My Menopause Journey Out of the Darkness
The Menopause for me (though the word Menopause never entered my mind at the time) really started with the sudden loss of my Mum in January 2012 - total shock and devastation - I turned into a nervous, depressed wreck. I was 44. Hot flushes/sweats, depression and anxiety started virtually immediately. I put it all down to stress and grief (stress depletes hormones - I had no clue about this or Menopause/Peri Menopause at the time). I had 1 period that year, and 1 period the following year, that was my last period. During this time my anxiety, hot flashes and depression continued and I was also getting increasingly thirsty a lot. Not knowing what else to do, out of desperation I go on antidepressants but I’m hating the side effects. In January 2016 (still having hot flashes, depression and anxiety) I developed an animal allergy I never had before, and I just got more ill over the months - post nasal drip which caused acid reflux which caused chest problems which caused chronic bronchitis and I was bordering on pneumonia - doctors did not help, luckily I was in Tenerife when I got really bad and struggled with breathing (April 2016), (where I finally got the diagnosis i.e. chronic bronchitis, 2 days away from being hospitalised with pneumonia the doctor said) and the doctor there gave me better care and treatment and I got over the worst, but it took time to recover fully. I was still weak for months. I was baffled as to how I got so ill, I have never been this ill in my life. I have since discovered Menopause isn't an illness, but it can cause illnesses. It affects the immune system amongst other things. As soon as I recovered, then my Menopause really kicked off (stress, trauma and illnesses can also affect/deplete hormones).
I literally woke up one morning, in July 2016, and thought I had stepped into hell - my head was shaking, heart pounding and I felt utter terror and fear, for no reason. Then this followed - I felt: guilty, useless, insecure, swinging between being fatigued then insomnia, depressed, very anxious and jumpy, clumsy, nervous, tense, paranoid, feeling full of fear, obsessive thoughts, felt like I had about 10 different mood swings in the space of a few minutes. The mornings were particularly bad - starting with head shaking as soon as I opened my eyes and then also the rest of my body continued shaking for the rest of the day. The depression was deep and the anxiety was so severe it was nauseating. I have never experienced depression and anxiety on this level, it was hell. I went to the doctors and they ran some tests, but could not find a cause the shaking/tremors. I felt in need of psychiatric care, scared, anxiety/panic attacks so strong I felt like being sick, the brain fog was frightening, difficulty taking in information - either verbal or read. I forgot or couldn’t remember words or what I wanted to say and had trouble getting the right words out (sometimes the wrong words would come out, like no brain to mouth function - embarrassing!). I was very concerned that I was going to lose my job that I enjoy - I thought how can I live and work like this? I then started to have heart pain, which was present most of the time and was worrying. The pain got intense at times, and it felt like my heart was on fire. I go to the doctors and get checked out, ECG monitor, blood tests to also check I hadn’t had a heart attack. All came back and I’m in the clear, and they can’t find anything wrong. I’m now thinking this must be hormones, I then find out Menopause can put a strain on your heart. I was confused, spaced out, couldn't tolerate alcohol - made my brain go to mush. I had insomnia/sleep disturbances/waking in the middle of the night and unable to get back to sleep. I’m having hot flushes, even just thinking about something I was concerned about. It would feel like a wave of deep depression and anxiety/fear followed by a hot flush. I’m waking in the night and morning hot and wet. I was getting very easily upset, crying a lot, couldn’t handle any form of stress. I felt like a stranger in a strange land, didn't know who I was, and was now getting electric shocks and cramps in feet and calves. It was like every week I was getting presented with new and improved symptoms and I didn’t know what else I was going to wake up to in the mornings 😟 In the space of a few weeks my 2 front teeth chipped, nails broke off and skin peeling off my feet, very dry skin and hair, dry eye (when I was in perimenopause, that I didn’t know at the time as I had never heard of it, the dry eye caused a few eye infections, flashes and floaters, and I ended up in hospital and diagnosed with PVD (posterior vitreous detachment) there is probably more but too much to remember! .... ). I felt totally disturbed, and I couldn’t get a break from it, symptoms were coming at me in every direction, thick and fast, day and night, I thought how am I going to get out of this hell?
