Dealing With Early Menopause - Lorna Ive, Founder of Perimenopost.
Let me introduce myself to you,
I am Lorna Ive, the founder of PeriMenoPost.
A menopausal 48 year old Mum of four children, happily married and living in East Sussex.
If you had asked me 8 years ago that I would be blogging to you to highlight the menopause I would probably have dismissed it and laughed,
“Not me!” Wrong!
My light bulb moment came to me around two years ago. I really felt I wanted to help others going through an early menopause, perimenopause, menopause and post menopause.
Upon reflection, looking back at my early menopause symptoms, they started around the age of 35 with heavy periods. I put this down to just being “me”, I must of been the only woman to have had continuous problems and suffering with periods, PMT and pain. I had absolutely no idea of what was lying in wait for me …
My main symptoms being that I was having heavy periods and pain. My Doctors and Family suggested that I have a Hysterectomy. I received no information that having this would force me into a Menopause. I had four young children at that time and I was still quite young in terms of family life. The idea of having this procedure could have been a living hell and I just did not feel ready to have such a huge life changing operation at that moment in time.
Exactly six months before my 40th Birthday, a milestone that was looming over me. They say life begins at 40. But for me the bleeding started and it never stopped. This was the start of the horrendous rollercoaster of visits to Doctors, Specialists, various scans, X-Rays and tests but to no avail, it was just “me:”
I felt l was swimming in a sea of loneliness and confusion at a very vulnerable time. I had no idea what was happening to my body and my overall well being, I just knew that something was not right. At 43 years old with an unhelpful GP I battled through. I was keeping diaries, seeing specialists, having scans; tests, taking supplements, diet and exercise.
However, there does come a point when you think to yourself, is this just “me” and you start to question “why is this happening to me?” You can’t quite put your finger on it, all you know is that it can be debilitating and life changing. None of my friends or family really could relate or understand, no one else was having such issues.
Before my 45th Birthday, my symptoms increased and I experienced insomnia, fatigue, hot flushes, and anxiety. Having never suffered before with anxiety this was a symptom I never knew was a part of menopause.I was really struggling by this stage. I luckily changed GP, this was a defining moment for myself. A supportive GP and their time was all it took to help and guide me.
I was fortunate enough to be referred to a local Gynaecologist - a man who simply said to me “have you had your hormones tested?”
“no” I replied,
“you could be having an early Menopause”
“No, not me surely not, I’m too young”
That’s when I came to a realisation of the journey that I had been on, it hit me like a car crash as to what I had been dealing with.
On one hand I felt relief with the knowledge, but at the same time a sense of great loss of myself poured over me. I felt Waves of emotions that would come and go, it was very distressing and came as a huge shock.
I realised at this point that no one speaks of the Menopause and most definitely not an early Menopause. Whether it is a generational issue or one’s own pride. Women do not talk about it. This needs to change (pardon the pun), women need to know what to expect and be prepared for when it comes. It can feel very lonely, as you do feel different. I experienced feelings of anger as I felt I was not ready to have this happen to me and that It had never occurred to me that I was in the throes of an early Menopause.
I was prescribed HRT and I can honestly say it has changed my quality of life. My hormone levels were alarmingly low and this spurred me to make the decision that I made to take HRT I wanted control back over my life. I did not want the Menopause to control or define me any more.
Throughout this time, there was no mention of Perimenopause or Menopause. Trying to find information in my local area of West Kent was very difficult, all that was available was very medical based from a frantic google search. It was not very helpful with regards to directing you to the correct form of treatment and there was no offer of support.
PeriMenoPost is my vision born out of my own personal experience. I wanted to create a valuable resource for women online to create a fun, friendly and caring online community. For women to feel safe, valued and to ask questions, share experiences but most importantly to be able to feel accepted, embraced and normal.
During my campaign of #UndoTheMenoTaboo women of West Kent are now able to be prescribed HRT treatment from their GP. Oestrogel and Utrogestan the forms of HRT.
The West Kent Commissioning Care Guide decided that GP’s can now prescribe on the formulary which was fantastic news!! During my campaign also, it was great to have been caught up in the menopause frenzy that was #BBCMenopause on social media.
Such a huge step forward in the right direction for awareness and information for everyone to learn more facts about menopause.
Every woman at some point during their life will go through the stages of menopause. The more we can talk and discuss menopause this will make early menopause, perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause become more normalised. Men too will experience a partner, a loved one, a sister, a colleague going through this stage of a woman's life, it is important that men are included and aware of the emotional impact that menopause can bring to many women on top of the physical changes.
I have thoroughly enjoyed building PeriMenoPost and creating a resource for women and I am very excited to have launched www.perimenopost.com
Taking PeriMenoPost onto the next stage with menopause friendly workshops for the workplace, a social media consultancy service that offers menopause friendly products a strategic social media presence and awareness. Meet Mighty Menos - a workplace coffee group and menopause friendly events. Listen in too to weekly podcasts and blogs and join in the conversation too. Come and say hello.