Updated: Aug 7, 2020
There are things in women’s lives that are not the same for everyone . I thought I’d try and find some lived experiences that women might find useful and put snippets of them here with links to the webpages I found them on. You can take or leave what you read, I’m not medically trained. And I don’t consider myself to be a blogger either. I hope that it might prove useful to someone.
We are all individuals and all experience life events very differently , a majority might experience something similar but that doesn’t make them normal and you not !
I’m happy for you to send me any lived experiences that you think may be useful to someone else.
email email@example.com I can publish with your name or anonymously.
Everything I needed to know about the menopause… No One Told Me https://www.evidentlycochrane.net/everything-needed-know-menopause-no-one-told/
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BY JUNE GIRVIN MARCH 11, 2015
Today’s guest blog comes from Oxford academic June Girvin, who shares her experiences of the menopause, the taboo and the information gap. Today is NHS Change Day and June, along with the rest of our guest bloggers in this special series on the menopause, is backing Menopause UK’s grassroots campaign for Change Day to #changethechange. You can read more about that here.
It’s Menopause Week on Evidently Cochrane. I wasn’t sure whether that required an exclamation mark, but decided, all things considered, that it didn’t. My contribution to this week of menopause related blogs is a personal one – or a phenomenological one as this is a blog for ‘Evidently Cochrane’ – and I think my lived experience of the ‘last taboo’ or the ‘Big M’ (thankfully one rarely hears it called ‘THE CHANGE’ anymore with all its doom-laden, metamorphic overtones) might be useful out there in the ether where women are searching for something that relates to their own experience.
I am post-menopause. I am out the other side. I have become the Crone, the Wise Woman. I prefer the latter for obvious reasons. My last period (unless there is just one more lurking in there to surprise me) was about eighteen months ago and that was two years after what I would call my ‘regular’ periods stopped. And it’s only within the last six months or so that some of the more common symptoms of menopause have begun to subside. I still get night sweats for instance, and occasional flushes during the day. No one told me that I would still sometimes feel menopausal, post menopause. And that’s why I agreed to write this, because No One Told Me.
There is some real suffering out there, and mostly in silence
Like every woman, I had a general idea of what to expect from being menopausal. Hot flushes, irregular periods, moodiness. These are the symptoms most commonly discussed when you do a general search, or read about menopause in women’s magazines – which, incidentally, I suspect are a major source of information for a lot of women. What I didn’t realize, or read about, was how disruptive, intense and severe some of these symptoms can be. I know that not everyone has a really bad time, but from speaking with friends and colleagues (those who were prepared to talk in any detail – some were in a state of definite denial about it all, some embarrassed to talk detail) there is some real suffering out there, and mostly in silence.
I wasn’t expecting this…
For instance, the hot flushes and night sweats didn’t really bother me. The development of severe migraine that disabled me for 24 hours at least once a fortnight did. I was expecting irregular, heavier periods. I wasn’t expecting to bleed three weeks out of four, or to have such excruciating period pain that I was given IM Pethidine by a sympathetic GP. I wasn’t expecting bouts of dizziness and nausea requiring me to lie down for an hour at random times of the day. I was expecting to feel a bit tearful, a bit snappy. I wasn’t expecting to be completely out of control of my emotions. Crying at criticism, at imagined slights, at the television for God’s sake. Or being angry and sharp, irrationally boiling with rage over really small things. Being within a hair’s breadth of walking out of work, of leaving home and twelve hours later thinking ‘What on earth, was that all about?’ It was about peri-menopause. No One Told Me it could be like that. No one warned me that these symptoms might be severe and intense so that I could recognize and work through those times to minimize the disruption to me, my colleagues, my family, my work. And then there were the myriad other relatively minor things – forgetfulness, poor concentration, weight gain (and how it just creeps on…and creeps on…and creeps on), forgetting what I wanted to say mid-sentence, aches and pains, fatigue. There really is a seemingly endless list.
The search for reliable information
The problem for me was that I couldn’t find anything that helped me to decide on what might help. I thought HRT wasn’t an option for me because of the migraines and looking for alternatives was fraught with marketing claim and counter claim, hearsay and opinion.
I was a marketing person’s dream – slightly desperate, willing to try anything, unable to discriminate
I scoured bookshop shelves for information that was sensible, informed (perhaps even evidence-based) and accessible. There were books on ‘women’s health’ that included it as a section – usually a short and not very detailed section. One had a bibliography, there were rarely any references. In magazines and on web forums there were people enthusing about wild yams, black cohosh and red clover. In health food shops I felt like I was a marketing person’s dream – slightly desperate, willing to try anything and unable to discriminate.
So, from a three way conversation on social media, to disclosing my very personal experiences on this blog, I hope to be doing my bit to demolish the ‘last taboo’. I’m a bright, highly successful woman, a senior leader in my field. It’s probably a risk for me to talk about this, even though it’s in the past. A difficult menopause tested my confidence, my work, my emotional and personal life – but I’m out the other side and feeling good. I hope this resonates with some other menopausal women – and I hope it encourages more research and more sharing of the experiences.
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What is the menopause?
Sally Hope is a retired GP. She is a researcher with a special interest in women's health. She is the co-author of several books on the menopause (see ‘Resources and information’), and talks about the menopause from a medical perspective. You’ll also find clips from Sally’s interview in some of the other topic summaries. As a menopausal woman, Sally also has a personal interest in the menopause.
What is the menopause? Menopause means the ‘last menstrual period’. However, many women say they are ‘going through the menopause’ when talking about the time leading up to their final period when they notice changes in their menstrual cycle and the onset of symptoms such as hot flushes and sweats. Women are said to have reached the menopause when they haven’t had a period for one year. In the UK the average age at which women reach the menopause is around 51, however, some women can go through the menopause earlier or later. A menopause before the age of 45 is an ‘early’ or ‘premature’ menopause (see ‘Early (premature) menopause’).
Read more: http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/later-life/menopause/what-menopause#ixzz5nujZcoM4 Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives Follow us: @healthtalkorg on Twitter | healthtalk.org on Facebook
Emotional changes and mental health during pregnancy and after birth.
Having a baby is a big life event, and it's natural to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after your pregnancy. But if they start to have a big impact on how you live your life, you might be experiencing a mental health problem.
Around one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. This might be a new mental health problem or another episode of a mental health problem you've experienced before. These are known as perinatal mental health problems.
What does 'perinatal' mean?
'Perinatal' means the period of time covering your pregnancy and up to roughly a year after giving birth. It's made up of two parts:
peri meaning 'around'natal meaning 'birth'
You might have also heard terms used to describe the time specifically before or after giving birth, such as:
postnatal or postpartum meaning 'after birth'antenatal or prenatal meaning 'before birth'
There's no right or wrong word to describe the period of time around pregnancy and after birth, and you might hear your doctor or midwife use any of these.
It can be really difficult to feel able to talk openly about how you're feeling when you become a new parent. You might feel:
pressure to be happy and excited like you have to be on top of everything worried you're a bad parent if you're struggling with your mental health worried that your baby will be taken away from you if you admit how you're feeling
But it's important to ask for help or support if you need it. You're likely to find that many new mothers are feeling the same way.
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