Then the penny dropped, this must be Menopause. Which sounds ridiculous now, but I really thought I had some years to go yet, and I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. I looked up the symptoms, I had no idea Menopause could cause this many problems or make you feel so ill, mentally, emotionally and physically. I thought it happened around the age of 52 or older and it would just be a few hot flushes and feeling a bit irritable, that’s all I knew!
So, in short I tried HRT (synthetic), BHRT, DHEA, Pregnenolone and a list of other things. They all gave me side effects, mainly weight gain and fluid retention/cellulite. In particular the HRT (synthetic) made me worse, including weight gain, fluid retention, cellulite and killer period pains and headaches daily and I had to stop taking it. The BHRT was a slight improvement, but the estrogel was horrendous, anxiety, insomnia, brain fog and hot flashes were worse, I put on 7lb in 10 days, to make matters worse then I had out of control appetite, I literally had my head in the fridge every half hour, it was driving me mad! Now I know why, low levels of Progesterone, compared to Estrogen, increases appetite. I was literally pulling my hair out trying to understand what was going on, how on earth am I going to fix this, I can’t live like this. I wasn’t interested in treating my symptoms, like taking antidepressants or investing in fans around the house, I wanted to get to the root of the problem and to treat the cause. I wanted to replace what was lost in order to get well and balanced again, so I could have my life, sanity and health back.
I done a lot of research and it was confusing. Most of what I read said the symptoms were caused by lack of Estrogen, I was totally baffled because Estrogen made me worse. Then I came across Estrogen Dominance and the importance of Progesterone and that Progesterone levels plummet quicker and faster than Estrogen, causing what is referred to as Estrogen Dominance, ta da!! I couldn’t believe what I was reading, this was me, this is what’s happening to me! No wonder I have been so confused with doctors and articles on the internet keep saying I need more Estrogen! This all seems to make much more sense to me. So, I research for which cream to get, as Progesterone capsules lose about 80% of the Progesterone when ingested, this doesn’t happen with topical Progesterone I am learning. I learn about the importance of Paraben Free products, particularly in Menopause, as they are hormone disrupters, all this leads me to a natural organic Progesterone Cream, Natpro. Natpro is of great quality and it is 100% natural and through my research as well I have found most Progesterone Creams are 20mg Progesterone per 1/4 teaspoon and Natpro is 40mg Progesterone per 1/4 teaspoon (50mg per pump/dose). So the cheaper creams I am figuring are false economy, plus on looking into the ingredients, they are not Paraben Free, despite advertising as such. I order some Natpro and start using as soon as it arrives. I have read the theory, now let’s put this in to practice! To my amazement, within a few days, I get up one morning and it’s like someone had turned the light on from my 5 years of darkness! Everywhere looked brighter, I had energy, focus and enthusiasm. The depression, anxiety, heart pain and brain fog had gone, such a relief. I was able to come off my antidepressants successfully, which I was glad about. Then over the next few weeks I noticed more symptoms disappear, and I had about every symptom, until they were all gone. I knew things had been bad for the last 5 years, but once I was better, I realised exactly how bad it really was. I didn’t realise I had almost gotten used to new normal.
So I then decided to create a Facebook page and a Facebook group and now this Website to share my experiences, in case it helped others. I really wish I had known years ago what I know now. I have posted on this Website (not all on Website yet, still a bit more to add that I am getting around to) and to my Facebook page (link can be found in the Contact Us link on this Website), all the information I had found during my research (and since then) to find out what was happening to me how to put and end to this Menopause nightmare that had stolen my life and my well being, to share and help. As well as Menopause and Peri Menopause, Natural Progesterone Cream can also help with Hormone Imbalances such as PCOS, PMDD, PMT, Endometriosis, Fibromyalgia, Fibroids and Polyps.
Any questions feel free to ask at firstname.lastname@example.org