Everything I needed to know about the menopause… No One Told Me

This guest blog comes from Oxford academic June Girvin, who shares her experiences of the menopause, the taboo and the information gap. Today is NHS Change Day and June, along with the rest of our guest bloggers in this special series on the menopause, is backing Menopause UK’s grassroots campaign for Change Day to #ChangeTheChange. 

It’s Menopause Week on Evidently Cochrane. I wasn’t sure whether that required an exclamation mark, but decided, all things considered, that it didn’t. My contribution to this week of menopause related blogs is a personal one – or a phenomenological one as this is a blog for ‘Evidently Cochrane’ – and I think my lived experience of the ‘last taboo’ or the ‘Big M’ (thankfully one rarely hears it called ‘THE CHANGE’ anymore with all its doom-laden, metamorphic overtones) might be useful out there in the ether where women are searching for something that relates to their own experience.

I am post-menopause. I am out the other side. I have become the Crone, the Wise Woman. I prefer the latter for obvious reasons. My last period (unless there is just one more lurking in there to surprise me) was about eighteen months ago and that was two years after what I would call my ‘regular’ periods stopped. And it’s only within the last six months or so that some of the more common symptoms of menopause have begun to subside. I still get night sweats for instance, and occasional flushes during the day. No one told me that I would still sometimes feel menopausal, post menopause. And that’s why I agreed to write this, because No One Told Me.

There is some real suffering out there, and mostly in silence.

Like every woman, I had a general idea of what to expect from being menopausal. Hot flushes, irregular periods, moodiness. These are the symptoms most commonly discussed when you do a general search, or read about menopause in women’s magazines – which, incidentally, I suspect are a major source of information for a lot of women. What I didn’t realize, or read about, was how disruptive, intense and severe some of these symptoms can be. I know that not everyone has a really bad time, but from speaking with friends and colleagues (those who were prepared to talk in any detail – some were in a state of definite denial about it all, some embarrassed to talk detail). There is some real suffering out there, and mostly in silence.

I wasn’t expecting this…

For instance, the hot flushes and night sweats didn’t really bother me. The development of severe migraine that disabled me for 24 hours at least once a fortnight did. I was expecting irregular, heavier periods. I wasn’t expecting to bleed three weeks out of four, or to have such excruciating period pain that I was given IM Pethidine by a sympathetic GP. I wasn’t expecting bouts of dizziness and nausea requiring me to lie down for an hour at random times of the day. I was expecting to feel a bit tearful, a bit snappy. I wasn’t expecting to be completely out of control of my emotions. Crying at criticism, at imagined slights, at the television for God’s sake. Or being angry and sharp, irrationally boiling with rage over really small things. Being within a hair’s breadth of walking out of work, of leaving home and twelve hours later thinking ‘What on earth, was that all about?’ It was about peri-menopause. No One Told Me it could be like that. No one warned me that these symptoms might be severe and intense so that I could recognize and work through those times to minimize the disruption to me, my colleagues, my family, my work. And then there were the myriad other relatively minor things – forgetfulness, poor concentration, weight gain (and how it just creeps on…and creeps on…and creeps on), forgetting what I wanted to say mid-sentence, aches and pains, fatigue. There really is a seemingly endless list.

The search for reliable information

The problem for me was that I couldn’t find anything that helped me to decide on what might help. I thought HRT wasn’t an option for me because of the migraines and looking for alternatives was fraught with marketing claim and counter claim, hearsay and opinion.

I was a marketing person’s dream – slightly desperate, willing to try anything, unable to discriminate

I scoured bookshop shelves for information that was sensible, informed (perhaps even evidence-based) and accessible. There were books on ‘women’s health’ that included it as a section – usually a short and not very detailed section. One had a bibliography, there were rarely any references. In magazines and on web forums there were people enthusing about wild yams, black cohosh and red clover. In health food shops I felt like I was a marketing person’s dream – slightly desperate, willing to try anything and unable to discriminate.

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Cochrane is a source of reliable, evidence-based information

As someone working in an academic environment I knew about Cochrane and that its reviews and websites are an excellent source of reliable and evidence-based information. I hoped they might be able to discriminate for me. I looked for the literature, but there isn’t a lot and what’s available is mostly geared around HRT, physiologically oriented and clearly aimed at medical scientists or clinicians. There was not much by way of good literature on effective alternative approaches to managing menopausal symptoms and for women for whom HRT is not an option, the temptation to spend an awful lot of money on products that, at best, have marginal effect, is huge. If menopausal symptoms are severe then you really do want to believe that something will help – however wild it may seem. There are Cochrane reviews – acupuncture (poor evidence), phytoestrogens (poor evidence) and black cohosh (poor evidence), for example, and you can find out more about these in the boxes below, but there is just not enough that is easily accessible to most women on which to base good, well-informed decisions. But all is not lost.

There was one book that was detailed and helpful and that was Miriam Stoppard’s ‘Menopause: The Complete Guide to Maintaining Health and Well-being and Managing Your Life’. It was, at the time, and in the bookshops I was looking in (high street), the only one that seemed based on real experience, was written by a female doctor who had clearly been there, and was evidenced-based. I’ve just looked up the latest edition, and it is better than ever and I would recommend it whole heartedly. It gave me a context to see my own symptoms in, was clear about where possible therapies were evidence-based and where they were not, and was accessibly and confidently written. I’m also now aware of work being done by the Health Experiences Research Group which has produced a range of materials, including films of women talking about their experience of menopause. Jenny Hislop, who worked on this project, has written about this in her blog for Evidently Cochrane. You can also find the site here and it’s terrific. If only I had been able to access it, it would have saved me a lot of worry and uncertainty, and stopped me thinking that I had become a wild, emotionally unstable woman for ever!

So, from a three way conversation on social media, to disclosing my very personal experiences on this blog, I hope to be doing my bit to demolish the ‘last taboo’. I’m a bright, highly successful woman, a senior leader in my field. It’s probably a risk for me to talk about this, even though it’s in the past. A difficult menopause tested my confidence, my work, my emotional and personal life – but I’m out the other side and feeling good. I hope this resonates with some other menopausal women – and I hope it encourages more research and more sharing of the experiences.

A postscript from June Girvin, July 2020:

To all you lovely women who have commented on this blog – THANK YOU.
When I wrote this in 2015, I had no idea it would still be being read and resonating with women 5 years later. I also spent quite a while making my mind up whether to share such a personal experience. I am so glad I did – if knowing that you are not alone has helped just one other woman, just one little bit, then it is so worthwhile. And to see so many of you posting and talking to each other about your experiences and supporting each other is a joy. I hope all of you find your way through, with or without medical help. Good luck.
June

 

Do phytoestrogen treatments reduce the number and severity of hot flushes and are they safe and acceptable?

Cochrane evidence: A Cochrane review includes 43 randomised controlled trials with over 4000 women, but many were small, brief and poor quality, and looked at many different types of phytoestrogens.

There is no conclusive evidence to show that phytoestrogen supplements effectively reduce the frequency or severity of hot flushes and night sweats in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women.

Read the Cochrane evidence on phytoestrogen treatments.

Does acupuncture reduce hot flushes?

Cochrane evidence: A Cochrane review includes 16 randomised controlled trials with 1155 women, comparing it to sham acupuncture, hormone therapy, relaxation or no treatment.

There was no difference for those having between acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture. Acupuncture seemed to be better than no treatment but less effective than hormone therapy. There was a lack of evidence on harmful effects.

The reviewers say these results should be treated with great caution as the evidence is poor quality.

Read the Cochrane evidence on acupuncture.

Does black cohosh help control menopausal symptoms?

Cochrane evidence: A Cochrane review of black cohosh, a herb, to treat menopausal symptoms includes 16 randomised controlled trials with 2027 women.

There were many problems with the studies and there is no clear evidence on either the effectiveness or safety of black cohosh.

Read the Cochrane evidence on black cohosh.

 

Join in the conversation on Twitter with @ProfJuneG and @CochraneUK or leave a comment on the blog. Please note, we will not publish comments that link to commercial sites or appear to endorse commercial products.

You can find our other blogs on menopause here.

Links:

Stoppard M. Menopause: the complete guide to maintaining health and well-being and managing your life. Revised edition. London: Dorling Kindersley; 2001.

Lethaby A, Marjoribanks J, Kronenberg F, Roberts H, Eden J, Brown J. Phytoestrogens for menopausal vasomotor symptoms. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD001395. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001395.pub4.

Dodin S, Blanchet C, Marc I, Ernst E, Wu T, Vaillancourt C, Paquette J, Maunsell E. Acupuncture for menopausal hot flushes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD007410. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007410.pub2.

Leach MJ, Moore V. Black cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.) for menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD007244. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007244.pub2.

Page last updated 01 July 2020.


