Christina’s periods stopped at age 42 but she still suffers from hot flushes, sweats, poor memory, and mood swings. Unable to take HRT, she feels embarrassed and misunderstood at work. Weight gain and stress incontinence have eroded her confidence.
Christina first noticed menopausal changes at age 40 when her periods became irregular, finally stopping altogether at 42. Menopausal symptoms, however, including hot flushes, sweats, mood swings and poor memory, have continued to have an adverse effect on her work and quality of life.
Experiencing up to 20 hot flushes a day have not only caused Christina embarrassment at work with her beetroot red; appearance but have led to tensions with colleagues who fail to understand her need to open the window for fresh air. Poor memory has made it difficult to juggle the different aspects of Christina’s job and the demands of her [male] boss who will want three things urgently in the same moment;. Trying to explain to him about the menopause has led to responses such as too much information; rather than understanding. Mood swings have also made life difficult both at work and at home’ I can be a screaming banshee one minute, in tears the next;. She describes the difficulty of trying to control her moods while silently seething inside;.
Christina’s menopause experience has been complicated by other health factors, including thyroid, pernicious anaemia, and a genetic protein S deficiency which has led to an embolism on the lung. Despite her desire to go on HRT to relieve her symptoms, Christina accepts her GP’s refusal to prescribe because of the high risk of further blood clots. This condition also precludes her taking herbal remedies.
Weight gain has undermined Christina’s self-esteem in recent years and she has become a more insular person as a result. She describes her despair when trying on shorts for a holiday’ I burst into tears because none of them fit. And even a size sixteen didn’t fit;. She feels that the two stone she has put on could be attributed to a mixture of thyroid and menopause;. Added to this, stress incontinence has also been a problem. Now, instead of worrying about sanitary towels, it’s a life of worrying whether you;re needing Tena-lady supplies and things;. On the advice of her doctor, she has tried pelvic floor exercises without success. After ten years of menopausal symptoms, Christina just wants her life back; and to feel good about herself.
Christina didn’t seek help for her ongoing symptoms which have made her life miserable. If like Christina, you;re feeling low and your symptoms are getting you down, there are sources of help available. Please go and talk to your GP.
Christina was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in June 2009.