‘It feels impossible to beat’: how I was floored by menopause

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For Rose George, menopause proved far worse than ‘low moods’. It felt like a derangement. And what the hell was it for?

I stare stupidly at it. It’s nothing much to look at. It’s only a small pile of clothing: the shorts and tank top that I wear in bed, which I have thrown on to the floor before getting into the shower. I stare stupidly at the clump because I can’t pick it up. It’s astonishing that I managed to shower, because I know already that this is a bad day, one when I feel assaulted by my hormones, which I picture as small pilots in those huge Star Wars armoured beasts that turn me this way and that, implacable. On this morning, I wake up with fear in my stomach – fear of nothing – and I know it will be a bad day.

For a while, I thought I could predict these days. I have had practice. This is my second menopause: the first was chemically induced seven years ago to treat my endometriosis, a condition that has riddled my insides with adhesions of endometrial tissue, and stuck my organs together. The adhesions are exacerbated by oestrogen; the drug switched it off. (The same drug can block other hormones and is also used to treat paedophilia and prostate cancer.) I hated that menopause. It was a crash off a cliff into sudden insomnia and depression, and a complete eradication of sexual desire. “The symptoms will last six months,” said the male ob-gyn, with a voice he thought was kind but that sounded only casual. They lasted far longer. The nurse giving me the first injection said, “He keeps prescribing this stuff, but women hate it.”

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view The Guardian: World News
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