fact I would not be doing what I am doing now if it wasn’t for HRT.
So where am I now, I came off HRT 5 weeks ago as I am 4 years post menopausal and felt the time was right to see how I felt and if I could go back to controlling the symptoms naturally. I am currently taking phyto soya and sage tablets and am feeling great.
I still have the odd hot flush but no other symptoms, I am conscious of what I eat, how much alcohol I drink and the amount/type of exercise I do, osteoporosis is a risk post menopausal and one of the best ways of helping bone density is by doing strength training.
The menopausal journey is different for every woman and no judgement should be made around how that person chooses to tackle their particular symptoms.
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A link to the most common 34 menopause symptoms but do check with your GP: