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From puberty through to menopause, our female hormones and their effects can seem like a minefield to navigate. After injecting herself with hormones daily for IVF treatment, no one knows this to be more true than Kat Lister. Here, she investigates this complex world…


The undeniable power of hormones was made clear to me the moment I embarked on IVF. Over a period of two months in 2015, I self-administered 55 hormone injections in order to produce multiple eggs for collection, fertilisation and embryo transfer. To the outside world, I was bravely battling through in vitro with an unrelenting smile on my face. Yet, behind closed doors, the truth was anything but: I felt alone and adrift. Needles stung and thighs swelled. I cried, shouted and laughed without any understanding why. Liquid hormone slunk in every morning with a sting in its tail. It whimpered quietly at first, before wailing louder, until I was unable to distinguish my true feelings from the extreme highs and lows the folliclestimulating hormones produced. Like a kite in a windstorm, I lunged and lurched against the unpredictable current. Everything seemed distorted. I wasn’t me.

My struggle with IVF is only one isolated experience,

but it acutely demonstrates the ways in which hormones can uproot a woman, wreaking havoc on her body and mental wellbeing. Most women will menstruate for around 40 years following puberty, experiencing approximately 500 periods in total. That’s a lot of hormones to deal with in a lifetime – and they don’t always play fair as we journey through pubescence, potential motherhood and menopause.

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Psychologies April 2017 - Harness Your Power