Understanding you: hormone changes, PMDD and menopause

Real Stories Shared

Menopause is a gradual process that occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs. This change goes hand-in-hand with a significant drop in oestrogen levels, leading to a range of symptoms – from insomnia to hot flushes - that can last anywhere from a few months to a few years. It’s a guaranteed outcome for 100 per cent of people with ovaries. Unfortunately, due to a sense of stigma and taboo, it’s a challenge often worked through in silence. By opening up a dialogue, this is something we hope to change.

Clare Goram, 52: Menopause


Clare was shocked when she visited her GP to discuss HRT, and felt he was so embarrassed about the very notion of menopause, that she avoided describing the breadth of her symptoms to him. Open conversation around menopause is something that Clare says every person – regardless of gender or age – needs to be comfortable having. Since conducting her own research and pursuing a line of treatment that works for her, Clare says she has never looked back.

“Until governments, until scientists, until whoever has the purse strings – which unfortunately is still overwhelmingly male – until they are dedicated and respectful enough to give time, money, research and effort and into this whole situation, I think we’re still going to be scrambling around in the dark.”

For more on Clare’s story, watch above, and for more information on menopause visit

Ariane Mason, 30: Premature menopause



For Ariane, menopause arrived much earlier than she expected. After being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma - a rare form of blood cancer - she underwent eight months of chemotherapy, a treatment which triggered the early onset of menopause. On the advice of her gynaecologist, Ariane started hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – an administration of the hormones oestrogen and progestogen. Ariane says within a week of starting therapy, she felt “incredible” – but one of the remedies she has found most powerful is sharing her story.

“I decided to start writing a blog quite randomly. It brought me together with people who I might not have been put in touch with. It helped me get a grasp of what was happening to me and made me realise that it was okay to be feeling how I was feeling.”

For more on Ariane’s story, watch above, and for more information on menopause visit

Ariane's blog

Refinery article

Future Fertility Trust

Daisy Network

Laura Murphy, 39: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and menopause



PMDD is a hormone-based mood disorder that causes premenstrual symptoms - think irritability, fatigue and depression - to occur with extreme intensity. For Laura, this meant challenges such as severe anxiety. After exploring many unsuccessful avenues of treatment, her PMDD became so debilitating that she opted to have a hysterectomy. It got rid of her menstrual cycle – and she has since felt happier and more stable. Laura says a lack of PMDD knowledge among medical professionals can be a barrier to women getting the help they need, and encourages empowerment through self-directed research.

“GPs aren’t trained in PMDD. Gynaecologists aren’t trained in PMDD. Psychiatrists aren’t trained in PMDD… my advice to people out there is that if your PMS is making you feel suicidal or out of control, to look up PMDD.”

For more from Laura, watch our chat with her above, and for more information on PMDD visit:

Gia Allemand Foundation

MIND

Vicious Cycle PMDD


More in the Real Stories Series:

HORMONES: STIGMA AND DOING WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU

ENDOMETRIOSIS, SUPPORT AND COMMUNITY

READ MORE ON PMDD


Edited by Alice Wagstaffe, shot by Alida Bea, produced by Tara Scott 

Words by Rachel Ramsay 

TOTM