Following a total hysterectomy at age 37, Jackie was prescribed HRT. Severe symptoms in the past year led to increased dose of HRT and testosterone patches for energy. Feels depressed but draws strength from an online menopause support group.
Jackie’s experience of the menopause dates back to the age of 37 when she underwent a total hysterectomy following years of pain from severe endometriosis. This led to a premature menopause and treatment with HRT patches (Evorel 50). Although experiencing some problems with depression, the relief from pain and the oestrogen replacement through HRT enabled her to have a relatively trouble free period until a year ago when she began to suffer from anxiety and heart palpitations. She describes feeling so bad that she thought she was dying.
Jackie saw her GP and asked to be referred to a consultant at the menopause clinic. As her body appeared to be no longer absorbing HRT effectively, she was prescribed an increased dose of HRT (Estradot 75mg) and, at her suggestion, testosterone patches to increase her energy levels. The new treatment regime has helped her function in her day-to-day life and she plans to stay on HRT indefinitely despite suffering from high blood pressure. However, she still has trouble with depression particularly in the morning. She has experienced depression in the past and tried antidepressants (citalopram) briefly but did not feel well on these so discontinued.
Jackie finds the online support group Menopause Matters helps her get through – in fact, she checks the forum everyday and posts her own messages from time to time. She has used this when feeling low as a way of getting support from other women, and a sense of not being alone. She acknowledges, however, that the website can throw up a range of symptoms and lead to further worry.
Her experience with the medical profession has been mixed. She feels GPs just do not have the time or sufficient knowledge to treat menopausal women. Much of her learning about the menopause has come from accessing websites and it is this knowledge which she has used in consulting professionals. She feels that there should be groups for menopausal women set up in GP practices so that women have a chance to discuss their experiences with each other.
Jackie was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in December 2008.