15 Mar 2020

The Story Behind the Brand: The Latte Lounge

Katie Taylor, Founder of Latte Lounge
The Story Behind the Brand: The Latte Lounge

The night of my diagnosis I came home and cried with relief on my bed that I wasn’t going mad and there was an explanation for everything I’d been feeling but I felt really, really angry at that time that my doctors had misdiagnosed me and I had wasted four years of precious life not really living.

I was 43, when I began to struggle with low mood. My usual bubbly, outgoing, capable persona was slowly replaced with low energy, brain fog and anxiety.

As a mum of four kids I just put it down to juggling my family, home and job.

But hit with insomnia, I spent the next four years trying to function on just three hours sleep a night. My unrelenting symptoms forced me to give up three jobs in that time too.

I didn't get the typical hot flushes and night sweats, but i did have heart palpitations and my periods had become shorter, and heavier and I put on a lot of weight.

My GP said I was probably stressed and depressed, as I was working full-time and had a very busy family life and so that was when it was suggested I took some time off, hence why I initially quit my first job.

I was given antidepressants but they didn't make things any better, they just made me feel numb. I just felt like I could no longer get any joy out of life.

I tried going to the gym a bit more and eating more healthily, but nothing helped.

I was sent to a heart specialist for my palpitations, which ruled out a heart condition. I went back and forth to different doctors and specialists over the years about all the various symptoms I was suffering from, but I was just made to feel like a hypochondriac.

It was my father, Professor Michael Baum, a surgical oncologist who specialises in breast cancer, who suspected all my symptoms were hormone-related, and arranged for me to see one of his consultant friends.

She did a blood test and said my oestrogen levels were "on the floor" and that all my symptoms were due to perimenopause and suggested I went on HRT immediately.

It was the first time I'd heard the word perimenopause.

Within a couple of months, I'd weaned myself off the antidepressants and suddenly realised that I was starting to feel like my old self again.

I remember watching a comedy show on TV and realising it was the first time I’d laughed in four years.

My husband commented that he felt like he had got his wife back, and my kids their mum.

The night of my diagnosis I came home and cried with relief on my bed that I wasn’t going mad and there was an explanation for everything I’d been feeling but I felt really, really angry at that time that my doctors had misdiagnosed me and I had wasted four years of precious life not really living.

I decided there and then to start a Facebook group and a website lattelounge.co aimed at women over 40, so that I could share my experience with others and help all those who may also have been in the dark about their own symptoms. 

We now have over 17,000 members on our Facebook Group and we now talk about all areas of midlife health and wellbeing, not just perimenopause and menopause.

The group tends to be full of women asking for recommendations for anything from a doctor or a dentist, to a cleaner or a hairdresser but it is a very safe, warm, friendly and non-judgmental place to be. 

I also have a medical committee who I turn to if our members email me with some problems they may need some signposting for and we have a jobs board, a business directory, an offers and discount page and a blog zone on our website, full of very useful information on all areas of midlife.

We have a charity partner, The Eve Appeal, as my long term aim is to use this platform to raise money and awareness for them so I can carry on the baton of my father in furthering our successes in the area of cancer research.

I don't blame the GPs for what happened to me, after all they only have 10 minutes to chat to a patient, and there is no mandatory GP training in menopause currently, hence why so many women are not getting the right treatment. But I’m constantly campaigning with many of my amazing menowarriors and colleagues who I’ve met through my work, to try and change all that hopefully soon.

 

SOME INFORMATION ON PERIMENOPAUSE/MENOPAUSE

The average age of menopause, when woman's oestrogen levels decline, is 51. Perimenopause, or menopause transition, may begin as early as 10 years before.

Around 13 million women in the UK are either peri- or menopausal, equal to one-third of the entire female population yet 48 per cent of GPs have had no training in the management of the menopause, which can include mood changes, joint and muscle pain, headaches and UTI’s.

Millions of women are being forced to cope with the change without help. Only 2.5 million prescriptions of HRT were issued in England in 2017, down from 6 million in 2000.

It's argued the fall is because GPs are still influenced by scare stories about the side-effects of HRT published decades ago that were overblown.

Blood tests are not very accurate in women over 45 as hormone levels go up and down all the time, even during the course of a day, so the test can't really present a true picture.

A better way is to talk to a GP or nurse about the pattern of your periods and any symptoms you are experiencing (take a symptom check list with you) and/or go to a menopause specialist (which you can find via The BMS website).

For more information, please visit:

www.lattelounge.co

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