menopause, Mental wellbeing, Physical wellbeing

Low oestrogen- the effects I knew nothing about

I started getting Peri-Menopause symptoms about 3 years ago. A year later I was taking gel oestrogen (along with oral progesterone) and started to feel a little better. You sort of think job done when you’re on HRT but Spring of 2021 some of my symptoms were returning. My GP upped my dosage to 2 pumps of gel and I assumed I would start to feel better again.

By September I was feeling miserable, low mood, brain fog and when I revised my Balance app symptom checker from the same time the year before my symptoms were measuring much worse. That couldn’t be right – I wasn’t even on HRT then!

I went back to my GP and it was thought that I wasn’t absorbing Gel HRT. I since found out that I had been applying it incorrectly- 2 pumps should be applied on different areas of the body, not the same area!

I was moved on to HRT patches and I started to feel a bit better. Then my pharmacy couldn’t get that brand so I was moved on to a different brand. I started to feel a lot worse again, my moods dipped quite dangerously, I was finding no joy in anything and anything negative was having a horrendous impact on me. At this point I booked a private appointment with a menopause specialist and had blood tests done.

The blood tests showed my oestrogen was at 120. For a woman of my age they should be at 250-500. My cholesterol was up and my vitamin d levels low – which I have since found out is a common occurrence with low oestrogen.

The specialist explained so much about how HRT is not a one size fits all, that changing brands can be catastrophic, that you need to be monitored and doses may need adjusting, that for someone who has gone through an “early menopause” I will need to stay on HRT for a while to make up the oestrogen lost and stabilise at the right level for my age.

I am now seeing an NHS specialist. I am back on the original HRT patches and am starting to feel better. I am using an online pharmacy for prescriptions and they don’t seem to have an issue with supply. I have my next appointment in April where levels of oestrogen, cholesterol and vitamin d will be assessed.

I am writing this because I knew hardly anything about the issues low oestrogen can occur especially if you are experiencing symptoms early. It has caused mental health, cognitive and potentially cardiac issues for me. It has also hampered recovery from an injury that has stopped me exercising fully which in turn doesn’t help with improving mood and cardiac health.

We have to start sharing our experiences more so that other women can get the right treatment quickly. Check and monitor your symptoms, ask for regular check-ups and blood tests and if you don’t feel good, go back and ask for a review.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of my menopause experience. It has taken me ages to get the clarity to write this blog but I will share more over the coming months, but do feel free to reach out with any questions.

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