As part of our mission to mainstream menopause, we love it when women in the public eye share their hormonal experiences. The more of us talking about the highs and lows of perimenopause and menopause, the better.
So when The Telegraph asked us to speak to some of our favourite midlifers about what they wish they’d known about menopause, we couldn’t wait to hear what they had to say.
The truth about menopause symptoms
When it came to their menopause and perimenopause symptoms, for many of the women in the article, including Gabby Logan and Trisha Goddard, it was the mental health implications that were a nasty surprise.
“I wasn’t very knowledgeable at all about the menopause,” says Gabby. “I genuinely thought it was all about hot flushes, which I didn’t have. I assumed that I was just getting old and that’s why my skin was a bit dodgy and my anxiety levels seemed to have increased.
“When I tested my hormone levels they were almost at rock bottom. Then I realised that I had other symptoms which had slowly crept into my life, like low level anxiety, mood fluctuations, dry skin and tiredness.”
Trisha Goddard is inspiringly honest in the piece about her own struggles with mental health.
“The impact of perimenopause and menopause on my mental health is something I knew nothing about,” she says. “If I’d been aware in advance, I probably wouldn’t have worried quite so much that my previous mental ill health was returning.
“Your mental approach to menopause is every bit as important as your physical approach. If you see menopause as the end of the world and the worst thing that could happen to you, then that’s how it’s likely to be.”
Body Identical HRT and the NHS
For other women we spoke to for The Telegraph, like Lisa Snowdon, the confusions around HRT were an expensive learning curve.
“I spent thousands of pounds on HRT from a private doctor,” says Lisa. “I wish I’d been more educated about the differences between bio identical HRT (unlicensed from some private clinics) and body identical HRT, which is licensed and just as good, from the NHS. I wish I’d done a bit more research. But I didn’t know about the British Menopause Society back then. It’s such a good port of call for women to get the right help, but I didn’t know it existed.”
Meg Mathews on menopause
We’ll leave the last word to menopause campaigner Meg Mathews, who has been an outspoken advocate for busting menopause taboos.
“I can’t name one thing that I wish I’d known about menopause, because I had 32 symptoms and I didn’t know about a single one of them,” says Meg in The Telegraph story. “I was riddled with anxiety, I didn’t sleep at night, I had headaches, I had a foggy brain, I was crying at Eastenders! I didn’t leave my house for three months.
“Nothing was going well for a long time, but back then, I’d never even heard the word ‘perimenopause’. I thought menopause meant you’re all dried up and over the hill. There was a real shame surrounding it.”
READ MORE: What’s in Meg Mathews’ midlife survival kit?
All of the women’s stories and experiences make for fascinating reading. Let’s all keep talking and sharing. Together, our generation of midlife women can make menopause a mainstream topic and get rid of the taboos once and for all. We’re all in this together.