Louise experienced a premature menopause following an operation to remove ovarian cysts. Mood swings, persistent hot flushes and sweats, and loss of fertility impacted significantly on Louise’s well-being. She has now been on HRT for over four years.
Louise’s menopause story began with stabbing period pains in her late twenties. Subsequent surgery to remove large ovarian cysts left Louise with half an ovary on the right side and a quarter on the left with uncertainty over whether the ovaries would continue to function. She describes the realization that she may never have children as one of the worst moments; of her life.
Within months of the operation, Louise began to experience persistent hot flushes and sweats day and night’ I could be flushing every ten minutes;. Alongside this, she became increasingly emotional and grumpy; to the extent that friends recommended she see a doctor. Herbal remedies, such as black cohosh, had no effect. Exhausted, sleep deprived and unable to function, Louise consulted her GP who confirmed a premature menopause and prescribed HRT.
For Louise, the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks, although she is aware that long-term use may have consequences. She has now been on HRT for over four years and has found it very effective in treating her menopausal symptoms. However, she describes the early stages of being on HRT as horrendous;, with the low and medium dosages failing to manage her moods and flushes and causing breakthrough bleeding. After six months, she was put on the highest dose which successfully regulated her cycle, relieved the hot flushes, and leveled out her moods. Louise explains how she felt almost like a human being; after months of not feeling like a person at all;.
Louise describes her thirties as being quite a treacherous time; during which she has been forced to change pretty much every element; of her life. Unable to continue working in her previous physically demanding job, Louise has embarked on a new career and is currently completing a PhD. Although supported by a close group of friends with whom she enjoys an active social life, her inability to have children still burns inside; her and she has become more reserved, hiding away from relationships and commitment. On-going gynaecological problems, with further cysts and increasing cyclical pain, have culminated in the need for a complete hysterectomy and removal of her ovaries. She hopes this operation will be a final curtain; on her problems enabling her to move forward. As well as dealing with her own health issues and menopausal symptoms, Louise has had to care for her mother who has motor neurone disease. In spite of everything, she remains very positive about her life now and in the future.
Louise was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in March 2009.