Rebecca’s symptoms included heavy periods, hot flushes and poor memory. Media reports made her wary of HRT. A positive attitude has helped her make a successful transition. Now postmenopausal, she is enjoying a new sense of freedom.
From her late forties, Rebecca noticed her periods becoming unpredictable and really, really heavy;, particularly on the second and third day. Despite taking precautions including wearing black trousers, she describes how she had several accidents; even at work. Referred to a gynaecologist at the hospital for an internal scan, Rebecca was reassured that it was probably just menopause;.
Although she experienced hot flushes, and still does occasionally, these caused more embarrassment than concern. In meetings at work, for example, she felt self-conscious, believing that everyone was looking at her. She replaced her much loved polo necks with jackets which she could take off easily. Although Rebecca considered going on HRT at one stage to protect her bones and heart;, she changed her mind after reading adverse media reports suggesting a link between HRT and cancer. She wonders whether the death of her sister from ovarian cancer last year could be related to her long-term use of HRT.
Poor memory throughout the menopause transition has been a source of frustration. Rebecca describes how, in her management role at work, she had to write things down and make sure I remembered things I had to do;. Now retired, she continues to have problems with recall even people’s names that I know well, their name just escapes [me]; though is unsure whether this problem is caused by the menopause or by getting older. As well as reading books on improving her memory, she couldn’t live without; her diary.
Rebecca stresses the importance of maintaining a positive attitude to the menopause and has resisted the tendency to let the menopause dominate her life. It is now around five years since her last period. She keeps healthy and stays slim by swimming or walking five days a week, cutting out fats, cutting down on alcohol, and eating fruit every morning. Since retiring last year, and with her youngest daughter now at university, she is enjoying a new freedom to do whatever you want to do, when you want to do it;.
Rebecca was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in June 2009.