The Menopause Exchange Blog

HRT AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS

January 19th, 2018

Women with pre-existing medical problems are often denied HRT following adverse reports from the Million Women’s Study and Women’s Health Initiative published 15 years ago. This led to a 66% reduction in HRT use in the UK.

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THE MENOPAUSE AT WORK

January 16th, 2018

Women usually experience the menopause between 45 and 55, with 51 being the average age. Since the employment rate in the UK has grown substantially for women aged between 50 and 64, and 80% of women experience menopausal symptoms, it’s not surprising that the menopause can have a significant effect on a woman’s working life.

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NHS SCREENING FOR WOMEN OVER 40

January 8th, 2018

Screening identifies those at higher risk of certain conditions among apparently healthy people. The NHS offers a range of screening tests to different sections of the population, depending on their age and other risk factors.

For women, there are nationally organised breast, cervical, and bowel screening programmes. The NHS Health Checks offer a general assessment for risks around cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Your GP may also arrange screening for osteoporosis. For women who are over 40 and pregnant, screening for genetic disorders are also available. Screening is a statistical tool, however, so you should always report unusual or severe symptoms if they occur.

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MENOPAUSE ‘ASK THE EXPERTS’ QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

December 12th, 2017

The following ‘Ask the Experts’ questions were sent in to The Menopause Exchange by our members, the answers were provided by our ‘Ask the Experts’ panel and included in issues 72 (spring 2017) and 73 (summer 2017) of The Menopause Exchange newsletter. If you would like to read the questions and answers in the latest issue of The Menopause Exchange newsletter sign up for FREE emailed newsletters.

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MENOPAUSE HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE TIPS

September 1st, 2017

How do you deal with your menopausal symptoms? Have you changed your lifestyle? Are there foods you swear by and others you avoid? Do you take supplements? The Menopause Exchange team asked its members for some health and lifestyle tips.

Food and drink

“I’ve found chocolate makes my flushes really bad, so I only have a little occasionally. A hardship for me as I’m a chocoholic! I also find eating badly (chips, bread, very sweet foods) causes flushing.”

“For the last four years, I haven’t eaten wheat or anything that’s refined or white (including refined sugar). And I stopped drinking wine! I do drink distilled spirits in moderation though, such as gin and soda, with fresh lime or as a mojito, made with pineapple juice rather than sugar syrup, so I don’t deny myself a drink if I fancy one.”

“I feel Slimming World has it nailed with regards to getting all the right fruit, vegetables and fibre. They have unlimited healthy option foods. I feel my appetite has increased, so it’s good to know I can eat them and not gain weight. Now I have no periods, I am worried about other health implications. Slimming World has a special section on cheeses and milks, so you can make sure you get enough calcium from dairy products. I know the group leader is also aware of the changes that the menopause can have on your diet and is very supportive.”

“More water is key, as I often feel dehydrated after a night sweat. I drink water through the day.”

“When having a hot flush, I eat grapes out of the fridge. This soothes me while I’m feeling overheated.”

“I’m a big advocate of eating a variety of seeds each day, including sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and flaxseeds. I mix these into my porridge in the mornings.”

“I have found drinking coffee increases my night sweats and flushes, so I only indulge in it occasionally.”

Bedding

“I bought a 2.5 tog duvet. It feels like a duvet but has very few feathers. My night sweats have gone. If I feel a little cold when I get into bed, a throw gives this extra weight, but I always find it on the floor in the morning.”

Exercise

“I do yoga every day to keep flexible. I use weights to maintain bone strength, and I walk where possible rather than taking the car, London Underground train or escalator. Staying slim and keeping moving does it for me at the moment. Until I move into the next phase …”

“I captain a ladies’ tennis team and we play every Saturday. It helps my mood swings and is obviously good for fitness. Sometimes I don’t feel like playing, but I don’t want to let my team down. I make myself go and then my mood lifts. I would highly recommend taking up a sport.”

“I dance salsa almost four to five times a week. This has kept me human through the tough time of my peri-menopause.”