June Girvin

About June Girvin

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Following a successful career in the NHS June joined Oxford Brookes in 2001 as Deputy Head of the School of Health and Social Care. She became acting Dean in 2002 and was appointed as Dean in 2004. In June 2010 she was appointed as Pro Vice Chancellor (Development and Alumni Relations) and Executive Dean of the restructured Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. June was awarded professorial title from Oxford Brookes in February 2015 in recognition of her professional achievements and academic leadership. June qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1976 from the Queen Elizabeth School of Nursing, Birmingham and maintains her registration as a nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. She holds a Masters Degree from Cardiff University College of Medicine, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies (with Distinction). June published extensively in the nineteen nineties on management and leadership and her book "Leadership and Nursing" (1998) is currently being revised. She believes strongly in the benefits of coaching for leadership development and personally coaches two clients per year. She is a mentor and role model for the Higher Education Leadership Foundation's Aurora Programme. She is a reviewer for The Contemporary Nurse Journal and a book reviewer for Palgrave Macmillan. She blogs at JuneinHE.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter on @JuneinHE June has completed the Higher Education Leadership Foundation's Top Management Programme and in 2011 completed the CASE study tour of Canada, looking at Advancement and Alumni Relations practise in universities in and around Toronto, Ontario. In 2013 she was a participant in the Women's Leadership Forum at Harvard Business School. She is currently serving on a two year Lancet Commission on Nursing in the UK.

114 Comments on this post

  1. Avatar

    Just found this site today. It describes me! I thought I was going crazy with the dizziness, needing to lie down, crying at drop of a hat etc etc. I am not alone! I’ve been calling this “The Nonsense” for years and thought I’d be done with it by now. I will be 59 in December, and last had a bleeding episode in Dec 2019. May 2019 was first one after none for 15 months. These other symptoms persist though. Doc has checked things out and all is good, but I hate never knowing how I’ll wind up feeling every day. Thank you for writing about this.

    Sharleen Dunfield / Reply
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    I have just stumbled across this site and have read many of the comments. A hysto (still have my ovaries) years ago prevents me from using my periods or lack thereof as a yard stick for menopuase. I am 50 and I have had fibrocystic disease for years. My breasts are quite lumpy. I have all the regular testing as expected but have recently been experiencing unusal breast pain and what seems like pain in my chest area (almost seems muscular) only on my left side. My cysts seem quite tender but I feel more of an all over buring sensation at times that goes from my chest into my back. I began trying to dig into these odd symptoms and have consulted my Dr who has ordered mamography, etc. I have no other concerning symptoms that one might associate with more serious conditions of the breast. Is this something anyone else has experienced?

    Erin / Reply
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    I read most of the comments. This blog is absolutely wonderful. Helps me understand my condition better and knowing that I am not struggling alone. I am 52 and have been struggling with most of the menopausal symptoms for almost 18 months. Dizziness is what plague me the most and gets me down. Strangle most of the ladies I know who are in the same demographic does not seem to suffer dizziness. They get the hot flashes and night sweats but not dizziness. For a while, I did not know what was happening to me. I am a relative active person and could not help feeling render motionless with dizziness. It really took away my lifestyle. The dizziness causes nausea. The same feeling I get during pregnancy but not pregnant, of course. For a start, I did not know what was happening, I saw a couple of doctors that could not tell what was wrong with me. Nausea is easily triggered too sour or too spicy food. I kept thinking I had the bad tummy flu that would not go away. Thinking I might have the H Pylori bacteria in my system and almost went for the test at the hospital. Hairs lacklustre, graying and falling. Skin dryer. Scars that take forever to fade away. Hot flashes and night sweat have become more frequent lately. Heart palpitation at each wave.

    I found a few methods to deal with these conditions. I practice yoga to calm and relax my mind and my body. I engage in moderate workout once or twice a day to get the heat out of the system before it rushes like volcano erupting. Deep breathing is the most amazing. IT can be practice any time of the day. It is the best way to orientate myself when my heart rate is racing. Big help with the dizziness. For the queasiness, I keep cracker handy to binge on. Avoiding oily, sour and spicy food as well when ever I get that sick feel.

    Sheena Gan / Reply
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    Hi there from the Kootenays! You are good, I am just beginning this phase…on HRT and that is slowly helping a little. I do get the crying jags….and that feeling of tension…..wow this is a messsy time. I am a happy go lucky lady for the most part, so this a real test. We just have to know that this will end soon, and carry on I think. Hope you are feeling better!!

    Marni / Reply
  5. Avatar

    I thought it was all in my head, the dizziness,the ability to focus at times. I went into menapause a week after m 50th birthday, started HRT, then came off it a few years ago. For many years just had the odd hot flush, but have just turned 60 and it’s all come back with a vengence. I have recently lost weight , been walking most days, felt really good, Now all of a sudden legs feel like weights, feel tired, and dizzy. Had all the blood tests etc, no problem. Glad im not the only one.

    angela blackmore / Reply
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    To all you lovely women who have commented on this blog – THANK YOU.
    When I wrote this in 2015, I had no idea it would still be being read and resonating with women 5 years later. I also spent quite a while making my mind up whether to share such a personal experience. I am so glad I did – if knowing that you are not alone has helped just one other woman, just one little bit, then it is so worthwhile. And to see so many of you posting and talking to each other about your experiences and supporting each other is a joy.
    I hope all of you find your way through, with or without medical help. Good luck.
    June

    June Girvin / Reply
    • Avatar

      Thanks so much, Prof June. I’m 56, and started feeling the menopausal symptoms a few days to my 56th birthday. Sounds strange because it’s the very first time in my life I ever had mood swings, dizziness, hot flashes, etc. Interestingly, I’m 5 years post menopausal, having had my last period at the age of 51. I thought it was weird, and I’m not in control of my body anymore. I take soy and most symptoms have almost stopped, but the dizziness…I can’t get beyond it, and I have lost my self confidence. I’ve been weeping since morning, not sure what to do… The moodiness is back. Pls can I hear someone talk about me and to me? Pls!!!

      Zizidan1 / (in reply to June Girvin) Reply
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    I’ve just been tested twice for Covid but then started looking into menopause. I’m 55. Have very many fibroids. Bleed so heavily every 2 to 3 weeks and am constantly on iron tablets. The last 2 weeks I’ve had severe headaches, dizziness, racing heart on and off, tingling in my feet, aches in my hips, a bad stomach, tinnitus. Could it be that I am actually finally hitting my menopause?

    Andrea Watson / Reply
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    Hi all, well these comments make me feel normal now. I am 52, and my whole world came crashing down just before I was 50. I had started to feel not myself just before the horrendous heavy bleedy started that made me anemic. I had just learnt I was pre diabetic, and I had a steroid injection to my hip after womb surgery to check for polyps. Then I suffered terrible fatigue, memory loss, dry eyes and skin. The aches and pains make me feel 90. I learnt I had arthritis too. Now I have been diagnosed with a balance disorder and chronic migraine. What happened to my normal life?…

    Lisa Coppini / Reply
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      I am 47 and haven’t had my period in 2 months yet the last few years I became anemic from such heavy periods. My tongue is always burning and my heart feels like I am getting an electric shock and have all of the other symptoms. I made a doctors appointment o check my heart is it common to have higher blood pressure and heart shocks from the drop
      In estrogen?

      Marcie Gall / (in reply to Lisa Coppini) Reply
  9. Avatar

    For 3-4 years now I have had perimenopausal symptoms. Random hot flashes, irregular cycles, skipping months at a time, followed by heavier periods, bladder issues, insomnia, anxiety, and feeling like I was going to lose my mind. At every annual gyn well visit, I’d mention these things and my dr would say the median age for menopause was 51 and say I wasn’t quite there yet. I was only 44/45 when all this began so she had me do an u/s looking for cysts. They found none. Not once did she ever test hormone levels to see what was going on. In April 2019, age 46, was my yearly visit and it was getting kind of bad, she told me if it got to where I couldn’t stand it, to come back. So I toughed it out. Most of the time I was fine but there were some rough patches. I saw her a few days ago, June 2020 and again talked about all these same symptoms. I’m now 47 yrs old. Hot flashes were pretty bad for a while. Insomnia is horrible. My period skipped Feb, March, April, and showed up the end of May. It was a bit heavier for 2 days but then was normal after that. Again, dr mentioned cysts and me coming back for an u/s (??) and said it could be my thyroid (had a total thyroidectomy years ago.) Then said we’ll check your hormone levels first but we’ll probably have you come in for an u/s because I bet you have a big old cyst. Almost like again she didn’t believe it couldn’t be menopause related. My Estradiol is <10 and FSH 74.47. The nurse called and emphasized "you ARE in menopause and you SHOULD. NOT. HAVE. ANY. MORE. PERIODS." It was almost as if they thought I made up the period in May?? I was put on progesterone to see if it helps. It may sound silly but I'm so lost and confused and so sad all at the same time. I didn't expect to feel so sad. I feel like I suffered through this perimenopause rollercoaster for years and my doctor totally missed that I was going through this change…if only she had run labs 2 years instead of blaming other issues. And then, even though the labs say so, am I truly in menopause because I just had a period 2 weeks ago!? Time will tell, I know…. but still so confused.

    JustMel / Reply
  10. Avatar

    Hi, I just need to talk to someone. I’m 35 and yesterday was the first time after three years since my first symptoms I spoke to my GP about my experience. Around 6 month’s ago I took a over the counter test for menopause and it was positive. This answered all my questions to why I was having hot flashes, no period and felt so frustrated at everything and everyone but know 6 months on I am no longer experiencing hot flashes and restlessness, instead, I’m experiencing dry dull skin, weight gain, memory loss, lack of energy, I have developed a f intense fear of heights, can’t sleep for long hours, lack of sex drive, dry dull brittle hair and worst of all I have become self conscious. According to my GP I am most likely postmenopause and She would be looking at introducing me to Hormone Replacement Therapy as soon as she recieve my blood test results, which is in a weeks time But even if I get the results I’m still unable to talk to my husband and my family because I feel they haven’t even heard of it. My mum didn’t have severe symptoms and my older sister Is still having her period. My friends are enjoying life and just getting their life started with their new partners. My, sex mad, husband just thinks I’m a boring person with defensive attitude and unromantic soul. I feel by saying im post menopausal everyone is going to think I’m excusing for my bad behaviour and being awkward at times, for example, not wanting to go on rides, gaining weight or not wanting to party all night.
    I got 5 minutes to talk to my GP and that’s it….I’m still struggling.
    Is Hormone Replacement Therapy really the answer to all my problems?
    Aisha.

