Ruth Devlin, menopause guru, founder of Letstalkmenopause.co.uk and author of the new book ‘Men… Let’s Talk Menopause’ is our guest blogger this month. Ruth is passionate about the topic of women’s health (being a qualified nurse), whether tackling menopausal issues or overall health and well-being, with the two often overlapping. She is a member of the British Menopause Society, has extensively researched the menopause, regularly liaises with menopause specialists and regularly attends conferences on the menopause. Here Ruth shares insights into her new book which offers simple, practical advice, explaining that through various tweaks and nudges to lifestyle choices women can try and self-manage their symptoms naturally, without the need for medical intervention; all made much easier if their partner knows what they are going through so they can get on board and help when needed.
Menopause is essentially just part of the female hormonal journey through life, so why oh why is this particular bit of the journey shrouded in mystery, rarely talked about and for many women largely ignored..? That is (for some) until they can’t ignore the effects their symptoms are having on them and by that stage they wish they did know more! Added to that family members around them tend not to have a clue what on earth is going on either… so I thought it was about time someone thought about these onlookers, the result… ‘Men… Let’s Talk Menopause’.
For many the menopause is bizarrely associated with little grey-haired grannies when, for the majority of us, symptoms start evolving in our 40s with a small proportion of women unfortunately suffering from premature menopause, so before the age of 45 years. Perhaps it’s this misconception which is the main contributory factor to making women ignore it as a topic, not wanting to admit that they are actually at that stage of their lives, whereas if they had more information from an earlier stage they would cope so much better with their symptoms.
So, the aim of this book is to provide a short, informative guide packed with all the essential information needed to help anyone understand what is going on with the perimenopausal woman in their lives…it’s also extremely useful for any woman to read as well! The result I hope is an easy to read guide, packed with relevant information and I’ve added a touch of humour which always helps…twisting the arm of my eldest son to do some sketches for the book to add that extra bit of interest.
What can you expect…many onlookers still think the menopause is just about hot flushes, problems with your periods and that you’re a bit grumpier than normal but, as you might already know, there are over 30 symptoms associated with the menopause, so for ease I’ve split these into three main categories physical, psychological and genitourinary, explaining a little about each one and giving options on how to cope with those symptoms. At the end of the day what women really need are the practical options available to help with those symptoms – very hard for GPs to explain all those options in a 10-minute appointment!
With any symptom lifestyle choices, diet and exercise, plus making time for alternative therapies and activities like pilates and yoga are really important, so I do ‘bang’ on about these throughout the book! This topic even has its very own chapter, so hopefully I manage to get this message across, making everyone realise that living a healthier, more active life can help prevent or cope with any health issue. Indirectly, one aim of this book is to nudge everyone (men & women) into looking at their lifestyle choices, to make women realise that with simple tweaks to their diet and exercise they can really help their symptoms – in some cases it’s not going to cure the symptom but can definitely help enormously to reduce intensity and frequency of symptoms. This doesn’t just apply to the menopause though, it goes for any health condition out there – a healthy, positive attitude to life generally has a positive effect on your overall health and well-being. Prevention is always a better option to firefighting any health condition.
Everyone experiences symptoms in different ways with many still having their quality of life affected by their symptoms, so there are chapters covering HRT and alternative remedies. There are many questions and theories surrounding these topics but hopefully after reading they will be less confusing.
There is useful signposting to the websites I would recommend – you seriously need to look no further and I’ve included a questionnaire at the back which some may find helpful. A whistle stop tour of the menopause!
A final note… bridging the gap between the medics and us lay folk can be a battle sometimes, getting all that knowledge, information and research into easy to read formats is always a challenge, but I’ve hopefully managed to do it with this topic – being informed – we all get educated on what to expect during puberty, with pre and post-natal care why not perimenopausal symptoms? When you put it in that context it’s bizarre isn’t it… do we just need to change the name perhaps to reduce the stigma?!
When Ruth Devlin started experiencing a variety of perimenopausal symptoms she was frustrated by the lack of consistent information available. Teaming up with like-minded women from healthcare backgrounds, in 2014 she set up Let’s Talk Menopause; the main aim being to raise awareness about the menopause, demystify it and most importantly, provide easy access to accurate information. Coming from a healthcare background as a qualified nurse Ruth was perfectly placed to bridge the gap between the medical profession and women (& men) in general. After several years of giving talks to women up and down the country one comment made time and time again was… ‘I wish my husband/partner could hear all this info’. Ruth decided a short, informative guide for men was needed, the result is ‘Men…Let’s Talk Menopause’ a comprehensive guide to the menopause giving basic facts and practical solutions with the odd bit of humour thrown in as well. Available through Amazon.co.uk