All posts tagged ‘menopause’

Susanne’s blog

I originally set up Menopause Support to pass on information and experiences I gathered through my tricky menopause. If you want my ideas, tips and products to help you with your symptoms, or if you want to know more about the latest menopause research then read my blog. I?d love to hear your feedback so please post a comment at the bottom of the page!

Menopause Support Survey Results

2. June 2011 05:52

Over two-thirds of women suffer from hot flushes our recent survey results showed, and nearly a half (49%) want more information on HRT alternatives to help with their menopausal symptoms.  But even though hot flushes were the most common symptom, surprisingly nearly 60% of women complained that problems with the head, such as headaches, migraines, anxiety and confusion, were a symptom of their menopause too.  Our present free Top Tip download is 10 Ways to Improve your Headaches and Migraines. You can find this on the right hand side of the homepage. If you know of anyone who may also be suffering, then please share the link with them too.

 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our questionnaire.  We had a fantastic response and the results and your comments are very helpful and give us a good idea of what support you’re looking for through your menopause.  We will be making changes over the coming months but hope we will continue with this website as three-quarters of you use the internet to look up remedies and treatments for the symptoms of the menopause.  We’re also looking at writing a book based on the Menopause Support Programme as nearly half of you (49%) get your information from books.

 

We’ve drawn the winner from those that completed the survey and we are pleased to announce that Carol from Plymouth won our goodie box containing a mini Chillow Pillow, a cooling scarf, FEMA 45+ multivitamins, Pure Fish Oil capsules, Spiezia Facial Cleanser, a step counter, lemon Materia Aromatica aromatherapy oil, a selection of Pukka Teas, Walnut, Olive & White Chestnut Bach Flower Remedies, a Recovery Remedy, some Yes! Lubricants and a relaxing cd!

Mail on Sunday YOU magazine a huge success!

12. April 2011 05:44

 

 

So a big thank you to everyone who gave their menopause story to journalist Rosanna Greenstreet.

 

If you haven’t seen the article ‘Menopause: A change for the better ….. or worse?’ in this Sunday’s YOU magazine then click on the link:

 

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1374394/Menopause-A-change-better-worse.html

 

The article is full of real stories, including some great celebrities, on how women find their menopause.  What continually strikes me is how different everyone’s experience is.  Each woman’s menopause is totally unique.  Women must be encouraged to find the information and advice they need to make their own treatment decisions, whether that’s HRT, lifestyle changes, complementary therapies or a mix of all three!

 

The many appreciative comments on the Mail Online comment board and the response on the Menopause Support website shows how important this type of reporting is.  BT from Chester writes:

 

“How refreshing to see the ‘side effects’ of the menopause described so openly and candidly by such a variety of women.  This subject never seems to get the publicity it deserves and women over 50, like myself, tend to think they are the only ones suffering….”

 

 

What is the peri-menopause?

11. February 2011 11:25

You may well ask!  Although most of us have heard of the menopause, the word ‘peri-menopause’ is not used as often. In fact, when I first heard it, I had no idea what it meant even though I have a scientific background.

 

Basically, it’s the medical term that can be simply summed up in five words: ‘The approach to the menopause.’

 

This is important, as unlike childbirth which, once started, it usually progresses fairly rapidly, the menopause can go on for many years. It can stop and then, just as you think it’s all over, it can come back as an encore.

 

The peri-menopause is the start of all this. It’s the beginning of some of the symptoms such as irregular bleeding, mood swings and tender breasts. It’s the stage where you’re not quite into the full swing of the M word but very nearly – or at least, on the cusp.

 

So how do you know if you are menopausal or perimenopausal or neither?
 

There may be other health reasons for your so-called menopausal symptoms which is why it’s important to see your GP to rule out anything else. Your doctor may give you a blood test to check your hormone levels. The blood tests won’t definitely say if you are menopausal but they can give an indication by testing the level of FSH in the blood: this is the Follicle stimulating Hormone which stimulates the eggs in the ovaries to ripen. As you get older and the follicles become more resistant the FSH levels, they have to rise to a higher level to try and get the follicle to produce an egg. So if the result is very high, the doctor will say you’re likely to be in your menopause, especially if you have other symptoms such as irregular periods. 
 

