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Read how a consultation and oestrogen gel treatment helped one woman combat lack of sleep, hot flushes and anxiety. Thanks to the treatment, she now feels less irritable, is sleeping much better and even running again.
Lisa* is a self-employed architect, 48 years old, divorced with a teenage daughter at home. Her menopause journey began (as many do) with hot flushes and night sweats which caused difficulty sleeping.
She also felt tired a lot of the time and lacking in energy and motivation. She used to love running but even that became a struggle.
Like many women going through the perimenopause, she had brain fog and found it hard to concentrate and remember her clients’ names. This caused her to worry that she was getting early dementia. On top of all of this, she found herself getting irrationally mad with her teenage daughter.
Looking back over the past two years, she realised she was getting more and more stressed trying to balance her work and personal life. Anxiety had crept in, especially during activities she would have usually had no issue with, like driving on the motorway.
Lisa had a Mirena™ coil which had been fit three years ago for heavy periods and contraception, and she hadn’t had a period since then.
Lisa was helped by our Co-Founder, Dr Clare Spencer. During the consultation, Clare listened carefully to Lisa’s description of her symptoms and concerns, and explained the perimenopause, menopause and their associated symptoms.
Clare reassured Lisa that she wasn’t going mad and didn’t have early dementia – changes in hormones were likely to be responsible for her symptoms.
It was hard for Clare to tell where Lisa was in the menopause transition. In the perimenopause, periods often become irregular before stopping altogether. The Mirena (™) coil had successfully stopped Lisa periods, so they could not use bleeding patterns to diagnose the perimenopause or menopause – symptoms were the most important factor. It didn’t matter that they didn’t know where in the transition Lisa was – the management options were the same.
Feeling relieved, Lisa talked to Clare about all her options, including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). She was worried about HRT because her grandma had breast cancer in her 60s.
HRT replaces and addresses the balance of oestrogen in the body. Lisa needed a progestogen as well though, as oestrogen taken by itself can thicken the womb lining.
Because Lisa was already getting the progestogen hormone from her Mirena™ coil, Clare recommended adding oestrogen patches, gel or spray as the lowest-risk option. Tablets were also a possibility, but they increase the risk of blood clots and strokes.
Lisa decided the oestrogen gel was the best treatment option for her and started to use one pump measure a day. She was also reassured that her grandma’s history wouldn’t significantly increase her risk of breast cancer. In addition, taking HRT under the age of 51 doesn’t significantly increase breast cancer risk.
When she started HRT, Lisa initially felt a bit nauseous and her breasts felt tender and enlarged. However, her symptoms soon settled down and within a week or so she noticed her hot flushes decreasing in intensity and frequency at night.
She started to sleep better and felt less tired during the day. Her brain fog started to lift, and she started running again. She felt calmer and stopped arguing with her daughter.
With a little more time, her hot flushes stopped altogether. After a month or so, she noticed that she didn’t feel as anxious and happily started driving on the motorway again.
Some of the improvements were subtle, but looking back, Lisa could really see a positive difference.
HRT helped Lisa regain control when the drop of oestrogen made her feel as if she was losing her mind.
Thank you for listening to me and explaining what was going on. It was such a relief to know that I was not going mad. I feel so much better with HRT and have no plans to stop it.
Perhaps your story is like Lisa’s, or maybe it’s completely different. The important thing to remember is that everyone experiences the menopause in their own way with different symptoms.
If you’re unsure about the signs, you can read about the menopause symptoms, take our Menopause Questionnaire or book a consultation to speak to one of the doctors in our menopause clinic.
*While Lisa herself is fictional, her story reflects the experience of many women in the menopause transition.
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