A premature menopause coinciding with plans to have a baby has had a profound effect on all aspects of Liz ‘s life. Prescribed HRT to relieve her menopausal symptoms and to prevent osteoporosis, she finds support in an early menopause group.
A missed period in her mid-thirties, accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, sore breasts and tiredness convinced Liz that she was pregnant. To her despair, however, a negative pregnancy test, further missed periods and the onset of severe hot flushes and sweats led her to suspect that she might have started the menopause.
Living and working in Portugal at the time, Liz consulted various doctors including a gynaecologist who confirmed that her ovaries were beginning to slow down;, advising her to eat some soya products; and take fertility drugs. Unhappy with this advice, she returned to the UK three months ago where her GP referred her to a menopause clinic. Although incredibly upset; with the diagnosis of early menopause, Liz felt relieved that she could now move forward.
With a family history of osteoporosis, Liz was prescribed HRT and advised to take it for twelve years until she reached normal menopause age;. Starting on patches, Liz saw an immediate improvement in her symptoms. However, psychologically, the patches were a constant reminder that there’s something wrong with me;. She has since changed to HRT in tablet form and, now on a higher dose, is experiencing relief from her symptoms.
Experiencing the menopause at the age of 36 has had a significant impact on Liz’s life. She describes experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions;. Apart from the embarrassment of standing in front of a class sweating profusely in a vest top in November;, Liz feels she has been let down; by her body which she has never liked or valued. She has noticed a decline in her sex drive. Moreover, the issue of children remains unresolved in her relationship. While Liz is reluctant to go through the process of egg donation, her partner is still interested in trying for a child.
Liz is full of praise for the caring and sensitive manner of the health professionals she saw at the menopause clinic. In addition to supporting her through a traumatic consultation, they discussed the pros and cons of HRT, advised her of her options with regard to having children, and provided a range of useful information. An early menopause group set up by the clinic has given her a much needed support network, putting her in touch with women of a similar age. Although she acknowledges that regardless of age, women’s experiences of the menopause are similar in terms of symptoms, the meaning of the menopause for younger women is different.
Liz was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in March 2009.