Looking back, I’ve suffered with gynae-related issues all my life.
Things really spiralled badly over the past few years, resulting in a raft of invasive, unnecessary & ultimately futile procedures, as I was repeatedly told that I couldn’t have a hysterectomy until all other options had been exhausted – which left me pretty traumatised & phobic about anything ‘down there’.
I’d wanted all of my internal plumbing ripped out years ago – I felt absolutely NO connection to any of it, didn’t want or need any of it, and certainly didn’t subscribe to the notion that these internal organs somehow make us ‘feminine’ either.
Our internal organs have bog-all to do with our external gender expression.
I finally got my total laparoscopic hysterectomy with bilateral salpingectomy & oophorectomy (everything out!) just over a year ago. Recovery from which was a complete breeze compared to the agony I’d been experiencing for years prior to this. However, having my ovaries removed promptly put me into medical menopause within days.
At almost 50 I was considered peri-menopausal anyway, so for me menopause although sudden was pretty easy to deal with too. I started to get hot flashes, mainly in the evening & at night – nothing that a waft of a fan a la ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, or throwing the duvet off for a couple of minutes doesn’t fix – and initially I didn’t sleep well at all, although that seems to have levelled back out again too.
I also watched a really useful BBC documentary by Mariella Frostrup called ‘The Truth About the Menopause’ which also helped to understand & also minimise the hot flashes.
In a nutshell, whilst menopause continues to be taboo, undiscussed and something women are made to feel ashamed or embarrassed about, the FEAR & ANXIETY about having a hot flash at an inopportune moment actually makes them come on, and more strongly! Women underwent CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy-type counselling) and found that their hot flashes massively reduced by addressing their fear and anxiety about them, and normalising them.
If collectively we can reduce the stigma, shame, & embarrassment around menopause, and help society to normalise it, we’ll be no more anxious or fearful of having a hot flash as we would be for any other involuntary bodily function – like a sneeze, or a hiccup!
I’ve felt so much more Normal and Myself since having all my plumbing out – I have got my life back again! 😊