When Shelley Horton’s usual upbeat attitude and bubbly personality were replaced by endless tears and ugly mood swings last year, she ‘gave it to 2020’
When Shelly Horton’s usual upbeat attitude and bubbly personality were replaced by endless tears and ugly mood swings last year, she “blamed it on 2020.”
The then 47-year-old media personality said she went from happy and confident to constantly overwhelmed and upset.
“I cried every day, which isn’t my thing because I’m not typically a cryer,” she told FEMAIL.
“And they weren’t even little tears, they were big, fat tears rolling down my face full of sadness—there were days when I was so sad I couldn’t get out of bed.”
However, what the veteran journalist felt had nothing to do with the chaos caused by the global pandemic.
It was completely hormonal and ‘very normal’. Shelly experienced the onset of perimenopause, the “seven-year period” of hormonal disruptions before a woman’s menstrual period ends.
“I had never heard of perimenopause. I thought menopause would happen in my 50s or 60s and would consist of hot flashes and the end of my period,” she said.
The then 47-year-old media personality said she went from happy and confident to constantly overwhelmed and upset
While Shelly was 47 when she was “beaten aside” by perimenopause symptoms, it usually starts from the age of 45.
“My chest was so tight with fear I couldn’t breathe at night but I thought it was because of the lockdown and I had just moved off the highway so I was under a lot of stress,” she said.
It wasn’t until her IUD, a contraceptive she’d relied on for 15 years to interrupt her periods and often joked that she “would get married,” that she seemingly failed to see a doctor.
‘All of a sudden my period came back, but I also attributed that to stress. Then it came back and I bled for 32 days straight,” she said.
“I was absolutely devastated, I just felt miserable and tired, so I went to the doctor to get it checked out.”
Shelly was terrified that all of her symptoms were pointing to cancer, but after a thorough medical examination, the doctors revealed she was perimenopausal.
The chatty TV star thought other women were silent about their experience of menopause and said even her mother had little to say about it.
Shelly felt people kept quiet about their experience of menopause and said even her own mother had little to say about it
“I felt so much shame and stigma when I found out, so I didn’t talk about it either,” she said.
But after she became more informed, Shelly realized that if other women weren’t going to start the conversation, she should.
“If the women in my life had talked about it I might have been better prepared, I feel so knowledgeable now,” she said.
“I spoke to my mom and she was like, ‘chin up, soldier, we’re all going through it,'” she said.
“I just think we don’t have to be like that anymore.”
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the lead up to a woman’s last menstrual period, the menopause. Perimenopause can cause symptoms similar to or even more intense than those of menopause.
Perimenopause usually occurs in a woman’s 40s and lasts an average of 4-6 years, but can also be as short as a year, or as long as 10. If you have no periods, spots, or discoloration for 12 months you are considered postmenopausal.
Source: JeanHailes Women’s Health
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS
Insomnia: Fluctuating hormones that lead to night sweats are a recipe for sleep disturbances. You may fall asleep quickly after night sweats, but the quality of your sleep may still be affected by these interruptions. The result? Daytime fatigue.
Joint Pain: Pain in your joints, such as your knees and shoulders, is something you should expect to get worse as you get older. However, these don’t happen for no reason, and menopause may be the reason.
Urinary Health Problems: Urinary problems such as recurrent cystitis and the need to urinate frequently can begin around menopause. To prevent cystitis from becoming a frequent nuisance, make sure you drink plenty of water, urinate when you feel the urge and after sex.
Dry Genital Tissue And Pain Caused By Sex: Dryness of the vaginal/vulvar area around menopause is unpleasant and can lead to discomfort during and after sex. So it is best to take extra care of this sensitive tissue during menopause.
Low Sexual Desire And Arousal Problems: Low libido and problems with arousal during menopause may not be easy to talk about, but that’s no reason to ignore these symptoms. You can tackle them gradually by taking a gentle, step-by-step approach to enhance your pleasure in sex. A good place to start is to see if anything other than menopause could be part of the problem.
headache: The issue of headaches is a very mixed bag during menopause – there is even good news for some women. It largely comes down to whether the hormone estrogen is a headache trigger for you. This means that some women will get relief from headaches, while others will find that headaches become a bigger problem. Then there’s migraines — a very specific type of severe headache. Some women who suffer from migraines will find that they get worse as menopause approaches, but disappear after menopause.
Mood swings: Last but not least, unpredictable mood swings can be one of the frustrating realities of menopause. Feeling nervous, anxious, or angry can sometimes be severe and sudden.
Shelly wants women to know to watch for symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s.
“100 percent of women are going through this, we should talk about it at school and at work,” she said.
“The older generation should raise their hands and say, ‘Hey, let me inform you about this.'”
Shelly said men should also be informed about perimenopause.
When the vivacious redhead struggled with intense mood swings, her husband Darren Robinson “just wanted to help.”
Shelly, who describes her partner as an “earth angel,” said after her diagnosis that he was able to remind her that her mood swings were hormonal.
“He would ask me to lie down, he was empathetic and compassionate,” she said.
He also thought a woman’s menstruation had ‘just stopped’.
When the vivacious redhead struggled with intense mood swings, her husband Darren Robinson ‘just wanted to help’
Now Shelly is tackling her symptoms head-on, using a combination of prescription medications and practical measures, including the use of a portable ventilator.
“Before the lockdown, I was having lunch at China Doll, I was having hot flashes, so I asked the waiter to bring me a bucket of ice water and wrapped a cool napkin around my neck,” she said.
“I’m not going to be ashamed.”
Shelly says the fact that the perimenopause phase lasts for five to seven years is “quite disturbing in itself.”
She recommends that women talk to their medical professional about their symptoms so they can transition more smoothly.
Now Shelly is tackling her symptoms head-on, using a combination of prescription medications and practical measures, including the use of a portable ventilator
Shelly is now on hormone replacement therapy and antidepressants to help her, while her sister-in-law has chosen to take Flordis supplements for a more natural approach.
“Just do what works for you,” she said.
Shelly has now been treated for six months.
“I’m 100 percent back to my happy self,” she said.
“When I have down days, I wonder if it’s menopause, but then I remind myself that we can all have down days.”
Shelly works with the Flordis Menopause Hub to help educate women about menopause, including symptoms and treatment options.