    Aisha Ali / Reply
    • Sarah Chapman

      Hello Aisha, that sounds so tough. One possible source of support you might like to consider is Daisy Network, a charity dedicated to providing information and support to women diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Insufficiency, also known as Premature Menopause. You will be able to see for yourself what they have but, amongst other things, I’m told that they have regular live chats and the next one is this Saturday at 11am (GMT). https://www.daisynetwork.org
      Very best wishes,
      Sarah Chapman [Editor]

      Sarah Chapman / (in reply to Aisha Ali) Reply
    • Avatar

      Salam Aisha I am 39 years old I am going through same problem you had but no one to speak to only other wise doctor.no one is my age going through this in my family or friends.its so awkward.hope every thing ok with you.

      Sultana choudhury / (in reply to Aisha Ali) Reply
    • Avatar

      That sounds awful. I think Sarah(below) has already mentioned the daisy network, but do contact them. They can be really helpful. I hope you get the right help soon.

      June Girvin / (in reply to Aisha Ali) Reply
  11. Avatar

    Wow, reading through all the blogs so resonates with me ,I’m 53 and Perimenopausel, it’s 3:37am and the insomnia is killing me along with the night sweats. Just been to the Drs as I’ve been getting dizziness(vertigo) , it feels like I’m losing my mind but at least I know I’m not alone .

    Donna Callisto / Reply
    • Avatar

      Wow thinking I’m going mad started on tridestar 3 months ago thought they was working but the last month of it I started to flood very heavy never had anything like always had persistent bleeding but I coul cope with anyway that lasted 10 days but hey hoo after 6 days it’s started again I literally can not go out work it’s really embarrassing was walking my dog and had to get my partner to pick me in car as I got caught short the pain is horrendous and breast pain is worse than after I had my children I’ve stopped the tablets 3 days ago could someone recommend pain relief as usual tablets not working

      Tracy / (in reply to Donna Callisto) Reply
    • Avatar

      You are absolutely not. So many of us had a truly unpleasant time, and are still having. The one ting I can say – it does eventually go away!

      June Girvin / (in reply to Donna Callisto) Reply
  12. Avatar

    I am 41 n just going through diagnosis stage but these night sweats unbearable they say my weight doesn’t help I have bmi of 16 very underweight but periods last ten days n were every two weeks n land d me in bed they were that heavy now have stopped completely but my head feels all over the place very emotional is this normal or sm I going through another bout of depression which I have suffered for years thought I was doing good as don’t feel depressed just very hormonal I’m terrified and don’t have a mum to ask

    Jodie Mitchell / Reply
    • Avatar

      This can be really hard to differentiate. I’m also a depression/anxiety sufferer and it was very hard to tell which was that and which was menopause. At the time, I didn’t much care which got treated as long as I started to feel better. I hope you have a good GP as they can be a godsend when symptoms are confused. I hope you feel better, and get some useful treatment, soon.

      June Girvin / (in reply to Jodie Mitchell) Reply
  13. Avatar

    Thank you for all the wisdom above – I started with night sweats about 10years ago, but about 4 years ago began to get raised temperatures (regularly 37.5 – 38.6) for days on end, then a few days or even weeks respite, then it starts again, has anyone else experienced this? I have had every kind of investigation with no conclusion, but lots of other symptoms including palpitations and eventually had surgery for atrial fibrillation which I believe was triggered by the menopause. Unfortunately over this time we also experienced losing my Dad, caring for both my in laws who had dementia, both of whom also died, as well as managing teenagers, GCSEs and A levels and a disabled child, not to mention work, so when I thought I was losing my mind there were plenty of reasons for that, but in spite of many visits to my GP it wasn’t until I hit crisis point and asked to try HRT in desperation that anything improved at all.
    I am still mid-menopause and have good days and bad, but I feel like I understand it a bit better now. I am very interested to know if anyone else has had these Unexplained Temperatures though?

    Liz / Reply
    • Avatar

      That’s really interesting. I don’t take my temp so I don’t know from personal experience. I do however still get terrific hot flushes (I’m 64 now) and am always too hot to be under the duvet in bed! Maybe I’ll start to check my temp. I’m so glad the blog helped you – I was very unsure about ‘going public’ with my experience of menopause, but I’m so glad I did.

      June Girvin / (in reply to Liz) Reply
    • Avatar

      I have been having symptoms for awhile. The dr ordered bloodwork and came back that I am in menopause. I was placed on Prempro. I took 4 pills and my flashes felt worse. I called the dr and he said push through for 5 more days. I decided on my own to try some natural remedies . I have hot flashes, moodiness, tired, anxiety has worsen, but the worse is being nauseas all day. I can eat but geez I hate that feeling. It just comes and goes.

      Kim Thibodeaux / (in reply to Liz) Reply
  14. Avatar

    I am in total menopause and everything that goes with it. I started at the age of 40 and am now 48 and it has not eased ONE BIT. I don’t think it ever will. I am a walking zombie, going totally insane I can have 20-30 hot flushes a day have not slept in 8 years. My language is english but I end up speaking in tongues. I have seen, read, talked to doctors I even talked with a menopause specialist. They don’t know what their talking about, when I ask them when will this end or does it ever. They do not have a reply. Right now I AM A HOT FLUSH that can last from 5 minutes-10-20 minutes. I constantly have towels wrapped around my neck and hanging over my bedhead for the fantastic night sweats. I have had the great job I quit for no reason, went camping in a tent homeless in other words, came back to where I started. Got manic depressed, ending life thoughts, weight gain from just breathing air, crying for no reason, oh angry on a whole new level, can not remember anything, getting my husband name mixed up with the dog. Cost our mortgage for a loan. On a totally spin of never ending out of body, just breathing to go through this everyday. It is like ground hog day. And then have someone say to me why is your face so red!!!!! I have figured 2 ways for this hell life; 1. Go through it and continue with it, because it does not STOP!
    2. Or 2 Get something for it and take the chance of getting breast cancer.
    Either way women lose. My mum never took anything and at age 60 she got cancer, then age 74 she got breast cancer and then 2 years after that she had to have her 2 hips replaced, because of bone lose through the menopause years. No matter which side the coins falls we are lucky to have both sides. Old saying dam if you do, dam if you don’t. Doctors really need to get educated on this… It leads to bigger health problems…. it is the cause of all womens problems they are all related. NEVER ENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    mandy / Reply
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      Oh Mandy, that sounds dreadful. It does stop, honestly, but it can take a while. I hope you can get better help from your GP. Good luck.

      June Girvin / (in reply to mandy) Reply
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        3 weeks ago I stopped my hrt cold turkey because of supply problems with the patches I was taking. I didn’t check with my GP because of covid 19 pandemic. My symptoms have returned BIG TIME. I’m 61. Has anyone any experience of menopause after hrt

        Maureen / (in reply to June Girvin) Reply
        • Avatar

          post menopausal issues dryness, muscle pain, sleep issues , lack of energy and the list goes on..live it daily…was using the estrogen patch (side effects, also take thyroid meds) tried over the counter creams etc. nothing works. Back to estrogen, not a patch topical a must and will take the risk at this point over no life at all.

          margaret sledziewski / (in reply to Maureen) Reply
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      You are exactly right, doctors have NO clue about this and many more things. All they want to do is give out antidepressants. 😤

      Leslie Stachelek / (in reply to mandy) Reply
  15. Avatar

    I’m 45, and started with all symptoms in my late 30s. They are still going on…
    GP will not prescribe HRT despite my going for multiple tests. When I had huge fibroids 3 years ago and my oestrogen results on the test were clearly through the roof, the GP just said “oh that’s normal”.
    Anyway I have suffered with period problems all my life and my cynical response to those who don’t suffer until the menopause is “oh, welcome to the club”.
    List of symptoms:
    1) Before perimenopause (I.e. from age 10):
    *Flooding (no one I talked to at the time bar my mum had experienced this. They gave me funny looks when I tried to talk about it)
    *Massively explosive temper probably mistaken for mental illness
    *Constant crying, I used to pray that I would not start crying as once I started I could not stop
    *Acne (for 30 years)
    *Infertility (which has made my continuous suffering absolutely f-ing pointless)
    *Fibroids (it was discovered upon a scan that my womb was almost all fibroid and no womb)
    *IBS, diarrhoea, bloating, you name it
    *Migraine, without fail, every 1st day of the month
    *Period pain so bad I could not walk
    *Painful fibrocystic breasts (my ex husband used to come up behind me and squeeze them deliberately, and eventually I got wise to when he was approaching and used to thump him one before he could get nasty)
    *Vomiting from pain (at this point I went to GP, as OTC medications did not work. She prescribed me a set of 6 high strength painkillers and said “if these don’t work you’ll have to go to A & E, because there’s nothing more we can do for you”)
    2) During perimenopause:
    *Fibroids growing so big they got in the way of my digestion
    *Vision changes – dramatic over last year
    *Morning sickness
    *IBS, diarrhoea, bloating
    *Feeling like death whenever I get my period
    *3 periods in a month! Sometimes. Then nothing for ages
    *Abuse of alcohol (previously, I never drank)
    *Loss of appetite
    *Nails that won’t grow
    *Hair that won’t grow properly and falls out in handfuls
    *Greasiness, sweatiness, smelliness despite having baths/ showers (the only thing that combats this is using turmeric and fenugreek in cooking)
    *Hot flushes and night sweats for 3 years continuously. I would get so hot I slept naked on top of the covers, then got cold again and dived under the covers again. 5 minutes later the whole process began all over again and in the morning I would be lying in a pool of my own sweat and still not have gotten any sleep
    *A variation on the above where I was so burning up one morning that I took a cold shower. After the cold shower I had a freezing flush and could not get warm. I had to lie in bed with 2 hot water bottles all morning
    *Seriously bad depression (I tried committing suicide 3 times in a weekend once and it didn’t work so I gave up on that one)
    *Shouting at people a lot. Particularly younger Millennial women who think they are all that, and who get my goat
    *Crashing tiredness
    *Bleeding receding gums
    *Aches everywhere. The latest is chronic backache, breast pain and tennis elbow in both arms even though I do not do any heavy lifting. I feel like 99 and as though all I can do is sleep
    *On top of all that, issues with homelessness, unemployment, finances, bereavement and general lack of stability

