Are you BI-POLAR? Have You Got Depression? No, just Menopause!

Your mind is screaming – “this isn’t me!” You experience fluctuating feelings of High Activity – “Woohoo! I have so much energy” to “I don’t want to get out of bed”. “What is wrong with me? Why am I here? Who am I?”

Just like a spy thriller, it stealthily creeps up on you. You don’t realise you have it till your only response is “am I going mad?” Loved ones, family, friends are concerned and all are offering advice and your only response is to scream “Go Away!” The wheels have just fallen off your emotional connections – welcome to the world of Hormonal Anarchy, otherwise known as peri-menopause.

And, isn’t it true that we disable women through lack of knowledge? The lack of knowledge even spreads into the medical profession as the bad news is that the number of women suffering from depression linked to hormonal fluctuations is unknown since the condition often goes undiagnosed, according to Dr Mike Savvas, consultant gynaecologist at Kings College Hospital, London.

“Very often, depression and anxiety in women of all ages can have a hormonal basis,” he says. “This type of depression often fluctuates according to the menstrual cycle. It includes both premenstrual syndrome, postnatal depression and depression leading up to menopause and it tends to get worse in the 30s and 40s. But it often goes unrecognised, or is treated with antidepressants.”

‘Treated with Antidepressants’ – I hear that phrase so often – now that’s tragic. The good news is that you CAN do something about this. These extreme, yet ‘normal’ fluctuations of hormonal moods can be stabilised with hormone supplementation. Peri-menopause = oestrogen deficiency = mood swings. For some women, this is not a problem but others, who describe it as “climbing the walls” are being kept in the dark about such an obvious solution that gives them their lives back and I should know.

There are objections from some and the anxieties raised about the risks of HRT from previous studies have for the most part been shown to be unfounded, argues Dr Savvas. Current NHS advice is that combined HRT is linked to a slight increase in the risk of breast and some other cancers, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (blockage in the pulmonary artery). HRT is not suitable for everyone but for most women taking it for five years or less, the benefits outweigh the risks, says the guidance.

Testosterone therapy may help improve a flagging libido, (oh, boy, it certainly does!) but is usually only prescribed by specialists. Because testosterone is now only available for men (!), “British Menopause Society Guidelines advise doctors to use a very low dose of the gel licensed for testosterone deficiency in men, (very high doses can cause masculine characteristics such as facial hair growth, and little is known about the long-term effects, says Dr Savvas, “although given at levels within a woman’s normal range it is unlikely to cause problems.” This is so true, the 5ml tube of testosterone gel that I use, lasts a whole week (men use one per day).

Talking to doctors and many, many, women, as I do and including my own experience, hormone supplementation, otherwise known as HRT, or HT, knocks spots off every other kind of treatment. It restored my state of mind, my libido, even my bone health, in fact I feel so well on it, I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Here’s the article from The Daily Mail that prompted me to write this blog:

Doing nothing is not an option, you owe it to yourself to find out more about menopause to help you take control of this time of your life and make decisions to suit you. And, guess what? You can always change your mind!

Good Luck!