‘The menopause nearly destroyed me’

It can break marriages, end careers and even lead to suicide. Anna Moore of the Daily Mail recently interviewed women whose debilitating symptoms went ignored and finds out what it took to get their lives back on track. One of them was our own Diane Danzebrink, founder of Menopause Support.

Read the full article in the Mail Online here.

Aged 45, a hysterectomy had sent her into a surgical menopause, yet no one had warned Diane what she might expect. ‘I knew I wouldn’t get periods and I might get hot flushes, but I certainly didn’t know there were more than 30 other possible symptoms.’ These range from insomnia and panic disorder to joint pain, headaches and electric shock sensations.

Within months Diane was paralysed by anxiety that seemed to have come from nowhere. After a terrifying moment where she came within a hair’s breadth of driving her car into the path of an oncoming lorry, Diane found herself sitting in front of a doctor who carefully explained the impact of menopause on mental health.

‘Within days of taking HRT, life didn’t seem quite so hopeless,’ says Diane. ‘As I started getting better, I couldn’t believe that I was the only person this had happened to. I set up a website to find others.’

For many women, the menopause has brought total rupture, dividing lives into ‘before’ and ‘after’.

‘Some have lost careers or marriages,’ says Diane. ‘Many have been told by their doctors that their symptoms can’t be hormone related as  they are still having periods or they aren’t experiencing hot flushes.’ In truth, the years before menopause, the perimenopause – where hormones can be in freefall, or on a rollercoaster of peaks and troughs – can be equally challenging. Perhaps it’s not surprising that in the UK women in their early 50s have the highest risk of suicide compared to women in other age groups.

The Mail article also looks at the cases of three women, Joan, whose symptoms were so bad after coming off the contraceptive pill that she almost took her own life, Sarah, whose menopause cost her a career she loved, and Lesley, who says she ended her marriage ‘needlessly’ following stress and anxiety.

Read more.