    Reading through all this, I am amazed I have managed to get anything done at all during my life.

    I hate the fact that women are so pressured to “have it all” these days, it is sort of a pathetic attitude and actually quite nonproductive for society. For myself, what has worked best is not putting too much pressure on myself, trying to sleep as much as I can and doing as much Art as I can (after a 5 year hiatus).

    I really do think that being a woman completely ruined my life. I was a happy little girl before the age of 10, but when periods happened, bam, it just all went down the toilet, literally. Academically, socially, you name it.

    To those women who have never had any symptoms with periods or menopause, and who “sail through it”, I don’t want to say I hate you, but I do.

    Mary / Reply
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      My god how happy am I to have found this, I thought I was going crazy

      Lesley Ray / (in reply to Mary) Reply
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        I’m 7 months now without a period but this week I’ve had smears of old blood come away almost like what you get at the beginning or end of a period and in lots of pain in back and pelvic area is this normal

        Pam Stevens / (in reply to Lesley Ray) Reply
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      Yes, it’s grim. I don’t think there is anything I can say to help, but as you can see from the blog – I recognise a lot of what you say. And I have to say, I really get cross with the people who ‘sail through’ and have no idea of what some of us are dealing with. I really hope things get better for you.

      June Girvin / (in reply to Mary) Reply
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        So glad I stumbled a cross this forum. I have had blood tests taken and am def permimenapause. I am 48 I have been experiencing alot of focus issues. Can’t concentrate on anything and multitasking is a thing of the past. I seem to have shaky hands but no sweats as yet.. My periods are all over the place… Didn’t have one for 6months then one that was light and only lasted a day. Is anyone else sharing these symtoms.. I think I’m going mad

        Marymoo / (in reply to June Girvin) Reply
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          I’m glad it’s helping. It took me a long time to decide to share this experience, but I am so glad I did. I felt alone too, but now I can see – there are so many of us!

          June Girvin / (in reply to Marymoo) Reply
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      Been there. Still there. Started at age 38. Now 54. It’s slowing a bit, at long last. But I still can’t concentrate. I still have hot flashes (that make me feel like I have caught fire for 4 minutes or so, following by shaking chills, so that I’m in the bathroom at work tearing all my clothes off, then piling them on again) though they have gone down from constant to a few daily. I still cry at the darn TV. This has been completely disabling, but I could not leave work, or my family would starve. HRT helped for a while, but now they won’t give it to me. I honestly don’t give a damn if I get cancer in 10 years – I won’t survive till then without help. I have found some things that help a bit, but their availability varies incredibly.

      Candace / (in reply to Mary) Reply
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        I’m 57 years old 3 years post menapause due to surgical ovary removal. Felt ok for awhile but feel like garbadge again
        Skin always feels like its on fire.twitching eyes,headaches, muscle pain, stomach issues,crying, and some days so moody my poor son dosent want to be hear me.hell I dont want to be hear me.Feeling this way for years now. Peri menapause was a nightmare. Still have not slept in years. Help….

        Lisa ferrara / (in reply to Candace) Reply
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      OMG. I can’t believe I have found this blog. It has been comforting to hear I’m not alone.
      I was a happy child, full of potential. Then the hormones kicked in. Horrible periods, never knowing when one was coming. Uncontrollable rage and several suicide attempts.
      After my children I was hospitalised with severe post natal depression and I’ve never got better.
      My relationships have suffered. I’ve never been able to hold down a job because of my anxiety. I aways think that people are getting at me.
      Then comes the menopause. I am 54 and haven’t had a period for 4 years. Now I have the depression, anxiety and rage with added hot flushes constantly and night sweats every night.
      I find it difficult to go out when I know I look like I’ve run a marathon in a fur (fake) coat. I get so embarrassed when the sweat is literally dripping off my nose.
      Sorry for the long rant but I feel so terrible and alone.

      Julie / (in reply to Mary) Reply
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      Could you have endometriosis? You shouldn’t be suffering like this.
      Check out the Facebook Group Nancy’s Nook.

      Caro / (in reply to Mary) Reply
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        Hi I’m so glad I’ve found this forum I’m in full menopause and keep praying it will go away I can’t have hrt because I had a blood clot so I have to suffer,I’m getting depression,panic,sad thoughts, feeling lost,really bad Anxiety,scared of being alone,hot flushes,dry mouth,can’t concentrate on TV, blurred vision, nausea, fatigue,I just want it to end it’s horrible just want to be back the way I was ,plus bladder problems,so my heart goes out to all of you because I know what your going through,I just hope and pray I come out the otherside,has anyone got any suggestions of what I can take that helps.

        Yvonne / (in reply to Caro) Reply
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          Yvonne.. have a lot of your same symptoms. I can’t hold down a job, be alone, or concentrate. I went four months without a period then got one. I’m depressed, get anxiety, sleep but wake up tired and feel light headed and almost fell into a window the other day, luckily my son was standing by me to catch me. My vision gets off a lot. I also feel very alone, sad, extreme fatigue and I get really cold for no reason and sometimes I’ll be really warm. I’ve had 2 blood clots, so my gyn doesn’t want to put me on hrt because of the risk. I have 2 copies of an MTHFR gene mutation that can cause hormones to be worse. My doc has put me on Estrodim and Chaste Tree(Vitex) to see if it will help, I’ve only been on it 2 weeks, so we’ll see .I also take vitamin E, C, D3, ashwagandha ,glutathione, magnesium glycinate and some b vitamins. I’m having a hard time concentrating just typing this, so I hope I make sense. I wish I had someone to talk to about this that really understands.

          • Avatar

            I started to wonder if I was having symptoms from the civic-19. My husband had it and said I don’t have it, if I did my symptoms would be way worse with what I’m dealing with.
            I started feeling nausea, hot flushes, slight headaches, pain on my hips and lower back as well as pain on my lower feet.
            After reading some of the symptoms these woman on here are dealing with I’m convinced it’s not vivid-19 but peri menopause symptoms is what I’m dealing with! I took the covid-19 test a few days ago just waiting on the results. If In fact it does come back to be negative then I’ll have to call my gynecologist to let her know what I’m dealing with. I sure don’t want to take any medications they would want to prescribe just to push these pharmaceutical on you! Hope this gets better before it gets worse! God bless all these woman who have to deal with this!

            XOCHIR / (in reply to Shawne)
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          Talk to your doctor about transdermal estrogen. There is negligible clot risk in this form. Huge study published in the British medical journal I believe showing very low risk with transdermal hrt.

          Kate / (in reply to Yvonne) Reply
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            transdermal is supposed to be the safest one or topical for dryness…used both…back to vagifem as I have tried compounded prog./estrogen at an extreme cost…family Dr. is useless affords me 5 minutes tops. I am past menopause post menopausal issues are horrific for me..muscle pain lack of energy groin pain tired…thought it was all due to my thyroid medication…but told that too Not your Thyroid!!

            margaret sledziewski / (in reply to Kate)
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    I am so relieved I found this blog .
    So many of these menopause symptoms / have taken over my body at different stages
    My biggest problem came about 4 years ago when the thought of sex started to make my skin crawl. It had become painful and disgusting to me, it became a chore rather than pleasure. My boyfriend of 15 years and I grew apart . We had planned our future but when menopause came along everything went black eventually my feelings were affected
    My parents were moving back to Chicago and I decided to move with them rather than staying in Virginia to live out my life with my boyfriend.
    That was a huge mistake, a decision that I made not in my right frame of mind. Menopause did that, to my life. Well guess what tmy menopause is gone and so is my boyfriend he moved on without me and who could blame the poor guy. Now I am still totally in love with him and living with heartbreak it’s not fair. He was a wonderful, kind, generous man a real gentleman I will never find another man that could be as wonderful. We met by chance it was fate and love at first site which is rare. Up until recently I couldn’t explain what had happened then I started to put the pieces together slowly while emerging myself into research.,
    The last 6-7 years have been bad besides lack of feelings I experienced night sweats weight gain
    depression very bad migraines that last for exactlly 3 days a month. There is absolutely no question in my mind about it, menopause stold my future and truly did ruin my life. I blame myself of course I feel I wasn’t strong enough to get through the transition A second chance would be wonderful but I don’t think he’ll try. I’m pretty sure that he fell out of love with me when he found this other girl. Hmm I wonder if she’s started going thru the change?, oh my poor ex . I did not see this disaster coming.
    Menopause was a cruel twist of fate for me

    Kerry / Reply
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      I am so sorry to hear that you had such a bad time. Have you visited your doctor? There are things that can help if it’s still a problem. I hope you feel more like yourself soon.
      June

      June / (in reply to Kerry) Reply
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        I am in a terrible state since the menopause 8 years ago with allergies. Food, drugs, atmosphere I have become hypersensitive to everything and struggle daily with asthma exzema bloating dizziness tingling palpitations, shaking and fatigue. I have been to every NHS department and seen a private allergy consultant but nothing has helped. I react to most foods and can’t take drugs only prednisolone course when things get really bad. I have low cortisol but endocrinology won’t treat. My Gp is at a loss to help but has been very supportive but consultants just pass me from one department to another. My husband has been incredible thank goodness. I just struggle daily eating food it’s so random sometimes I react other times I won’t so a food diary has been no help. Its very frustrating.

