The menopause is a turning point in every woman’s life.
Falling hormone levels cause a variety of life-changing symptoms, ranging from the tell-tale hot flushes, brain fog and forgetfulness to depression.
For millions of middle-aged women, these crippling side effects can make working life impossible and put a strain on their relationships. But the ‘change’, as it is colloquially known, can also present an opportunity for them to take stock of where they are and pursue new interests.
Boots — which is trying to spark conversation around the topic to break taboos and prevent women suffering in silence — brought together six well-known TV presenters, comedians, actresses and fashion designers to discuss how the menopause impacted them.
During Boots’ Menopause Monologues event in London, celebrities lifting the veil of secrecy surrounding the menopause shared their own stories of how the natural transition blighted their lives.
Andrea McLean revealed she sacked her own agent when he told her that writing a book on the menopause was ‘career suicide’. At the same event, Sally Phillips told how she thought her symptoms were down to a divorce and Gabby Logan said her husband only discovered he had prostate cancer following her delve into symptoms of the change.
Here, MailOnline shares their full stories.
Anna Richardson, Karen Arthur, Andrea McClean, Gabby Logan, Sally Phillips and Shappi Khorsandi attend the Boots and No7 Menopause Monologues event in London
Andrea McLean: I sacked my agent because he advised against writing a book about menopause
Andrea McLean was told by her agent that writing a book on the menopause was ‘career suicide’.
But after sacking him and pushing on with the project, it went on to become a bestseller.
Sharing her decision to the crowd at the Boots Menopause Monologues, she was met with woops and cheers.
The former Loose Women presenter started experiencing perimenopause in her late 30s back in 2007.
Andrea McLean (far left) sacked her agent after he told her writing a book on the menopause was ‘career suicide’
Women usually start to go through the change in their forties but Andrea was prepared for it because her mother had started early as well.
She suffered debilitating night sweats that would carry on into the next morning, as well as violent mood swings.
The mother-of-two, now 53, also had endometriosis — a painful condition where tissue similar to the womb lining grow in other parts of the body.
By 2016, she could no longer cope with the pain anymore, holding her stomach before going on air because it was so agonising.
A scan carried out to check what was causing her symptoms revealed she had cysts on her ovaries and she would need a hysterectomy — removing her entire reproductive system.
Recalling her ordeal, Andrea told crowds at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly: ‘I’m working on Loose Women and I’m about to take some time off work because the next day I was going to go into hospital to have a full hysterectomy.
‘It’s just before my last show for a while and I’m sitting with Linda Robson, and we’re doing our Loose Women thing, and she said “sweetheart, you’ve got to say something or people will think you’ve been fired”.
‘So fast forward an hour or so, we’re live on air and coming to the last 30 seconds of the show and Linda Robson can see exactly what I’m doing.
‘I’m totally fudging it and I’m not going to say anything, so she leans over and says “never mind all that, you’ve got something to say don’t you?”.
‘So I had no choice, I was going to have to drop my own H bomb.’
Andrea told the audience what was to happen and was flooded with thousands of letters from women experiencing the same thing.
The surgery proved a success but immediately accelerated her condition to full menopause, as her hormones took a cliff dive.
The menopause is caused by oestrogen and progesterone levels naturally dropping as they age.
Removing the womb, ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix speeds up this process, with hormones dropping to the same level as they would be at a woman’s final period.
The sex hormones also have a large effect in controlling mood and the nervous system, leading to symptoms as wide ranging as poor mental health to losing normal temperature control.
Andrea’s sweats got worse and her anxiety went through the roof. She decided to write a book titled Confessions of a Menopausal Woman to help guide other women through the change
It was published in June 2018, but not before she sacked her agent after he advised against writing it because ‘nobody would hire her again’.
She proved him wrong and has since become a poster woman for the millions going through the menopause.
Andrea said: ‘I have gone on to create This Girl Is On Fire, a community for women to help them build up their self-belief and self-love.
‘I help women every single day. And I love it. I know now to be kind to myself. I know to take care of myself. I know that plastering a smile on will never work long term.
‘I know that to sustain it, it has to come from somewhere within. And this is why I care about this project.
‘Let’s make it easier for women to talk to people. Let’s make it accessible. Let’s make it normal.’
Karen Arthur: When you Google menopause, you’re flooded with pictures of women who don’t look like me
You may know Karen Arthur as a stylist and podcast host.
