“I felt really listened to”

It was September 2023 when Sarah Jenner began to experience a change in her mood and not feel like herself, all common signs of perimenopause.

Sarah, 45, from East Grinstead, said: “I felt an irrational rage, which is not like me at all, and I was really irritable over things I usually wouldn’t be. I felt very emotional and not like myself.

“Although my periods were still regular, they became really heavy, which was unusual. I also started to suffer from vertigo symptoms before and during my period.”

These gradual symptoms soon became exaggerated and by December Sarah called her local GP, but they were unable to offer an appointment for several weeks. Sarah paid for a private Zoom consultation with an online GP, who recommended a blood test as the first step.

“I felt like it was a waste of time because by that point, I had done my research and knew that hormone levels fluctuated throughout the month,” Sarah explains. “I was really disappointed and felt there was no help.”

It was only when Sarah typed menopause support into Google that she learned about the Menopause Management Service at The McIndoe Centre, led by GP and Menopause Specialist Dr Emma Sloan.

Sarah added: “I was able to get an appointment really quickly for January and I felt the price was incredibly reasonable. I had plenty of time with Dr Emma Sloan and felt really listened to. She prescribed me medication and it included a follow up call six weeks later. Dr Sloan was fantastic. You receive a questionnaire to complete before the appointment so you get to go through everything with her and she told me every single treatment option to ensure the one I decided on was right for me and my lifestyle. I left the appointment clutching my prescription and couldn’t wait to start feeling more like myself. I felt instantly lighter, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.”

“I now take oestrogen HRT in spray form to suit my active lifestyle, as it dries within two minutes. I have two sprays in the morning and followed Dr Sloan’s advice of leaving it by the kettle, so I don’t forget to take it. I then take two progesterone tablets in the evening for two weeks on then two weeks off. Mentally, I started to feel better very quickly. I saw improvements physically after about two weeks. I have had a period since and there was no strong PMS symptoms and any vertigo symptoms. It was still slightly heavier than normal, but generally I am feeling myself again. As women, we often feel we are not listened to which is so desperately sad. It is a relief to know the Menopause Management Service is there for any future visits. I want to shout about it from the rooftops and have already told my friends.”

Dr Sloan added:

“Women going into perimenopause can present in clinic feeling ungrounded, often with increased irritability, rage and anxiety.
“It is completely understandable that when your hormones begin to fluctuate during perimenopause, so can your emotions and mood. Just think about the irritable and angry teenager starting their periods when their hormone levels are fluctuating. The same can happen when a woman goes into perimenopause at the end of their reproductive life, hormone levels fluctuate, and their irritability and anger can be uncontrolled.
“Women in my clinic can feel sudden surges of irritation, rage and upset one minute and absolutely fine and stable in mood the next minute.
“These uncontrollable emotions can have devastating effects on women’s lives and when women do not receive the right care and support, can end up damaging their relationships and affect their work.
“Going onto HRT is one way of helping women to balance their hormones and help support their mood. Other treatments such as CBT and support around sleep, nutrition, supplements and exercise can also help. We like to look at all options that are available to women to help them navigate perimenopause and menopause and we feel it is really important to provide a free follow up to ensure that our interventions are helping and that, when they are feeling better, we can provide a safe handover back to their NHS GP.”