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X-Files actress Gillian Anderson Opens Up About The Menopause

And wishes we would all do the same

Gillian Anderson Jennifer Nadal photo from wearethecity.com
Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel

Gillian Anderson (X-Files, BBC’s War and Peace) and her friend journalist Jennifer Nadel made international headlines recently as they promoted their new book We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere.  In an interview with The Lenny Letter, both spoke candidly about their menopause experiences. The story was picked up around the world perhaps because prominent women rarely speak so freely on the subject.

Looks like that is beginning to change.

Read the interview HERE.

And please join our ongoing conversation at our Facebook page.

 

Photo via: WeAreTheCity.com

Kirsty Wark talking about the Menopause On BBC

kirstywark

Times have changed!  This was interesting if just for the fact that it is highlighting issues that never used to be talked about.  Who knew there was a British Menopause Society and a magazine called Menopause Matters!?

Kirsty talked about how how shockingly uninformed most of us are about the menopause and I am realsing how true this is the more I learn and manage to separate fact from myth. We need to learn about  being good to ourselves and learn the best ways to cope with our menopausal symptoms so that we are better prepared to have the best possible older age, especially as we are living longer.  As Kirsty pointed out  we might spend a third of our lives as post menopausal!

Although Kirsty was worried about her bone density no-one mentioned yoga as a good way to keep those bones strong.

The best part of the programme for me was seeing a group of women sitting round a table laughing over their individual stories as it reminded me of our Support Group and how it really does help to share experiences.

NOTE: Apologies to our subscribers who received bad links to this post today.

Photograph: BBC Scotland/Maramedia

The Menopause Project 2017

 Menopause Lane Sign 72

Hands Inc. are starting 2 new Menopause groups

in Hackney

See information below and sign up now!

Menopause Support Group

Why not come along to our friendly women’s group to learn more about the Menopause, share your experiences and get support

18th April    6- 8pmHackney Peace Mural     at Dalston Curve Garden 

(opposite CLR James Library, next to the Peace Mural)

13 Dalston Lane

Hackney E8 3DF

Any bus to Dalston Junction

Please let us know if you want to attend

Tel: 020 3051 8626

or email handsinc@handsinc.co.uk

Menopause Workshops start 8th May

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 Venue:  Navarino Mansions Community Hall,

Dalston Lane

Hackney E8 1LB

Every woman will go through the Menopause and each experience will be different. Come along to find out what really happens during Peri-menopause and Menopause.

The course has a practical approach in style as well as delivery and welcomes all women, whether or not you have been through the Menopause or not sure if you have started

You do need to book for this course as places are limited

So do contact us as soon as possible

Confidence, Uniqueness & Menopause

By: Mary Senzig

As an intern at Hands Inc, I have had the privilege to have a wonderful insight into the menopause and how it affects women. Being a 20-year-old university student, I would not normally have this exposure into the menopause! However, as an intern, I have not only collected personal survey data from women, but listened to their experiences as well. I transcribed audio from focus group sessions on the menopause where women were free to discuss their experiences openly, as well as gain insight from knowledgeable peers. This was a great way to hear what real women have to say about what they are going through.

Listening to transcriptions of the menopause group was so insightful. Here were woman going through the same menopausal issues, issues which are often repressed into silence by society, opening up to each other and providing each other with the safe space each of them needed. The woman in this focus group described what they were experiencing so honestly. They didn’t shy away from how this change was making them feel. In fact, one woman said she felt like a monster. Hearing women feel this way about themselves was heartbreaking. No woman should ever feel as if she is ‘a monster’. A woman should have a place to express herself, no matter what she is going through- and especially if she is going through something so difficult as the menopause.

menopause_confidenceMental health was a topic that came up often in this menopause session. The women felt that their mental health was greatly impacted by their menopause. A large part was due to their mood swings related to their menopause, which is understandable. As a young woman in my early twenties who has yet to experience the menopause, going through these mood swings seems horrible; so horrible that another woman described her mood swings as making her feel insane. More than half the world’s population go through the menopause and experience the awful mood swings and change in mental health and yet it shocks me that there is so little support for women. I think one of the women said it best when she said women are supposed to always be strong. Women are strong, but I think accepting help and guidance on these issues is crucial to keeping the wellbeing of women healthy, which is why I think projects, like Reclaim the Menopause are so important. They give women the space to be themselves, but to receive the assistance they need to not only survive the menopause, but to thrive in the menopause.

However, the session I listened to was definitely not all terrible and sad things about the menopause. Something that surprised me was the amount of positivity the women expressed surrounding the menopause. The women expressed how confident they felt, how they felt confident choosing aspects of their life. They felt confident choosing what they did, an example being the choice to wear less make-up than they did when they were pre-menopausal. I hope that when I reach the stage of my life where these women are, that I am that confident and that articulate about expressing my experiences with the menopause. Coinciding with this hope is a hope that menopausal services improve, and more women are able to express themselves as these women have done so brilliantly.

The overwhelming lesson I learned from listening to these women’s experiences was the fact that each woman experiences menopause in their own way. No two women experience menopause in the same way. Each woman in the session had her own stories, her own feelings, her own relationship with menopause. To know that despite the changes in physicality and emotion expression menopause brings about, women are able to find, and be, a version of themselves unlike anyone else. Women are uniquely themselves, including their menopause experience.

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Reclaim the Menopause

So What Are the Menopause Symptoms?

By: Laura Papp

Right off the bat I loved 34 Menopause Symptoms’ web page.  The aesthetic of the page is light hearted, professional and accessible without feeling aggressively feminine centered or portraying menopause as some sort of crazy health condition.  Upon visiting the home page, readers can easily select experienced symptoms from a list and be immediately linked to further information regarding the symptom, including medical explanations, suggested coping or treatment strategies, and more.  Not only does the website provide a huge wealth of information on a range of symptoms, it makes clear that many of the 34 symptoms are extremely common, which helps normalize what can be a difficult topic for menopausal women to discuss.