But before the 58-year-old’s success in fashion, she had been a teacher for 28 years.
That was until she heartbreakingly had to quit because of her mental health struggles.
In 2015, Karen had been wrestling with work for months and would go on to barely leave her home for the next year as she battled with her mental health.
What the mother-of-two didn’t realise until years later is that her problems had been brought on by the menopause.
She started getting ‘tingly’ legs — a common symptom of the change — towards the end of 2014 before suffering her first breakdown.
Karen Arthur started getting ‘tingly’ legs — a common symptom of ‘the change’ — towards the end of 2014 before suffering her first breakdown because of menopause
WHAT IS THE MENOPAUSE?
Menopause is when a woman stops having periods, and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
It usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55.
It is a normal part of ageing and caused by levels of the sex hormone oestrogen dropping.
Some women go through this time with few, if any, symptoms.
Others suffer from hot flushes, sleeping difficulties, mood swings and brain fog, which can last for months or years and might change over time.
HRT replaces the hormones and is the main treatment used to treat symptoms — which can be severe and disrupt day-to-day life.
Menopause happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
Karen told MailOnline: ‘At the time, I was feeling down. I was missing my children — they had gone to university — and I was suffering from empty nest syndrome.
‘It was getting darker, colder, my boiler broker. Eventually [I had] what I can only describe as a breakdown.
‘I came home one night, I had work to do, it was dark outside and the only light in the room was coming from my laptop screen.
‘I looked at the time and it was only half past eight. I thought “if I go to bed now, it will make the morning come sooner”. I burst into tears.’
Over the next few months she was signed off work with depression, briefly returning before being signed off again.
Her brain fog — another symptom of the menopause— made it nearly impossible to instruct a class.
By the time she saw her GP in February 2015, Karen had also started getting the customary hot flushes suffered by three in four menopausal women.
She realised she was going through the change when her boiler was finally fixed but she thought was going haywire and over-heating her home.
After checking it, she realised it was her body that was actually increasing in temperature.
Karen said: ‘I Googled menopause at three o’clock in the morning and I wouldn’t recommend that to any woman.
‘Sixty-four symptoms came up but also I thought I was dying, because there were other things that tingly legs could be obviously — and that scared me.’
Her doctor diagnosed her with anxiety and depression.
But asked what advice she was given from the doctor to treat her menopause as a means of treating depression, she said: ‘Absolutely nada.’
Instead, she was given antidepressants and had to soldier on with her own research to figure out what was truly going on with her body.
During this time, she would not want to leave the house. When forced to, she would wear baggy clothes, letting her hair cover her face.
‘I wanted to be invisible,’ she said.
She went to therapy for over a year, which she described as the ‘best gift I could ever give myself’, and started practicing mindfulness and meditation.
During that time, her aunt passed away and she was left with some of her clothes. When grief threatened to overwhelm her, she would start to wear the pieces.
Slowly, she started building up the confidence to wear the clothes in public, transforming how she saw herself.
She came up with an idea — ‘wear your happy’ — which would go on to become the slogan for her bespoke clothing company she started later that year, something she may never had done had she not gone through the menopause.
As her depression began to subside, she started focusing more on her other symptoms.
She invited a close-knit group of friends who were all going through the same change as black women.
Some of them were having night sweats, others felt like their bones were ‘decrepit’ and they couldn’t exercise anymore.
They would trade remedies like vitamins, sage tea and linen bed sheets to help ease their symptoms.
Black women tend to hit the menopause two years earlier than white women and also often experience more intense symptoms, studies suggest.
But they’re largely ignored in menopause advertising and not told that by their doctors, Karen said.
Just 8 per cent of black women going through the menopause who can take HRT do take it, compared to 15 per cent of white women.
Karen, who is trying to raise awareness of the menopause with Boots — which offers an array of services to help menopausal women online, said: ‘When you Google menopause, you’re flooded with pictures of people who don’t look like me.
‘They’re these white women with straight, short silver hair looking forlorn with a furrowed brow and always wearing beige.
‘It makes you think “Oh this isn’t something that happens to someone like me”. I know plenty of black women who thought HRT was only for white women.’
She added: ‘I know that stress can exacerbate menopause. I know that racism causes a form of stress.
‘There is a history of medical racism around the world, so our experience with doctors can be more negative.
‘Look at black maternal death statistics, look at black deaths from Covid — the statistics are there — so it is understandable that we would be a little bit more wary of what doctors tell us.’
