How would you visually represent your experience of the menopause? Imagine bringing physical form to its multiple aspects: the physical, emotional, and cultural. Second year BA Ceramic Design students at Central Saint Martins have been engaged with this challenge. Their rather beautiful answers will be on exhibit at 2017’s British Ceramics Biennial this autumn.
With Reclaiming The Menopause Managing Director Eileen Bellot acting as an advisor and resource, the students joined a menopause-focused Facebook page to begin a dialogue. They posted a lengthy questionnaire asking about individual women’s experience and what advice they might give to women yet to enter this phase of life–advice they wish someone had given them.
Working with this feedback, the students undertook an exploration of themes: the colours of autumn (as the menopause is described as autumnal,) classically “feminine” shapes, and means of passing information from one generation to the next. Each step of the design process was fully considered and informed. The students’ evolving conversation, early sketches, concepts and progress notes can be found on their blog Mud Movement.
The result is sixty-six vessels presented as heirlooms meant to be passed down through generations of women. Each contains a scroll to both collect and disseminate advice and stories about the menopause.
A selection of the work produced through the collaboration will be exhibited at World of Wedgwood in Stoke on Trent for the duration of the 2017’s British Ceramics Biennial (23rd Sept – 5th November). Emma Lacey will be giving a short presentation at the Ceramics and it’s Dimensions Congress on 5th October. The theme of the Congress is ‘Can Ceramics Make a difference?’
You can also get the opportunity to view some of these vessels at our coming Menopause Awareness event on 2nd Oct 5.30-8pm. Refreshment & Massage sessions available
There are some studies that show that hearing loss might be associated with Menopause so……
Tips to boost hearing
Although hearing loss is non-reversible, there are a lot of ways you can protect and boost your hearing ability.
There are the tried-and-true ways like taking supplements, but there are also some unconventional methods. Here are a few things you can try.
Practice your hearing
Just like you’d exercise the muscles in your arms and legs or train your brain, you can also exercise your ears. Practice focusing on sounds and identifying where they are coming from.
Try holding a conversation over loud music. Focusing on hearing what the other person is saying will help strengthen your hearing.
Another thing you can do is close your eyes and have a friend walk around a room while talking to you. Try and identify where the sounds are coming from, essentially training your ability to locate objects by their sound.
Like everything else in the body, exercising is the easiest (and probably best) method of improving your hearing. And, it’s pretty easy too. You don’t have to hit up a gym and lift weights—a short walk or jog every day will do the trick.
We know you like to exercise with headphones in, but here’s a quick tip: make sure they aren’t too loud. Excessively loud music can damage the hairs in your ears, which don’t grow back.
Keep your brain healthy
The brain processes sounds that come in through the ears, so it’s important to keep it healthy. The stronger your brain cells are, the better your hearing will be.
An easy way to train your brain is to download a brain training app on your phone and do it every morning or before bed. Or you could take a more traditional approach and do some crosswords.
Spending time outside in a public place will force you to sort through different sounds, strengthening your hearing. Try and identify where certain sounds are coming from outside while you meditate in the park.
A host of factors these days are making women experience early menopause. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and lack of physical activity may often lead some women to experience hormonal imbalance which may often trigger early menopause. A recently conducted study mentions hormonal therapy as a viable option to treat common menopause symptoms.
Using hormone replacement therapy to treat common symptoms of menopause for up to five to seven years may be safe and not associated with risk of all-cause, cardiovascular or cancer death, a study with over 18 years of follow-up has found. The study was published by JAMA and conducted by experts at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, United States. Hormonal therapy works by replacing the depleting levels of female hormones and aid in reducing menopausal symptoms like hot flashes in women. After conducting a comparative study between menopausal women on placebo and other female participants on hormonal therapy, it was found that hormonal therapy helped in reducing menopausal symptoms without having an impact on the death rates. The participants were followed for 18 years and were tracked for chronic diseases like cancer, as well as heart attack and deaths. The women took the hormone therapy for five to seven years.
Another recently conducted study looked at the role of diet in preventing risks of early menopause. Early menopause – the cessation of ovarian function before the age of 45 – affects about 10 per cent of women globally and is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and early cognitive decline. Experts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US noted that a diet rich in vitamin D and calcium may help stave off risks of early menopause. In a combined study teams from Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health and University of Massachusetts Amherst found that women who consume items like oats, barley, brown rice and soy may keep early menopause at bay.
Thanks so much to Hackney Herbal who came to our support group last Thursday and did a lovely workshop all about herbal remedies. We were able to smell and taste a variety of herbs and then we made some teabags of our favourite ones. For example:
Lemon balm: Relaxing restorative for nervous system. Uplifting tea. Calming and soothing
Fennel: Leaves, seeds. Digestive aid for wind and indigestion
Lemon Verbena Leaves. Sedative, carminative, Night tea for insomnia
German Chamomile Anti-inflammatory Used to calm digestive and nervous system
Sage Leaves, essential oil traditionally associated with longevity. Reduces sweating,
salivation and lactating, improves menopausal symptoms,
Used for sore throats and tonsillitis
To find out more check out Hackney Herbal www. hackney.herbal.com
In a recent issue of The Lenny Letter (source of the headline and image above) writer Ferris Jabr reports on emerging science exploring whether other mammals undergo the menopause and, if so, what is its evolutionary advantage?
Why, in non-human animals, would a lifespan that extends beyond reproductive years matter? Researchers think it’s all down to matriarchy. And grandmothers. If the survival of the species (defense, food, teaching survival skills. etc.) depends on females, mothers of the very young can’t do it all. They’re too busy. And here’s where post-reproductive members of the group are invaluable.
Of course, it’s all more complex than this synopsis, check out the article for more in depth reporting.
The Lenny Letter overall is a great resource. Delivered via email twice a week, it features feminist writers on a range of subjects: health, culture, art, politics, horoscopes, empowerment, and humour. It’s American-based, but publishes international authors. For information on a free subscription, check them out here.
Your thoughts? Can you relate to killer whales? Please comment here and join the conversation on our Facebook page.
Two interesting YouTube videos caught our attention this week. The first provides a straightforward, medical explanation of the menopause and its “bothersome” symptoms. It’s from Health Channel TV a YouTube channel with 183,000 subscribers. Here’s how their About page describes their videos:
We make complex medical information easy to understand with 2D and 3D animations checked by medical specialists. In less than 3 minutes per video you learn about your cholesterol or about don’t & do’s when you have a cold sores or how the orgasm works for example!
The second video, from DeAnna Lam, offers a more spiritual approach. Lam, who held a workshop in London this weekend, describes the menopause as a the time in a woman’s life for her to “become her power.” On her website’sAbout page Lam describes herself as a “Womb Visionary” and
A recognized world expert in Menstrual Empowerment, and a pioneer in helping women reclaim the Spiritual Strength hidden Menstruation & Menopause, and Embody their Wisdom!
Both videos offer support for women at a time when it’s important to understand our experiences and feel less alone. There is no “right way” to undergo menopause. No one size fits all approach. Once you’ve landed on either the Health Channel TV or DeAnna Lam’s videos, keep clicking. Keep exploring. There is a wealth of information out there: factual/practical and emotional/spiritual. Find your path. Discover what works for you.
Whatever you find, as always, we hope you’ll join the discussion on our Facebook page so we might all be enriched by it. All perspectives—whether scientific, spiritual, or somewhere in between—are welcome.