CEO & Founder, The Latte Lounge
(Top tips for women over 40)
By the age of 43, Katie Taylor had suffered four years’ of debilitating perimenopause symptoms, misdiagnosed by doctors as depression. Once on the right treatment (HRT), she was like a new woman, and so set up The Latte Lounge (Top Tips For Women Over 40) , a Facebook group and website for all midlife women. This is her story.
There are over 33 different symptoms of perimenopause/menopause, which, unfortunately, when considered in isolation, will usually be explained away with all sorts of other reasons.
This was sadly the reality that resulted in me suffering with debilitating symptoms for more than four years at the age of 43.
Doctors made me feel like a hypochondriac
As a busy mum with four kids, working part-time and running a home, I put my low mood, brain fog, poor memory, tiredness, thinning hair, itchy skin, and heart palpitations down to being too busy, having diet deficiencies and just getting older.
After numerous visits to the doctors, I was made to feel like a hypochondriac, and with no other obvious reason for my symptoms, I was eventually diagnosed with depression and sent on my way with some anti-depressants and a few sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy.
It was like a lightbulb moment. I felt utter relief that I wasn’t going mad and, in fact, all these seemingly-unrelated symptoms could be accounted for.
Eventually, my father, a breast cancer professor, suggested I go and see a gynaecologist with a special interest in the menopause. Within half an hour, she diagnosed me with perimenopause, a word I had never heard of, and she started me on HRT.
It was like a lightbulb moment. I felt utter relief that I wasn’t going mad and, in fact, all these seemingly-unrelated symptoms could be accounted for, due to a severe lack of oestrogen in my body. I remember sobbing in her office with relief.
I remember sobbing with relief
We are the sandwich generation, juggling so many different areas of our lives from teenage kids to ageing parents, and being so time-poor, we often neglect our own health and wellbeing or just don’t have the knowledge to understand what’s really going on with our bodies, so we rely heavily on getting the right information from our healthcare providers. However, sadly, GPs don’t have mandatory menopause training so are often unaware themselves about the signs and symptoms of perimenopause and that’s why we are all campaigning hard to change this.
It is also important to state that every woman’s symptoms differ. While I suffered from low mood, brain fog and heart palpitations, other women suffer from vaginal dryness and osteoporosis. We have to start speaking more openly about perimenopause and menopause and breaking the taboo surrounding, what many women find, are really embarrassing symptoms to talk to their doctors, partners and friends about, such as low libido and vaginal dryness.
If you feel like you’re suffering from similar symptoms, please do go to your GP, or find your nearest menopause specialist, but please know you are not alone and you do not have to suffer in silence. There are also a number of support groups to help you through this journey, including The Latte Lounge.
Find out more at the www.lattelounge.co