Blog

Menopause Courses & Events

You can view info about our upcoming course and events on our website here 

Below is a summary of what’s new:

#BBC MENOPAUSE_GFX_SQUARE_PLUG

We will be helping BBC Breakfast TV to raise awareness about the menopause this week and taking part in their show on Monday 13th & 14th May (6:50-9:20 am BBC 1). If you can’t catch us live, then view it on BBC iplayer. There will be lots of great info and support so don’t miss it.

yogaActive Menopause

New Free 6 week yoga for menopause course starting 30th May. Spaces are limited. See events and course page

                                                   

Blood Rites: at PBR Flyer V3 31.5.19ark Theatre 

Blood Rites is a new play in development written and directed by Eileen Bellot. The play explores the journey women take between menstruation to menopause. There will be a staged reading of this play on 31st May at Park Theatre. To book tickets and find out more visit Eventbrite select here

Exploring the 14161894111_142fe72038_bMenopause Weekend Workshop : 27th & 28th July 2019

If you would like to find out more about the menopause and how to manage symptoms check out our events and courses page

 

Menopause Week on BBC Breakfast TV

BBC Breakfast TV

Keep an eye on BBC Breakfast TV next week (6:50-9:20 am), as they will be doing a week’s worth of coverage on the menopause between 13-17th May. The coverage is to coincide with the European Conference on Menopause and Andropause, in Berlin. The conference aims to provide a new perspective of the medical and sociological aspects of women’s health and disease at midlife and beyond, with a view to how our changing society challenges or helps us in our daily practice.

Our project, Reclaim the Menopause and some of our women will be featured during the week. The programme will be looking at all aspects of the menopause so it should be really informative. Follow us on twitter @The Menopause  and @Questlife2 next week to keep up with us.

 

Menopause Course

find out more by joining our FREE 9 week course, looking at all aspects of the peri-menopause and menopause including:
STRESS and ANXIETY, HOT FLUSHES, NIGHT SWEATS
and SLEEPING PROBLEMS and how to manage them.
Leave the course more CONFIDENT, more
KNOWLEDGEABLE, more ABLE TO COPE and with
increased SELF ESTEEM
WEDNESDAYS 6 . 45PM – 8 . 45PM
24TH APRIL TO 19TH JUNE
VENUE : WHITMORE COMMUNITY CENTRE
2 – 4 PHILLIP STREET
HACKNEY N1 5NU
The course is FREE but you do need to book a place

Call us on 020 3051 8626 or email
menopause@handsinc.co.uk

My journey through the menopause

No-one asked me, no G.P enquired about any menopausal issues although I was a fairly regular user of the G.P surgery. I myself, was the one who ‘raised the alarm’, brought it to their attention. I was offered HRT which I had heard a lot of negative stuff about. I decided to look for other ways, things to alleviate the symptoms at least. Eventually, I was signposted to HandsInc by a support worker. I signed up for an 8 week course even though, by now, I had actually given up on the whole ‘menopause thing’. I’m glad I came as I have met many women here in the same ‘predicament’.

Generally, women do not speak openly about the menopause. There is an air of embarrassment, a sense of affliction. Women almost whisper about the menopause. People offer remedies and tips but they don’t always work. When I was young, I witnessed my mother going through ‘the sweats’ and found her to be quite annoying…always opening windows! I was horrified when I found out that I was peri-menopausal. It felt like my life as a woman was waning, dwindling away before my very eyes.

All I had in my toolkit was my mother’s advice:-
– cotton clothing which was lighweight but highly absorbent.
-a cotton flannel to wipe the face.
– layers of clothing to be peeled off as required, allowing one to be discreet in plain sight of all.
– the obligatory fan(s) to provide instant cooling should one succumb to the unforgiving, annoyingly momentary, ‘ heat rush of the flush.’

I now realise that no 2 women are the same, each individual has their own experience of the menopause. Some women may start sooner than others and some may have no symptoms at all. I am not my mother and will have to embark on my own journey of discovery concerning the menopause. I will eventually assemble a toolkit of my own. I console myself by knowing that the menopause will not last forever and subsequently, I will get my life back!

Twenty-five years later

My menopause started pretty well as clockwork, more or less around my 49th birthday.   I’d previously had a hysterectomy (large  fibroids) when I was in my early forties, so had none of the usual warning signs.  I still have ovaries; the HRT wasn’t a direct result of the op.

I was on holiday, staying in an hotel in which they’d turned the mattresses plastic side up, presumably to try to prevent damage, and started getting very sweaty at night.  This I put down to the plastic mattress top.  

