This blog is a special one to say the least! Because we spoke to the fantastic Keeley who trialled our Mellow Meno range of menopause CBD capsules.
Read on to see how our CBD capsules have helped her and hear all about her story. And for the video version, you can check out our brand new YouTube channel which has the full version online now.
Or you can follow us on Instagram to see it split into two parts. And while you’re there, you can give us a follow!
Let’s jump straight in with Keeley and find out all about her peri menopausal journey.
When did you notice something was changing?
For me, I was always regular. I’d had a copper coil for many years and was really happy with it. I was regular as clockwork every month and all of a sudden, I just started to constantly bleed.
And I mean constantly bleed. No gap at all.
It was quite heavy, and it (sorry for being graphic) started to become quite clotty. It was really uncomfortable and made my everyday life start to become unbearable, leaking through clothing and so on.
Were you experiencing this with the coil?
Yeah, the coil was in at the time. Obviously, I thought what’s going on here?
What did you do next?
I went to my GP, and they advised that I changed the coil to a Mirena Coil which should help regulate my periods. So I took their advice and did that, but it just didn’t suit me or work for me. I felt more PMS-y and had other symptoms like being teary and agitated while I had that in. And the coil was the only thing I could associate it with at the time as I had no further diagnosis.
So, I had that removed and had no contraception for a while. Then the night sweats started which was my second symptom and with these, I’d wake up absolutely drenched.
How old were you at this time?
I was 39 the first time I went to the doctor after 6 months of symptoms.
It’s 6 years later now and I’m still going through all of this but have finally got a diagnosis of being peri menopausal. But it took a long time of toing and froing at the doctors, and I didn’t understand what was going on.
What kinds of symptoms did you experience?
I had really heavy periods that didn’t seem to stop. I was tired all the time which I associated with blood loss from the heavy periods. The sweating at night, I think anyone who’s had night sweats can relate, but I used to think “have I wet myself?” because I would wake up soaking wet through. I’d have to shower and change 3 times a night sometimes.
I started to have flushes and get extremely hot. But when I would sweat and wake up in the night, I would be freezing cold.
They were my main symptoms – regular heavy periods, well, constant periods, night sweats, and starting to get more emotional and agitated a lot, and constant PMS with no break.
What was your doctor’s advice?
They didn’t really say anything to be honest. They were quite dismissive. Short and sweet. You know, “try the Mirena Coil maybe this will work.”
Obviously, I took their advice, it didn’t work so I had it removed and I just carried on with nothing. I thought having nothing might actually help. Which it did for a while.
Did anyone suggest it would be peri menopause?
I felt absolutely rubbish and had really bad fatigue as well. I just couldn’t understand what was happening. I work full time and have children, but I’d come home from work and would fall asleep before cooking dinner. I’d sleep constantly at weekends and couldn’t keep my eyes open.
I’d sleep through the night and feel like I hadn’t had a wink of sleep, I’d be exhausted. I’d just fall straight back to sleep. It was really, really bad. It started to cripple me.
That’s when I started to panic because I wasn’t functioning as a mother. My routine was all over, I used to cook and go to the gym, and I stopped all of that. At weekends I’d just sleep. Overall, I had zero energy and it debilitated me.
Did the doctor suggest HRT?
No, so I started to do my own research which is where I came across menopause. I thought “oh my God, this is me!” Even though I was quite young to be going through anything like that. So I was suggested this to do the doctor, but they dismissed it instantly. Because I was getting teary and emotional at the time, and I think this happens a lot to women, if you turn up to the doctors they say “oh you’re depressed” you know but my life was great.
I had a great partner, great kids, I liked my job, nothing had changed in my life it was just me and what I was physically going through.
So the doctor said you were depressed?
Yeah, it was a case of “take an anti-depressant” even though I didn’t feel depressed. They sold it to me that it would help with my night sweats, and since I was suffering, I went for it.
I was put on 20mg of fluoxetine and over the years the dosage was increased because I was so up and down, but it had no effect on my mood whatsoever. I’ve went and gone back and said I don’t think I need this is the right course of action because if it was working, I would feel better, but if anything, I felt progressively worse than I ever did.
Then they said I was far too young to be going per menopause and sent me on my way. So I just kept going back. I had nothing to lose, and I was just going to irritate them until they listened to me because I knew something was wrong with me, but I didn’t know what it was.
It was physical and emotional, I was getting really bad chronic joint pain, like really bad. Sometimes I’ve woken up thinking I’ve got a sprain or injury it’s that bad. I’ve always had bad back ache but that’s got progressively worse going through this stage of peri, definitely. Migraines which I’d never suffered with, I got loads of them as well as insomnia.
I’d go through stages of a month or two of insomnia and then it would switch, and I’d be fatigued and would sleep constantly. I’d be asleep constantly, then awake constantly, all while trying to function as a mum, partner, and going to work.
It was really affecting your day to day life, wasn’t it?