Breathing and relaxing

“I try to meditate every day in the early evenings to help me. I also listen to Tai Chi music and other relaxing and calming sounds.”

“I am a yoga teacher and massage therapist and have found a technique that I use in my yoga practice to be very helpful when I get hot flushes. When we feel the beginnings of a hot flush, it’s difficult not to feel anxious. The brain is confused as it can’t regulate our internal temperature. But if we regulate our breathing, this sends a message to the brain that it’s under control. At the first sign of a flush, count to four when breathing in and count to four again when breathing out. Make both parts of your breathing last for the same length of time. This is more effective if you regulate the amount of air you exhale and inhale each time you take a breath so your breathing remains smooth and constant.”

Acupuncture

“I started having acupuncture at the beginning of the year. I have to say that my flushes have drastically reduced along with my mood swings.”

Herbs and supplements

“I’m pre-menopausal and have been taking black cohosh for a while. It really helps me keep my mood swings under control, although my husband would probably disagree!”

“My local pharmacist suggested Promensil tablets (which contain plant oestrogens) to help my hot flushes and these are certainly now less severe and less frequent.”

“Since I’ve been taking Menopace night tablets, I haven’t been waking up so often in the night with sweats.”

Hobbies

“I’ve found gardening has really helped with my many symptoms. Being outside and pottering around helps to distract me and helps with low moods as well.”

Please note: Some members have included supplements in their tips. Bear in mind that some supplements may affect other medicines you’re taking and some shouldn’t be taken if you have certain medical conditions. If you have a history of cancer or any long-term medical conditions or take medicines regularly, speak to your pharmacist or another healthcare professional before using any over-the-counter products.

Thanks for reading.  We hope you found this article useful.  If you have some additional tips, please email us on info@menopause-exchange.co.uk

 

 

FREE MENOPAUSE NEWSLETTERS FROM THE MENOPAUSE EXCHANGE

July 20th, 2017

We are e-mailing our quarterly newsletters for FREE to anyone with an interest in the menopause, midlife and post-menopausal health.

The Menopause Exchange newsletters contain easy-to-read articles written by healthcare professionals (such as gynaecologists, GPs, consultants, specialist menopause nurses,  pharmacists, dietitians and complementary therapists) and major medical charities. We provide impartial, practical information on various topics including menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, HRT, complementary therapies and medicines, nutrition, exercise, self-help and lifestyle measures and health topics such as menopause consultations, thyroid problems and NHS screening for women over 40.

If you would like to receive free quarterly e-mailed newsletters visit the ‘Home’ page or ‘Join Us’ page for information on how to receive them or call us on 020 8420 7245.

Back Issues – Special Offer
The Menopause Exchange back issues are available by post. We have a special offer of four back issues for only £8.00. If you would like to order these, we take payments through our online PayPal account. www.menopause-exchange.co.uk/join_us/join.htm; Alternatively, send your completed form www.menopause-exchange.co.uk/downloads/back-issues-form.pdf with a cheque payable to The Menopause Exchange to PO Box 205, Bushey, Herts WD23 1ZS.

Norma Goldman BPharm. MRPharmS. MSc.
Founder & Director of The Menopause Exchange.

DOES LIFE BEGIN AT THE MENOPAUSE? NORMA GOLDMAN’S VIEW

July 17th, 2017

Norma Goldman BPharm. MRPharmS. MSc. 
Founder & Director of The Menopause Exchange.

Going through the menopause certainly hasn’t stopped me enjoying life. And I hope my story will inspire and encourage women to ‘have a go’ and take opportunities as they arise.

I have a degree in pharmacy. I obtained a Master’s degree in health promotion and I am a qualified health promotion specialist. In 1999, I founded The Menopause Exchange, which is an independent organisation for anyone with an interest in menopausal issues.

I present talks and seminars on all aspects of the menopause to both women and healthcare professionals. I am highly attuned to the concerns of women facing the menopause and I enjoy meeting them at the talks that I present, interacting with them and hearing about their menopausal experiences. I am often interviewed by journalists for newspapers, journals and magazines.

