I WENT THROUGH MENOPAUSE IN MY THIRTIES
WHEN Jodanna Beynon needed to undergo a hysterectomy, it brought on the menopause at the age of just 35.
But rather than simply experiencing hot flushes, the condition triggered a range of debilitating symptoms which affected her mental and physical wellbeing.
Now the mum-of-one is aiming to reassure other women going through premature menopause that they are far from alone in their experiences.
“I want to prove to people that’s it’s not just women aged 50-plus who go through the menopause. It is actually younger women as well,” said Jodanna, now 36.
“I had lots of care when it came to my [hysterectomy] operation, but with regard to how the menopause affected me, there just wasn’t that care available.”
Jodanna, who works as a senior recruitment adviser for the Welsh NHS, needed a hysterectomy after cancer cells were found in her cervix.
She underwent the procedure at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, in January, which immediately brought on her early menopause.
“It was absolutely dous,” she recalled.
“A lot of people just think it’s hot flushes – which are unbearable and hard enough to go through – but it’s much more than that.
“You also get night sweats, dryness, and difficulty sleeping, which is a massive thing for me. I am constantly exhausted as a result.
“You also have weight gain, headaches, mood swings, thinning of the hair, reduced muscle mass and poor concentration.
“The biggest thing for me has been my memory and ‘brain fog’. I can be talking to somebody, and I’m answering them in my head, but my brain just isn’t working and I can’t get the words out.
“I just stand and stare at them, and I just feel awful because they must think I’m being incredibly rude.”
Another major problem for Jodanna has been the constant stiffness in her joints which she describes as “like arthritis”.
She added: “If I’ve been sitting down for a while watching a film with my daughter and husband, I can’t move straight away. It’s like my body has to warm up before I start walking. horren-
“At times I ached so much that I felt like I’d been in a car crash.”
And she admitted that the condition has led to her suffering bouts of anxiety and depression.
“I felt like I was the only person to ever have it this badly,” she said.
“After the hysterectomy I felt like I’d lost a part of what it was to be a woman. All the organs that made me feel like a woman were taken away. The only thing I have left are my breasts.
“That’s hard for people to understand, as they are inside the body and things you cannot see.”
To combat her symptoms, Jodanna underwent different types of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), some of which didn’t work.
“The patches didn’t work for me. They felt like a bruise wherever I put them on my body and I had an allergic reaction to them.
“I also tried the little sachets of gel, which also didn’t help. Now I’m on another form of HRT and so far that seems to be working a little bit better.”
To help her deal with her symptoms and low mood, Jodanna began a diary to document her thoughts.
She also found solace in a book written by former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton, called Hot Flush, who said menopause “went beyond any comprehension” of what she expected it to be.
As part of World Menopause Day on October 18, Jodanna decided to film herself talking about her surgically-induced menopause – which has since been viewed more than 6,000 times.
“The response has been over- whelming,” she said. “I’ve had so many messages of support. I even had a woman come up to me in the street who cried and gave me a big hug.
“She said she felt so alone in her own battle with menopause, and that listening to the video made her realise she wasn’t going loopy.
“I’m very lucky, as I have an amazing family network around me. My husband and my grandparents have been a massive support.”
She is now calling on the Welsh NHS to offer more mental support to people who experience early menopause.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “It is important that serious health issues affecting women are dealt with effectively and appropriately.
“We take this very seriously and have commissioned a group of experts in this area to look at a range of issues relating to women’s reproductive health and their well-being.”
‘It was horrendous’ – Jodanna Beynon, 36, went into premature menopause following a hysterectomy
Jodanna with her husband Daniel and daughter Izobelle