In the last 12 - 18 months, I've not been feeling my best. Abdominal bloating (especially in the two weeks before my period), feeling tired, frequent headaches, experiencing urinary symptoms including needing to go frequently and blood in the urine (but no infection), vaginal dryness with pain after intercourse... A nightmare, I know, but these are all very regular symptoms of perimenopause. So, here I am, on my HRT (Hormone Therapy Replacement) now, feeling better and ready to share my journey with you!
Symptoms that disrupted my life
Around twelve months ago, I was having various symptoms which meant I couldn't feel like myself. Severe abdomen swelling, constant feeling of having a UTI (which I had never suffered from but had a constant irritation down below which would drive you mad), tiredness, unsettled sleep, headache, and dizzy spells. I always had a very active life; running my own company, taking care of my boys, exercising 3-4 times a week, eating correctly, and loving going out with my dearest friends. Still, everything suddenly changed when I couldn't feel healthy. Those symptoms and pain were taking everything I love from me, and I couldn't do anything different than react to it. So, I decided to seek help.
Embracing the perimenopause journey
And here we go: I think that every 40 - 50 y/o woman is a bit afraid of the word "menopause/perimenopause", but what life has been teaching me is that I don't need to be concerned about it - all I need to do is to find the best treatment for me and keep investing on my health, lifestyle and well-being. After all, I want to live my best life every day, right?
So, after seeing two male doctors, I contacted Newson Health Clinic, and they suggested me an incredible specialist at Theclinic@76 - which was great, as this clinic is local to me, saving me from travelling to London. After a consultation, they prescribed HRT which is basically swapping your primary sex hormone for another. All people, regardless of sex or gender, have small amounts of oestrogen and testosterone in their system. Still, human bodies generally rely more on one hormone or the other, depending on what your endocrine system can produce naturally. For example, bodies with testicles typically have much more testosterone than oestrogen, while bodies with ovaries tend to make a lot more oestrogen.
The benefits of HRT
Since hormones are relatively easy to synthesise in a laboratory, HRT is simpler than you might think, and current guidelines clearly state that for most women, the benefits of HRT outweigh any risks.
- Research has shown that women who take HRT before the average age of menopause do not increase their future risk of developing breast cancer.
- There is plenty of evidence that the earlier HRT is started, the lower the future risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and dementia.
- It also helps with hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness and increases libido.
So, I obviously gave it a try! Since I started my therapy (which includes capsules, creams, patches and tablets), I feel like I have my life back in place.
1) What effects of low hormones was I suffering from?
- Constant blood in urine
- Blood after intercourse
- Low sex drive
- Severe abdomen swelling
- Constant feeling I had a UTI, which I have never suffered from but a constant irritation down below which would drive you mad
- Tear after sex
- Severe Wind and discomfort
- Feeling of urgency for my bowels
- Tiredness, unsettled sleep, headaches
- Dizzy spells
- Constant hunger and thirst
2) How long am I into HRT?
Two months now and the difference I felt within a matter of weeks has been amazing. Prior, I was struggling with a number of issues. I have had various tests and investigations due to how some of my symptoms were presenting. At first they thought I was suffering with Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease due to issues with my stomach or that my endometriosis had grown since my last removal procedure.
I suffer from endometriosis so I also had to have various investigations to make sure there were no signs of it, as I had a removal a few years ago. This involved transvaginal scan as well as a camera within my bladder to check there was no endometriosis there.
After my last lot of blood tests it was obvious I was suffering due to the menopause and my endocrine blood results showed I was having issues due to low hormone production.
3) How have I felt since I started?
Amazing. I feel so much better. I still have some feelings below if I forget to use Vagirux, as an example, which feels like I have a water infection but it’s not. This product helps with vaginal hormone replacement.
I feel incredible and feel the best I have in a few years. I remember the summer of my 40th year I felt at peak performance mentally and physically and then started to notice how I felt depleted. I put this down to mental strain and exhaustion due to Ashton (my eldest) being unwell with diabetes. So at the time I just put this down to worry and the unsettled evenings and nights that can occur.
4) What were my expectations?
Due to the amount of research I have done over the past few years due to our Pause the Meno production formulation, I had no bad thoughts or personal worry about HRT. I was very surprised at how quickly it made me feel better and the positive effects it has had.
I hope that my experiences help some of you feel less alone on your journey through menopause. It's important to remember that everyone's experience with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is unique, but for me, starting HRT has been a life-changing decision.