After George Floyd’s death, she felt ‘galvanised’ and decided to set up her own podcast discussing the change: Menopause Whilst Black.
The show asks primarily black, British women to come forward and share their stories, acting as a ‘balm’ for a demographic who had previously not heard themselves represented before.
Two years and four seasons later, she is aiming to help young women like her two daughters to be better prepared for the change.
She said she would have been able to deal with her mental health problems much better had she known they were caused by the change.
But she is optimistic we are now in a ‘turning point’ with menopause, where people can talk about it and make it a positive thing in their lives.
In the end, menopause liberated her to start the career of her dreams.
Shappi Khorsandi found the menopause has set her comedy act free, but left her devastated off-stage
Shappi Khorsandi: Menopause improved my comedy but I suffered offstage
Brain fog and memory loss brought on by the memory loss could be a nightmare for most comedians.
But for Shappi Khorsandi, who last year changed her name back to Shaparak, the symptoms were actually a blessing for her on stage.
They enhanced her more improvisational style, ridding her of the usual nerves and jitters, she said.
Offstage was a different story, however. On tour, she was left feeling isolated and in a cloud of depression.
Having never cancelled a gig in over 20 years as a comedian, she cut her tour in July this year short because she did not want to be away from her son, 15, and daughter, nine, any longer.
The 49-year-old told MailOnline: ‘I thought to myself “I’m in Peterborough, what the hell am I doing in Peterborough?”.
‘The homesickness and the missing my children got intolerable, like really intolerable.
‘I wasn’t just miserable like “it’s work, I’ve got to get through it”, because the time on stage I still enjoyed.
‘But just being away, I stated to have these very passing thoughts that “wouldn’t it be easier just to die”. Isn’t that terrible?
‘I just thought “I’m so unhappy being away from home, I just want to lie down in a puddle”. It was the first time I’d had any thoughts like that.’
Shappi first thought she might be going through perimenopause — the time before your last period when the body transitions into menopause — in early 2020, after talking to her friends who were feeling the same way as her.
She had been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, through her own research, found she might be going through the change as well.
Her periods had started becoming less predictable and more frequent, while the smallest detail in a children’s book would send her into floods of tears.
HOT FLUSHES: THE FACTS
Most women will experience hot flushes when going through the menopause.
They’re often described as a sudden feeling of heat that seems to come from nowhere and spreads throughout the body.
You might also experience sweating, palpitations and flushing of the face.
Some women only have occasional hot flushes that do not really bother them, while others can have many a day and find them uncomfortable, disruptive and embarrassing.
Hot flushes can start a few months or years before your periods stop (before you start the menopause) and usually continue for several years after your last period.
Causes of hot flushes
Hot flushes usually affect women who are approaching the menopause and are thought to be caused by changes in your hormone levels affecting your body’s temperature control.
They can happen without warning throughout the day and night, but can also be triggered by:
- eating spicy foods
- caffeine and alcohol
- wearing thick clothing
- a high temperature
- feeling stressed or anxious
- treatment for certain types of cancer (this can affect both men and women)
- certain medicines
- some health conditions, such as an overactive thyroid, diabetes and tuberculosis
What does a hot flush feel like?
Women often describe a hot flush as a creeping feeling of intense warmth that quickly spreads across your whole body and face.
It typically lasts for several minutes. Others say the warmth is similar to the sensation of being under a sun bed, or feeling like a furnace.
The website healthtalk.org has several videos where women describe what a hot flush feels like.
The regular runner was unable to exercise like she used to because of the discomfort and she started feeling her mental health deteriorate.
Shappi, who is also working with Boots — which offers walk-in support for women, with all staff trained to recognise the 40 signs and symptoms of the change —said: ‘When I don’t connect with my body, my head goes to dark places.’
Struggling to get a GP appointment during the pandemic, she went to two private gynaecologists to ask about her symptoms.
Both doctors — men in their later years — dismissed her symptoms, however, telling her she wasn’t going through the menopause because she was still having periods.
Perimenopause was not even considered as an option.
Frantically, she started researching what her now bi-weekly periods could be, with the internet coming up with a host of ‘scary’ conditions that fit her symptoms.
Thankfully, scans revealed none of those were the case, but she realised something was definitely not right on a phone call with her bank.
She said: ‘I had a problem with my bank and my online banking wasn’t working so I called them up.