The website also offers social media links at the top of the page for easy saving or sharing with family, friends, and fellow women.  All in all, the site is easy to use and chock full of helpful tid bits that could make a huge difference for menopausal women, especially those who don’t feel like they have a good understanding of the change their bodies are going through.  In my opinion, 34 Menopause Symptoms is an easy starting point for understanding menopause and for that reason should be every woman’s go to for information regarding their menopause symptoms.

http://www.34-menopause-symptoms.com/

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Reclaim the Menopause

Essential Oils and the Menopause

By: Mary Senzig

I found Olivia’s page about essential oils and the menopause to be very informative. It’s found here at: http://essentialoilbenefits.com/best-essential-oils-for-menopause-treatment/ . It started with her defining the menopause, though it was pretty basic, there was a space for a reader to enter their contact information and be emailed a longer, more detailed list of menopausal symptoms and information. The page then moved into which oils worked well for treating menopausal symptoms. She talks about how there are essential oils for improving estrogen levels, for balancing hormones, and for hot flushes. I was really surprised to learn how many different oils can help alleviate such symptoms. When she was introducing these oils, I was curious as how to use them? Do you just use the oil without mixing it? Where do you apply it? How often should it be applied?

menopause herbs

I shouldn’t have worried because Olivia’s next section was how to use the essential oils. She suggests five different methods, from lotion to inhalation techniques to bath oils. I was very impressed with the way she offered oils as well as ways to use them. I thought the page would be completed at this point- surely she had given enough information! But then she had a section on recipes. These combined different oils in different amounts to soothe certain ailments. She had recipes for vaginal massage, instant relief for hot flushes, swelling and water retention, and many others! There were 12 in total.

She did end with a small section on how essential oils could help with mental and emotional issues, like mood swings. Olivia’s post made me want to invest in some essential oils, relax, and take a bath with some of them – and I’m not even menopausal, or having the issues she described they would help with! I can definitely see why some would turn to essential oils; they seem so relaxing and natural

menopause_oilsIn terms of the design of the website, I really enjoyed my experience on Olivia’s page about essential oils. It was bright and easy to read. There were some graphics and images, but not too many that it overwhelmed the point she was trying to make. The only issue I had with it was it was a lot of scrolling. If I were to redesign it, I would put the subheadings in drop down boxes, rather than scrolling down one large page to find the information all the way at the bottom. Overall, this page was easy to use and welcoming, as well as providing a lot of really interesting and useful information. I would recommend checking this site out!

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Reclaim the Menopause

An Ode to Strong Women & The Menopause Project

By: Laura Papp

As I sit here composing this blog post, I can’t help but smile at the twist of irony, or perhaps fate, that today is International Women’s Day.  I smile because, just like what today’s holiday represents, the following reflection is all about female empowerment, and, more specifically, the rippling effect that a small but beautiful organisation is having on local women.

Before coming to work as an intern on the Menopause Project here at Hands Inc., I knew relatively little about menopause.  I had watched my own mother her friends go through the change in the years leading up to my study abroad experience in London, so I suppose you could say I had a fairly well-rounded understanding of the symptoms that come along with menopause; but perhaps more than anything, I came to London with an understanding of the sheer frustration that menopause could ignite in the women it affected.  Until recently, it seemed to me like going through menopause was the worst thing in the world.

As I mentioned, outside of personal interaction with my menopausal mother, my understanding of the menopause was quite limited, as I suppose many other twenty-something women may feel, and I generally came to Hands Inc. with negative perceptions about the menopause process.  Since beginning work on the Menopause Project nearly two months ago now, I can honestly say that my perspective on menopause has entirely changed.  In doing audio transcriptions of the Menopause Project’s weekly meeting with local women, several things became immediately clear to me.  First, it seems that menopause is largely stigmatised.  For this reason, until coming to the group most women had not had an outlet where they felt comfortable discussing their experiences with menopause.  Yet despite the frustration that many women brought to the table, it was truly amazing to hear how women were able to open up and share their experiences with their fellow women in a way that helped the entire group grow and learn.  I remember transcribing the final focus group for last year’s Menopause Project group and being inspired by the feedback.  Nearly all of the women had something positive to say about the group and consistently mentioned that having a social support network and structured place where discussing menopause was not only tolerated but encouraged,  truly helped them improve their confidence and become more comfortable with and knowledgeable about their own bodies.

empowered(pp_w717_h717)

As a young woman of a
whopping 20 years old, I am far from menopausal; but body confidence and positivity is a message women of all ages can benefit from.  There is something so empowering about knowing how your body works, how to take care of it and how to celebrate it for all of its natural beauty. (And let it be known, menopause is a beautiful thing!) It may not be glamorous, but menopause is natural, and a quite notable milestone in the life of a woman- and that is something that should be celebrated, not discouraged or stigmatised.

Though far off, my experience with menopause is inevitable.  Working with this project has genuinely helped me gather a greater understanding of menopause that will not only help me later in life as I too experience this natural transition, but I have also gathered great respect and appreciation for all the women who have, and will, endure this process before I do.  I truly hope the Menopause Project will continue to grow in the future and carry on helping local women take charge of their health, their bodies, and, of course, their menopause without shame.

On that note, and with the strong women of London and the world at the forefront of my mind, I am going to go enjoy International Women’s Day and bask in the gloriousness that is womanhood.

The next round of menopause workshops will begin in May 2017.  Please get in touch with us at handsinc@handsinc.co.uk if you would like to take part.