Confidence and success throughout menopause and beyond!
Debs on the steps she took to help in her menopause journey:
I went to the doctor to talk about depression and to get my thyroid checked and they did blood tests. It turned out that there was an indication I could be in perimenopause. And I thought , “what's perimenopause?” I didn't know. Because most women don't. Then it all made sense. I was offered HRT immediately and I thought I’d at least try this. I had it for one month and then the shortage came in 2020 and I couldn't get it the type that I was being prescribed anymore, which was a combined pill at that point. After back and forth with the GP, I tried to get a different type of HRT, but all of a sudden, nothing was available. It went on for months, to such a point that I gave up chasing and then I forgot to chase it up, because my mental health was going through the floor. It culminated in my breakdown in December 2020. I went back to the doctor, forgetting that I was menopausal, forgetting that I'd had HRT and spoke again about antidepressants and how I could get out of this low mood. I did more blood tests and of course, it came back that I should be on HRT. I was prescribed HRT but the wrong type and given estrogen only HRT. I didn't know at this point that because I still had my womb that I should have had progesterone as well. I was on this HRT for a whole year and that brings me to this year where I have had the heaviest, most painful bleeds. I finally have been put back on the right HRT, but still having a bleed now. None of that would have happened if I'd been given the correct HRT in the first place. So a massive part of what I do now is ensuring women understand what HRT is, and what they need personally, because a lot of women just don't know that they need a combination of these things.
Claire on menopause:
The problem with menopause is it is not one tablet fits all, not one exercise fits all. Whether you're talking symptoms, remedies, HRT, supplements, what will work for me, won’t necessarily work for you. There's so many different variables and so many different symptoms. I might have four symptoms, somebody else might have 44 symptoms. Then there is post menopause, where woman are for the rest of their lives and so you need to deal with your symptoms, whether it is through exercise, HRT or by supplements.
Debs on menopause: - HRT is fantastic and it can work for lots of women. Some women don't want it, some don't need it which is great. But it's not to say that you can replace it with a healthy lifestyle. Nothing will replace what HRT does for you because nothing else can physically put those hormones back into your body. I am an advocate for HRT, and if you can take it, I suggest you do, because it also has future health benefits as well. It's not just about helping out with the symptoms. But whether you do or you don't use HRT a lifestyle change is essential in menopause.
Claire on menopause in the workplace:
I go into businesses now and do menopause presentations but my big love is going back doing what I call menopause sofa sessions. There’s lots of companies that are thinking they need to do something with menopause and my passion is to go in on a regular basis and take the issue off the company’s hands. The fact that you're an external source makes people more open and honest. In time, Women's Health will become the norm as women of menopausal age are the UK's largest growing demographic and companies can't afford to lose any more staff. It’s about implementing menopausal policies and small tweaks that make women of menopausal age more comfortable in the workpalce. Why should women go part time or give up work altogether because they’ve hit menopause and they’re going through things like brain fog?
Debs on menopause in the workplace:
I felt I was failing in jobs that I knew I could do with my eyes closed. It was the lack of any kind of compassion from an employer and I was just deemed to be rubbish at my job. There needs to be much more general awareness from an employer as to what could be a sign of menopause. So they know to make allowances and considerations for that, the compassion to deal with women and their life cycle because there's so much going on in a woman's body and lots of employers just refuse to even comprehend that. Simple changes that an employer can make to make a woman's life much more easy at work that costs the employer nothing but will give them a dedicated employee in return, as opposed to someone that feels they have to leave because they're not supported and being looked upon as unable to do their job anymore when actually they can do their job, they're just going through a period of difficulty and need some extra help.
Debs on a top tip for women going through menopause:
Find a friend, find someone that will listen to you in a non judgmental way. Male or female, it doesn't matter. They just need to be there to listen to you. Most of the women I speak to, the thing they're most grateful to me for is that I have just listened. I don't always understand what it is they're going through if I haven't experienced it, they don't care about that. They’ve just been able to express how they're feeling to someone that's not looking at them, like they're going crazy, or that there's something wrong with them, or telling them to pull themselves out of it. You know, it's just that shoulder to shoulder to lean on, I guess that's first and foremost. And secondly, don't be afraid to speak about it. You might not want to share your entire story on social media but don't be afraid to talk about it to your employer, or to your GP. Use your voice be open and honest with what's going on with you and tell as many people as you feel is appropriate.
Claire’s top tip:
Education, education, education and information. However old you are, just be aware of what could possibly happen to you. If you're not getting anywhere with your GP use your voice book another appointment, go and get an emergency appointment to see whoever is on shift and also menopause trackers, give them to a GP and the evidence is there in front of them.