Everyone is talking about the menopause, since THAT programme. If you haven’t seen it, return to this blog after you have
Whether you a Davina fan or not, she has done a wonderful job of raising the profile of some startling statistics of the peri-menopause / menopause. Her programme follows on from Mariella Frostrup’s ‘The Truth about the Menopause’ a few years ago (another great programme even if a bit softer) I am grateful to them both.
Women make up 51% of the population. Worldwide now there are 850m women in, or about to enter, the menopause[i] This issue deserves, and needs a lot of attention. And I do believe it is happening – in the NHS, in many workplaces, in society. However is this awareness wide enough, happening quick enough, and consistently enough?
I felt changes in my body and mind happening around age 39, I was so relieved to realise it was the peri-menopausal though I remember at the time my friends didn’t know what this was. So I want to share this information to help others.
This blog is intended to give you a bit more information on 2 really important areas I feel we should all know about, more ammunition to keep this conversation going.
This week I had the benefit of attending a free workshop on encouraging women to take charge of their finances. Annika Grizzell is a Financial Advisor passionate about encouraging all women to invest for the future. She had some disturbing statistics on the impact of the peri/menopause, and beyond –
- When women return to work after a career break, they earn on average 42% less than before the break
- The gender pay gap for 40 – 49 year olds, pre-covid, is over 11%
- 90% of women say that their menopausal symptoms are having a negative effect on their work
- 31% of women thought about reducing working hours and 32% had thought about leaving
- 10% of women who experienced severe symptoms leave work finding it hard to cope [ii]
- By the time she retires a women’s pension is likely to be 5 x less than a man, yet women live on average longer
I asked Annika what her advice would be on finances in the menopause –
“When we think about menopause, generally it is to do with the physical and emotional impacts that it could have on us. The financial side is forgotten. However with the effects it can have on how we operate in the workplace, your financial wellbeing should be a key consideration. One aspect for example could be if women want to reduce their working hours it can have a huge impact on pensions”
Annika is running more free workshops – I really recommend you book a ticket – here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lunch-and-learn-taking-control-of-your-financial-life-tickets-150161012631?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch
Brain Health around the Menopause
Brain fog and memory loss. Anxiety and inability to focus. Procrastination and lack of decision making. Sound familiar?
According to Dr Lisa Mosconi, a neuro-scientist who specialises in women’s brain health in the menopause, oestrogen is the master brain regulator, ‘nature’s Prozac’ – it influences GABA, promotes release of endorphins, contributes to blood flow and circulation in the brain. [iii]
And as for progesterone, according to Dr Daniel Amen, a clinical psychiatrist, this is the ‘feel good hormone – it makes you feel calm and encourages sleep’[iv] So now you know why your sleep patterns are so disturbed, perhaps when you need your sleep more than ever.
So balancing hormones as much as we can isn’t just about hot flushes and weight gain. It’s about everything that affects our wellbeing.
Dr Mosconi’s book ‘The XX Brain’ is mainly about helping prevent dementia in later life. 2 out of 3 Alzheimer’s patients are women. [v] The hormonal changes happening around the menopause make the brain susceptible to diseases like Alzheimers. The brain ages quicker when oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate then drop, with up to 30% reduced brain activity post menopause. (Although this doesn’t mean women’s brains age quicker than men’s over a whole life, just at different paces.) However, don’t give up hope as she goes on to inform us how lifestyle changes NOW at midlife can help prevent dementia later. This is where I can help you.
What to do
I think there are 3 key things we could all be doing to help ourselves and others –
- Keep reading and talking about the menopause with anyone and everyone who will listen – whether you are pre / peri / menopausal or post.
- If you are struggling with physical and mental symptoms and need help, start with the GP and also take a look at the resources below
- Your lifestyle makes a difference both now with menopausal symptoms, and for future physical and mental health. This is where I can help.
Some recommended resources
https://www.menopausematters.co.uk/index.php Menopause Matters has a quarterly published magazine, a weekly online newsletter, loads of online articles, and an online forum where you can chat to others
https://www.change.org/p/rt-hon-elizabeth-truss-mp-make-menopause-matter-in-healthcare-the-workplace-and-education-makemenopausematter?redirect=false – sign this petition to help support the #makemenopausematter campaign
https://www.womens-health-concern.org/ – the patient arm of the British Menopause Society
If you are interested in making some lifestyle changes to support your wellbeing through the transition years, take a look at my Midlife MOT or Wellness Coaching.
[i] Mosconi, Dr Lisa. The XX Brain. Allen & Unwin. London. Page xxii.
[ii] Source – Menopause at work survey of 1.132 women, Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre 2019
[iii] Mosconi, Dr Lisa. The XX Brain. Allen & Unwin. London. Page 5.
[iv] Amen. Daniel G Amen, MD. Harmony Books, New York. Page 101.
[v] Mosconi, Dr Lisa. The XX Brain. Allen & Unwin. London. Page xix