Getting help for menopause symptoms

I am a woman of a certain age. I have had years knowing the perimenopause is about with hot flushes and irritability at play. Then I discovered I could no longer drink much alcohol without losing control. You can help yourself with such women’s issues. I have cut the booze down completely and rarely drink and then small amounts. I take more exercise. More than once I have thought my periods have stopped forever and then one turns up after a few months. I realise I have done my usual and not looked after myself enough when it comes to getting help for menopause symptoms.

Getting help for menopause symptoms

Hearing that menopause is being taken more seriously by the Government made me think. Is there any real sense in going it alone during this milestone period of life. When I asked other women they praised Hormone Replacement Therapy. I have heard of dangers surrounding it but thought it was worth investigating further.

Visiting the GP surgery about the menopause

I walked to the GP surgery to try and get an appointment only to find out you have to telephone at 8am to have any chance of contact with a doctor. I question whether this is fair. Some people do not have phones. Why should they be denied healthcare? Also 8am sees many parents with care (mainly women) right in the midst of getting children to school and nursery with all the stress that can entail. Some of those people then have to get to their workplace for 9am. That’s a lot of pressure.

Telephoning the doctor about menopause symptoms

I phoned at the appointed hour only to be told I was number 48 in the queue. I stuck with it and someone finally spoke to me at 8.25am. Listening to the same recorded messages over and over is enough to make you ill if you ask me. I was told I could not have a face-to-face appointment but a doctor would phone me at 10.40am. Suffice to say they didn’t do so and it was almost a full hour later before they did.

Doctor’s advice on menopause symptoms

The female doctor asked me to explain what was going on. I said my hot flushes were not at all bad and much less common than they were. I said I sometimes had bleak thoughts and a low mood. I sometimes feel anger too. She felt HRT was not the answer for me and prescribed low level anti-depressants. Perhaps this is fair enough as I recover from a failed marriage, grieve for the loss of my husband who was with me for 23 years, get used to single parenting and so on. I am a new town where I don’t know anyone. It’s OK but a bit challenging to say the least. The doctor said we can talk in a month’s time and see how I am getting on then.

Getting my prescription

I dutifully went off to Boots for my tablets as instructed. I left it a few hours just in case it took a while. The woman in Boots could find no trace of me. Did I remember my NHS number? No! I did the usual of spelling out my double-barreled name and yes that is Davis without an E and Holmes with an H. I gave the two different ways my house is referred to too. Still no sign of my on the system. She said she would text me if she got anywhere and to come back in 20 minutes when she hoped to have resolved the issue. I gave her more time than that going round the charity shops and for a coffee and snack. I went back and the woman told me it had taken more than a hour of phone calls to work out that they had sent my prescription to a town I used to live in and not this town. Madness as it is about a 40 mile journey away and I don’t drive. She said if I waited 10 minutes she would get me my tablets. At 4pm I left with my little brown bag of happy pills.

So getting help with menopause symptoms took 8 hours and even then I was pushed onto low-level anti-depressants. I accepted this until other women told me how often HRT is denied to women and anti-depressants are suggested as the fix.

I would love to hear about your experiences of getting help for menopause symptoms.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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