Sarah Connor *
One day, when I got home, I suddenly felt like my head was burning. It was as if it had melted inside out. I fainted and my eyesight began to blur. Fortunately, I was able to pull safely and not far from home.
At the age of 46, I was otherwise healthy, happy and healthy. Nothing has changed in my life.
The Acting Patriarch asked if I was experiencing menopause. “What kind of menopause?” I said in my head.
If the GP question was part of the comprehension test, I would certainly have failed. I knew that at some point my period would end. But surely until I’m as old as my 50s.
Over the next few weeks and months, my symptoms accumulated: mysterious anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, depression / depression, nausea, fainting, hip pain, itching / itching of the skin, Metallic taste in the mouth. I shed tears at random, lost my appetite, and was relentlessly tired.
It was as if I flicked the switch.
One night I ended up at A & E with abdominal pain and nausea. Another time at home with an ambulance during a panic attack. I thought I had a heart attack.
It was a worrying, confusing and sometimes lonely experience
When I was referred to a cardiologist and asked if menopause could affect my heart, they answered “no”. The next week, my GP told me that I regularly see women of my age who have heart palpitations. It seemed difficult for me and everyone to participate in the point.
One morning, after too many sleepless nights, I felt sick and couldn’t make an appointment with my GP. I spoke on the phone instead. “I can’t continue like this,” she said with tears.
I took sleeping pills for a few nights. It broke the back of my insomnia.
My GP concluded that my symptoms were like hormones. She recommended progesterone, but it didn’t work. After another promise, I went home with a prescription for antidepressants.
It seems like a hit and a mistake, whether or not someone knows about menopause or menopause.
I grew up seeing posters on the GP bulletin boards about chickenpox, asthma, and issues affecting men. I grew up knowing more about potential signs of prostate cancer and solutions to impotence than menopause.
Despite having more than 350,000 kiwi women between the ages of 35 and 55, I have never seen posters or leaflets about the peri-menopausal period or menopause (the average age of women in the last period is 51).
I was overwhelmed by the amount of information about menopause online. There were only four books on this subject in my local library.
I started by talking to friends of the same age. After all, they didn’t know much either.
I decided to talk to an older woman. Some people couldn’t remember their menopausal experience. Some sailed without any symptoms. My partner’s post-menopausal aunt told me, “You will learn what you didn’t know you needed to know.”
She was right.
I have learned that there is a range of over 30 potential symptoms-some can be minor and others can be significantly life-changing.
I learned that the unpredictable process of my ovaries rewinding estrogen production can take 1 to 10 years. The menopause does not officially end until the woman runs out of a period of at least one year, and the symptoms may continue.
I was lucky to receive a meaningful message from a friend who was much older than me. “What if I feel like this forever?” I asked. “You won’t do that,” said one. ‘how do you know? ‘ I asked. “Because there is a solution. There is always a solution.”
I took her advice-in support of my GP-and decided to go to the Wellington Menopause Clinic.
“I don’t feel like myself,” I told an expert. “I feel like I was hit by a bus.”
“It’s perfectly normal,” she said.
I cried with confidence. During the 40-minute appointment, experts explained that my symptoms were a sign that my estrogen levels had bottomed out and that estrogen had over 400 biological effects. The antidepressant I started was replaced with an estrogen patch and progesterone capsules to balance the fluctuating hormones.
Within a few days of starting the patch, the stomach vortex stopped and my appetite returned. In the weeks and months that followed, my mood rose and other symptoms disappeared one after another. I started sleeping again all night.
After 18 months, I know the importance of adjusting my pace. I still need to relax in the evening and go to bed right after the kids. But I feel like myself again.
According to the Australasia Menopause Association, 20% of women suffer from severe symptoms, 60% have moderate symptoms, and 20% escape without doing anything.
Knowing the potential symptoms of menopause and the different ways to manage them would have saved me and my family a lot of unnecessary worries.
Inspired by the concept of Deathover Supper and Jefferson Supper, I brought in eight friends in their 40s and 70s and invited them to dinner, which I called Martini Menopause. Everyone had questions or wants to say, whether or not someone had symptoms. The martini was clearly an option.
As one guest subsequently commented, “Everyone should know about wild roller coasters where female sex hormones can ingest them. They don’t have to be taboo, they need to be limited to women talking about it. There is no such thing. “
Other friends started asking when I hosted the next dinner. That wasn’t my intention, but I’ve hosted three so far. Launched a website to help others host their own..
As more activists make some noise about menopause, I feel more and more highlighted by the momentum gathering around the world.
In 2019, British activists succeeded in adding menopause to their secondary school sex education curriculum.
Recently, Michelle Obama shared her thoughts on menopause with the world.. “It’s important information that a woman’s body is passing through her. Half of us are experiencing this, but we live like it’s not happening, so space in society It’s important to take. “
And Caitlin Moran: ‘…our [women’s] Act III tends to see the formation of a whole new life. Enter hill walking. I found a charity. Start meditation. We make a garden. Get a PhD. Learn tango. We start our business. We participate in the campaign. “
My third act seems to be going well. I live on a hill. I walked every day and started a campaign for change.
Since that day when I almost fainted to go home, I’ve held the other wise words of my partner’s aunt:
“Menopause can be difficult, but when you get to the other side, you’ll feel like a newer and better version of yourself. You’ll have a new sense of freedom.”
I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it, and more women who feel more information and better support in the process.
The day of global menopause is Sunday, October 18, 2020.
*Sarah Connor is a Wellington writer, mother, and activist.Read more about Martini Menopause here..
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