Let's play menopause roulette.
BLACK - IT'S MENOPAUSE
RED - IT'S A SNEAKY SYMPTOM SIMILAR TO MENOPAUSE
So before I start having another moan about menopause, I'll list the positive(s):
You stop having periods
I'm pretty sure once I've got to grips with what my menopause means for me (and my poor husband - who couldn't even cough the other day without me getting annoyed at him) then I'll be fully onboard the menopause train, but for now the initial stages of sudden menopause is like playing a game of roulette.
I wrote last time about histamine intolerance, you can read about that here, I've had some lovely feedback about how helpful it has been, but I've set up this blog, to be honest, and transparent and I now don't believe I have menopause-related histamine intolerance. I just think I've had an acute bout of hives. I can't recommend enough going straight to a specialist. This is obviously quite difficult in covid times & I fully acknowledge and appreciate the expense of seeing someone privately. But I want to break down what I spent on lotions and potions in the initial weeks Vs the cost of paying to see a dermatologist and what she prescribed.
A small sample of things purchased include:
Appointment with menopause specialist with an interest in histamine intolerance
A very interesting book on Histamine Intolerance
Calamine, Eumovate, Dermol 500 - all of which seemed to make things worse, not better
La Roche Posay anti itch cream
Quercetin with Vitamin C - again, didn't make a shred of difference
Histamine blockers - again, didn't make a shred of difference
Liposamal Vitamin C
Total Cost here (plus more things not pictured) around £500
After strictly following a completely low histamine diet and my skin still going completely bananas - think so itchy you make yourself bleed from scratching itchy, I decided to seek immediate help and paid £250 to see a dermatologist privately. This dermatologist is a specialist in mast cells amongst other conditions but hives specifically, took one look at my legs and arms. Listened to my symptoms and reassured me that I was just experiencing a very nasty bout of hives. Related mainly to the freezing cold weather, not helped by a recent holiday abroad and very dry skin and prescribed me the following:
Fexofenadine - AKA 'The King of antihistamines'
Doublebase Gel - which will be a staple in my armory forevermore, an absolute hero product.
Total cost (including private appointment) £300
It's been an expensive month. And this got me thinking about how menopause can be a money-making machine. We're sold menopause branded skin-care, menopause supplements, menopause bedding, menopause magnets (Caroline Hirons spoke candidly about this nonsense), menopause crystals..... the list goes on and on and on. The truth is the common denominator in all of our menopause worries is lack of estrogen, a magnet on my wrist, or a crystal "charged by a full moon" in my bra was never going to stop my skin from drying out like a prune. I had been prone to hives in my pre-menopause life so, of course, I would be prone to it again.
The moral of this ridiculously long blog post is, to try to break down your symptoms and ask yourself, has this happened to me before? Has anything changed? Am I doing something differently? The answer doesn't always have to be IT'S THE BLOODY MENOPAUSE it could just be IT'S JUST THOSE PESKY WINTER HIVES I'VE HAD BEFORE and you'll save yourself a tonne of money!
As ever when I write my blog, it's my personal experience. I'm learning myself, so want to admit when I've been wrong. Right, off to take my fexofenadine and have a large glass of wine - something I restricted for almost 5 weeks!