This month we speak to Dr Heather Currie, founder and managing director of Menopause Matters Ltd., which provides information and support through its website menopausematters.co.uk and the quarterly magazine, Menopause Matters.
Menopause Matters has been going since 2002 and it has just published the 57th issue of its print magazine. Available to buy by subscription or as individual copies it recently became the first and only menopause title available to buy on the high street in branches of WHSmith and other newsagents.
Here Heather explains how and why it all began: “Whilst we have been talking about it online and in print for over 17 years it’s fair to say there has been an explosion of public interest and awareness around the menopause and its importance to women’s health and general wellbeing over the past couple of years.
“Our goal is to ensure more women are able to make informed decisions about the management of their menopause and have access to accurate, up-to-date information, advice and support.”
“Our vision is that women approaching and experiencing the menopause will have clarity over the different treatment options available, based on sound, clinical evidence, so they can make up their own minds about what is the best option for them.”
In the beginning
Some of the best ideas often come about when we’re relaxed so it’s no surprise perhaps that the idea behind Menopause Matters came when Dr Heather Currie was on holiday with her husband, Matthew, on the other side of the world, in Australia.
Heather takes up the story… “Back in 1989, when I was a registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and studying to become a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, I began to realise just how important menopause is and how much more could and should be done to provide advice and support.
“When I was appointed to a permanent post in Obs and Gynae in Dumfries, in 1992, I suggested to my consultant colleagues that we should have a menopause clinic and we opened it in January 1993.
“Over the ensuing years, as part of the menopause service and because there was much confusion around menopause and treatment options (and indeed still is), I wrote some information leaflets for women and one for healthcare professionals showing treatment options with practical prescribing advice.
“At that time, there were frequent changes with new products often appearing, so updates were often required.”
“In late 2000 Matthew and I were on holiday in Australia. It was also around that time that the potential of the internet had really begun to boom. I have to be honest and confess it was Matthew, not me, who suggested we develop a website to provide information which could easily be updated.”
“Back from holiday in early 2001, full of enthusiasm for our big idea, our area was tragically plunged into the distress brought by foot and mouth disease, and our beloved flock of pedigree sheep had to be destroyed. Devastated, it was an offer of support to help regenerate the area that rekindled our plans. Encouragement was being given to those who had suffered loss to explore the development of e-business. So, we received a grant to set up our new business idea, which we called, Menopause Matters. The company was registered in 2001 and the website fully launched in January 2002. Wanting to reach as many women as possible I realised that having a print magazine would also be an ideal additional platform, so the first issue appeared in 2005 – and here we are today on our 57th issue!”
Dr Heather Currie MB BS, FRCOG, MRCGP is an associate specialist gynaecologist based in Dumfries, with special interests in menopause, premenstrual syndrome and subfertility. She has run a specialist level menopause service in Dumfries and Galloway since 1993 and is a trustee and longstanding member of the British Menopause Society, serving as its chairman from 2016-2017. She lectures nationally and internationally and has published many reviews and articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is the author of the books Menopause, Answers at Your Fingertips and Menopause Essentials. Heather is also co-editor of Post Reproductive Health, the journal of the British Menopause Society.
For more information, to subscribe or purchase the most recent magazine visit menopausematters.co.uk