        Sally Stokes / (in reply to June) Reply
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          Oh you poor thing. These things are horrible and so random. I’m sorry you are still suffering these symptoms. For me, even though my periods stopped I still had symptoms for a while. Even now at 64 I still get hot flushes and night sweats. I wonder if your GP would think about whether your symptoms might still be related to menopause? It does sound as though you have tried everything, but I hope things improve for you.
          June

          June Girvin / (in reply to Sally Stokes) Reply
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            Hello ladies I’m a 55 year old woman I have suffered with recurrent depression and anxiety since I was a teenager iv got fibromyalgia and going through menopause iv read through all of your symptoms and I send you all my love and I know how lousy it is every day is a challenge its so hard to cope and manage I feel like dementia will be the end result for me I can’t function often my home is a mess I can’t get organised I make the place untidy its an effort to get a wash and dressed most of the time I feel I’m totally lost to all the symptoms I feel like you all I have all of the symptoms you guys have mentioned I dident know I would end up with vaginal atrophy in menopause its shocking sex is totally a no and has been for years I’m like you all just getting by best I can

            Tina / (in reply to June Girvin)
  17. Avatar

    Great article, I really needed to read that and everyone’s comments. I feel ill and sad quite a lot and get overwhelmed by that. Both emotionally and physically I pull away from people and family (my note to self reads “do not accept invites”) I sometimes wonder if people at work look at me and think I am old and mad (there is no basis for this train of thought) sometimes I think its ok I can get through this and other times I do want to seek a way out.

    Penny Cutter / Reply
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      I’m glad the post helped. Sometimes knowing that you’re not just mad really is useful!! Do see your doctor and try to get some help, it can be different with the right treatment and a sympathetic physician. Good luck.

      June

      June / (in reply to Penny Cutter) Reply
  18. Everything No One Told Me About Menopause – Menopal / Reply
  19. Avatar

    Just want to thank you all from the heart .God bless you ladies, i needed to hear that i am not on my own with this Im almost 54 I get several hot flushes a day and then im freezing cold cant decide what to wear just completly uncomfotable in my skin and constantly befuddled in my head , being alone is easier at the moment but also lonely and sometimes distressing
    Lorraine

    lorraine Crozier / Reply
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      It will pass, I promise, but it’s horrible at the time. Do talk to your doctor if you can, there are treatments that can help. I hope you feel back to your usual self before too long.

      June

      June / (in reply to lorraine Crozier) Reply
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        Hello ladies. I don’t know where l am in all this. I’m 54 and want to ask do you feel like you are going to have a period e.g get cramps and aches but the period doesn’t appear? Is this normal to get period like cramping for weeks on end?

        Louise bish / (in reply to June) Reply
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      I’m absolutely with you. Totally identify. Sending hugs x

      Helena Bayfield / (in reply to lorraine Crozier) Reply
  20. Avatar

    June
    How wonderful to read an honest piece about a natural yet sometimes truly challenging process.
    Thank you
    I have been in perimenapause since I was 45 years,I am soon to be 53 years. Symptoms got progressively worse for a while,severe mood swings,migraine,night sweats,crushing fatigue,severe sleep disturbances,to name a few 😳😳😄
    Gp wanted to prescribe anti depressants , I firmly declined
    I started yoga twice a week and a light gym routine twice a week.
    I take extra calcium and magnesium and drink lots of water,
    I cut back to one cup of coffee a day

    All in all everything improved in the past two years so I do believe these things did help me.
    Everyone is so individual so what helps one may not help another
    Anyway thank you again,we need to discuss and publish more about this very human natural process so that those of us who are having to suffer do not feel so “abnormal”

    Best wishes to all
    Barbara

    Barbara / Reply
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      Thanks, Barbara, I’m glad it helped. We don’t talk about it enough, and often people are very surprised by how it can be. I actually found a course of anti-depressants really helpful at one point, but I agree that they are not for everyone, and they are by no means a universal panacea for menopause. I’m 64 now and still get hot flushes…..

      June

      June / (in reply to Barbara) Reply
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        I am 63 and am foggy headed, anxious, depressed, fearful, all of these emotion wave in and out of my body ALL DAY LONG. I officially entered menopause at age 58, I have been suffering for 6 years. The anxiety and depression are the worst. I’m too old for HRT, tried Paxil for 3 years, I’ve weaned off of it 3 months ago and I am determined to get through this menopause !!!!!!!!!! I am retired after 40 years of working and I want to enjoy a long healthy life. I am very healthy, no medications, go to the gym, keep my weight at 130, have a wonderful husband and family. I just need some VALIDATION that this menopause will end someday SOON . I want to feel calm and happy again !!!

        Jan / (in reply to June) Reply
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          Haha! I can so identify with you! I went into perimenopause when I was about 45 and my last period was when I was about 57/8. Even now at 64 I still get hot flushes and night sweats. So, it can feel like a lifetime, but I promise you it will pass. I did find a course of anti-depressants really helpful at one stage, they helped the anxiety which in turn helped the depression. Once I felt more lively and less wound up, the other symptoms felt better too. I’ve said before in replies, that they’re not for everyone, but if your A and D is really bad – do think about it. I hope you start feeling back to yourself soon. It does go away!
          June

          June Girvin / (in reply to Jan) Reply
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          Why are you too old for HRT? the study that most Dr’s go by is based on oral estrogen not transdermal or vaginal estrogen…I go through the feeling of intense anxiety then depression but with thyroid medication there are not a lot of medications I can take…now to estrogne again need relief from the dryness which is so very painful

          margaret sledziewski / (in reply to Jan) Reply
  21. Avatar

    All these post have been great for me I too have gone through some rough symptoms with menopause. I had the FSH test done and found out that I’m in post menopause. I had a partial hysterectomy uterus and one ovary was removed at a young age. I now am 62 still have hot flashes. I have anxiety and depression at times I feel like I’m losing it. Really don’t have anyone that understands. Have neck and back promblems that keep me stressed as well as just normal life situations. Your post have helped me see that there are others out here going through the same things I am. Thanks
    Lonely One

    Sarah / Reply
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      Hey Sarah, I’ve just come across this site, I too had a hysterectomy young (32) my ovaries were left because of my age. I am now a young 62 lol ( so everyone tells me) I have hot flashes, anxiety, depression and a few other ailments, feel like I’m rattling down but reading your post I thought goodness that is totally me. It helps to know your not the only one out there that is suffering, even though you wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
      All the best

      Angela / (in reply to Sarah) Reply
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      Thanks, I’m glad it helped a little to know that your experience is shared by others. I still have hot flushes at 64, but at least the other ‘stuff’ has improved! I hope you feel more like yourself soon, these transitions are really challenging, but there is life out the other side!
      June

      June / (in reply to Sarah) Reply
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      I wish i had known this ten years ago.
      I walked out on a happy marriage of 25 years.
      I suffered with panic attacks to the point i was having a heart attack. Being moody and nasty was the norm for the last two years of the marriage..i thought it was because i was unhappy. Didn’t realise it was the symptoms of the menopause.
      Fast forward five years..post menopause..wish i had known of menopause symptoms…if i had. I would still be married. My boys would have a family home.
      Ignorance of menopause definitely ruined my life.

      If only.. / (in reply to Sarah) Reply
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      Thank you for all of this. I’ve been scouring the internet for days trying to find information
      I’m 54 and haven’t had a period for 11 months. That was a brief one and the previous one was 6 months before that, and again 6 months before that. I though I could dispense with contraception. This week, I’ve had the period from hell. Heavier than I’ve ever known. Befire this, I was having swollen, tender breasts and was totally and utterly exhausted, to the stage that it crossed my mind that I could be pregnant and wouldn’t know.The flushes stopped a few months ago and I thought I was now postmenopausal. Now I’m wondering if I’m even experiencing miscarriage. I had one years ago and went through similar pain and bleeding. I’ve no idea what’s going on and not sure if the doctor would be any the wiser. All of the forgetfulness, flushing etc etc pale in significance compared to this. Any advice would be appreciated.

