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Am I going mad?

The impact of fluctuations or deficiencies in our reproductive hormones can be huge.

I have recently seen women in clinic who have been told they have clinical depression, been forced to quit the jobs they love or are terrified they have dementia due to the profound impact these changes have on the brain.

“I feel like half the women I used to be”

“I forget words, names or where I have left my keys”

“I have become obsessive about double checking as I can’t trust my memory”

But you are not going mad. All the cells of our body contain estrogen receptors and these are densely packed in the brain. As our hormone levels change this reduces activity in parts of the brain responsible for memory, executive functions and mood regulation.

This manifests clinically with memory impairment, indecision, lack of mental agility, loss of the ability to focus and concentrate, loss of confidence and self esteem, anxiety, insomnia, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours, low mood and occasional even suicidal thoughts.

So, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms: don’t brush them off as normal or rationalise them away. Reach out and share your concerns with a Doctor to rule other causes of these symptoms out and discuss treatment options that may involve HRT or other medicines, therapy and lifestyle changes.

If you recognise these symptoms in others, tell them they aren’t going mad either and point them in this direction.

If you are feeling in crisis please reach out urgently or text SHOUT to 85258 for confidential support.

Catch up on any of the BBC local radio shows that featured my segment on alternative to HRT on @bbcsounds. Segments start at times noted in the post.

Or swipe across ➡️ to listen to my chat with Dotty on @bbcradiocambridge

What alternatives have you found most helpful?

Over the past year, many of us may have experienced feelings of overwhelm and uncertainty.

As I discussed in my post earlier this week mental health and cognitive problems are common with the hormone imbalance we see in perimenopause and menopause.

This has been a vicious combination and I have met so many women who have felt rock bottom as a result. Please

On the #worldmentalhealthday and #worldsuicidepreventionday please know that it okay not to be okay and you deserve to feel better.

Please reach out to friends, family, a health professional or in confidence -

💚 text SHOUT to 85258

💚 call Samaritans day or night on 116 123

If you know someone who is struggling -

💚 ask

💚 listen

💚 talk

If a man in your life is struggling call

CALM on 0800585858

If a young person you love needs support call

PAPYRUS HOPELine on 08000684141

If you search suicide on Instagram today it will direct you to a number of confidential support resources listed above in a couple of clicks.

Credit: @petals_to_print

If you search suicide on Instagram today it will direct you to a number of confidential support resources listed above in a couple of clicks.

Remember, @samaritans are open 24/7 for emotional support if you need to talk.

You can call them any time, day or night, on 116 123, or email or text SHOUT to 85258 💚

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