The M Word: Sarah, 53

Though our blog mainly focuses on Periods and the issues and sometimes joys that are associated with it – we felt it only right to look at the very end of our cycle – Menopause! 

October 18th is World Menopause day! Workplaces all over the nation are having menopause cafes to celebrate, raise awareness and support to a large number of women!

Sarah has been so kind to detail her journey from requesting a hysterectomy as a teenager to hot sweats she now faces during menopause. 

Twins don’t share everything 

I started my period when I was 12 years old. I suffered from day one as they were always very heavy and very painful. For the first 24 – 48 hours of my period each month I would feel physical ill and vomit. I suffered really bad with premenstrual tension and everyone in the house soon learnt to avoid me for a few days every month. This would interrupt my social life and would often have to have a day or two off from school each month. One of my earliest memories from having periods was going to southend with my friends for the day when I started to get cramps and waves of sickness I knew that I had to get home quickly. Another memory was when I had the usual monthly cramps and sickness, my mother understood the severity of my periods and said I should stay home that day. My twin brother had over heard that I was unwell, not realising my period was the cause he told our mum that he thought he was coming down with what I had so he should stay home too.

I begged for a Hysterectomy at 14 

My period symptoms went on for a couple of years interrupting both my school and social life. It got so bad that at the age of 14, I went to both my parents and begged them for a hysterectomy. My mum made an appointment with the GP where I was prescribed various painkillers, some worked better than others. I was still suffering. I commenced on the contraceptive pill (Ovran) and that really seemed to do the trick. The pill helped regulate my periods, it made them lighter and the sickness had gone. After around a year of taking Ovran it was discontinued due to the high risk of side effects.

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I was then prescribed microgynon which also worked well for me. I continued taking the pill up until the age of 23. I had thinning of the skin on one of my legs and the GP had advised I stopped taking the pill for a short period of time as he felt this may have been a side effect, he prescribed me for some cream for my leg. When I stopped taking the pill the cramps and heavy periods came back and shortly after, I fell pregnant with my daughter.

Labour Pains were like Period Pains

I had a very good pregnancy. I was really worried about labour however I was lucky that both of my labours with my children were short and I could compare the labour pains to the painful cramps that I was used to when I first started my period. Post pregnancy I went back on the pill then came off it to have my son. After having my son I went back on the pill. I had one of each and decided that i did not want anymore children so at the age of 30 I made the decision to be sterilised. I had my tubes tied. I thought this would have helped settle my periods, however my periods were extremely heavy although there was no more nausea and vomiting. I was annoyed that despite undergoing such an invasive surgery I still had periods. I had thought the sterilisation would make my periods disappear forever.

labour

This went on until the age of 50, I had one random bout of spotting then they just stopped. I was aware you could go through the menopause at late 40s to 50s, I remember my mum having a fan by her bed but apart from that I did not know much else about menopause. I went to the GP where he confirmed that I was in the menopause.

Hot Flushes + Urination = Menopause 

I still get PMS symptoms (according to my family). I am now 3 years into the menopause and have noticed a change in myself emotionally. Rather than being extremely “moody” I now often feel anxious even about the most simplest of things. I often hot flashes especially during the night time. My torso gets really hot, strangely I find if I get up and urinate my discomfort is alleviated. I’m not good at taking medication regularly and was reluctant to take HRT due to the bad press and risks  associated with it. 

fan

I cannot remember the last time I had a full uninterrupted nights sleep as the hot flashes wake me up. Although I do not miss the heavy painful periods I do miss a good nights sleep. I get worn out quicker than I would before and regularly feel tired and have been known to have naps in the day. When I listen to others stories about their experience of the menopause I feel I have been lucky with my experience. The menopause for me is still on going I am hoping that I have avoided the part of getting facial hair.

On Reflection

Reflecting on m bodies journey through periods  to menopause and all the events inbetween… I do not  feel any less of a woman due to sterilization or menopause. I am fully accepting of it and feel Menopause was one of the best things to happen as I no longer have to suffer bad periods. I had my children, it served its purpose and that’s the circle of life.

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Have you had a similar experiences to Sarah? What are your views on Menopause? Let us know in the comment section below! 

 

Check out our Heavy flow series here!

Hear about our readers first Periods.

Exercising and Periods we got you covered!

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