Georgina has struggled with her hormones since she started periods as a teenager. It took 6 years of trying to seek help for her awful symptoms before she got any closer to a diagnosis and receiving effective treatment.
“I have struggled with my hormones since I started my periods at about 14; I had irregular, very heavy periods that would last for weeks at a time. Along with this, I struggled with low mood, anxiety, fatigue and joint pain.
“I finally went to the GP when I was 16, who referred me to a gynaecologist and endocrinologist, but I was well and truly fobbed off. I had asked about having treatment to balance my hormones but was told I was far too young to have HRT and I needed to learn to live with my symptoms. I was also told by the consultant that I needn’t worry because my main problem was the lack of fertility, and because I’m a lesbian, ‘there will always be another womb in my relationships’ regardless of whether I wanted to have my own children or not.
“I was so humiliated and felt so degraded that I just tried to plod on with my symptoms. I suffered from the age of 14 until 22 with no help or HRT. I ended up being off work, really symptomatic, I felt anxious and had such a low mood, I felt suicidal. I would spend days at a time in bed sobbing and I was so fatigued I couldn’t even walk the dogs for 10 minutes without needing to sit down, or being really tearful when I got home as I was so exhausted. I tried the GP again but they just kept telling me their hands were tied and ‘meds management’ were refusing to let them prescribe anything for me.
“In March 2020, I decided to see a specialist menopause clinic and after a diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), I finally received HRT, but it hasn’t been plain sailing. I have had lots of dips in my hormones, and it has been a real process of trial and error to find the right type and dose of HRT. My partner and I also had to downsize our house in order to pay for the ongoing treatment because it was such a long length of time before the NHS would engage and agree to cover the cost of the medication I desperately needed.
“The menopause specialists have been amazing. They have been fighting to have the NHS fund my treatment and have been so supportive. Seeing them when I did and the action they took 100% saved my life.
“I have recently had another horrendous experience with the NHS and this time I have taken action. I am in the middle of a formal complaint against a consultant gynaecologist, and I am not backing down this time! Thankfully, because of the complaint, it has led me to see a different, wonderful NHS consultant who has been as knowledgeable and supportive as my menopause specialists.
“I am hoping The Menopause Charity will help train and educate more healthcare professionals to be as knowledgeable and understanding as these doctors. It took too many years for me to find supportive clinicians and that’s not right.
“I am a strong believer that everyone needs to know about the menopause and the significant and traumatic effect it can have on your life. I am so grateful for the help I finally received that I want to shout it from the rooftops!”