After the holiday, the sweats continued off and on, and I suddenly realised what was happening.  I wanted to carry on without taking any prescription drugs, but traditional things like Evening Primrose, Black Cohosh, and Sage Tea had no effect whatever.  As my night and day sweats were getting heavier and heavier – there came a point at which I had to sleep in towels because I was pretty well running with sweat a lot of the night – I finally went off to the doctor who put me on HRT, an oestrogen-only variety as I was in no danger of cancer (after the hysterectomy).  This pretty well did the trick, or at least brought everything down to a manageable level.  

My GP left the practice, and the one I started seeing after that said that taking HRT for thirteen years (as I had been) was not a good idea (this was after the results of the Million Women Study, subsequently regarded as having been flawed), and recommended coming off it.  “It’ll all be over in six months”, she said, brightly.  Four years later…  The same doctor later suggested I try some anti-depressant or other, explaining that the side-effects of this drug included drying up the body (and thus limiting sweating).  I did, but certainly wouldn’t do it if I had my time over again.  Other side-effects were not pleasant and I’m not sure what the drug was doing to my mental state. On one occasion (I think when she prescribed the anti-depressants) the same (second) GP said cheerily, “Of course, some women have symptoms for ever!”  

My osteopath was horrified when I said I was still having sweats after all this time, and recommended me to a herbalist who had a room in her practice.  About eighteen months of herbal treatment made a huge difference but, unfortunately, the woman went back to Denmark on a research project.  She gave me details for another herbalist but I didn’t go for while as I wanted to see if I could now cope without taking anything.  However, I eventually decided to try again and went to the second herbalist.  She was helpful, though not as much so as the first one, but also moved away after about a year.

Since then I’ve been to a third herbalist with little result that I can attribute to her treatment.  I still get sweats occasionally at night and/or first thing (say 6:30) in the morning, and very occasionally when I’m exercising – tai ch’i and ch’i kung particularly: I can usually distinguish between sweating through exercise and a hot flush.

I’m now 74, so it’s all been ongoing for more than 25 years.  

Happy days,

Elaine

It’s time to rethink HRT by Dr. Clare Bailey

Hot flushes, irritability, memory loss, sleep disruption, mood changes, dry vagina, loss of libido, joint and muscle pains… the menopause isn’t a barrel of laughs for many women, about 25 per cent of whom have severe symptoms that can persist for years.

So when hormone replacement therapy (HRT) came along to combat these symptoms, it was a godsend. But then followed the health scares about increased risk of breast cancer, stroke and heart disease, and GPs pretty much stopped prescribing it.

However, according to GP and menopause specialist Dr Louise Newson, who wrote a recent report for the Royal College of General Practitioners, it’s increasingly clear that many of the ‘scares’ were largely unfounded. As she points out, ‘Much of the negative publicity surrounding HRT stems from the misinterpretation of the findings in the Women’s Health Initiative study, published more than a decade ago. Many women and healthcare professionals are still unnecessarily concerned about the perceived risks of HRT, resulting in a significant proportion of patients being refused it and inappropriately offered antidepressants.’

The replacement hormones have since been developed and refined, producing a wide range of options: oestrogens, with or without progestogens, and even the male sex hormone testosterone is getting a look-in (though not available routinely on the NHS). They can also be taken in different forms: as tablets, skin patches, creams or gels – no wonder it all becomes a bit confusing.

So which one should you take?

In combined HRT, progestogen is added to the oestrogen to protect you from womb cancer. Those who have had a hysterectomy to remove their womb need oestrogen-only HRT.

To combat hot flushes, giving oestrogen transdermally – as gels and skin patches – is often better than tablets, and unlike oestrogen tablets, is also suitable for the obese and those with increased risk of thrombosis, diabetes or liver disease. What’s more, transdermal oestrogen doesn’t seem to increase the risk of stroke.

Combining progestogens with oestrogen can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of thrombosis, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. However, the newer micronised progesterone tablets, such as Utrogestan, have fewer side effects and have shown no increased risk of breast cancer for the first five years of taking it. And after that the risk remains low. Alternatively, the progestogen-releasing intrauterine system (coil) is a good option, though it’s unclear if there is an increased risk of breast cancer.

If you are taking combined HRT and are over 51, it’s important to attend breast screening appointments as there can be a small increased risk of breast cancer, although this drops back to normal within five years of stopping.

For local symptoms vaginal creams, rings and pessaries at a low dose can be effective, without the need for progesterone.

For many women, risks of HRT are usually outweighed by the benefits. Discuss your needs and options with your doctor.