Since I founded The Menopause Exchange, my life has become more hectic than ever. I am married with two daughters and three grandchildren, so I also enjoy spending time with my family.

MENOPAUSE CLINICS

October 16th, 2016

Most women with menopausal symptoms are seen and successfully treated by their GP or practice nurse. However, sometimes they may need to go to a menopause clinic for special advice. This may be because they have had breast cancer, have medical conditions that make treatment difficult or have experienced a premature menopause. Sometimes a menopause clinic can offer treatments not available to GPs.

If you currently attend, or have attended, a menopause clinic (NHS/private), or you work at a menopause clinic, please email norma@menopause-exchange.co.uk with the clinic’s name and address details.

 

MENOPAUSE AND HEALTH GLOSSARY

October 23rd, 2012

Amenorrhoea: the absence or stopping of menstrual periods

Bilateral oophorectomy: operation to remove both ovaries

Body mass index (BMI): the weight of a person (in kilograms) divided by the square of the height of that person (in metres): used to indicate whether or not a person is over or underweight

Bone density: measurement of the bone’s mass in relation to its volume

Cervix: neck of the uterus (womb)

Climacteric: marks the transition from reproductive to non-reproductive state

Conjugated equine oestrogen: an oestrogen used in HRT which is obtained from mares’ urine

Corticosteroids: hormones produced naturally by the adrenal glands

Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA): method of measuring bone density

Endometriosis: a condition in which fragments of the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus

Endometrium: uterus lining

Endometrial hyperplasia: a thickening of the lining of the uterus, caused by overgrowth of the cells that line the uterus

Fallopian tubes: tubes which lead from the ovaries into the uterus

Fibroid: benign tumour of fibrous tissue and muscular tissue, one or more of which may develop within or attached to the outside of the uterus

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH): one of the female hormones produced by the pituitary gland

HDL: High-density lipoproteins

Hormone assay: a test or trial to determine the strength of hormones

HRT: hormone replacement therapy

Hyperthyroidism: an overactive thyroid gland

Hypothyroidism: subnormal activity of the thyroid gland

Hyperparathyroidism: an overactive parathyroid gland

Hysterectomy: operation to remove the uterus

Implants: small pellets inserted under the skin

Laparoscopic hysterectomy: an operation to remove the uterus through four small cuts on the abdomen below the navel

LDL: Low-density lipoproteins

Libido: sexual drive

Mammogram: a breast X-ray

Menopause: the occurrence of the last natural menstrual period

Oestrogen: a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries

Osteopenia: a degree of bone loss less severe than osteoporosis

Osteoporosis: loss of bone tissue, resulting in bones that are brittle and liable to fracture

Ovaries: a pair of female sex glands which produce sex hormones and release eggs

Ovulation: The process by which an ovum (egg cell) is released from the ovary

Pelvic floor: spans the area under the pelvis

Perimenopause: the time from the beginning of irregular periods until 12 months after your last period

Pessary: a device which fits into the vagina

Phytoestrogens: natural plant oestrogens

Post-menopause: the stage when menstruation has not occurred for a least 12 months

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): a group of symptoms experienced in varying degrees by women of reproductive age in the week before menstruation

Progesterone: a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries during the second half of the menstrual cycle

Progestogen: the synthetic form of progesterone

Prolapse: downward displacement of an organ or tissue from its normal position

Systemic: relating to or affecting the body as a whole

Testosterone: a steroid hormone formed by the ovary and adrenal glands

Unilateral oophorectomy: operation to remove one ovary

Urethra: the opening of the bladder

Uterus: a female organ which holds the developing unborn child. Also called the womb

Vagina: the lower part of the female reproductive tract

Vaginal atrophy: inflammation of the vagina and the outer urinary tract

Vaginitis: vaginal inflammation

Vasomotor symptoms: symptoms caused by the irregular function of the part of the brain that controls body heat (such as hot flushes and night sweats)

Vulva: the lips outside of the vagina

Withdrawal bleed: the breaking down of the lining of the uterus and shedding after stopping a course of progestogen

Womb: also called the uterus

Created January 2011
Updated January 2015
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