Oh no, it’s getting hot in here – The Menopause and Me

You are probably looking at the title of this and confused as hell as I am only 26 and I should definitely not be in menopause right now and shouldn’t be for many, many years to come. I know, I KNOW. But this is actually my second time being put into a medical menopause. Let’s get talking about the menopause and me.

What is Menopause?

The menopause refers to that time in every woman’s life when her periods stop and her ovaries lose their reproductive function. Usually, this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. In Ireland, the average age is 51. The menopause comes with various different side effects. Hot flushes are the most common symptom of the menopause, occurring in three in every four menopausal women. Other common symptoms include night sweats, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, more frequent urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections, low mood and a reduced interest in sex. 

Why am I in Menopause?

I was originally put into medical menopause in August 2019 and had another dose in October 2019. The reason behind starting me on Decapeptyl was for my Endometriosis and PCOS; to stop my ovaries from being stimulated and stop the me from producing oestrogen. 

I ended up having a laparoscopy in November 2019 as I had a cyst on my right ovary and Endometriosis that had caused my ovary to attach to my bowel. All this happened while I was suppose to not be producing hormones. My gynaecologist stopped the injections in Janurary as he felt it wasn’t a solution for me.

Fast forward to August 2020, and I’ve been prescribed this injection again but from a different gynae team as they really think it will help. 

3 weeks after I started the treatment, the cyst I had burst and two new ones have appeared. Meaning that this is definitely not working for me. Sadly, even though it isn’t working for me, the side effects will last somewhere from 6-9 month after the injection.

The side effects

Without a doubt, the side effects have increased significantly this time round and the hot flushes are worse than ever.

I could have up to 15-20 hot flushes a day and sometimes they are so bad, I am on the verge of passing out. This week, while working from home, I am having severe ovary pain so I have two hot water bottles on my stomach to ease the pain but I also have a fan on to cool me down as I can’t cope with how hot I am getting with the hot flushes. I had to sleep with the fan on in my room last night as the hot flushes when I ‘sleep’ are crazy. With hot flushes, it only affects the top half of your body, and your skin may even turn red in colour or become blotchy, like a heat rash and more than often leads to sweating and heart palpitations. And almost always, you can bet I’ll feel cold after one has past.

Something that I didn’t have first time round was night sweats but boy are they here this time. I am sweating so much at night, I’ve resulted in sleeping in my underwear or shorts just so I’m somewhat cooler. I some night’s sleep with just a sheet on me and one night last week, I was so tempted to sleep on the floor as it would be colder.

Burning feet is another one that has gotten worse this time. It is horrible because it mainly appears just as I’m drifting off to sleep and suddenly my feet start to burn and they get so hot that there’s just no chance of me falling asleep at all. I typically have to stick my feet out at the end of the covers and stick them on the cold bar at the end of my bed because I just can’t cope when they’re all wrapped up in my duvet. Sometimes, it is really bad in the morning just when I’ve woke up so I walk around the kitchen tiles in my bare feet to cool them. 

I’ve always had trouble sleeping, but for some reason, since the beginning of September, I have been finding it very hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Now this side effect is very hard to judge as some nights, it is down to pain that I can’t sleep but it doesn’t help having hot flushes and night sweats all through the night either. How could anyone get a good sleep with those?

And lastly, my fatigue has become chronic. With my conditions, I suffer phases where it is worse, typically post op or during a flare up. However, doing any task, whether big or small, has been exhausting for me recently such as even sending a text message or having a shower.

My gynaecologist has insisted I don’t have this treatment again as it is clearly not working for me. So for now, I just have to wait for the storm of the menopause to pass. At least I’ll be well prepared for when the real thing comes.

If you have gone through the menopause or know someone who has, or even know someone who has had Decapeptyl for Endo/PCOS and you have any tips or advice for me, please let me know as I am willing to try anything to ease my symptoms.

Sarah Jane xx