      Jan / (in reply to Sarah) Reply
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        This is so helpful! Dnt panic I had similar experience – I’m 54, hadn’t had a period for 6 months then one mighty painful , excruciating one arrived with a migraine. After it stopped, my breasts still felt tender, gradually becoming swollen and so painful and hard I thought I had mastitis! I googled mastitis without breastfeeding (don’t do it!) apparently I had rare form of breast cancer – then another period came, just two weeks after the last – breasts have subsided a bit – period awful again – it’s all menopause.

        Lorraine / (in reply to Jan) Reply
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        You can see from the blog, that my experiences were very similar. Oh, the bleeding! Oh, the pain! Oh, the fear! Sadly for some women, these are our menopausal symptoms. And because it’s not talked about, many women don’t realise that this is how their menopause is. Do talk to your Dr – a sympathetic doc can be really helpful. Do you know if there is a menopause clinic near you? Some Trusts have them and they can also be helpful. You don’t just have to tolerate it, ask for help. It will pass but it can take a while and meanwhile some of those symptoms can be helped. Good luck.
        June

        June Girvin / (in reply to Jan) Reply
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      So very glad I found this forum. I’m 47 and haven’t had a period for over a year now. I started having really bad hot flashes about 6 months ago with nausea, racing heart, extreme sweating ,weakness and chills. I feel tingly , mentally foggy, irritable, and depressed. My doctor suggested HRT. But I’m scared to start down that road only to have to go through it the symptoms once again when HRT treatment is done. It basically just prolongs estrogen withdrawal. I wasn’t prepared for all these symptoms to hit me all at once. It’s like some days are ok bearable. But others are debilitating to the point of utter despair.

      Catina Varela / (in reply to Sarah) Reply
  22. Avatar

    I am 52, I am not in menopause yet, just had my hormone levels tested and they are not down , so I guess I’m in perimenopause. Three months ago I stared having palpitations, chest pressure, and anxiety. I wore a heart monitor which was abnormal. I had a stress test which was abnormal. Now next week I have to have a heart cath. I am now hoping that this is all menopause related and not heart disease!! Reading blogs about what others are going through helps my symptoms. Has anyone else been through these symptoms??

    AnnaBeth Jones / Reply
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      Hi,
      I’m sorry to hear about those symptoms they can be really frightening. Getting them checked out properly by a cardiologist is sensible before you put them down to menopause. Palpitations and anxiety are common in menopause and usually harmless, but they can be very frightening at the time. It’s good that you are reading around and finding out about what can happen through menopause. It can vary so much from woman to woman, and often those who have the hardest time don’t talk about it, so no learning happens and awareness is low. I hope you get some help with your symptoms. Good luck.
      June

      June / (in reply to AnnaBeth Jones) Reply
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        Why does no one tell you that you dry up and libido falls off a cliff after menopause? Or that the drop in oestrogen changes your brain and eventually leads to dementia? These are the facts, no matter how it is sugarcoated. Why does no one tell you the golden years are short, make the most of them..

        Munia / (in reply to June) Reply
  23. Avatar

    Thank you, one and all.
    The original article made me feel normal and female. This has been the first article that truely covers the things that I have experienced.
    Thank you to all the lovely ladies who have been brave enough to share all and bare all.

    I now feel that I have a better understanding of what I am experiencing.

    A big hug to you all.

    Josie / Reply
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      Oh I wish more women would talk about this and admit it CAN be difficult. Yes it is a natural part of womanhood but that’s what we tell each other about childbirth/periods etc but that doesn’t stop all these things being difficult and downright traumatic for some. If we can have honest conversations hopefully we can ask for support and give support to others.

      Jane / (in reply to Josie) Reply
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      Thanks. So glad it was helpful!

      June / (in reply to Josie) Reply
  24. Avatar

    Comment to original article. I have nearly all of those symptoms you have suffered with, though mine is more very painful tender breasts rather than the abdominal pain, others you haven’t mentioned for me are heart palpitations on which I regularly say one of these days I’ll be having a heart attack and won’t know it and disturbed sleep pattern. I am going to buy book you recommend see what it recommends. Thanks

    Toni / Reply
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      Ah, the palpitations! They are not uncommon in menopause and are usually harmless, but you should get them checked out anyway. Best to be safe! I did a lot of reading when I was in the middle of menopause, sometimes it helped just to know that what I experienced was ‘normal’ if uncommon. It will pass, eventually! If you have a sympathetic doctor, they can be fantastic at symptom control. Good luck!
      June

      June / (in reply to Toni) Reply
  25. Avatar

    Wow.. everyone’s comments on here are ‘exactly’ what I’m going through too. Physically and mentally. Don’t know what to do.
    So unsettled in life and body too. No energy throughout day/night, no confidence at all , anxiety taking over.. needing to sleep but mind working overtime so won’t allow me to. In pain with migraines amongst other symptoms. Total loss of self esteem. Body consciousness . Needing to make career changes as struggling look after people in my job when I’m struggling to look after myself feeling like this but no idea which direction to head in. Hate feeling like this. Never felt so lost and unable to step in any direction. Struggling with the simplest of things. Mind is such a mess it’s exhausting just trying to decide what clothes to wear just to look normal to try to get through day. What to cook/keeping in top of housework.. my mind seems to have just slowed down to a halt and stopped working. Trying to hold conversations with others is hard.
    I had written my feelings down saying .. ‘My body feels alien to me..and it’s scaring me .. because I don’t recognise even myself anymore’ felt I was going through these changes feeling completely alone as only have my kids at home who are now teens and going through their hormonal changes/stages of life which I remember as if it was yesterday so completely understand what they’re going & need to support them)
    After reading this at least I don’t feel alone . Thank you so much. Big love to you all.

    Maggie / Reply
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      Omg. I am so relieved to read something that mirrors my own experiences. I have never felt so miserable. I have had night sweats for over a year but now I have hot flushes throughout the day, I feel sick and have a constant headache. My muscles ache everywhere and all I want to do is go to bed (unheard of for me). Please help. Someone Susie xxx

      Susie / (in reply to Maggie) Reply
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      Maggie you hit the nail on the head. So unsettled in life and body too…. never felt so lost and able to step in any direction….needing to make career changesas struggling to look after people in my job and look after myself….mind is such a mess and exhausting.

      Yvonne / (in reply to Maggie) Reply
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      Hi Maggie, I’m glad reading this and then replies has helped. When you get a whole ‘mess’ of symptoms it’s really hard and when your perspective goes haywire too, it’s such a trial. As I’ve said to others on here – do talk to your doctor – not all of them are helpful, but some are really good and can help a lot. One thing to be sure of – it will pass eventually. In the meantime – talk to friends and colleagues. When I was at work I often let people know why my behaviour was erratic. They would be embarrassed, but it was better for me than to try and pretend everything was normal. Menopause needs to be ‘normalised’ in the workplace. I hope your symptoms ease soon.

      June

      June / (in reply to Maggie) Reply
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      I’m so glad this was helpful. I have been really pleased that the blog has encourage so many women to share their symptoms and reassure their ‘sisters’ in menopause. One day it will all be over!
      June

      June Girvin / (in reply to Maggie) Reply
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      I feel a lot of the same things. It came on me a year ago November subtly started having anxiety and don’t feel so depressed just a lot of anxiety and nervousness and Restless feel totally unmotivated want to do things I used to do but can’t seem to make myself do them sit in my chair a lot and feel like my life is over like life will never be the same again been on leave with my job got so bad afraid I cannot return to my job and the only one to support myself feel like I’m going to lose my home and everything I’ve worked for I was at my job for 10 years and now maybe losing it feel so lost and like feel tortured during the day isolated can’t bring myself to go anywhere grocery shopping is difficult no concentration difficulty making decisions. I never knew menopause could be so severe I thought you just stopped having periods and got some hot flashes wish that were all it was I tried hormone therapy for 2 weeks but have my uterus and everything and bled a lot had to stop I’m going to the doctor this Friday hopefully to get put on a different form of HRT that might be better hopefully I have tried antidepressants and they don’t seem to do much for me but give me side effects like I said I don’t feel that depressed but have a lot of anxiety and it’s debilitating and feels like torture thanks for sharing I’m desperate to connect with other women going through this don’t want to feel all alone

      Lavonne / (in reply to Maggie) Reply
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        Hi Lavonne
        I am exactly the same, thank you so much for your comment. I used to be an athlete and an executive and a Board Chair and a busy volunteer and last year I quit everything and now sit at home so isolated and depressed and anxious. Exercise makes all of my joints and muscles hurt. I cry a lot. My therapist is trying to get me to meditate and do yoga which sounds boring but my 2020 resolutions were to do these things. I am also going to try to get an appt to discuss HRT. It’s horrible to feel so alone though.

        Jennifer / (in reply to Lavonne) Reply
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      Wow , finally googled the right words , I FEEL LIKE SHIT IS IT MENOPAUSE and landed here and read this blog and then your comments ! What you described brought me to tears I can completely relate! ” So unsettled in life and body too… My body feels alien to me …” Great to not feel so alone !

      Beth / (in reply to Maggie) Reply
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        This also brought me to tears!! I’m glad I found this forum. I also feel like SHIT! I want to be me again! I feel like I’m suffering because I’m struggling To live! Hot flashes, anxiety and vertigo, weight gain, which lead me straight to depression! I’m on anxiety meds/depression. It’s working on anxiety to a point but not totally. I’m doing acupuncture next week I need to try something! I’m also gonna call my dr. I can’t do this anymore! 6 months with this miserable shit!

