Around 13 million women in the UK are currently going through perimenopause (opens in new tab) or menopause (opens in new tab) And menopausal symptoms affect more than 75% of women – menopause brings with it a whole host of unexpected symptoms; From fatigue and heart palpitations to anxiety and brain fog.
Simply put, menopause (opens in new tab) Not just hot flushes.
In fact, according to A report produced by the Fawcett Society (opens in new tab)Based on data from a survey commissioned by Channel 4 of more than 4,000 women – the findings of which were featured in Davina McCall (opens in new tab) Sex, the mind and menopause Documentary – 77% of women experience one or more symptoms they describe as ‘very difficult’, while 44% of women describe three or more symptoms as ‘severe’. 69% say they experience difficulties with anxiety or depression due to menopause, 84% experience trouble sleeping and 73% experience brain fog.
Apart from these, further symptoms of menopause include; Headaches, panic attacks, tiredness, muscle aches, loss of libido, night sweats… the list goes on and on. Menopause symptoms are severely affecting most menopausal women—only a lucky few remain symptom-free—and we refuse to keep quiet.
Here, three women share their various menopause experiences and hard-earned wisdom…
“My main symptom was terrible joint pain”
“My menopause journey was a long and lonely one,” says Claire, 55. “I was in my early forties when it all started and, word go by, I never had hot flushes or any of the ‘normal’ menopausal symptoms so I never thought it was menopause related. Mine The main issue, and symptom, has always been terrible joint pain.”
“I remember waking up in the middle of the night with a sharp pain in my two fingers. It quickly transferred to my elbows then knees and hips. leaving me in a terrible state unable to walk, sit or stand. My then GP was not particularly knowledgeable about menopause and never mentioned it. I was referred to endless counselors over many years and endured endless blood tests, CT scans and MRIs. I was tested for fibromyalgia, arthritis and Lymes disease, to name a few… but everything came back normal. ,
“In desperation, my then GP suggested I try HRT, I took it in tablet form but it made little difference. Knowing what I know today, I should be on an alternate dosage Had, or was offered a gel or patch or perhaps stronger HRT (our GP desperately needs more training).
“My physiotherapist (all the consultants I saw sent me back to the physio) seemed the most helpful, and when I contacted him at a particularly low point and asked him if I was mentally ill, He died and said no, it was systemic. Every week I had different joint issues.”
“I changed GPs and she was sympathetic and listened to my long story. She had me try different medications and stronger anti-inflammatory pills. I also took good quality supplements for sleep problems and anxiety. Exercise played a big role Played, even though at times I could barely walk, I used to go to the gym most of the day.”
“Today, I’m in a much better place. I’m now on transdermal HRT (gel and tablet progesterone) and my joints are 80% better. If only I’d known what I know now, I’d be living my life because of menopausal symptoms.” doesn’t lose nine years.”
“Menopause Affected My Mental Health”
“I had hot flushes going literally every symptom bar,” says 60-year-old Kim. “I had all the mental effects of menopause, which had a huge physical impact on my life because I was so lethargic and not interested in anything.”
“My anxiety also affected my job, as I kept having panic attacks. I had complete confidence in the world and was no longer able to walk into a room full of strangers, so I had to quit my job as a makeup artist and start a business from home because I felt I couldn’t even leave the house. Obviously, it affected me and my family financially as well. ,
“I tried my GP but they just wanted to prescribe an anti-depressant, but that would not reveal the cause of the problem. I decided to research doctors who understand menopause and can offer specialist treatment and so on. Kind of like I heard about the Menopause Center online.”
“I was diagnosed as deficient in several hormones – DHEA, estrogen, testosterone and progesterone – and began biologically similar hormone replacement therapy, which is better tolerated than older forms of synthetic HRT. Six of taking HRT Months later my anxiety slowly disappeared, but my other symptoms stopped almost immediately. I felt like a completely different person mentally – I could relax more and deal with stressful situations in better ways I could have dealt with it. I’ve got my confidence back too.”
“For me, brain fog was the worst”
“My menopause ‘journey’ officially began in late 2020,” says 52-year-old Lucy. “I had hot flushes for a while and by the summer of 2021 I was on HRT and feeling much better. However, what I didn’t notice were other symptoms that I can now attribute to menopause Am. For me, brain fog and joint pain.”
“I used to get out of bed and feel almost 20 years older every morning – before I would have been so supple and happily dressed every day. Now, I have to stand and move and the worst affected joints (usually the hip/hip joints). It took me several minutes (so to speak!) to stretch the knee/leg) up and running.
“I’m someone who doesn’t like exercise, but realizes how good it is for me physically and mentally. So I went to the gym 5-6 times a week; stationary weight machines and treadmills (interval training) Initially, I thought pain was a side effect, but as they didn’t get better, and once HRT took effect, I realized what was causing it.”
“For me, brain fog has not only been disappointing but also very worrying. I began to question what was wrong with me, dementia? old age? Until I researched and started HRT again. I still have my moments but it became so debilitating for a variety of run-of-the-mill tasks, both in and out of work. Not only that, it scared and upset me. I was forgetting simple things, and was reprimanding myself for not remembering what I should have done. My Google Calendar has become a sea of reminders.”
“Having been on HRT for over two years, I can honestly say it has been life changing – I was also given the opportunity this summer to ‘upgrade’ my treatment with a more ‘tailored’ option. With – I’m lucky enough that my local authority offered me a consultation with a specialist menopausal GP – sadly it doesn’t have enough stock in stock to risk replacing the Lenzato alternative she prescribed, so I’m on basic estrogen I live on pills.