‘I broke down in tears trying to talk to them and I thought “this is wrong, I shouldn’t be struggling at these most normal of tasks”.’
It was not until she got an appointment with her GP — a younger woman specialising in the menopause — that things started to change.
She was immediately prescribed HRT patches, which she has been taking over the last few years.
Boots became the first retailer to offer HRT over the counter following a ‘landmark’ decision last month.
Government health chiefs approved the sale of estradiol tablets, sold under the brand name Gina10, without prescriptions.
Shappi still gets the occasional bout of crying but has found the treatment life-changing, allowing her to do more of the things she loves.
Crafts, taking time in a busy day to read a book and staying at home on a Friday night — when just two years ago she would have had no problem partying till the early hours — have given her the sense of calm she needs in her life.
Like Karen, she has also found joy in changing her wardrobe, wearing more colourful and expressive clothes, and caring less about what others think.
And she believes it’s vital young women are given the proper advice and preparation to know the menopause does not have to be something feared.
She said: ‘I was told by someone in the industry “once you hit 40, you’re done” — when I was 25. It’s a deeply misogynistic thing to say to a woman.
‘I think it’s incredibly important my daughter and son don’t grow up in a world where women get those messages that they’re finished when they hit their 40s.
‘It’s just so wrong, they have so much to give. What women over 50 have to offer is absolutely abundant. They’re so much wiser, more experienced.’
Next year, she will start a course on psychotherapy, with a view to ‘finally being able to work daytimes’ — rather than being on stage late at night — and be closer to her children before they grow up.
And while she may no longer be able to pamper them as much as when they were younger, she will also be looking after one of her more pleasant ‘symptoms’ — an eight-week-old Maltese puppy.
BBC presenter Gabby Logan was diagnosed with perimenopause — the time before your last period when the body transitions into menopause — at the age of 47
Gabby Logan: My husband found he had cancer after my research into menopause
As if working in the world of sport broadcasting as a woman wasn’t hard enough, Gabby Logan found the menopause made her job even tougher.
In her 20s, she faced sexist comments from male presenters asking how many Premier League footballer she had slept with. The sexist comments left her ‘dying inside’.
Despite boorish behaviour from some colleagues, she battled through misogyny to rise to the top of the TV sport world.
But at the age of 47, the BBC presenter was diagnosed with perimenopause.
As with the majority of women, she started experiencing symptoms earlier than that without knowing what they were.
Brain fog occurs in two thirds of perimenopausal and menopausal women and is caused by a drop in hormones.
Discussing her experience at the Boots Menopause Monologues event earlier this month, Gabby said: ‘Brain fog was definitely something that was one of my symptoms, that I didn’t realise was a symptom.
‘I honestly thought my brain was just full, this is it now, the capacity like a computer, the old-fashioned memory store’s done.
‘That’s not very good when you’re a live sports presenter, because this doesn’t work so much…. (saying) “not a defender, the midfielder, not the one on the left…”
‘It really isn’t very fluid and easy for the viewer to go along with that! There were times I was struggling to recall names and genuinely starting to doubt myself.
‘I always prided on my memory. That was a good thing to sort out and realise that was a menopausal symptom.
‘I wasn’t full, I have a little bit more capacity yet in this engine.’
After finally being diagnosed through a blood test, she started taking bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) — a type of HRT.
The hormones — also taken by Davina McCall — differ from traditional HRT because they’re identical chemically to those our bodies produce naturally and made from plant-based oestrogens.
Some women prefer to take them because they can be adjusted to a patient’s needs, although experts believe the risks are the same as taking regular HRT.
Gabby is also working with Boots, which has launched an initiative to help women identify menopause products and services that may be suitable for them with a ‘menopause-friendly’ symbol.
She also lifts weights, does pilates and yoga, and practices meditation to help ease her symptoms.
Weight-lifting can help boost the metabolism — preventing the weight-gain that usually comes with the menopause — while also increasing bone density.
This can help prevent osteoporosis, another potential complication caused by drastic falls in oestrogen.
Yoga and meditation have been shown to reduce stress levels, helping with some of the mental side-effects of the change.
Since starting the treatment, she has been able to manage the change, allowing her career to continue hitting new heights.
Gabby’s research into her menopause inspired her husband Kenny (pictured together) , 50, to look into his own health, leading to his prostate cancer diagnosis
But at the same time, Gabby’s menopause experience also led to the diagnosis of her husband’s cancer in February this year.
Her research into her health inspired Kenny, 50, to look into his own health.
