Talking about the menopause
It feels like a long time ago that I was writing blogs about the menopause in 2015/16:
and female hormones:
To be honest, I don’t really think about the menopause much these days as I’m on HRT and so don’t have any symptoms which cause me problems. Yes I can see my skin tone changing and fine lines where there were none, my hair is whiter and I have a dodgy big toe joint, but I feel very lucky to feel healthy and well.
I don’t think it is an accident. When I read my diaries as well as the blogs from 2015/16, I can see I was struggling. I was one of the lucky women who had an excellent GP, who took the perimenopause seriously, knew about it and was up to date with the latest guidance. I was also lucky enough to be able to go for more individual care with Jane Wilkinson who is a specialist in female reproductive health and menopause wellbeing. I paid for the hour and then half hour follow up.
In the hour we talked not only about signs and symptoms, but the safest way for me to take HRT, but we also talked about life style; diet, exercise, sleep, time out and vitamins. She made me feel understood and took me seriously.
I was lucky. So many of my female friends have had GPs who have dismissed it as ‘women’s problems’ and dismissed it, or offered anti-depressants as some kind of cure all.
So when yet another female friend told me yet another dismal tale of being brushed off by her GP, I got in touch with Jane to see if she would talk on the podcast, and she said yes.
I could talk to her for hours because she knows so much about the menopause and is so warm and caring. What I learned in our conversation was also what an activist she is and how she moving her work to focus on training and informing GPs so all women, not just those of us who could afford it, get the excellent care I had.
Please share this with any woman you know who might need it. Jane shares lots of information as well as signposting on to other organisations and sources of support. I’m with Jane in my desire to open up conversations about the menopause and to insist that women get the care they need.
The world needs women, and we need women with the wisdom and experience that peri and post menopausal have. Being informed and getting help with the menopause is not only personal and biological, it is a feminist issue about supporting women to be healthy and well so that we can take a full and active part in engaging with the many urgent issues the world face.
You can listen to our conversation here or below.