However, in the peri-menopausal period, the FSH levels fluctuate from month to month and through the cycle, particularly if you’re still having periods. A temporary raised FSH level can also be because of stopping the oral contraceptive pill, breast feeding, severe illness, hypothyroidism, depression, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and some medicines such as Prozac.

 

It’s worth knowing that if you’re already taking hormones for a medical condition (including contraception), the blood tests are unlikely to reflect a true reading. So you might need to come off the Pill in order to see if you really are entering the menopausal stage. The tricky bit here is that you could still be fertile so even if you are peri-menopausal, you could still theoretically, get pregnant.

 

There are also certain over-the-counter medical self-testing menopause testing kits where you can check the level of FSH of your urine on a stick, as in a pregnancy test. To get the best result, take the urine test on the third to fifth day of your period and do it over successive months to get a more accurate result. This will however only be an indication that you are menopausal: you do need to have other symptoms too.

 

How much fruit and veg should I be eating?

4. February 2011 07:34

At least five and preferably eight is the result of two new research studies from Oxford University.  In the first study 300,000 people from countries across Europe were assessed and it was found that eating at least eight portions reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 22% compared with eating less than three portions.  The second study found that eating at least five portions could save 15,000 lives a year by reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke.    

 

For menopausal women this is really important as the risk of heart disease and strokes increases dramatically as your female hormones reduce as you go through the menopause.  Also by eating a wide range of plant foods including garlic, celery, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, apples, plums, cherries and rhubarb you are supporting your dropping oestrogen levels as these foods provide beneficial ‘phyto-oestrogen’ nutrients too. 

 

So how to start eating more fruit and veg?  The best way I know is to snack on fruit between meals (rather than the chocolate bars or biscuits) and at proper meal times make half your plate covered with vegetables.  You might also like to think about some vegetable based recipes.  Two of the favourites here at Menopause Support are for mushroom stroganoff and roasted red peppers.  They’re delicious! If you’d like to have these recipes just send us an email to info@menopausesupport.org.uk – enjoy!  

Does Menopause affect your sex life?

28. January 2011 10:57

      

The answer is YES for most of us …. but it’s a really difficult question to get a discussion going on.  Not only do we not like admitting to the menopause but we certainly don’t want to talk about how our sex lives are changing too.  But changing they are, if the experience of women I meet at Menopause Support are anything to go by.

 

During our workshops this topic of ‘personal relationships, feelings & emotions’ often overruns on time and is one of the liveliest and enthusiastically received.  I think women just want to feel they’ve got an safe opportunity to talk about it and know that how they feel, and what’s happening to them, is normal.  Questions like ‘Why am I just not interested in sex anymore?’  or ‘Can I do anything to stop it being so painful?’ are regularly discussed.

 

So with Valentine’s Day coming up (a bit cheesy I know!) we’ve decided to run a free Sex and the Menopause topic talk on the subject.  Register your free place now to join us on Thursday 10th February from 7.30 to 8.00 pm.  Telephone in and listen to my tips, ideas and latest research.  And if you want you can ask your question through the talk too, anonymously if you wish.

 

If you would like to hear a recording of this topic talk, please email us to request the link info@menopausesupport.org.uk

Fighting the invisibility of 50s+ women

12. January 2011 05:33

Congratulations to Miriam O’Reilly who has successfully won her case against the BBC for age discrimination.  The employment tribunal ruled that Miriam, 53, was dismissed because of her age (not sex) when senior BBC executives decided to overhaul BBC1 rural affairs (Countryfile) show in November 2008.

 

The exodus of older women disappearing from our TVs over the past few years has been lamentable – Moira Stuart, Anna Ford, Arlene Phillips and Selina Scott to mention a few.  It’s not surprising that so many women fear looking older and have difficulty in embracing their post menopausal life.  Women often believe that past 50 their useful lives have come to an end.  A regular comment I hear, ‘I just feel invisible these days’!  Not helped by the BBC whisking all our 50s+ role models from our screens.

 

But thanks to this case, campaigners believe times will now change with the BBC swiftly announcing ‘fair selection for presenter appointments’ as well as increased training for senior executives.  The future looks bright – let’s look forward to seeing many more gorgeously maturing women on our TVs.  

