Hi, I’m Lucy, the Founder of WooWoo. I originally developed the range of WooWoo products in 2016 to help women feel more confident after reading an article about women being too embarrassed to go for smear tests. It’s now four years on and I was surprised to find out that I have been having symptoms of perimenopause for two years, from the worrying boob lumps to brain fog causing me to put the milk in the cupboard with the teabags, making me think that I’m going mad! I’m 46, and despite being ‘in the vagina business’ I was so ignorant of the menopause, it was never discussed in my family or amongst my friends. I thought that the menopause was when periods stopped and hot flushes started then after a few years of misery you lived out your life in a period free bliss channelling Kristin Scott Thomas in Fleabag! I had never heard of the perimenopause or its bizarre range of symptoms.
So, this is my experience so far...
There are 34 recognised symptoms of perimenopause, I’m racking them up but what has surprised me most is that I only have one relating to ‘down there’, the irregular, completely unpredictable periods (think random flood at a school play…fortunately I had some Woowoo wipes in my bag to manage the plastic seat and a coat to wrap round my waist… far too old for that shit!) The rest of my symptoms are mainly in my head. I don’t sleep, I float between raging angry and generally irritable (possibly related to the not sleeping) and my brain has turned to mush. I forget why I’ve gone into a room when I get there, I stand staring at cupboards wondering what I was looking for. My Mum has Dementia and I definitely feel like I’m heading that way!
Lumps in my boobs were the first sign, although I didn’t know it at the time. I went to see my GP as I found three lumps in my right boob, my female doctor said that she had found five lumps and that she was referring me for an urgent mammogram. That resulted in two weeks of me planning my funeral and talking to the kids about all the good times that we had had. At the hospital, they were amazing and lovely, the doctor said that sore boobs and water retention (almost like being pregnant) are symptoms of perimenopause… why had my GP not suggested this as an option for a woman of my age? Don’t get me wrong. I’m so glad that I had the mammogram otherwise I would have been forever doubting her diagnosis.
The science bit
An analysis of over 35,000 women of menopausal age found that 63% regularly felt tired or drowsy, 46% struggled to concentrate and 43% had trouble with their memory. On average these symptoms last for four years before the onset of menopause. Hormone levels fluctuate wildly during perimenopause, it's not the slow decline that would produce a predictable set of symptoms and be easy for your doctor to identify where you are at and how long until it’s over. One day you’ll have lots of oestrogen and the next day very low levels.
Some of the symptoms of perimenopause include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Brain fog
- Irregular periods
- Joint pain
- Weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of libido (not surprised given the list above and yet joy of joys you can still get pregnant so you need to use contraception if a baby is not your intention!)
I’ve done a lot of research into natural ways to alleviate symptoms. I’m currently taking menopause vitamins, herbal sleep aids and a starflower and Flaxseed oil capsule but I’ve not seen any noticeable results yet. I’m fascinated by the benefits of CBD oil in this area. Woowoo Bliss oil was developed with a gorgeous scent to help get you in the mood for intimacy and as a lovely lubricant (If you are using condoms, you would need to use Woowoo water based lube).
Once things settle down a bit post Coronavirus, I’ll go and see my GP to discuss my symptoms and get a plan in place. I need to sleep again. I’ll keep you posted! I’m writing this for our Woowoo community, my experiences so far. I encourage you to share your experiences to help other women and to break down the stigma around the menopause.