As COVID-19 restrictions ease and we begin to plan our post-pandemic lives, assessing our “new normal” can feel challenging - especially if you’re having menopausal symptoms.
I can’t figure it out. I go to sleep and wake up tired. I’m a mess emotionally. My husband just gave me a framed photo of our dinner menu from our wedding anniversary, and I burst into tears. I then turned around and bit his head off because he was breathing out of the wrong nostril. Later on, I was swamped by a feeling of crushing worry, more than anxiety, my mind was racing, and then it wasn’t racing; I was just under a cloud as if all my emotions were fading into the background.
Luckily, I had already looked into what I was feeling. I happened upon Dr Louise Newson’s Instagram page, which led me to her website, to the NICE guidelines on perimenopause, and I thought…
Oh, My God- I am NOT losing my mind; I am just losing my oestrogen.
What a relief.
RELATED ARTICLE: HRT in the UK: Essential information you need to know
So I went to my doctor. She listened to me recall my symptoms, and then she prescribed me antidepressants.
"Oh no," I said, "I’m not depressed. I think I am in perimenopause and that HRT might be a good option."
'Oh'- she said- "no- I can’t prescribe that because of the increased risk of breast cancer."
"Oh",- I said- "I researched that, and in fact, it was a 2008 study, now debunked and incomplete, and there is no association between breast cancer and topical oestrogen and micronized progestin." She just shook her head.
RELATED ARTICLE: HRT Explained
Now, not that long ago, I would have walked out of the office and felt defeated. Not that day. I asked for a referral to my ObGyn, whom I’d talked to about my symptoms in a prior meeting. I knew he was open to discussing further.
Within a few minutes of chatting with him, he thought I would be a good candidate for oestrogen. I cannot describe the relief that I was being listened to. Sometimes that’s part of the puzzle too, being cared for, and having my concerns validated and alleviated, that my symptoms were not a sign of mental instability.
And guess what?
I know HRT isn’t a one-size-fits-all, that women’s health is multi-faceted, and that we can do a much better job supporting women in midlife rather than dismissing them. I was lucky that my ObGyn listened and cared; I just don’t think women should have to be lucky to get the care they need and deserve.
Written by: Catherine Brennan, Toronto
If you feel you might be suffering from peri/menopausal symptoms, download our FREE perimenopause symptom checker here:
Find a menopause specialist, download our symptom checker, tips on preparing for your GP visit and so much more.
Speak to the team at The Latte Lounge+ powered by Stella
Speak to us about how we can help you support employees affected by menopause symptoms.
The original home of The Latte Lounge - our private group of more than 25,000 women discussing all things midlife.