A few months after my surgery things went very wrong very quickly; I seemed to lose my confidence overnight, I was constantly anxious, I couldn't sleep, I became increasingly emotional and irrational. I had never experienced depression but each day felt darker than the last and dragging myself through them felt like wading, waist deep, through treacle. I felt useless and hopeless, a complete failure and a waste of space. I simply couldn't cope; I had lost my joy.
On the day that I admitted to my husband coming very close to putting my car into the path of a lorry, in desperation, he took me back to see the doctor. I was terrified as I was convinced that I would spend the rest of my life on anti depressants or the animal derived HRT that I didn't want to take.
The doctor explained that the loss of natural estrogen when my ovaries were removed was causing the symptoms and only HRT could replace it. I explained my concerns and was told that there was a choice of HRT and I could have one that was plant derived. I began using HRT that day and started to notice an improvement about forty eight hours later. If only I had been offered factual, evidence based advice before my surgery.
It has become clear in my work supporting women that education for health care professionals in the menopause is poor and many GP's, often the first port of call, are simply not equipped to help. In 2015 NICE produced the first guidelines on menopause for health professionals but many are not aware of them and even fewer have read them.
In a recent communication to NICE I asked how the guidelines could be more widely implemented, I was told " there is no legal requirement for NHS Trusts to follow the recommendations in this guidance". Last year I was invited to my local university to teach a revision session on menopause to second year medical students, I was horrified to learn what basic information they didn't know.