Like her mother, Jill started the menopause early. A Mirena coil, fitted to regulate heavy and painful periods, has had limited success. Mood swings, hot and cold sweats, thrush, cystitis, and loss of libido have also affected Jill’s well-being.
Like her mother, Jill started the menopause at age 40 when her periods became very heavy and totally irregular;. Feeling drained, she consulted her GP and was fitted with a Mirena coil. Reassured that this would solve her bleeding problems and avoid the need for a hysterectomy, Jill enjoyed a period-free six months before her periods returned. Though intermittent, they have been extremely heavy with big clots and accompanied by severe pain which Jill describes as like giving birth;. At times she has had to take time off work, and the pain has interfered with her enjoyment of leisure activities.
Jill’s menopausal symptoms have also included hot flushes and sweats which she has managed at night by opening the window or putting her leg out of the bed. She also reports feeling shivery at times even when in a hot room. Despite her symptoms, Jill prefers not to take medication and is therefore reluctant to go on HRT.
For Jill, possibly the worst symptom of the menopause has been her Jekyll and Hyde; mood swings. At first she thought she was going crazy; but has since come to understand her moods as part of the menopause transition. Although her husband and sons have been very supportive, she feels it has been wrong to subject them to her moods.
Although gaining considerable weight in recent years, Jill has successfully controlled this through healthy eating and exercise. She has also suffered from thrush and cystitis which she has treated with over-the-counter medication. The menopause has also had an impact on her relationship with her husband. Despite loving him to bits;, she has lost interest totally in sex; and puts this partly down to vaginal dryness. She has not considered using lubricants or discussing this with her GP, however.
Alongside her symptoms, Jill has had to deal with her brother’s death from cancer and caring for her father who has had a stroke. These events have added to the difficulties of the menopause transition. She describes the female reproductive life as like a curse; and wishes women could just switch it off if we don’t want it anymore;. For her, a decade of symptoms; is more than enough;. She hopes there’s a light at the end of the tunnel; when she can put the menopause and its symptoms behind her.
Jill was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in March 2009.