Last month I wrote a post about the M word and how rude the timing is for us middle age ladies. I was shocked at how many friends reached out with similar symptoms. These friends also shared that the old ways of identifying menopause (lab results and no menstrual cycle for one year) are no longer the Gold Standard of care. Many friends suggested that I seek out a menopause specialist instead of my regular doctor or OB/GYN. I did some research and decided reach out to a specialist. And boy, am I glad I did.
It was not easy to find a specialist who took our insurance and would do a telemedicine appointment in South Carolina. In my search, I found Gennev. I had to pay out of pocket, but they had the best reviews and so I decided to make the appointment. The doctor I consulted was super empathetic, did not downplay my symptoms, and gave me hope that suffering was not my only option. She felt like I was a good candidate for Hormone Replacement Therapy. Because I did not meet the criteria of no menstrual cycle for one full year, she also prescribed progesterone to prevent possible breakthrough bleeding, and this medication is also supposed to help with better sleep.
Two weeks into my new therapy, I feel so much better. I have more energy, and I am sleeping better. It is hard to know about the always being hot thing because we are currently in a “fake fall” in the Low Country so temps have been nicer to my menopausal body. But like so many of my friends who reached out after my first post, I wonder why it took me so long to seek treatment. I guess because I believed those old ways of identifying the onset of menopause and no treatment was available until you met that criteria.
Then I started thinking more (I know, this can be a scary thing for me to do), and I started thinking about my mother and her mother who probably experienced the same kinds of symptoms but did not have access to peers online via a blog post, online support groups, telemedicine appointments, and specialists who were willing to listen to their symptoms. They simply suffered in silence. How hard must it have been to be them? All of the life changes, in addition to the hormonal changes. I am sure people called them things like crazy, bitchy, moody. And all the while there were simple medications that could have made them feel better.
I will always be grateful for that first M word blog post. It quite literally changed my life. Keep talking friends. We need to support each other!