I think the thing with it as well is that nobody prepared me for it. I’ve never had this conversation with my mum, when you’re a teenager and reach puberty and you go through periods, you’re all prepared for it. Everyone talks about it at school, so do your parents, but this hit me like a bolt out of the blue and I didn’t know what was happening to me.
What happened next?
So, eventually I started to have regular blood tests. I had about five blood tests because they couldn’t catch the hormone because it was fluctuating so quickly.
I was told to go straight to the doctors for a blood test as soon as my period started, and I ended up having them at all different stages and times of the day. On the sixth test they caught something and said I’ve basically got nothing there at the moment.
And they acknowledged I was suffering.
Then they wrote to a consultant at the local hospital because they didn’t want to administer HRT to me because I was quite young at that point – about 41 by then.
They came back and said that I could trial something and they’d put me on an oestrogen based therapy to start, but I didn’t really like that, and it didn’t make me feel any better at all.
Were they tablets?
That was a tablet at first, I’ve had quite a lot, on and off though. I’ve had tablets but I didn’t like it. I’ve had patches as well which I felt I was much better on. I had to co-ordinate them. I had to do two weeks of oestrogen, then swap to progesterone which felt better for me.
But it’s all about getting the dosage right. I think everyone’s different which is why that’s the case.
Did you then go on HRT?
I tried HRT but didn’t like it, but on reflection when I was a teen, I started to take the contraceptive pill and I never actually found one that suited me. That I felt comfortable with. At the time I always felt super emotional or really crampy or other physical symptoms. So I never found a contraception which is how I ended up on the copper coil.
What led you to taking HRT?
I was desperate. Literally. Desperate to sleep and just to function. I couldn’t do anything. My memory just went. Brain fog every night, honestly, I would lose my keys constantly. The amount of times I lose my keys or phone, ask my family, it’s a daily occurrence!
It was terrible. I didn’t recognise myself and doubted myself. My confidence dipped and I started to suffer from anxiety. I’d make plans with the girls or a birthday celebration with my partner and I wouldn’t be able to go because I’d be crippled with self-doubt and anxiety.
I’d just feel horrendous. I knew the minute I’d have a glass of wine I’d start blurting and nobody wants that.
It made a recluse for a while.
Did it affect your relationship?
Thankfully not. There’ve been times where I’ve tested him don’t get me wrong *laughing * But he’s amazing and I’m so lucky. I am honestly so lucky. Thankfully he can remembered me before peri menopause. He knew it wasn’t me and it was more what I was going through.
He didn’t recognise me at some points and to be honest, I didn’t recognise myself. My kids were so worried about me too.
What happened after the HRT?
So, I tried the HRT with the doctor but didn’t think it suited me. So I asked to be referred to the consultant at the local hospital which was about 5 years ago now. They agreed to see me, and I had my first appointment booked.
Then COVID hit…
So it was a phone call appointment in the end and to be honest, I’d prepared a huge spiel of symptoms to tell them because I had to explain how I felt because somebody needed to help me.
I got everything prepared and I was probably on the phone for about four minutes. She asked me my symptoms, I listed them, and she said I was peri menopausal.
She advised me to go back onto the Mirena Coil because I needed the progesterone it provided, and she advised an oestrogen tablet to balance it out. Beforehand, obviously the doctors aren’t trained to deal with hormones because it’s a speciality, so beforehand they were offering the one, but I needed both to counterbalance and level me out.
Again, I went and had the Mirena Coil fitted and started the oestrogen tablets. But my mental and emotional health has not been great throughout this whole period. It does dip and it’s up and down a lot. Like everybody really when the period’s coming.
It did substantially deteriorate this year, definitely, and I think for myself personally, a lot of that was to do with the Mirena Coil and I think I’m slightly sensitive to progesterone. But all of this is trial and error and a lot of this is myself researching things, so I just started to get really, really down and just erratic in general.
It’s like when you’re pregnant and you cry for no reason. Because there’s three satsumas and not two, like what’s going on with me!
So I just really tried to stick with it, but I did get very, very low at one point this year to the point where I had to go off work sick.
Did you have the coil at this point?
I had it in yeah, this latest coil I’ve had so many! The one the consultant advised me to get. I went and had that in and that’s when I started to feel really bad mentally and emotionally.
My physical symptoms were still the same, I still had really bad fatigue, joint pain which was unbelievable. Some days I would think “I feel like an old lady, everything hurts!” I’d come downstairs and take painkillers and you know that’s not normal to be having to take a painkiller every day for days on end.
So I was having those but just didn’t feel that the coil suited me. My mental and emotional health nosedived. I tried to get a hold of my consultant to tell them it’s not for me, can you advise? Because I knew if I went to my GP, they wouldn’t do anything now I had a consultant. They needed their say-so, so I was going round in circles. Going back to my GP asking for advice and they’d have to wait to speak to my consultant, and then IF they did actually speak to them and they got back to them then it would come back to me. But this was months at a time, we’re talking three months for it to go round in that little circle to try something else.
So I got that desperate this year. I removed my coil myself at home.
