Early menopause and me
Lets start with a Caro Greenwood fact. I am late for everything. I hate myself for it. I mean loath! My time keeping is appalling. I’ve been early for only two things, my birth (10 days) and menopause (over a decade).
I turned 40 in 2014 so I thought I’d get stuff ticked off the old ‘to do list’. One of them was to run the London marathon and in the same year, Will and I climbed Kilimanjaro for the Borne charity. Nothing overly exciting, but two mini wins for CJG. The only niggle throughout, was that my periods had started to become quite sporadic.
Age 39 I genuinely didn’t even consider the menopause but did mention it to my GP who agreed with me, that it was probably the 30-50 miles per week training I was doing.
However…. By 2015 I was getting a period maybe every 3 months it was either ridiculously heavy or a spot. I had bloods taken and it did show a rise in FSH levels, but nothing worrying. It was only in 2016 that these levels went through the roof. I was officially peri menopausal and pretty pissed off about it too.
I was really weirdly in complete denial it was happening. Because this just happened to women older than me right? Not so! Early menopause, is much more common than I thought but no one really talks about it.
By 2017 I was getting the occasional hot sweat but that was genuinely the only symptom, apart from fatigue. Which, when it hit was literally like someone had popped me an ambien. I’ve fed three tiny babies through the night, so feeling knackered is not new to me. This tiredness? Is like that and more and it could hit at any time during the day. This and this alone was what effected me the most.
I am a really active human, I like feeling strong, I enjoy exercise, being out with my friends, the Duracell bunny and I are kindreds. So this really got me down. The low’s got quite regular.
I should mention at this stage that up until the mid 2017 I had only taken herbal remedies, mainly because I had been put off HRT due to all the horrifying reports I’d read. Someone close to family actually blamed HRT for the onset of her cancer.
I may not have tried everything, but it honestly feels like I have. I've consumed more vitamins and leafy type matter! Than your average herbal specialist. Hormone cream and tablets which worked initially but then just didn’t. Also you have to rub that stuff on yourself twice a day, more bloody admin!
I try hard to break stigmas and silences on baby loss, on autism, but something as regular as menopause? I felt, weirdly embarrassed, I tend not to embarrass easily so why this was, I just don’t know.
Also I was pissed off. I felt like I'd been dealt a properly crap set of cards gynaecologically speaking, an incompetent cervix and now early menopause? Give me a break. But it now just underlines to me how fortunate I really am, the very thought of going through this having not had my children....? I can't even imagine.
Then totally randomly, I got a DM from a friend and asking if I’d like to go to an event on menopause, run by Sylk Natural which is a plant based lubricant no less! Yep these guys know there stuff when it comes to dry vaginas!
She didn’t know anything about my menopause, no one really did. I actually said in my message to her ‘I am going through it and I don’t know why I am being such a closed up twat about it’!
It was the most incredible evening. I know this because I was so exhausted I listened like a silent sleeping assassin in the corner all night. I only got up towards the end to ask one question about early menopause to Dr Louise Newson, aka the menopause oracle. Who basically said, what I already knew really. There are risks in every single drug you take, but my chances of brittle bone disease for example, are massively increased if I don’t take HRT. Basically, you can have this bag of shit? Or this bag of shit? But perhaps take the bag of shit where the floor of the tube, stops looking like a comfy place to nap?!
Meg Matthews spoke so eloquently, that woman knows her menopause. She was brilliant. If the evening couldn’t get better The Scummy Mummies had been booked. Their ode to dry fanny's, nothing short of genius!
The evening was turning point for me.
I have been on HRT for coming up for a week and whilst the dose I am on maybe isn’t quite right yet, I feel easily 50% towards being me again. My energy levels are way better. Today I am knackered, but who isn’t right? There has been a definite change barely a week in.
I think part of me felt just really bloody old even considering menopause. The (probably over used expression) of 'when women support each other, incredible things happen'. Could not be truer of my menopause tale. I’m not sure I’d be writing this if it wasn’t for that evening.
Menopause, periods, all the usual ‘nose wrinkling, awkward’ chats, are massively important and valid conversations we should be having openly and normalising. Your partner, daughter, mate, Mum, someone you know, are either going through it or will go through it. If we can get this out there, we feel less weird about it. Get clued up. Knowledge is power. One thing is for certain, I’m too busy to let this whole menopause thing effect my life. I’ve no time for it.
So to CJ, Meg, Sylk, Louise and you Scummy legends, thanks my friends. I’ll be batting off that vaginal dryness a while longer thanks to you! Just really need to work on that whole time keeping thing…
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