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Woman tells of how she became suicidal at the age of 25 after being diagnosed with menopause

Kathy Haskins says she felt like she was a 'burden on everyone'

Kathy Haskins had early onset menopause

Eugene Masterson

A YOUNG woman became suicidal when at the age of 25 she started suffering mystery hot flushes, constant sweats, heart palpitations, weight gain and other ailments affecting her mouth, nose and throat.

Tortured Kathy Haskins was also plagued by bad migraines, urinary tract infections, heart palpitations and mood swings, while her insomnia was so bad she could only manage a couple of hours sleep each night.

It was only shortly after turning 28 that her condition was finally diagnosed - at such an extraordinary young age Kathy was suffering from the menopause.

"I couldn't fall asleep until about one o'clock, then I woke at 3am, I was wide awake. I used to be pacing the house and the insomnia was terrible," mum-of-three Kathy (31) tells the Sunday World.

"From within three months of having my third child it was basically 20 months straight of no sleep, the same every night, and I suffered from about 40 different symptoms."

"I think I was suicidal twice, with depression and anxiety. It was horrendous. I got to the stage where I'd have to get out of the house, then I'd be driven to the shops. I'd be crying. I was a burden on everyone."

During Covid, Kathy had problems getting through to see a doctor, who when she emailed him a list of her 40 or so symptoms he told her she was 'worked up' and prescribed her with valium.

She only succeeded in getting blood tests done through her dentist as she feared she may have been suffering from oral cancer such was her problem with mouth ulcers and other problems. She was prescribed with 13 antibiotics within six months.

Kathy. is taking part in a new RTÉ documentary, 'The Change: Ireland's Menopause Story.' She hails from Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin, and now lives near Tinakilly, Co. Wicklow, with her partner John and their two girls and one boy, aged 13, 11 and seven.

John saw his own doctor for a regular six-month check-up and told her about the ordeal Kathy had been going through for nearly three years.

"I went in with her for about an hour and she asked several questions when she ran though various things. I was answering yes to everything and she basically told me it was the menopause," she recalls.

Kathy then went on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

"I got the oestrogen patch. I put it on around lunchtime on the Thursday and I went to sleep about 10 o'clock that night and I slept for about 10 hours solid, didn't wake up once. I was chuffed," she beams.

"I'd say by week three pretty much 90 per cent of my symptoms had just stopped completely and I hadn't cried once, except at a birthday. My children probably thought there was some new woman after coming in to rear them!"

She admits her friends were stunned she got the menopause so young.

"All of my friends are around the same age as me, 30 to 35, and they were telling me 'it's only sweats, it's only missed periods'. I was saying to them 'youse are in for some shock'."

Menopause usually starts between the age of 45 and 55. The average age for a woman to reach menopause is 51. Early menopause happens when your periods stop before the age of 45. But around 1 in 100 women experience menopause before 40 years of age.

Kathy has now joined the Irish Menopause Group, having reached out when she was diagnosed.

"I put 'menopause' into a search engine and that was the first group I found and I've been hooked on it ever sense. I have learned about everything. All my symptoms I had since I was 25, I only figured it out because of this group," she adds.

"There's a good few of us quite young. I don't really know the back cause of many of them."

The Change: Ireland's Menopause Story tomorrow RTÉ 1 9.35pm. Questions about menopause can be answered by HSE experts on Freephone: 1800 700 700.

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