Norma

I’m 51 years old and I live near Barcelona. I’m writing this because reading the personal stories on The Menopause Charity’s website makes me feel much less isolated. And I hope my story does the same for other women.

Changes

I first started to notice changes in my body when I was 46. I had always had thin arms and waist, then suddenly my arms looked much bigger.

 

Menopause and lockdown

For me, everything spiraled out of control during lockdown. I was living alone and felt very isolated. I started to binge on sugar, stopped my running routine and put on about two stone.

I felt so bad about the changes to my body, it felt so heavy and slow. My whole life was affected. I stopped going to the beach. My clothes didn’t fit me anymore. And I was ashamed to let my friends see how overweight I’d become. I thought I just had to accept this as my new body.

 

Enter insomnia

In April 2022 I began a 6 month period of insomnia. I couldn’t sleep so I was extremely tired all the time. I only had energy to go to work and come back home to sleep. My doctor did a blood test. The results said I was physically fine, so I should see a mental health professional as there must be a psychological reason.

 

It was the menopause

I’d been having regular blood tests for low energy during my forties. But the result was always ‘you’re fine’. Despite the fact that I was feeling far from fine. No one even suggested that might be hormonal, as I was in my perimenopause. In hindsight, I’m furious about this. Not even my gynecologist asked for a hormone test. I was told the problem was in my head, when the reality was a lack of hormones that seriously impacted my daily life.

I was at a very low point. I was tired all the time, had night palpitations and was severely depressed. My sister insisted that I see a specialist.

 

Hope!

A hormone test confirmed that I had low estrogen and I was prescribed HRT. After only three to four weeks, I felt a huge difference. It’s changed my life. I was in a place where I wasn’t willing to live any more. I was completely giving up. Now I’m back running, seeing my friends again and feeling my normal self.  

I cannot express how much HRT has changed my life for the better. I had no idea that hormones could have such a huge impact on your life. I’m so happy and, at the same time, so furious. I’ve lost years before getting the right diagnosis. My wish is that every woman is taken seriously when she goes to the doctor.

 

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