I had grown up with endometriosis and the lack of GP knowledge over “just sore periods” and being told to have babies as that would fix it! Roll on to a ruptured ectopic and 9 miscarriages, none explained but possibly down to my endo.
At 44 I decided to get sterilised as I could not go through any more emotional or physical losses. GP said no but referred me to gynae who agreed. I was told that my remaining ovary (remember the ruptured ectopic) was cystic so they removed it. Nothing else was explained.
About two years later I felt awful, it was like I had 3rd degree burns in my groin, all around my vulva and going all the way back to my bottom and beyond. GP took swabs and gave me steroid cream. It didn’t work, I was in severe pain and my marriage and work were suffering. Eventually I was referred to the Colorectal unit! Why I asked? Well it could be piles!! After very invasive and painful examinations such as colonoscopies etc the consultant said there was nothing he could do,oh by the way are you in the menopause yet?
You could have slapped me! Menopause? Surely not! I feel stupid because although I know a lot about my reproductive system, I would wouldn’t I, it had never occurred to me that the loss of that final ovary would have sent me down that rabbithole to Menopause land. I started investigating and went back to GP who insisted on blood tests! Pointless if I have no ovaries but what the hell, had the tests, yes you are perimenopausal. No advice, nothing. I was so low, no sex, felt like I had the flu, my genitals were on fire and obviously this was sending anxiety sky high!
It took me two years to get HRT, sequential to begin with which flared my endo so I demanded combined as I still have this useless uterus, see I was now educated in HRT? My GP and nurse weren’t, this HRT was going to shorten my life according to them! Poppycock!
The burn and cuts on my vulva were still making my life a misery, to the point of suicidal thoughts. Pain on sitting, pain on standing, pain on lying down. An excruciating need to scratch so I ended up wearing mittens to bed, like a bloody baby!
Eventually I self-referred to the Sexual Health Clinic. In the Highlands we no longer have a Menopause Clinic! So off I went, in disguise, surely only STI patients need sexual health? This consultant actually examined me! She was shocked at how severe this thing called Atrophy was! Atrophy I asked? Well now with a brain full of even more knowledge and a nice hospital prescription of Vagifem pessaries, antibiotics, steroid cream and lidocaine off I go. Things started to improve, it was a bloody miracle finally! Then it came back. Multiple appointments later I’m told vulvodynia. Nope I know it’s not, check me for LS please. Biopsies and swabs show no LS thankfully but what is happening? Just use the numbing Lidocaine to re=educate your nerves!!! I’ve been going round in circles!
GP is now fighting me over HRT, Vagifem and Estriol cream, the things that make my life liveable. Through groups of other women I have found out that Lido thins the skin even more! I can’t get transdermal gel in my area so I’m taking oral combined HRT, no surprise the GP is trying to scare the life out of me. It is a daily struggle to be a wife, do a job and not just give up. The physical pain, the mental torture and the constant thoughts of “is this going to be forever?” It hurts to pee, itkills to poo and my inner vixen has run away. I jump in meetings often, like I’m stabbed, I make excuses, die a little inside and just get on with it, this miserable existence focussed on my genitals that no longer even allow me to be myself.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.