With a history of irregular periods, Carolyn did not realise she was going through the menopause until a blood test, a year after her last period, confirmed she was postmenopausal. She sailed through the menopause, experiencing no unpleasant symptoms.
Carolyn describes her menopause experience as very boring and straight forward;. Having always had irregular periods, she was not perturbed when they became lighter and more spread out in her early fifties. Realising that she had not had a period for a year, she asked her GP to carry out a hormone test as part of routine blood tests to see if she had reached menopause. The test confirmed that she was postmenopausal.
Unlike friends and colleagues, Carolyn cannot recall having any symptoms at all. For her, reaching the menopause has meant freedom from fear of pregnancy, as well as from the nuisance; of periods and having to mess around with tampons and towels and things;. As a single woman, she has no regrets about not having children. Although taking medication for a number of chronic health conditions, Carolyn enjoys a very active retirement. She is involved in her professional association and does a range of voluntary work. She has lost weight thanks to a healthier diet and keeps fit by walking her dog.
Carolyn speaks of the difficulties faced by some women in her profession as they go through the menopause. She explains that they often struggle with moods and find it difficult to cope, not realizing that their symptoms are caused by the menopause. In a predominantly male environment where discussion of women’s health issues is considered inappropriate, the problem is exacerbated, with colleagues being unfairly branded as just hysterical women;. A recent workshop on the menopause for women in the workplace has helped raise awareness of symptoms and treatments available. Carolyn feels that women should not be afraid to accept that they are going through changes and may need to consider treatments to alleviate their symptoms. She gives the example of one colleague who has turned to HRT to enable her to continue working and progress in her career.
In taking part in this study, Carolyn is keen to present the other side of the menopause story. She stresses that women do not necessarily go into a decline and have a lot of problems;. She acknowledges, however, that she has been fortunate in having a good; experience of the menopause, and accepts that this is not the case for everyone.
Carolyn was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in March 2009.