Paula’s Story

For years, Paula Bentley suffered with repeated episodes of severe urinary tract infections that took a toll on her sex life and her relationship. When she was battling a host of other worsening menopausal symptoms, her family urged her to seek help and Paula finally found the treatment she needed.

“I have always been into fitness and qualified as a personal trainer and then my business developed into being a health & wellbeing therapist. I would describe myself as a very outgoing person, a social butterfly, who loves adventure. A real-life Dora the Explorer!

“At the age of 46 my periods started to be less frequent. By 48 years they had completely stopped. But I didn’t really notice any menopause symptoms at the time my periods were changing.

“Before I explain how the menopause did eventually affect me, I need to fill you in on my love life! I had been single for 6 years until my first love from when I was 15 found me on Facebook. I had lost touch with Mike when my family moved away, but had often thought of him over the years and couldn’t believe 33 years later we were now in a relationship. He was everything I’d remembered and could wish for, and we instantly clicked.

“I began getting UTI after UTI (urinary tract infection). They were so bad that I was even admitted to hospital twice and put on a drip. My life was turned upside down with terrible pain, constant infections and continuous antibiotics that I had to take after sex, and some really strong tablets if it got really bad when I was abroad travelling. I was scared to go on holiday as the pain happened once 20 minutes before the plane landed. I was told it was ‘honeymoon cystitis’. By this point I had been in a relationship with Mike for 6 years! That’s a pretty long honeymoon by anyone’s standards.

“My relationship suffered terribly. I became afraid of having sex in case it set off another episode. I also experienced severe vaginal dryness that was so painful. Over the course of being with Mike, because of my symptoms, the impact on our sex-life and my mood swings and irritability, I would dump him on a regular basis. But he always came back.

“At no point did any healthcare professionals suspect all my UTIs and vaginal symptoms were due to my menopause, and most of those professionals were women. I was still given no explanation or hormonal treatment when I tried to get help.

“My menopause symptoms were getting more varied and were worsening. I had vertigo, palpitations, anxiety, crying spells, and really low mood to the point where I didn’t want to get out of bed. It obviously began affecting other areas of my life too, like my work. I have walked out of more jobs than I care to remember. I couldn’t deal with people or cope with having to learn new tasks. Even jobs I could do normally do with my eyes shut would just make me freeze on the spot. And I had not heard from Mike for months.

“The final straw was when my daughter told me I had to get help as I was snapping at my only grandchild – my little Arabella – it broke my heart.

“Jump forward a few months and I saw a menopause doctor on a daytime chat show talking about the menopause and HRT. I can honestly say my life changed for ever in that moment. I watched and listened to every YouTube video of every other famous person she had helped and decided enough was enough of not living my best life. It felt like my body was dying from the inside and I asked myself, ‘is this it now? Is this what I’m left with?’ The next day I told my mum all about this wonderful doctor and she dropped her an email and the rest is history.

“Within only a few months of starting on HRT and also a vaginal oestrogen tablet, I was back to my old self. I did have a few problems with sore breasts and ended up changing to a different type. My regular doctor tried to get me to come off the HRT, but I stuck to my guns and tried an alternative type which is suiting me better.

“My menopause started 8 years ago but only now do I have the guts to go and follow my dreams of moving to Cornwall. My house is up for sale and guess what? Me and Mike are back together! Thank God I’ve got my sexy back 😁. Life is amazing again. I’m so grateful that the menopause specialist cared enough to look beyond the UTIs and know what treatment I really needed.”

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