The Menopause : My Experience
Many of my peers - also known as "women of a certain age" - are going through the menopause at the moment and in a weird sort of way, I feel like I'm missing out on being able to join the movement to break down some stigma about it.
During my menopause, I blogged about my experiences but I deleted that content (along with a whole load of other blog posts) when I rebooted my blog in 2009 and it's something I totally regret. I can't fully recapture the emotion behind how I felt at the time. It is being spoken about more freely thanks to people like Davina McCall who has used her social standing and fame to bring this issue to the forefront of the media and shatter taboos.
I had my hysterectomy in 2003 when I was 30 due to a long history of gynaecological problems. It really was the only solution to combat a number of problems which included cysts, fibroids, a prolapsed womb, and endometriosis. It wasn't an ideal situation for someone so 'young' but I'd already had five operations (three minor, two major) and three children.
Post-operation, I had very little support. I was encouraged to leave hospital just five days after my surgery because I could walk to the bathroom (albeit slowly, and leaning on something all the time). There was next to no aftercare other than the usual "rest for six weeks, no heavy lifting, etc" and one or two visits from a District Nurse. After my recovery period I was expected to just crack on with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
And therein was the problem.
After a year, I still hadn't been able to settle on a form of HRT that suited me. Neither tablets or patches were helping to alleviate my symptoms but my age was apparently a big factor in this. I was warned that not using HRT would increase my chances of osteoporosis further down the line however no-one was willing to help me find something... anything... that would work. There appeared to be no access to research, information on the internet was non-existent and I couldn't talk to friends because they had no idea what I was going through. My GP was reluctant to help due to lack of experience with someone of my age and, at one point, I was offered anti-depressants instead. I literally was expected to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!
Eighteen years down the line, I know there have been improvements with both traditional and alternative forms of medication and therapy but I wish there had been more support when I'd been struggling. For all of you affected by the menopause - please keep talking and sharing your experiences to raise awareness and reduce the stigma that exists.