I thought I was too young for menopause, and my Doctor thought I was too young too, but I knew that my body and mind was altering. I was torn between having the mind of a 25 year old but at times it was matched with the metabolism of an 80 year old. After being refused tests by my Doctor to confirm whether I was menopausal I tried to ignore it too, working long hours, training even when I was exhausted and then burning out and either getting ill or just not being able to get out of bed for days.
I thought about giving up exercise, about how life would be less painful, tiring and more relaxed if I just stopped!
Thankfully, before I made that decision I researched my own symptoms.
One of the first things I came across was written by the founder of a menopause charity, she said that women should ‘research, research, research to find their own answers’ and that symptoms are more effective than blood tests in confirming menopause status, she urges women to trust their feelings.
Reading this gave me the confidence to believe how I was feeling. I found that the more I researched, the less alone I felt and the more I realised that this was something that I could either push through and ignore (potentially for 10-15 years!), or accept and learn from.
Almost all of the articles that I found had common themes:
· The importance of a balanced diet and not cutting out food groups (like carbs).
· The benefits of exercise – especially strength based training.
· Using food and exercise to manage inflammation (which can be the cause of short and long-term illnesses).
· How the benefits of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) can be worth considering.
Over months, I managed to control some symptoms, but others would then start and my mood swings turned me into a person that I didn’t recognise. On top of that, I felt like I was fighting a losing battle with my weight, my energy levels and my sleep routines and it was all building – I had to ask for help.
I never thought that the first thing I would do would be to request HRT from my doctor. Just a month in some of the worst symptoms are easing. It’s still early days, and I know I am in the early days of this stage of my life, but already I have learnt that accepting help, going easy on myself and listening to my body is the way forward for me.
From all of this there are a few things that I have learnt and found helpful: