Women Like Us Share Real Menopause Stories: Vanessa

Four 40 year old women friends

Vanessa shares:

Hi there, my name is Vanessa.

I’ve been in menopause for what seems like forever. Since at least 2013.

My Symptoms

It has been full of ongoing endless symptoms from itchy skin, feeling drained, permanently irritable, to being anxious most days for no particular reason.

I’m not sure if perimenopause is worse but having symptoms that seem to be cyclical means that I know that some of them will come back in a few months time.

The worst symptoms for me are having bouts of nausea and light-headedness.

I have found that medical professionals do not seem to know the answers so I did all my own research to see what alternative therapies or medicines would help me.

What I Found Helpful

Reading all sorts of articles and books and making changes to my diet is definitely beneficial.

Following Ayurvedic medicine and diet helps too but it is costly.

Being in contact with other women in online chat is most helpful. You see how others seem to experience even more. I found talking to friends makes me feel happier if it is possible to be happy (I am not sure about that).

Learning to be kind to ourselves is so essential to our wellbeing as is eating healthily and doing lots of exercise. I have found that it’s indispensable in helping us through this very demanding hormonal time in our lives.

And sharing and talking is all part of the therapy.

Q&A

1. When did you first realise perimenopause had begun?

2013.

2. Did you understand what perimenopause (as opposed to menopause) was?

No.

3. Did you feel you were too young?

Not sure.

4. Were you shocked/surprised?

Surprised perhaps at symptoms.

5. What have been a few of your major challenges?

Trying to focus on happy things. 

Having to research endlessly about what would help me without artificial hormones.

6. How did you overcome these if you have?

Eating very well and talking to other women.

7. What have you struggled with?

Feeling fed up of unpleasant symptoms and trying to concentrate on day to day life.

8. Has there been a turning point for you at any stage?

Not sure.

9. Do you understand this journey?

No.

10. Has MenoMe contributed to your experience?

Not sure. 

It’s good to do these questionnaires.

11. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just that we all have to find the best treatment for ourselves and be kind to ourselves. Talking to other women as much as we can.

 

This is my story. I hope it helps*.

 

 

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*Please note: Vanessa has used her own name however, for your info, none of the women in the photograph is Vanessa or friends of Vanessa.
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Post-menopause


This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.

Perimenopause

Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.