Janice took HRT for 5 years which stabilised her periods, gave her energy and improved her memory. Since going off HRT at her GP’s insistence, she has experienced low moods, forgetfulness and vaginal dryness. She feels the menopause is like a bereavement.
From her mid-forties, Janice’s periods became longer, lasting up to two weeks. Consulting her GP, she was prescribed HRT, initially in the form of patches. These proved unsuitable, however, increasing her bleeding and leaving her severely anaemic. After switching to tablets, she felt much better, with the HRT regulating her periods, giving her an energy boost and sharpening her memory.
Five years later however, Janice was just devastated; when her GP refused to write another prescription, basing his decision on research suggesting an increased risk of breast cancer. Despite Janice protesting that she needed to remain on HRT to carry out her role as a carer for her disabled daughter, her doctor remained adamant, suggesting she try red clover instead. Janice still feels angry that a decision was made to deny me a therapy which I found beneficial;.
Since going off HRT, Janice’s feelings of well-being have been replaced by low moods, vaginal dryness, restless legs, weight gain, and aches and pains. Herbal remedies have had little effect. She sometimes worries she has dementia, finding it frustrating when she misspells words or forgets people’s names and birthdays. Weight gain has left her feeling disappointed with her body image, and her interest in sex has waned.
For Janice, the menopause has been like a bereavement. Rather than feeling liberated by the loss of periods, she feels that the thread back to her youth; has been broken. In a society which fails to value experienced older women;, she feels cut adrift, with just a journey into ageing; ahead of her. She believes that menopausal women are not taken seriously. She recommends that every GP should have some kind of training in menopause; and that surgeries should offer a clinic where women can meet to discuss menopausal issues.
Janice was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in June 2009.