He had his hormones checked and was shocked when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, despite not suffering any symptoms.
Kenny received treatment and had an operation to remove the organ, and is now ’95 per cent’ back to normal.
Through all this, Gabby supported her husband while also coming through her own medical challenge.
And now she is a proud ambassador for Menopause Mandate, a campaign group set up back in the spring by Mariella Frostrup and MP Carolyn Harris.
She has also set up her own podcast The Mid.Point with Gabby Logan, which deals with physical and mental health issues affecting middle-aged people.
Gabby said: ‘I am proud to be part of the ever increasing and long overdue discussion about menopause.
‘One of the most important things I’ve learned through my own journey is that every woman’s experience is unique to them.
‘For those fortunate enough to only have a few of the 40-plus symptoms, it can be disruptive at best.
‘But for the women suffering from a great many of those symptoms it can be completely debilitating.’
Sally Phillips: I thought my menopause symptoms were caused by my divorce
Actress Sally Phillips jokes the menopause is now so normalised, it’s uncool not to be going through it.
Speaking at the same Menopause Monologues event as her peers, the 52-year-old said: ‘The menopause is all the rage.
‘All the rage is in the menopause — it’s so hip it hurts. If you’re not going through the menopause and you’re a woman in the media right now, you’re no-one.
‘Remember the peer pressure to have your first period? I faked mine. I wore a bra for year too early to make friends. Menopause is that but ten times worse.
‘If you’re not menopausing they look down on you — the cool chicas… Angelina Jolie, Gillian Anderson, Kim Cattrall, any minute now Gwyneth Paltrow.
‘If any of them saw me with a Tampax it’d be, like, “so immature”. “She definitely hasn’t come into her wisdom yet”.’
Despite the jokes, Sally said the menopause had a massive effect on her — even though she initially thought her mood was just being caused by a divorce.
The Bridget Jones star said she only realised what was going on when she Googled the symptoms.
Sally Phillips said the menopause had a massive effect on her — even though she initially thought her mood was just being caused by a divorce
She said her ‘skin changed, hair changed and I got massive bingo wings’.
The mother-of-three split from husband Andrew Bermejo in 2017, following 14 years of marriage.
She has previously spoken of how a divide opened up following the birth of their eldest son, Olly, 17, who has Down’s syndrome. They also share sons Luke, 13, and Tom, 10.
She said she thought what she was feeling was just the pain of their split.
But as the tell-tale signs started to mount up, she said: ‘I Googled the menopause and got a list of 40 symptoms, and realised I had 45 of them.’
She now takes HRT and has seen her symptoms improve massively.
Sally added: ‘It can be very sexy, you can get a massive rise in libido — apparently.
‘The government have set up a menopause task force and I think that’s great because that means we can all relax knowing the government have it.’
Anna Richardson has fought ‘hellish’ menopausal brain fog for the last 18 months
Anna Richardson: I’m what’s known as fully-blown menopausal
Anna Richardson had her last period more 18 months ago, and has since fought ‘hellish’ brain fog.
It left her struggling to communicate as effectively as she used to.
But the 52-year-old Channel 4 star has not let the change diminish her dreams of having a family.
After splitting from her long-term partner Sue Perkins last year, Anna revealed she was seeing a new boyfriend earlier this month.
And she said she hopes to have a child in the future — either through adoption or surrogacy.
In the meantime, she is using her time to raise awareness of the menopause and how it does not have to mean the end for women.
Listing common symptoms at the Menopause Monologues, she said: ‘I’m what’s known as fully-blown menopausal. How bad can it actually be?
‘Your hair loses it’s shine and gets thinner, falls out. You can get brittle nails, vaginal dryness, bouts of insomnia, dizziness, incontinence.
‘You get breast pain, joint pain, weight gain, severe headaches, migraines, itchy skin, urinary tract infections, irregular heartbeat, changes in body odour, hot flushes.
‘Might sweats, burning tongue, papery skin, mouth ulcers, constant pins and needles, allergies worsening or new ones, appearing at out nowhere.’
Raising her hands and shaking her head, she joked: ‘Blah, blah, blah — but that’s it. That’s it really, more or less.’
She added: ‘I have a voice and I’m not afraid to use it. I’m speaking out for the women too ashamed and afraid to get help.
‘Meditating has helped. Talking has helped. They are the things that are in my tool belt, and I never take that off. Take the time to find out what works for you.’