Why did you decide to remove it yourself?
I was desperate. Literally. You know your own body. Even though I was looking to them for guidance, I just thought I would rather try and take this out and see how I go, rather than feel how I felt at that time. I just felt awful. I couldn’t get an appointment to get it removed because of COVID so yeah, I literally made the decision to get on YouTube and Google and remove it.
How did removing the coil affect you?
Honestly. Within a week I felt better. Emotionally and mentally I felt better.
I still had my physical symptoms but definitely for me, and I’m not putting anyone off I know its fantastic for some women, I’ve got friends who have it and rave about it but just personally for me, it just didn’t work.
After you removed the coil, did you go back on to HRT?
I found some old ones from the cupboard! I was thinking right I can’t go on anything, but thankfully the ones I found were the best ones for me. I found them and thought great, so I those patches back on and went back to the GP. I said this is what I’ve done, can I just remain on this HRT? This particular one?
They said yeah that’s fine. I then had an appointment with my consultant back in July, but I couldn’t go in because of COVID, so again, it was over the phone.
This time I was really disappointed because my consultant was very dismissive of what I was saying to her. I timed my call with her, and it was literally 7 minutes long and she spoke for about 5 minutes of the whole conversation. She asked me how my coil was going, I explained the situation that I’d taken it out and how it made me feel. She literally dismissed everything I said and said she didn’t feel that the coil was the reason that my mental and emotional health had deteriorated. She’d written a “paper” on it, so I tried to argue that everyone is different, and I feel much better without it, at least 60% better without having it in and that’s just a week later. So obviously it just wasn’t for me.
But yeah, she was quite dismissive, and she said that if I want to continue on the HRT that I’d found and that the GP had prescribed I could do so, and she then dismissed me from the service…
When you found out Mellow Meno capsules, were you concerned about trying CBD?
To be honest, no. I thought it would benefit me if anything because I’d read up on CBD and understood the benefits and lack of risk.
Had you tried CBD before?
I have. I tried the drops under the tongue, I tried the sleep aid and I felt that they did reduce my anxiety, I did feel more calm and on a level, but they didn’t help with my sleeping at all. But that’s been horrendous for years now. But like I say, since going through peri menopause, I’ve looked after myself more because I know something’s wrong but don’t know what it is, so I’ve made the conscious effort to look after myself better than I ever did. But I felt worse. The irony!
So like I say, I was taking supplements to look after myself, my skin, drinking more water, going to the gym, I tried to do as much as possible and made myself a priority, more so because I knew I was struggling.
And when I heard about Mellow Meno, I thought yeah… I’m up for this.
I thought I’m already taking numerous supplements and I was literally at the stage where I would try anything. I would try anything to just feel like my old self again. To feel better. Honestly, I would.
When you trialled our Mellow Meno capsules, how long did it take to have an effect, and what changed?
I think it took a good two weeks for me. I took it in the morning because that’s when I take my daily medication and I always have because that’s my routine. So I took it every morning with everything else and I just felt like I had more energy and that’s a biggie for me. Because I am honestly always, always tired.
I can remember sitting at the sink and thinking “oh, I feel alright!” Because it’s that few and far between when I do feel alright, that it was really refreshing. It definitely helped with my joint pain, too, that definitely reduced.
I felt alert, brighter, more focussed and I didn’t feel as emotional. I mean I’m nowhere near as emotional as I was before, but you know, I still have a good cry once a week or so.
I remember recalling “wow, I haven’t cried for a while!” And I just felt like I had a bit of a spring in my step, and taking Mellow Meno was the only thing different I was doing.
And I love the fact that everything is in the capsule. I’m used to taking eight different supplements every single morning and with this, everything is in one which is so convenient. I don’t have to overthink or remind myself what each thing does.
Will you be using Mellow Meno every day moving forward?
Did the CBD make you feel tired or drowsy?
No. No, I felt more alert from taking these!
Did you feel more relaxed after taking the Mellow Meno capsules.
Yep, absolutely, and my anxiety as well, they definitely helped my anxiety. This supplement, for me personally, is one of the best ones that I’ve taken so far and that is the truth.
If anyone is in the same situation as me, they will totally relate to this. You are at your wits end sometimes and I know my journey is not over yet. I’m not in menopause and I still have very irregular periods now so compared to when it started and it was constant, now it’s sporadic and erratic. I could have two a year or one a month for three months which I hate because I never know because it really catches you off guard.
My journey is nowhere over so anything that can help me feel like myself again.
Will you be taking Mellow Meno alongside HRT?
I am yes. I continue with my HRT and still feel that for myself, it needs tweaking because it is an absolute minefield out there. I’m on forums like Menopause Matters and have been for years. I love it and it’s really useful.
There’s just so much and so many different HRTs and things that are more compatible with you and dosage and gels and creams and it’s just overwhelming. And you go to your GP for guidance and then for a consultant which didn’t work for me. I think personally, I’m going to go private with my healthcare. That’s the way I’m going to go to get myself back on track.
And… The supplements.