Davina McCall I salute you.

Last night I watched a documentary on Perimenopause and Menopause. Five minutes after I began watching, I posted on Facebook urging my friends to watch it. I knew that it was going to help so many women.

Sex, Mind and Menopause was a documentary with Davina McCall aired on Channel 4. If you did not see it, I urge you to watch it on catch up whilst you still can. It will bring you an understanding of what women around you may be going through and may encourage a more empathic approach instead of just brushing off things which might seem out of character. It was incredibly informative, heartwarming and emotional at times. Not only did it give us the brutal facts, but it also gave hope to people. https://www.channel4.com/programmes/davina-mccall-sex-mind-and-the-menopause/on-demand/73406-001

After watching this documentary to its conclusion I couldn’t help but think What a total eye opener! Thank you Davina McCall for bringing this subject to the fore. Sharing her own experience of this made me see this presenter in a down to earth and relatable light. I suspect that this will be a day when women all over the UK are doing alot of research and thinking about what was shown. I have had several lightbulb moments, thinking about what was said. The neuroscientists who spoke made complete sense, the image of a 43 year old brain at perimenopause was shocking. Going through much of what was discussed myself and not knowing what the cause of these symptoms actually might be has been difficult. Yes, we all hear about menopause equalling hot sweats and decreased libido, but I had never heard of perimenopause until recently. My own personal suffering with three long term health issues can complicate things and as a consequence, we do not necessarily think outside of the box. I will freely admit that up until now I haven’t either. A new symptom is just put down to being something else that may or may not be part of an existing illness, whilst all the time our health and wellbeing is going downhill. After a full hysterectomy 13 years ago, I mistakenly thought I had been cured of Endometriosis, I went to the gynaecologist who was an Endometriosis specialist and in my eyes a magician six months later and he told me he could not find any more Endometriosis. Since I had all of my reproductive system removed, how could it be possible that I would get it any more? Oh how naive I was. Endometriosis is incurable I later found out and attaches itself to scar tissue, which I have plenty of as well as other organs in the body. I experienced all kinds of similar pain just in different places. It also affects the immune system long term and since it takes at least 7 years to diagnose, has a huge impact on the mental health aswell.

I began taking HRT via Estraderm patches, the day after my surgery. At 35 I did not want to have brittle bones, hot flushes etc and thankfully they seemed to agree with me. I did not suffer any noticeable side effects from them. My hysterectomy like many other people, rectified the cyclical symptoms, but to the detriment of other things, it was as though someone has flicked the switch on my libido almost overnight. In the early days, I just accepted that this was a response to major surgery and that it would return along with the healthy sex life we had. After a couple of years, I mentioned it to the Doctor and nothing was discussed further… No suggestions were made. It was assumed for the better quality of life following the surgery, sacrifices had been made. But I was not happy about this at all and it has over the years put a strain on our loving relationship.

But, back to this documentary…

What was a total eye-opener is that so many people feel that they have no one to talk to about this, in the days before social media, I am guessing even less was mentioned about what is actually a massive issue for a huge percentage of women. What a wonderful realisation that No, we are not all crazy after all.

To find out 13 years later that it is highly likely that a simple application of Testosterone gel might rectify the lacking libido, help clear the brain fog, the frustration, the fatigue, the lack of strength, insomnia and excruciating joint pain I have suffered over the past few years has left me reeling. I am also asking the question, why on earth was this never mentioned? Having had a medically induced menopause so long ago, my unquestioning acceptance of all these changes as being the norm, or something else is making me feel a little bit foolish. So this afternoon I have done some more research and found so many more women like me who have also had medically induced menopause from Endometriosis and have eventually benefitted from the addition of Testosterone gel to their daily routine.

So, today I, like many more women in their 40’s I suspect, have contacted my own doctor. I have an appointment in a couple of weeks time, with a female doctor who I can discuss candidly what has been going wrong. Who knows but I suspect that many of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia may be reduced if this treatment is offered and I am looking forward to getting some answers. It has occurred to me though, that the percentage of Fibromyalgia symptoms in women of perimenopausal and menopausal age may be drastically reduced by simply getting their hormone levels right for them.

The statistics for suicide in women of menopausal age are frightening and should not be ignored. If I can urge any women over 30 who are affected by sudden changes in their mental or physical health to discuss this with someone, anyone actually it might just save a few lives. But if nothing else, it will make you realise that there are others who have gone through this too and who are prepared to help you. Do not suffer alone.

I had never heard of “Body identical” Estrogen until last night, I for one will be asking far more questions about this going forward. It’s a learning curve. Medical science is ever changing, what suited 13 years ago may not suit so well now. My body has changed so much over that time why would I not think that metabolism had stood still. Time certainly hasn’t!