Menopause Q&A: When does menopause start, what are the symptoms and what can you do about it?
When do women typically start to experience menopause?
Claire Nevinson, Boots superintendent pharmacist, told MailOnline: ‘Typically women will start the menopause in their late 40s and 50s typically
‘Some women can experience what we call an early menopause from the age of 45. But any younger that would be very unusual. So typically around late 40s, fifties.’
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Ms Nevinson said: ‘It will be different for every woman.
‘Because of the production of estrogen and progestogen changing at that time — that’s typically what causes the symptoms.
‘Regular symptoms that you will hear people talking about are hot flushes and that’s quite common.
‘Some women find that sleeping is a little bit more difficult and also mood swings is a common symptom that we hear about.
‘A loss of libido and vaginal dryness is very common as well. But as I say, every woman has their own experience.
‘Typically they would be the the most common symptoms that we would come across.’
What can women do to cope with hot flushes and mood swings?
She said: ‘I think with hot flushes there’s some just really simple advice around. Wearing layers and cotton clothing rather than big chunky jumpers.
‘Hot flushes tend to happen very unexpectedly and quite quickly, so being able to kind of take a layer off when you’re feeling hot and then put it back on again it’s quite useful.
‘And also if you’re sitting at a desk regularly you can get desk fans and handheld fans which are quite quite handy.’
Ms Nevinson added: ‘Mood swings will vary from woman to woman because their hormones are unstable and are changing.
‘It’s not unusual to feel at low mood and some people describe brain fog and finding it difficult to concentrate and remember certain things. That’s that’s not unusual.
‘I think what’s really important is that women talk about how they’re feeling and there are so many support groups available now.
‘And for women to talk to other women who are going through the same thing and some very simple, simply talking to people can really help and exercise regularly is also a good idea.’
What other treatments can women have?
Ms Nevinson said: ‘There’s lots of treatments available through your GP, including hormone replacement therapy, which can help some women if it’s appropriate for them.
‘So it’s definitely worth talking to your GP about what’s available. And sometimes it takes a little bit of time to find the treatment that works best for you.
‘HRT is a replacement hormonal therapy. So that just corrects the balance of hormones, which in turn supports like most of the symptoms.’
She added: ‘There’s also various products that you can buy over the counter and at Boots we have lots of products that that supplements and herbal medicines and treatments that that women like to to to purchase and to try.
‘Again it’s a very individual experience, the menopause, but some of those supplements and herbal medicines can also really support people through the symptoms.’
Does the menopause effect sexual intercourse?
She said: ‘Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s not uncommon to for women’s libido to drop during the menopause and that can be quite disturbing for many women.
‘It’s quite common also to have a vaginal dryness which can make intercourse quite uncomfortable, which again impacts on sexual intercourse on relationships.
‘There are various treatments and locally applied gels that can really help with the dryness.
‘But I think what’s important is that it’s it’s it’s a common symptom and talking about it and talking about it with your partner and working through that is definitely the thing to do.’
What piece of advice can you give women who are worried about it?
Ms Nevinson said: ‘I think menopause is a is a is a natural thing. It’s comes to all of us women at a certain point in time and I think now more than ever, women are talking about it.
‘Men are talking about it and and I think it’s a really positive step forward. It’s a stage of life where times are changing.
‘Your periods stop and it’s quite often a time when women reassess where they are in life and think about their careers.
‘And often the time when there might have an empty nest and it’s almost a bit of a turning point for women to step into the next stage. So I would say to women, not not to worry about it.’
Are there any silver linings to going through the menopause?
She said: ‘A silver linings is certainly the end of period.
‘Many, many women really struggle through their lives with managing periods and period pain and PMT and tampons and sanitary towels.
‘All of that stops which is, which is great, it gives a bit of liberation from periods. There’s [also] no risk of falling pregnant, which is a good thing for many people.’
What is the biggest myth about the menopause?
Ms Nevinson said: ‘You hear some commentary around the menopause only starting in your 50s and sometimes you’ll hear commentary around the menopause only lasting a couple of years.
‘I think putting a time frame on it is is definitely not helpful because women will experience menopause at different times and some women start the menopause and perimenopause quite early.
‘So I think it’s not necessarily true to say that it’s it’s gonna happen at a certain age.’
She added: ‘Also women will experience it for different lengths of time.
‘Some women will sail through not even hardly notice, and other people will find they’re struggling with symptoms for quite some time.
