This month we speak to Jo Mcewan and Ann Stephens, co-founders of www.positivepause.co.uk, which is a website dedicated to embracing midlife, menopause and beyond, helping women to be the best that they can be.
Menopause transition? Some of us sail through it, whilst for others the experience ranges from being mildly tricky to totally debilitating. The good news is that the good support and information can help women to have a better experience of menopause. We share 6 simple steps to turn what’s often viewed as a negative transition into a more positive experience.
Positive steps that women can take to make the most of their menopause
1.Knowledge is power!
There’s so much information at your fingertips, including the NICE Guidelines on Diagnosis and Management of Menopause 2015, the document for both healthcare professionals and women, outlining best practice and treatment options available to a GP. Plus, so many online resources and social media support groups where’ll you find kindred spirits and where you can talk about concerns anonymously – more knowledge, more power!
Be proactive. If menopause is impacting on you physically or psychologically, see your GP sooner, rather than later. Book a double appointment with the menopause expert in the practice, the person booking the appointment for you will be able to tell you who this is.
Read what the NICE guidelines have to say for your specific symptoms. Although it’s recommended guidance, some GPs may not be as familiar as we’d all like, so make sure you are!
Do your homework before you see your GP, make a note of the impact of symptoms on your life.
If symptoms don’t improve, go back to your GP, or ask for a referral to a menopause clinic. Check the British Menopause Society website to find out where your nearest clinic is – it could be some distance from you with a long waiting list but it’s better to get on the list and wait, than not be seen at all.
Menopause shouldn’t be a lonely experience, don’t suffer in silence, find your own support person! Talk openly and honestly to your partner, family, friends, colleagues who’ve probably already noticed that you’re not your usual self!
Find a Menopause Café or consider starting one – sharing what’s happening over a cup of tea, with likeminded souls, can help. If there isn’t a café in your area, maybe you could start one?
4 Don’t despair & don’t compare!
Sharing personal stories can help but bear in mind every women’s experience of menopause is different, as is the impact of symptoms on them. What worked for someone else may not work for you.
Even if you’re ‘sailing through’ menopause, falling hormones affect women’s health post-menopause, including your heart and bones – see your GP or local pharmacist for a free NHS Health check, a kind of midlife MOT.
If there are little leaks when you sneeze, laugh or cough, see a women’s health physiotherapist. They can work with you to strengthen your pelvic floor which can be affected by falling hormones, stopping leaks. Download the Squeezy app, to remind you do pelvic floor exercises.
5.Know your body
Perimenopause is a time of flux, if you find your periods are becoming erratic, keep a diary for at least three cycles. Be aware of your body: changing periods, vaginal dryness or soreness, joint pain, or headaches, are all indicators that you may be starting the hormone journey.
6.Pause for thought
With a little reframing menopause can be seen as a chance to pause, press ‘reset’ and make changes that will help you to be the best you can be, taking on the next phase of life. It’s a time to consider what you want, what’s important and how can you achieve it? If you’re struggling with menopause, perhaps could you talk to a counsellor, registered psychologist or cognitive behavioural therapist to change thought patterns?
Once the mist of hormonal confusion clears, life can be brilliant beyond menopause. Unshackled from the burden of periods, menopause can be a turning point, empowering women to start the next phase on their own terms. Make yours a positive pause!
PositivePause Co-Founders: Ann Stephens & Jo McEwan. www.positivepause.co.uk
PositivePause (previously HotFlush.Info) launched on World Menopause Day in October 2017 as a lively, colourful, positive website, much like a glossy magazine. It offers credible advice on subjects ranging from anxiety, mood swings, fatigue and loss of libido, via expert contributors. It acts as a gateway to the latest research, with info shared in a timely, user-friendly way. PositivePause sees menopause as an opportunity to push ‘reset’ for a healthier lifestyle, and examines diet, exercise, supplements, natural therapies and HRT for managing the menopause maelstrom.