        Cat / (in reply to Beth) Reply
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    Wow.. everyone’s comments on here are ‘exactly’ what I’m going through too. Physically and mentally. Don’t know what to do.
    So unsettled in life and body too. No energy throughout day/night, anxiety taking over.. needing to sleep but mind working overtime so won’t allow me to. In pain with migraines amongst other symptoms. Total loss of self esteem. (Total loss of Confidence and feeling self conscious about physical changes in body which haven’t been mentioned ..not knowing if it’s norm) Feeling desperate need to make career changes as struggling look after people in my job when I’m struggling to look after myself feeling like this but no idea which direction to head in. Lost and afraid to move in any direction because bills still need paying and am only earner in household. Hate feeling like this. Never felt so lost and unable to step in any direction. Struggling with the simplest of things. Mind is such a mess, it’s exhausting just trying to decide what clothes to wear just to look normal to try to get through day. What to cook for family meals.. keeping on top of housework.. can’t make decisions , my mind seems to have just slowed down to a halt and stopped working. Trying to hold conversations with others is hard.
    I had written my feelings down saying .. ‘My body feels alien to me..and it’s scaring me .. because I don’t recognise even myself anymore’ felt I was going through these changes feeling completely alone as only have my kids at home who are now teens and going through their hormonal changes/stages of life which I remember as if it was yesterday so completely understand what they’re going through & need to support them)
    After reading this at least I don’t feel alone and paranoid so can hold on to my sanity . Completely sympathise with everyone on here. Thank you so much for sharing. It’s a passing phase ..(so I keep reminding myself anyway. Ride with the storm until calmer waters . Just wish it would pass a bit quicker) Hang in there. We will get through it and you will feel normal again. Big love to you all.

    Maggie / Reply
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      (… sorry got carried away with that message . Although forgot to mention when I tried to speak to doc for advice I was just given a number for ‘think action’ helpline which I lost courage to call back. Has got to the point where I haven’t energy and don’t know how to find words to explain anymore. Will just try to get through it)

      Maggie / (in reply to Maggie) Reply
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    After having another night of sweating and what seams like never ending sleeplessness I was looking for help. Need to read more to find help thank you

    Melanie / Reply
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      Yep. Knowledge is power! And it helps to have read around something if you’re going to your doctor. It’s not acceptable these days for your menopause symptoms to be ignored. There is help out there. Good luck.

      June Girvin / (in reply to Melanie) Reply
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    Good to feel your not alone, spot on story 👍

    Elizabeth Fitzpatrick / Reply
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    So relieved to realise I am not alone.

    Ruth / Reply
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    My life is out of control with anxiety due to menopause. Everyday I feel like I am losing it , I moved from New York City to SC 2years ago with my husband. All my family is still in NY and I have been so unhappy here. I am taking HRT. I have stopped and started again because I am afraid of side affects. Been through hypnotherapy had 3 sessions and the last session my anxiety got so bad I left thinking he did something to my brain. Now taking some Chinese teas sent to me by a herbalist. I am all over the place, to knowing where to turn for the right medicine or help. Just wish someone could give me a new brain.

    Morning / Reply
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    Hey June Girvin.,thanks you for sharing all this wonderful information but I just want to know is there any side effects of menopause actually my mom is suffering from stomach pain and facing problem in her eyesight.

    Airport Playaobgyn / Reply
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    This is me to a T too..I wish I could meet you all and arrange a support system for us. Lost and alone amongst my loved ones around me!!

    Shazma Thabusom / Reply
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    Lost in Menopause
    You hear the horror stories from older generational people, about how women use to go crazy while going through menopause. Except the terminology that they used then was “going through the change”. I now understand that it’s quite possible that these stories are true. Menopause can be debilitating and contribute to some women making decisions and doing things that they may end up regretting over their lifetime. It’s a subject that many doctor’s do not quite understand or just simply choose to brush under a rug. It normally happens when women have either had a hysterectomy or naturally when they have stopped their monthly cycle. Ages vary due to the hysterectomy factor, however typically around the age of 45 and up. I had to write something about menopause, so that I can simply get some relief for myself, as dealing with this is exhausting. Trying to communicate with individuals who have never experienced this is also taxing. Perhaps someone will read this and realize that they know someone who may be going through this and has said nothing. Maybe they will reach out and help or at least ask questions when they think that they may be headed in the wrong direction.
    Treatment is often limited to psychiatric medications especially when you feel like you are slowly losing your mind. People do not tend to talk much out in the open about this condition and I call it a condition because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a condition that many women endure it their lives that can literally consume them with overwhelming feelings of guilt, depression, and the sense of unworthiness. All too often these women hide their condition and try to pretend that things are just fine in their lives or they simply choose to blame whatever is happening to them on life. They start to question their purpose in life, they wonder why they are starting to put on so much weight, they wonder why they don’t like being around a lot of people or why they feel so sad and depressed. This is not to say that this happens to every woman in the world, as there are those who breeze right through this stage of their lives with no problems at all. I can tell you that these are the fortunate ones, because those of us who were not as fortunate have gone through some life changes or are going through some life changes.
    I am going to discuss some of the life changes that I have gone through in my life that I contribute partly to menopause. The sad part about menopause for me is that talking about it to someone is difficult because of fear that they will really think you are crazy and will not remotely understand what could possibly be making you do some of the things that you do.
    For years of my life I have always had some type of issue that resolved around my mental state that I felt involved how my body reacted to the hormonal changes that occurred in my life each month. I can remember when some symptoms started to occur in my life. I was in my early 30’s when I can remember walking into my house not even knowing how I got there. I couldn’t tell anyone the route that I took home or even driving for that matter. I just knew I made it home and that it was like I totally blacked out and was oblivious to anything. Thankfully there was a higher power that got me home safe and sound. Then there was a time when I up and traded my luxury car in for a not so luxury car on a whelm, to later find out that I was pregnant. My hormones have always sent me on a whirlwind, which may have a considerable effect on my hormones at this stage in my life. I had my last child in my late 30’s and shortly after that I started a tail spin with my hormones. It was issue after issue until in my mid 40’s when I had a hysterectomy.
    I am now 51 and I am confident that I am in menopause and may have been even prior to now. Over the course of dealing with my hormonal problems, I can tell you that this condition played a big part on my mental state. Doctor’s would always want to prescribe psychiatric medications, which I never took. One day I found clarity with a female physician who knew exactly what to prescribe me for my condition and it worked to keep me balanced for several years. She treated my hormone imbalance that I was dealing with from day to day. I was more confident, easier to get along with, less outburst and simply more content. Those were the best 7 years of my life or at least it felt that way, because I felt good.
    I am at a new stage in my life where menopause is truly taking over my life, my mind and my actions, the struggles are real. I do take hormonal medication for the condition but when you are going through menopause, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of stress that you take on. I have always been an on the go person, trying two three or four different ventures at a time. Until recently I realized that I am all over the place, starting and stopping things, lacking any type of patience, unreasonable in certain aspects and just not a pleasant person for my family. I started having ailments due to the type of work that I do and it started having effects on what I thought about my job. Explaining menopause or how you feel to even your spouse is challenging because they really have a hard time conceiving what you are going through, although they know that it’s something. Menopause was so overwhelming to me that I started relying more on my strength in God. I have always relied on him in life and realized that I needed help even more now because I literally felt like I was going to lose my mind.
    I ultimately gave my resignation at my job and I honestly think that part of it was due to this menopause factor, as my ailments became worse and I just did not want to deal with the stress factors anymore. Probably not the best way to have handled this, however the feeling was just so overwhelming and I had already taken leave due to my ailments. I rationalized that I was helping the company by not have to take any additional leave. Imagine that thought process, me helping the company and I’m sure they could probably care less about what is going on with me. The need for me to step back and try to gain some control over me was so powerful. I also decided to let some other outside ventures go until I could cleanse my thought process. My mind would run out of control and I would want to do and try any and everything. This just created more stress for me and although I hated to quit my job that paid very well, I did not think that I would be able to maintain without one day just simply losing it at work. This is just how badly I felt lost in this menopause condition.
    I am sure that there are many women out there who can honestly relate to what I am describing and I hope that each of you will reach out to someone for help. I realized that I needed to sit still for a bit to access my situation. Find you a doctor, preferably a female gynecologist who can relate to what it is that you are going through.
    Menopause is silent in a sense because of women not wanting to expose themselves to criticism. It can be devastating for many of us and cause us to make irrational decisions, lash out at people when we ordinarily would not, throw things, scream and cry a lot. I do not think that anyone not affected by this, can remotely imagine the emotional rollercoaster that menopause creates for some. The sense of feeling trapped in a body that you are not at all familiar with is just unimaginable. It can leave you feeling lost and trapped in your mind just trying to figure out what your next step should be. Menopause can cloud your thought process, causing you to question yourself time and time again.
    The physical aspects of menopause are also devastating for some of us. One day you’re a size 6 and the next day you’re a size 14. It makes you question why it is that some suffer so badly and others are fortunate enough not to have had to endure the baggage that comes along with this ugly word “menopause”. The lost feeling associated with menopause is debilitating and can leave you at a total stand still in life. It causes you to pull away from people, causes you to question your own abilities and can destroy your self-esteem. I found that reading positive words, help me to make it through those days where I simply feel unappreciated, sorry for myself and not wanting to be bothered.
    This is written for informational purpose and in hopes to help others who may be going through menopause to realize that they are not alone. Writing this certainly helps me to breathe and release all this stuff that clouds my mind. I hope that someone will find it worthwhile and for those that do not, may it does not apply to you.

