Rose’s menopausal symptoms included hot flushes, headaches, and tiredness. Tried a number of types of HRT but problems with breakthrough bleeding, headaches and heart palpitations led her to manage her symptoms naturally with the help of herbal remedies.
Having experienced no problems with periods or childbirth, Rose expected to fly through the menopause;. To be suddenly hit with all these hormonal issues; with the onset of menopause at age 43, took her by surprise. Erratic periods, accompanied by headaches, difficulty sleeping, lack of concentration, and hot flushes which became quite unbearable very quickly;, left Rose struggling to cope with a busy job and the demands of teenage children. While natural remedies such as evening primrose and isoflavins contained the symptoms in the early stages, by her mid-forties, Rose’s symptoms were so severe that she felt she had no other option; than to consult her GP.
After carefully weighing up the risks (she had previously had a benign lump removed from her breast), Rose decided to take HRT. Her GP described it as a safety plaster; to get her through the menopause. Finding the right type of HRT, however, proved difficult. Despite trying a number of different types of HRT including Elleste Duet, Evorel and Premique over a five year period which helped ease her hot flushes, she continued to experience side effects such as headaches, heart palpitations, breakthrough bleeding and weight gain.
In consultation with a specialist at a menopausal clinic, Rose made the decision to come off HRT and manage her menopause naturally. She feels that at age 50, she is coming out the other side; of the menopause and although she still experiences hot flushes and problems with memory and concentration occasionally, she is able to cope with the help of natural remedies, including evening primrose (for hair, nails and skin), isoflavones and sage (for hot flushes), and ginseng biloba (for memory and concentration). She believes that natural remedies can help women going through the menopause as long as symptoms are not too severe. She stresses, however, that like HRT, these remedies have potential side effects and do not suit everyone.
Rose’s experience of the menopause took place against a backdrop of her father’s death and a really difficult time; for her family, including her husband’s diagnosis with M. E. and problems with her teenage children. She feels that this, in conjunction with menopausal symptoms, increased her anxiety and made her less empathetic with colleagues at work. A short course of the antidepressant fluoxetine, together with HRT, helped restore balance.
The menopause has brought Rose face to face with her own mortality and the realization that she is no longer young. She describes her inability to have children now in terms of losing her femininity;. Moreover, since giving up HRT, she has noticed an increase in vaginal dryness. She finds sex impossible; without the use of the lubricant KY Jelly. She describes her lack of libido as if that part of my body’s been removed;, and although she is in a loving relationship and still enjoys sex when her husband instigates it, she no longer feels like making love;. She stresses the importance of making a conscious effort to show affection towards her husband even if it does not end in love-making.
Rose was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in April 2009.