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Menopause is a hot topic and Davina McCall shares her story



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Shakespeare was right, when he asks 'shall I compare thee to a summer's day' in his sonnet 18 when, in my interpretation of the poem, he was talking about the menopause.

Hot, flustered, sweating and maybe weeping, or in more poetic terms, a radiant glow, just like that summer's day but it happens in all weathers, such is the winter of our discontent.

Menopause is a hot topic and has been highlighted by Davina McCall on her Channel 4 programme Sex, Myths and the Menopause.

Davina McCall is a television presenter and personality who tackles the subject of menopause in her Channel 4 programme.
Davina McCall is a television presenter and personality who tackles the subject of menopause in her Channel 4 programme.

Davina McCall had turned 44 and felt like she was losing it, with hot flushes, depression, and mental fog and she tells her menopause story, busting midlife taboos, from sex to hormone replacement therapy.

Davina explores how menopause can affect the mind as well as the body, with memory loss and brain fog decimating women at work.

What day is it?

You see, we don't 'imagine' that this is happening to us, we don't 'bang on' about it so that some people think that periods and menopause are all we talk about.

More than 70 per cent of women said that the menopause had affected them at work.
More than 70 per cent of women said that the menopause had affected them at work.

Instead we go with our best girl friends and watch Menopause the Musical and fan ourselves down in the interval due to the combined excessive heat.

Perimenopause is another hot topic too because it can precede the onset of the real deal by 10 years.

Another thing for us ladyfolk to look forward to.

The menopause can cause many different symptoms.
The menopause can cause many different symptoms.

Perimenopause is the transitional period before menopause and during it, levels of estrogen, a key female hormone, start to decrease.

Women may begin having menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes or irregular periods and can last for years.

Is it hot in here or is it me?

Luckily there are many women supporting women with the still taboo subject, showing that it is okay to talk about it, such as Davina who is in a position to bring attention to it.

Exercise helps ease the symptoms of the menopause.
Exercise helps ease the symptoms of the menopause.

Shakespeare goes on in the sonnet to say 'sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines.'

And doesn't it just, I have a desk fan, another fan in my drawer, one in my handbag, a huge fan at home and a quick route to the fridge to open that door and cool down.

Could someone open the window?

We suffer periods for the whole of our lives before the menopause hits and for those of us sans children, what is the point?!

Menopause the Musical 2 at Alive Corn Exchange, King's Lynn.
Menopause the Musical 2 at Alive Corn Exchange, King's Lynn.

It is a never ending battle of the hormones, mood swings, crying at Home and Away for no reason other than it is the dreaded time of the month.

Period underwear is now available in shops so that females can still go waterskiing and roller blading along the beach. just as the sanitary products advert showed we could.

And suddenly it all stops and the menopause is here.

Meg Mathews is the new ambassador for Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn (QEH) menopause support programme.
Meg Mathews is the new ambassador for Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn (QEH) menopause support programme.

'But thy eternal summer shall not fade' said Shakespeare.

Typical man.

Now I am 47 years old now, I discuss this hot topic with close friends and colleagues in the office such as fellow reporter Eve Tawfick.

I have not reached the menopause yet but it is something that I know I will have to face, particularly on my last birthday in April when a friend gave me a decorative fan and subscription to Gardner's World.

Healthy food selection with fruits, vegetables, seeds, super foods, cereals and the cutting board in the middle as copy space. (54171993)
Healthy food selection with fruits, vegetables, seeds, super foods, cereals and the cutting board in the middle as copy space. (54171993)

We discuss how our own mothers coped with menopause, the societal back lash of reaching that certain age, invisible and over the hill, replacing older females on TV with a younger version, whereas the silver foxes of the male variety remain attractive, wise and verile right into their 90s.

Many a time a phone call with my friend who is a health visitor is a helpful one and we feel less alone with the fact that, sometimes it's hard to be a woman.

During my own periodic cycle I curl up on the sofa with the food that eases my own cramps and pains.

Easter chocolates (55182425)
Easter chocolates (55182425)

Yes of course, chocolate.

But research suggests that there are types of food that are better for women during this time.

Nutritionist and and 44 Foods partner Emma Ellice-Flint specialises in helping women through the menopause through their diet, creating recipes that nourish, heal and help to balance hormones, which can help to ease some of the most common symptoms.

Vegetables and fruits.. (47528477)
Vegetables and fruits.. (47528477)

She said: "There’s a reason that the humble vitamin C is known to be great for everything from skin health to hormone health. That’s because it benefits so many different actions in our bodies.

"Regularly eating live fermented foods such as kefir and sauerkraut, can help to improve your gut health and its microbiota.

From my experience in the clinic, adding fermented foods into your diet can help to reduce bloating and improve your digestion which can both be impacted when we hit the menopause.

Oily fish is a source of Vitamin D (2192643)
Oily fish is a source of Vitamin D (2192643)

"Omega 3, found in oily fish like sardines, salmon and mackerel, is a type of fat that is essential to our bodies. In perimenopause and menopause, these benefits are especially important, supporting gut health, reducing inflammation, and helping with mood and anxiety.

"Pre-biotics are a fermentable fibre found in plants.

"While our digestive system struggles to digest them, our intestinal microbiota thrives, making them a vital to maintain a healthy gut."

Vitamin C is a skincare superhero (47342266)
Vitamin C is a skincare superhero (47342266)

As I said, chocolate works for me, and although menopause is a hot topic, sadly a hot Topic chocolate bar is not on this list.

As much as exercise is good to ease the lower back pain of a period I find that it must be personal to everyone, the last thing I want to do is a 5k run when suffering with the week before the week before.

The best thing we can do is to talk about the menopause and about periods as far as possible with our friends and family and also to make the work place, as did the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, an environment that is empathetic.

Britpop icon and menopause campaigner Meg Mathews is the QEH trust’s menopause ambassador and says she has been blown away by their efforts.

I definitely feel I have symptoms of perimenopause, confirmed more recently at a cervical screening which I wrote about too.

It is a natural part of our existence and if nobody listens, just talk to the cat instead.

Domestic European shorthair female cat relaxing in a armchair, about 12 months old. credit: istock/GoodLifeStudio (56414883)
Domestic European shorthair female cat relaxing in a armchair, about 12 months old. credit: istock/GoodLifeStudio (56414883)


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