There are dozens of forums that I know of where women go to discuss their menopause symptoms. There’s probably hundreds worldwide. I follow a handful. But what still amazes me is how little women are prepared for menopause when it enters their lives.
So often, I read posts from women who are suffering terribly! I mean, life-changing, debilitating symptoms. They reach out to other women on the forum in the hope that they can find a solution to their problem. “Who’s tried magnesium?” “Has anyone else experienced random spasms?” “Does anyone know why I’m losing weight?” “Do you know if anxiety could be down to my menopause?” “Any thoughts about how I can change my diet to balance my hormones?”
I think it’s fantastic to have a safe space to be able to share how we feel, knowing that others reading our words have been through their own, sometimes awful, experiences, and can, at the very least, empathise. But I think it’s sad that women appear to rely on others’ personal views or experiences for their own relief, for their research even, possibly because they don’t know where to turn.
When I see a woman pouring her heart out, clearly distraught and at the end of her tether with her menopausal symptoms, and she’s looking for guidance within a forum because she’s tried her doctor and been told to get on with it, “It’s just what to expect,” I always, without fail, direct them to find a specialist.
It’s not the GP’s fault that he doesn’t have a lot of knowledge around peri and menopause. It’s simply because training in this area barely exists. In fact, less than 20% of training in obstetrician/gynecological programmes offer any support in this area. This means doctors are often not confident enough to prescribe HRT or to advise on alternative methods to support someone having dreadful symptoms.
Furthermore, some are still not aware of the NICE guidelines and are still citing information from the 2002 WHO study, which caused millions of women to suddenly stop taking HRT due to the newspaper reports released too early, mainly reporting that to take it meant you could get breast cancer and probably die. The details of the report have largely been refuted and have found to be flawed in almost every area.
So the advice, without exception, is to seek the advice of a menopause specialist, or a doctor or nurse with a special interest in menopause. Every woman must be treated as an individual, given time to take family history and health history, and to be given ALL the options. It’s not a snap decision, and without a formal consultation, should NOT be made.
So ladies, don’t hesitate. If you think you’re experiencing perimenopause symptoms, please, please, find someone who can give you the help you richly deserve.
Here’s a good place to start: https://thebms.org.uk/find-a-menopause-specialist/
It’s all about you, lovely.
I’m not a qualified clinician, dietician, or psychologist. I write based only on my own experiences and research into menopause. J Wood