A New Page with Many Resources

 

There are many resources available to women going through the menopause. We’ve created a new Resources page listing books, websites, blogs, Facebook pages and more.confused-and-young-30426e87f307615e5b571ae50591e15b

Here you’ll find information from many angles: self-care, mental health, sexuality, physical changes, and women sharing experiences.

Have a look and have a chat. Either in comments below, on our Facebook page or both. Are there additional resources you’d like to see listed? If you’ve tried one of the resources listed, how was your experience?

Is 20 too Young to Learn about the Menopause?

Personally I had never thought about menopause at all, after all I just turned twenty! So how does a twenty year old end up going to a menopause session exactly? Well, I am actually studying abroad and as part of  this experience I have to do a service learning placement, and I luckily happened to be placed with Hands Inc.

So back to the story, I did not know what to expect when I arrived at the location, but I was open and determined to learn as much as possible. So on that Monday I went to observe the Hands Inc menopause project. I had noticed last December that my mother was having symptoms of the menopause. She never told me exactly what they were but I noticed the insomnia and  what I now  know as is called hot flushes.

During the session I was able to interact with the women who are currently experiencing menopause. During the session there were many questions and gaps in knowledge about what was happening to them during this part of their lives. I learnt just how little information even the woman who were going through  the menopause, knew.  I found this shocking, but not surprising as it is a taboo subject in our society .

I mean think about it, I don’t even think that menopause was once mentioned in my biology books, which is crazy because it is a criteria that should fall under biology! The women were able to share some of their symptoms which all range from insomnia to hot flushes, and dizziness. They were able to openly speak about some of the remedies they use to cope with their symptoms. Some such as tea, meditation, and just the mere fact of acknowledging that menopause was taking place in their body.

One of the activities the instructor had the ladies do was recounting their most pivotal and important changes that had occurred to their body. They all mostly started with their menstruation, then the birth or loss of children, then some also spoke of diseases they had acquired or other strains their body had encountered in their lives. But finally reaching the point of menopause. The instructor told me that this portion might be emotional due to the nature of the women actually putting into perspective their whole life and the reality that the odds that they will be able to conceive a child are very slim, as they were at the end of their fertility cycle. It was a very emotional activity but a very important one as it does make them think and put many aspects of their life before them. The instructor was correct, there were some women who realised that the possibility of becoming a mother was not likely to happen. Some who realised just how much strain their body had endured after giving birth. It was interesting to see just how these women, although going through different things, were in the same stage of their life. There was something so nostalgic and inspiring all at once.

I also noticed something that I had never really given much thought to before. Women were sharing how they had previously perceived menopause as negative  because society is consistently telling  and showing them that youth is what is appealing and not the older women. Through the sessions they were learning to accept this stage in their life and embrace the lack of a menstrual flow and being able to have sex at any time of the month without worrying about conceiving.

This experience put many things into perspective but the most pivotal was the need for more sessions like these in which woman are communicating about this. Also bringing awareness to this important subject, as every woman will go through this sooner or later. I always say it is better to know than to go into something blind.

By,  Jacqueline Beltran- Hands Inc. Intern

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Menopause Research

We are really excited to share that we have been awarded funding from London Borough of Hackney Public Health Team to carry out some research around the menopause. . The funding will enable us to test whether women who receive psychosocial support, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapies), and education will show a significant association with positive attitudes towards menopause, reduced severity of symptoms and better levels of resilience when managing menopausal transition.

We are going to start running a 12 week Menopause programme in September to test out our methodology and are excited to also be working with City & Hackney CCG and Hackney Learning Trust who are part funding the programme.

We have started to doing outreach to gather information and here is some samples of what people have to say about our project:

‘I really don’t know what to do I have exhausted all options with my GP. HRT is not suitable for me because of my health condition. I’m really glad to hear about this project’ Female aged 50
‘My husband keeps asking me what’s the matter and its causing tension. But if I don’t know what’s happening with my body how can I explain it to anyone else?’ Female aged 53
‘I am so pleased to see awareness around menopause improving. It is such a neglected area.’ GP
‘Well done on pursuing women’s issues and managing the event so well’ GP

Our workshops will start 19th September and run for 12 weeks in Hackney. The sessions are in the evening to allow working women to take part. We will also be doing outreach around the borough to target women around menopausal age to complete our survey.
We are also keen to have volunteers to help us with getting women to complete the survey questionnaire so if you want to be part of this great project please get in touch.

To find out more about our programme visit our Events & Courses page or contact Eileen at handsinc@handsinc.co.uk

How I Used My Voice to Affect Change.

Change ahead warning sign

This week Fiona Gaye tells her story about how the lack of adequate support from her GP, with the menopausal symptoms she was experiencing, empowered her to get involved with her local Patient Participation Group to help affect change to local services.

It started one Sunday morning with an uncontrollable flooding, unquenchable thirst, dizziness and cold sweats. After that, bad bouts of insomnia, mood swings depression, a feeling of worthlessness, listlessness and fatigue, leaving me feeling as if I was having a semi nervous breakdown. All I wanted to do was lay on the settee for a year and a half. On a bad day I could not drive because I felt clumsy and uncoordinated, anxious and shaky, and somehow I just knew that something was very, very wrong.
Continue reading How I Used My Voice to Affect Change.

Talking to GP’s About the Menopause

Going to the GP to discuss the menopause can be a daunting task for many women. In our short audio story Fifi tells about her experience of visiting her GP and why one trip to your GP is not often enough.

Visit our page Women’s Stories for more women’s short films discussing the menopause.
You can also visit NHS Choices Menopause pages for more information

Remember we welcome any story you would like to share about the menopause to help enlighten and support other women.

Why Start This Site?

In spring 2012 Annie Spencer and I set about preparing and planning for a Menopause workshop in London. During the preparation of this workshop I was surprised how difficult it was to find positive images of the menopause. What became even more interesting were women’s reactions to the idea of a workshop on the menopause. There appeared to be a lot of apprehension and reluctance to talk about an issue that will affect every woman in her lifetime. What has struck me was the lack of circles where women shared their stories. Generations of women before us had many platforms to gather in and weave stories, teachings and experiences together. This site seeks to collate create a platform where these can be shared with other women.

We are particularly keen to hear stories from women about the menopause. What’s your experience of it?? What’s helped you manage the process? I’m happy to hear sublime, inspirational and downright ridiculous stories. It’s time we women reclaimed the menopause and start weaving our stories together.

Continue reading Why Start This Site?