‘So I think it’s a case of going with the flow and and and managing your symptoms and the menopause as an individual.’
How do you know if you’ve reached menopause if you’re on the pill?
She said: ‘It was very difficult to know if you’re taking a contraceptive pill because obviously it is a hormone is a hormone treatment in itself.
‘And so therefore the only real way to find out would be to stop using the contraceptive pill and switch to a barrier method and see what’s happening with your normal regular natural cycle.’
If a woman’s period stops for 12 months does it definitely mean she’s going through the menopause?
Ms Nevinson said: ‘I think it depends on on a few things.
‘If you’re a woman woman who’s in her late 40s, early 50s and you haven’t had a period for 12 months and there’s no other symptoms are really unusual for you at the time, then the likelihood is that is the menopause.
‘If you are any younger than that or are you having any unusual symptoms or any other anything else that might be concerning, then it may not be menopause
‘We would advise you speak to your GP who might be able to do some additional tests,
‘But typically late 40s, early 50s, if you haven’t had a period for 12 months, the chances are it probably is.’
Go VEGAN to beat the menopause… but just don’t eat avocado or nuts! Study claims soybean-heavy but animal-free diet might be just as good as HRT at warding off hot flushes
A vegan, low-fat diet might be just as good as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women, a study claims.
Researchers found women who cut out all animal products and ate more legumes suffered 88 per cent fewer hot flushes twelve weeks later.
For comparison, experts estimate HRT gels, patches and pills are up to 90 per cent effective.
The diet — which also urged women to steer clear of avocados and nuts — helped women lose up to 8lbs, on average.
However, experts today encouraged women to ‘be careful’ when considering natural alternatives to HRT.
A vegan diet rich in soybeans and low in fat can help fight off menopausal hot flushes, a study claims
George Washington University researchers tracked 84 postmenopausal women, none of whom were taking HRT at the time.
Participants were aged between 40 to 65 and all had two moderate-to-severe hot flushes a day.
They had all had their last period between one and 10 years before the start of the study, published in the journal Menopause.
One group of women followed the vegan soybean diet, while one who continued eating normally.
The vegan group had to have half a cup of soybeans cooked in a pressure cooker every day.
They were also told to minimise oils and fatty foods, including nuts and avocados, and avoid animal products entirely.
The women were asked to record their hot flushes through an app on their phones, noting when they occurred, for how long and how intense they were.
Their exercise levels, dietary intake, bodyweight, height and health status were also all recorded before, during and after the study.
Results showed the number of hot flashes experienced by the vegan group fell from six to 1.4 per week.
In the control group, they only fell from 5.7 to 3.4, on average.
Meanwhile, the soybean group saw their average weight fall from 74.8kg (11st 11lbs) to 71.1kg (11st 3lbs).
Lead author Dr Neal Barnard said: ‘We do not fully understand yet why this combination works.
‘But it seems these three elements are key — avoiding animal products, reducing fat, and adding a serving of soybeans.’
Hot flushes are the most common symptom of ‘the change’, affecting three quarters of women for around two years on average
Soybeans contain a chemical called daidzein. When this is digested it turns into equol, a type of oestrogen
The team believe the effect may be caused by a chemical in soybeans.
When daidzein is digested, it turns into equol, which posses oestrogen-like properties.
The digestion occurs in the intestines and is improved by a high-fibre diet, like a vegan one, the experts said.
Dr Barnard added: ‘These new results suggest a diet change should be considered as a first-line treatment for troublesome vasomotor symptoms, including night sweats and hot flashes.’
The menopause is when a woman’s periods stop. It usually between the ages of 45 and 55.
It is a normal part of ageing and caused by levels of the sex hormone oestrogen dropping.
HRT replaces the hormones and is the main treatment used to treat symptoms — which can be severe and disrupt day-to-day life.
Lorna Driver-Davies, head of nutrition at supplement company Wild Nutrition, told MailOnline it’s ‘not surprising’ some women may be looking at natural alternatives to HRT.
The company’s Perimenopause Report found 32 per cent would prefer to use diet, exercise, better sleep and supplements over HRT.
But she said: ‘The research is interesting, and diet certainly supports peri and menopause.
‘However, we need to be careful with this kind of data. The quality of soya varies dramatically.
‘And a low-fat diet can be very unhealthy — think about the overwhelming clinical research into the merits of a Mediterranean diet which includes healthy fats required for hormone production and balance.’