CASE STUDY: Elaine Fraser, Perimenopause
CASE STUDY: ELAINE FRASER
Occupation: Trainee Pilates teacher
PERIMENOPAUSE MADE ME FEEL LIKE I WAS HAVING A BREAKDOWN
When Elaine Fraser started to become aggressive, have severe mood swings and anxiety that left her socially inept, she thought she may be having a mental breakdown.
Elaine, who is married with a son and daughter, had always been a feisty person but over two years she began to feel so unlike herself she feared she would leave her family.
After trying unsuccessfully to seek help from her GP, it was only when she saw a doctor at the Online Menopause Centre (www.onlinemenopausecentre.com) – the first online menopause clinic in the UK – that she was finally diagnosed as being perimenopausal (the period leading up to the menopause) and was prescribed a treatment plan that helped her return to normal.
Said former ballet dancer Elaine: “Everyone has their own different journey but for me it slowly crept up on me. I’ve always been quite feisty so it was hard to recognise but over time I was becoming very aggressive and having mood swings. I thought the family would break up because of the state I was in.
“I was having night sweats and also a lot of anxiety. Socially I became very awkward and had to force myself to go out because I felt socially inept, which is just not me. I could barely run a bath I felt so incapable.”
“I went to see my GP but they said there was no point doing blood tests as hormones fluctuate and they just gave me HRT which made me feel completely mute – I stopped taking it as I felt so strange.”
How Online Menopause Centre (OMC) helped Elaine
Around 13 million women in the UK are currently peri or menopausal – equivalent to a third of the entire female population – and its impact can be severely debilitating. Symptoms range from hot flushes/night sweats, headaches, sleep problems and joint pains to anxiety, poor memory, low self-confidence and loss of libido.
Elaine, who lives in Rotherfield, tried herbal remedies to manage her symptoms and whilst they did help for a while, she knew she had to seek more specialist treatment. It was a friend who recommended the Online Menopause Centre (OMC).
After having an online virtual appointment with a specialist menopause doctor, it became clear that Elaine’s symptoms were caused by a deficiency in several hormones.
She explained: “I finally had my bloods done properly – I didn’t even know that I had eight hormones. Because the doctors at OMC are experienced in the menopause, they were able to identify the reason for my symptoms – I was deficient in three key hormones – DHEA, testosterone and progesterone.
“I was prescribed biologically identical hormone replacement therapy, which is better tolerated than the type of HRT I was prescribed by my GP. Within days I was feeling like my old self again.
“It wasn’t just me who benefited from the treatment I received from OMC but my family, as they had born the brunt of my anger and mood swings. In some ways it was worse for them as they didn’t know what was wrong and it was like walking on egg shells for them. My young son actually said ‘mummy is like a changed woman’.”
Elaine explained that by using OMC she not only received personalised treatment, but it was convenient, especially as attending face-to-face appointments is more difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve all adapted so beautifully to doing things online that it was very easy. I actually had my first consultation in the car – I pulled over and just used my phone to have the online consultation. It makes it very accessible for women, no matter where they live.”
Elaine now wants there to be more awareness about the perimenopause and menopause and what the treatment options are, so that women can be empowered to seek specialist help and make informed decisions.
“Now I’m through the other side I’m happy to talk about it. So many women just put up with it – they are holding down full-time jobs and running the family whilst trying to cope with what can feel like having a nervous breakdown.
“Sadly, many GPs just aren’t specialist in this area – my own GP didn’t really know anything about the perimenopause or menopause and just gave me a type of HRT that many menopause experts don’t recommend, as treatment has advanced so much in recent years.
“There needs to be more information out there for women to access, so they can get help and know what the best and latest treatments are. It’s actually quite shameful that in 2021 women are just expected to put up and shut up.”