Lose your Christmas weight fast!

7. January 2011 09:55

Join us here at our free Menopause Support ‘phone-in’ next Thursday 13th January at 7.30pm to find out the latest research and ideas on how to get rid of those extra festive pounds.

I’ll be discussing why weight control is so much harder once we get into our 40s and talk about ideas and tips which women find really help keep their weight under control through this period of their lives.  I’ll be sharing the latest research on what works and what doesn’t and talk about how to use these findings in your day to day life.

The call will last 30 minutes and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.  Book your free place now, click on ‘Book Now’ on the Weight control topic talk page for the ‘0845’ number to ring next Thursday. 

Looking forward to talking with you then and in the meantime, if you’re anything like me, wear your ‘fat-day’ jeans for the next few days!

If you would like to receive a recording of this Weight Control topic talk, please email us to request a link info@menopausesupport.org.uk

Did you hear Woman?s Hour? – All about HRT

13. December 2010 09:13

We’ve just finished listening to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this morning here in the Menopause Support office. 

 

It was a well balanced programme as it looked at both HRT as a treatment option as well as the more natural approaches such as nutrition and acupuncture.  Several women rang in and said what had worked for them – many were lifestyle changes and complementary therapies.

 

But what came across loud and clear was that women want reliable, trustworthy information so that they can make their own decision on what to use to help them through their menopause.  They want support from other women and time to discuss different approaches so that they can decide what’s the right one for them. 

 

So that’s where we come in – here at Menopause Support you can get evidence based advice through the Menopause Support Programme.  Look at the advice section on our website www.menopausesupport.org.uk, download the free information, listen to a podcast or get the top tips.  Or if you want to hear from other women going through it go on the chat forum, a topic talk or come to a workshop.

 

We’re looking forward to hearing from you soon. To listen to the programme click on the audio link below. The Women’s hour program starts after 11 seconds into the show.

 
Alternatively, click here:
BBC Radio 4,Women’s Hour Monday 13th December 2010.

Sex and the Menopause

20. October 2010 08:45

Most research I have found on sex and the menopause is ‘medically’ based, for example, looking at how declining hormone levels result in a reduced sex drive.  But recently I was sent an interesting piece of research with a different approach – 12 British women were interviewed about their experience of sex through the menopause and their responses analysed. 

 

The research concluded that a good sex life depends on how women feel about their relationships against the backdrop of their own and their partner’s physically changing body.  It also showed how the changes in sex drive and sexual satisfaction through the menopause varied amongst women – not that dissimilar to a woman’s experiences of sex at other points in their lives. 

 

If you would like a copy of this research please contact us on info@menopausesupport.org.uk

 

If you’re interested in this topic there’s a free lecture on 2nd December 2010 at Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists from 6.00 to 8.00 pm where Dr Claudine Domoney will address issues and concerns for women who have sexual problems during and after the menopause.  Topics will include interventions that might help and treatments (together with any side-effects) that may be useful.  To reserve your free place click on www.rcog.org.uk/events

5 A Day for a Happier Life!

28. September 2010 04:51

Happiness has become a science rather than an art, following the recent launch of the Movement for Happiness – an organisation using scientific research to understand why, as our incomes have increased we have not become happier.

 

The global happiness survey conducted in more than 150 countries from Argentina to Zimbabwe asked people, ‘What makes you happy?’  The study concluded that we think our health and wellbeing are the main areas to improve happiness but there are in fact other areas such as involvement in our local communities that are just as important and often overlooked. 

 

Also, we let short-term gains override what we know is probably best for us in the long term – I can really relate to this one!  Such as sitting down in front of the TV, or having that glass of wine rather than going to that exercise class you promised yourself.  But apparently, if you concentrate on how much better you’ll feel tomorrow with a more toned body, more rested from a better night’s sleep and so more energy to face the day rather than knowing that it could help prevent heart disease in 20 years time, you’re more likely to get to that class. In other words focus on short-term rather than long-term gains to keep yourself motivated.

 

If you’d like to know more go to http://gmj.gallup.com/content/126884/five-essential-elements-wellbeing.aspx (or you could always come on one of our Menopause Support Programme workshops and explore ideas for your own ‘5 a day for a happier life’!)