I know. It’s a strange blog to write for a motor accident society website. However, with 51% of the population being female there is no doubt that you will either experience menopause or have contact with someone who is going through the menopause. It is such an important issue as up to 20% of the female population leave their jobs because of the effects of the menopause.
Like many, I was totally unprepared for the effects of the menopause. Sure, I had heard about the physical effects (hot flushes and weight gain) but nobody had prepared me for the psychological effects which can include severe anxiety, low mood, memory changes or “brain fog, the feeling of existing rather than actually living life and low self-worth. All in all a pretty terrifying experience to go through when you have no idea what is going on.
It was only when talking to a friend about “what was wrong with me“ did she ask whether I could be menopausal? Yes, was the answer but what has that got to do with anything? Everything, I soon found out.
A trip to the GP did not, as I anticipated, solve the issue. I was given the choice of antidepressants or HRT. However HRT came with a warning – it could increase my chance of breast cancer. Not a great choice.
Further research showed that it was not quite so straightforward a choice. Older types of HRT can increase the risk of breast cancer but some more modern HRT medication (patches or gels) can actually help reduce the risk of breast cancer as well as dementia and heart disease. Not to forget the help with osteoporosis.
So why am I writing this? To make more people aware that the menopause is a long-term hormone deficiency with health risks which can be devastating for a woman who has a career. Find out more, research, investigate and ask questions of your GP. You can feel like you again, if you get the right help. And, most importantly you are not alone. Talk to your friends. It’s likely you are not the only one suffering in silence.
Useful app: Balance from Dr Louise Newson
Shelyna Mariscal, author of “The hidden truths about menopause” is a Partner, Personal Injury, at Hansells in Norwich and MASS Regional Co-ordinator – East Anglia.