    Anonymously written

    Sherri / Reply
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      Wow! I can’t believe this.you just described my life to a T. Everything you wrote I have done or been through. Quit my job of 27 years sold my house and moved after 22 years.dont want to be around people happy being left alone. Started menopause when I was 48.[ Just turned 53].so sure my family thinks I’m nuts but some days I wonder that myself. I just keep telling myself it will get better. And it is slowly I just try to stay positive read a lot and try to do things I enjoy not so eager to please anymore I think now that I don’t have to live by a schedule I have more time for me. I find the more I say no the better I feel . Some get very annoyed but I feel this is my time now. Thank you for your insight it has really uplifted me today now I know this is really real what I have been going through.

      Pam Beeson / (in reply to Sherri) Reply
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        Pam! God Bless you too! It is SO hard to deal with all the psychological aspects of this! The hot flashes are not even comparible. {{{hugs}}}

        Jacquie / (in reply to Pam Beeson) Reply
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      Wow “Anonymously Written”!! I wish I knew your name so i could lift up a thank you blessing on your behalf! I want to be your friend! Lol what you described is EXACTLY how I have been feeling!! THANK YOU for sharing! I hope this finds its way to you because your post has helped. I have been going through this for awhile and always was SUCH a go-getter and I’m now lucky if I get out of bed or my chair! I don’t want to be this way. I am in the midst of trying to find hope. HRT is not helping but I am not giving up. I WANT MYSELF BACK!! God Bless you and ALL of us women who have to deal with this…

      Jacquie / (in reply to Sherri) Reply
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      You are describing me to a Tee. I had a nervous breakdown about a month ago because of Menopause. I started hormone replacement and it is saving my sanity. I still get anxious easily and i have resigned from my job for i have come to hate it.

      I am going through the worst time in life. My mental state has so deteriotated that i have started doing meditating before going to sleep. I get anxious for any little reason (which was worse before i started HRT).

      I will be starting a new job soon, i plan to stay on HRt for as long as i can.

      This is absolutely awful!

      Gladys / (in reply to Sherri) Reply
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      Everything you describe is what I’m going through right now. I’m so demotivated that it’s causing me to be angry with myself but I just can’t get up and do anything. It’s as though I’m mentally paralysed. I feel useless, depressed and overtired all the time. I can’t remember ever feeling so hopeless and useless, fat and ugly. I don’t know how my family are putting up with me. Quite honestly, I’m offending myself. But I cant help it. I don’t know what to do about it, but I lack the compulsion to even try.

      Dawn / (in reply to Sherri) Reply
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      Sherri, I can’t thank you enough for your post, it resonated so much with me. I am also struggling in the same way, I’m on HRT, eat very little yet still keep gaining weight and I feel like I’ve lost my mind. My anxiety is hell and there seems to be nothing more than can be done for me, I’m trying to tough it out but it’s so hard and I despair I’ll ever feel any happiness again. Abigail.xxx

      Abigail / (in reply to Sherri) Reply
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      I have a fybiod, think I’ve spelt it right. It’s in the centre of my womb, I had half removed and it slowed my periods down. This was a year ago and my periods are ten days long and heavy. I’m on 215 mg of iron pills three times a day. Have all the pains in my body, just random places, arms , feet and I’m so anxious about bleeding as I have clotting 😞 hate that word. I’m also on tramax acid five days of the month to help thin out my period. I l have appointment next month to assess if I’m having my womb removed or not. Really hoping I can just take a pill and just stop the bleeding altogether. Never been on the pill so will discuss at my appointment, really don’t want womb removed as I’m scared and hate anything being done to me 😞

      Sarah / (in reply to Sherri) Reply
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      Dear anonymous, wow / I could have written most of those beautiful identical words. To the woman who lost her happy marriage that happened to me although I am remarried and told my then boyfriend, I’m hormonal and he’s very supportive – he’s a godsend / and to the woman who are not comfortable in their now very fat bodies I HEARD YOU UGH I my breasts are now huge and I don’t at all recognize my body and to all of the many BBBBBBRRRRRRRAVE stalwart women I have spent literally 3 hours reading their stories, and for this blogs author – thank you – I thank you for your time and all your considerate responses you write. I feel like you just saved me a trip down find the right psychiatrist path. Which, I drive 2-4 hours to and from work per day so I don’t have time for if I want to keep my job. But I will GET HELP and find the right doctor –

      Just been screen shotting so many of these replies, Anonymous you mentioned that your doctor put you on hormone medication, can you share what age, (so I don’t have to go back thru since I’m dyslexic) if you were still having period and what hormones you took? Not for advice but just to understand since I can relate to you soo well – I am 49, still having periods but the timing of them are very erratic and the length has extended from 3 simply no big deal days to SEVEN days of bleeding. I missed two periods in a year – and like I said, your beautifully penned reply reflects my experiences. I believe it’s been since I was 43-44 when my personality and my ability to just deal with normal day to day drastically changed – I’m taking SAMEe 400 1200mg and one LTheanine am on an empty stomach and then women’s ALIVE 50+ vitamin and 40.000 Vitamin D for the long dreary TN winter – ans ITS EXPENSIVE!!!! But so is cancer so I just don’t want to go into any unnatural direction until I’m to the point where I’m literally unable to work.

      Work. I’m considering telling them I’m premenopausal- I get to work and interact litghtly – mostly just say hi and get to work. Relationships are so challenging and they used to be MY DELIGHT – my girl groups were my pleasure! And NOW? I just get home to my husband and kids and hide away. I thought I was losing my MIND and here after pouring over these beautiful words from you beautiful women, it’s THE CONDITION – what’s that dude from the reality show THE SITUATION haha

      Thank you pales in comparison – I’m going to tie a knot, pray and hold on to the end of it baby, I have 16 more years of this still sounds like!
      MUAH 😘 Heather in Nashville, TN

      Heather Clayton / (in reply to Sherri) Reply
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      Hello Lost in Menopause!

      Man, I couldn’t identify with with you more! I want to thank you for sharing and have the courage to do so and making the step to post your experience. I’ve had two children of my own and it seem as if I’ve postpartum depression 3x’s worse that the worst I’ve had! It makes me feel a little better that I truly identify with a other woman! Thank you once again!!! ❤️

      Kathy / (in reply to Sherri) Reply
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    I guess i am lucky that i didn’t have many hot flashes, migraines, or weight gain. I have suffered some bone loss but I am taking Glucosomine, but i really miss HRT, it made me look and feel better.

    Patricia Coldiron / Reply
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      Im so happy for you, I on the other hand am putting on so much weight. I exercise daily and eat less but just seem to put on weight. I hope I will be able to lose the weight soon. I want to get back into my size 14 pants. At the moment Iam size 18 which is a little big on me. My doctor refuse to put me on HRT. They said it isn’t safe, Weird. Thanks for your comment, I hope to feel better.

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        Find a new doctor if you can. HRT is a small, calculated risk unless you have family history of ovarian cancer. I was a medical library manager for 8 years. I did HRT for a few years – it beat being absolutely non-functional and suicidal.

        Candace / (in reply to shaz) Reply
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    good blog thanks

    b / Reply
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    I saw a presentation by HeathTalk Online yesterday – it was about women’s experiences of breastfeeding, but it prompted me to check out their menopause pages. I found this one good: http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/later-life/menopause/what-menopause

    Rachel / Reply
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    Love this blog. My GP has confirmed I’m in peri-menopause (despite being only 48). A couple of years ago I tried to find useful reading about this life phase, but gave up in disgust as it seemed every source merely told me to take lots of evening primrose oil/ black cohosh/ other random herbs. I would love to find a charity or organisation which provided quality information (and maybe even courses) to cover ALL the different periods of a woman’s reproductive life.

    Rachel / Reply
    • Sarah Chapman

      Thank you; I’m glad you like it. You are right, it is very hard to find reliable information about our health at different stages of our reproductive lives. Elaine Miller, who wrote the guest blog ‘No sex please, we’re menopausal’ has plenty to say about that. It’s here http://www.evidentlycochrane.net/no-sex-please-menopausal/ Do check out all our menopause blogs, if you haven’t seen them, and Elaine has also written about pelvic floor exercise for us, something else that doesn’t seem to get mentioned, or only when you’ve just had a baby.
      Sarah

      Sarah Chapman / (in reply to Rachel) Reply
    • June Girvin

      Hi Rachel,
      I’m pleased the blog resonated with you. Finding reliable information is really hard but I would recommend the Miriam Stoppard book if you can find it. It’s not all great, but at least it considers the evidence – or at least the edition I’ve got does. And it’s not written for clinicians/academics! I was about 45 when I started noticing symptoms but it’s only with hindsight that I recognise them as early peri-menopause. Good luck – I hope you’re one of the ‘sail through-ers’!

      June Girvin / (in reply to Rachel) Reply
  38. […] On my other, more personal blog, I wrote briefly a little while ago about getting older and sharing some experiences with a couple of colleagues on Twitter. Since that conversation I joined with a group of other women – health care professionals, academics – to contribute to the Evidently Cochrane blog site for its week-long look at Menopause and the evidence and resources that are available to women experiencing it. I had a particularly bad menopause, and I agreed to write about my experience for the blog and you can read that here. […]

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