My sex life died I couldn’t see and worried I had a brain tumor
Unable to see straight and without any feeling in her legs, super-fit Amanda Thebe collapsed on the floor of her bedroom.
“I had to stand against the wall and crawl on the floor,” she says. “It came so quickly. I felt dizzy and dizzy and threw up my guts for two days.
Although she initially thought she had simply overdone intense training, Amanda was actually suffering from the effects of perimenopause – which occurs a few years before a woman reaches menopause, due to the drop in blood pressure. estrogen levels.
Although she has always enjoyed excellent health as a personal trainer, her symptoms started suddenly in 2012, when she was 42 years old.
“It first hit me right after a tough boxing class, but when it continued to happen over the next few weeks, I realized it wasn’t the effects of the exercise, but something. more serious thing.
“I would lose the feeling of my face, my legs and my arms, so that I couldn’t even walk for several hours at a time,” she says..
It felt like something was slowly fading and dying inside of me
Amanda, now 51, also began to suffer from severe migraines and developed a short temper, which left her yelling at her two sons and husband Stuart, 48.
“I was horrible to him. He’s a patient and kind person, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be with him.
“I was questioning everything in my life, including our marriage. One night I told him I hated the way he was always so blunt.
“Then I thought ‘but that’s actually one of the things I love the most about him’.”
The couple’s sex life inevitably suffered as well. “It was like something was slowly withering and dying inside of me.
“The sex wasn’t completely gone, but it was rubbish, and apathy took hold of me.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to have sex with my husband, it was that I hadn’t even thought about having sex.
“It was like a loss, and I was in mourning and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, right? After a fairly active sex life before, I think he was deprived as well, but we didn’t really discuss that at the time.
My son looked really scared of me. My whole personality had changed
The smallest things would cause Amanda, who is speaking on the Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign, to let go of her sons Cameron, now 18, and Eilean, now 14.
“I remember yelling at my youngest about something trivial. He was only five years old at the time and I was horrified to look like a savage banshee.
“He looked really scared of me, and I knew it was wrong. My whole personality had changed.
Amanda, who is originally from Middlesbrough but now lives in Canada after she and her husband first moved to the United States in 2001, was deeply concerned and underwent a series of medical tests over the next two years.
“I had always searched for my symptoms on Google and my cousin who worked in radiology thought I might have a brain tumor,” she says. “But surprisingly, all the tests did not reveal anything.
“Over time, I turned in on myself and fell into depression. I asked myself, ‘Am I going to be this miserable, horrible cow for the rest of my life?’ “
Fabulous menopause matters
It is estimated that one in five people in the UK currently suffers from it.
Yet menopause is still whispered in a low voice like it’s something to be embarrassed about.
The stigma attached to the transition means that women have suffered in silence for centuries.
Central Recorder is determined to change that by launching the Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign to kick-start the long-awaited taboo and give women the support they need.
The campaign has three objectives:
Make HRT free in England
For every workplace to have a menopause policy to provide support
Breaking taboos around menopause
The campaign was supported by a host of influential people including Baroness Karren Brady CBE, celebrities Lisa Snowdon, Jane Moore, Michelle Heaton, Zoe Hardman, Saira Khan, Trisha Goddard, as well as Dr Louise Newson, Carolyn Harris MP, Jess Phillips MP, Caroline Nokes MP and Rachel Maclean MP.
Exclusive research commissioned by Fabulous, which surveyed 2,000 British women aged 45 to 65 who are going through or have been through menopause, found that 49% of women suffered from depression, while 7% felt suicidal during menopause.
50% of those surveyed said there was not enough support for postmenopausal women, which is just not enough. It is time to change that.
Finally, in 2014, a routine appointment with her gynecologist finally brought answers.
“I told him everything and without wasting time he said I was in perimenopause. Rather than having typical hot flashes, my symptoms were all neurological.
“He said what I was going through was pretty typical, so it was all the more disconcerting that so many specialists have failed to diagnose perimenopause. One of the problems is that there are so few medical training on this.
“But I was incredibly relieved to know what was wrong and not to lose my mind.”
The role models for postmenopausal women are people like Jennifer Aniston and J.Lo, and all we see are unachievable goals.
Her gynecologist suggested HRT, but Amanda turned it down because she was worried about a possible risk of breast cancer – which was actually wrong. Instead, she started taking antidepressants.
“They helped with the migraines, but my other symptoms came back. So I started HRT in 2016. It made me feel better for a while, but then I went back to a dark place.
“As I was still working, I was so exhausted in the evenings that I would come home that I just wouldn’t have time for the kids,” she says.
In total, Amanda’s struggles lasted eight years, and most of her symptoms didn’t stop until last year.
“While HRT helps some people, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But for me, it finally calmed down. It was as if I had to work on it gradually.
Although she had Long Covid last year, her general good health has returned – and the couple’s sex life has also recovered.
“That side of things has really improved, but I had to work and understand better how the brain works, because a lot of the changes women go through happen at the neurological level.
I want women to know that going to the other side of menopause is liberating and liberating
“The brain changes size and shape to cope with the drop in estrogen, and it affects how we feel.”
“But my husband and I got stronger because of the little intimate things we had stopped doing, like holding hands, talking more and cuddling on the couch.”
Calling herself a “menopause warrior,” Amanda believes more needs to be done to help women cope with the inevitable changes of midlife.
“The role models for postmenopausal women are people like Jennifer Aniston and J.Lo, and all we see are unachievable goals.”
His frustrations inspired his blog, Damn, nobody told me about perimenopause which has gone viral.
Her Facebook group is also very popular and she has written a book documenting her battle with “Menopocalysis” which offers her advice on exercise and nutrition.
“It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle, and I believe lifestyle choices, like the food we eat, the way we deal with stress, sleep and exercise, can help us put the pieces together.
“I want women to know that the transition to the other side of menopause is liberating and liberating. While it changes the lives of most women, it doesn’t have to be the end of life. “
What is menopause and at what age does it usually start?
Menopause is a natural part of aging, which usually occurs when a woman is between 45 and 55 years old.
In the UK, the average age of a woman before menopause is 51.
It occurs when the estrogen levels in the body start to drop.
During this period, the periods become less frequent or they may stop suddenly, and after menopause, women will not be able to become pregnant naturally.
About one in 100 women experience menopause before the age of 40, called premature ovarian failure or premature menopause.
Many celebrities have spoken of their own experiences, including Lisa Snowdon, Davina McCall, Michelle Heaton, and Zoe Hardman.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of menopause can start months or years before your period ends and can last up to four years or more after your last period.
- Hot flashes
- Changing or irregular periods
- Difficulty sleeping
- Anxiety and loss of confidence
- Bad mood, irritability and depression
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness or discomfort during sex
- Reduced libido (libido)
- Problems with concentration or memory
- Weight gain
- Bladder control
See https://amandathebe.com/ for more information and follow @ amanda.thebe.
Menopocalypse: How I Learned to Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too (Greystone) is now available.
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