I have just had my perimenopause official diagnosis and have just started my HRT this week. Sharing my story of my perimenopause, the symptoms and getting treatment is important. I share what I felt in my body, how I felt in my head and how I went about getting the doctor to give me those precious hormones. It will help you to recognise what you might be going through and to get help for yourself.
I had a guest post from Positive Pause back in 2019. I was 42 then and little did I know two years later I would be living the vital guidance they gave to me and my readers. But here is my story, and my four months that it took to get diagnosis and treatment. This is quick!
July 2021 – It all began – The symptoms
Everything changed for me in mid July. I went to Standon Calling festival and met a group of friends who changed my outlook on life. From that point forwards I decided to sort myself out. My physical and mental health. It was also when I had my contraceptive implant removed and a Mirena coil (progesterone hormone contraception) fitted and my bleeding started. My first perimenopause symptom, erratic bleeding
I was on a positive journey with my health. I had joined a gym and I was eating healthily. My weight was falling steadily, not too much. By mid September I was 9kg lighter and well on my way to being a happy size 12. My goal. But I was still bleeding. Every day.
Then some other symptoms started. My sleep started to suffer, terrible insomnia, with hot sweats and awful dreams would wake me up. I was starting to experience mental health things like anxiety, anger and paranoia. I would need to sleep every afternoon to recover from the bad night sleep and the cycle was getting worse, I was constantly tired.
My skin was itching, I was bruising more than I normally do with my peach skin (low platelets). My hair was falling out and my nails were breaking.
The overwhelm got too much and I was crying a lot. Is this sounding familiar?
I started to learn about the Perimenopause and Took Action
Over the summer months I listened to a podcast from Gabi Logan who interviewed Davina McCall in one episode. It was such an inspiring interview, so honest and refreshing about the symptoms of perimenopause. The feelings, the emotions, the dry vagina and loss of sex drive. And I realised I was going through all/most of these symptoms.
In October I finally took action (yes I’m good at procrastinating sometimes) and booked an appointment with my doctor. My doctor is a specialist in gynaecological issues and perimenopause and menopause and I had to wait three weeks for an appointment. In the meantime I downloaded the FREE Balance Menopause App from Dr Louise Newson and bought her book. I then started tracking my symptoms and using the app could email them directly to my doctor in preparation for the appointment I had booked.
At The Appointment
My doctor (she) ordered full blood tests, and internal swabs and tests for everything. A full gynea MOT. The bleeding is a potential issue, and it was important to rule out anything sinister, cancer etc.
I had the swabs, STI tests, blood tests all done within 48 hours, thanks to efficiency of the nurses at my Knebworth GP surgery and the efficiency of Stevenage Lister hospital blood test department.
My follow up Appointment
My next appointment was booked for early Nov. I had to speak to the doctor as there was things in the results that they needed to discuss with me. Bingo, I knew that perimenopause had been confirmed. On 9th Nov I had another telephone consult with my doctor who confirmed perimenopause had started, but only just and requested that I come to surgery that day, yes that very same day for more checks and tests. Whilst I was on the phone I also shared my concerns about my heart, as my sister had just had a heart attack.
Three hours later I am in the surgery with a cardio nurse for an ECG, all is fine. And also the practice nurse for another internal exam (bleeding issues ongoing), more tests again and my blood pressure. My doctor won’t agree to give me oestrogen until all of these tests come back okay. I am a little stressed with all of these tests and my blood pressure registers as 140/93. This is too high (bottom measure ‘should’ be at around 70 to 90.
I am sent home awaiting more results and have to go back to Lister again for more bloods, plus I am booked in for an internal ultrasound to check on the bleeding. I bought a blood pressure machine from Amazon for £25 to keep track of my blood pressure at home for a week. Then I returned to see the nurse for another blood pressure check, and all was totally fine with the blood pressure checks at home. My heart is very healthy.
I am still suffering with symptoms by mid November – now 4 months after my first symptoms started.
I am still awaiting for the doctor ito give me my hormones now she is happy with my blood pressure. My symptoms are still present. The insomnia is killing me, the anxiety and overwhelm and anger are too much. My friends are getting the brunt of this, the guy I am seeing has met me at the most emotional time of my life. I don’t want him to see me angry, upset or being unreasonable. This is not me.
I get another appointment with my doctor on 23rd Nov and tell her about my melt down. On Sunday 21st November, just one week ago. I cried for four hours straight, from 7am to 11 am and I could not stop. I had my children at home with me, my nine year old son hugged me for five minutes solid trying to make me feel better.
My friend Fran also saw me for a coffee after the meltdown. She is also going through perimenopause at the same time, which is nice to have a someone to talk to in exactly the same position. She told me go straight to doctors and demand the oestrogen gel, she showed me how to put it on, and said they have to listen to me and give me the hormone even if there are other things they are checking (ultrasounds for cancer etc). Particularly if it is affecting your mental health.
This was not right, the four hour crying episode. So I shared with my doctor that this is not me and she agreed. I was prescribed me with oestrogen gel (estradiol), a brand called Sandrena (which sounds like a beautiful French stylish woman). One sachet a day 0.5mg, I put it on my inner thigh, rub in then wash hands. Leave to dry for two minutes. I started this on Tuesday 23rd November and IMMEDIATLY felt better.
Since I started Using the Gel
My sleep has improved hugely. Every night I have slept solidly for at least seven hours, sometimes more. My anxiety, paranoia and anger has reduced hugely. My bleeding has stopped, HURRAH, after four months this is a HUGE deal. And I want to shout from the roof tops how wonderful this HRT is.
Please don’t suffer in silence. There are so many perimenopause symptoms that can go on for ten years, yes ten years before actual menopause – the time when your periods stop. You are officially in MENOPAUSE if your period have stopped for one year.
- TALK to your friends. Be open about physical and mental symptoms
- Download the Balance Menopause app from Dr Louise Newson
- Buy Preparing the Perimenopause and Menopause book from Dr Louise Newson
- Track your symptoms and go to your doctor, and take your report from the Balance app with you!
- Don’t suffer in silence.
Good luck and let me know in comments or drop me a DM on Instagram to let me know how you get on
This post contains affiliate links to products that can be bought from Amazon. I get a tiny cut, like 3p or something ridiculous, it does not affect the price you pay.