Hi, I'm Maryon Stewart, a world-renowned healthcare expert who is referred to as pioneer of 'The Natural Menopause Movement'. I am delighted to sit on Become's panel of experts.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the menopause? Tired or even exhausted, anxious, besieged by hot flushes and night sweats, gaining more weight than you care to own up to? Have you lost your mojo and prefer chocolate to sex? It’s not too surprising. According to my new survey of over 1100 women throughout the UK, ‘Changing the Conversation on Menopause’, the vast majority of women are going into the menopause feeling unprepared and fearful of how it will impact their lives, both at home and at work. The turmoil menopause causes is absolutely massive, but the worst part about it is that you are suffering needlessly.
Alarmingly, 96% of the women surveyed felt unprepared for their menopause, and over two-thirds were completely shocked by it. Many spoke of the devastating psychological impact the menopause had on them and how it affected their personal relationships as well as their self-esteem. A startling 45% admitted feeling depressed, and a massive 65% suffering from anxiety. So often these women, and so many others like them, get labelled as mentally ill and given drugs that they become dependent upon. Almost two-thirds of the women believe that the transition we know as menopause, has made them feel invisible which is depressing enough in itself.
The survey also highlighted that a massive 71% of women are relying on information they get from the internet. This is scary as the information online is so variable. For example, research shows that many of the products on our high-street shelves are not standardised and don’t even contain what they say on the label. Amazingly, under 12% choose to speak to their doctor about the symptoms they experience during menopause. As few as 2% went to a practice nurse as they didn't believe they would receive any constructive help.
As well as feeling unprepared, the survey also found that women are suffering in silence, feeling isolated and scared. 71% of them are finding it difficult to talk about the changes they are experiencing during menopause. Very sadly, 58% feel unable to speak to their partner about their symptoms and how scared they feel as they go through perimenopause and menopause. Well over two-thirds even find it hard to share what they are going through with their best friends.
Nearly half the women reported they find it hard to communicate with their boss as they are afraid that they won’t understand and 48% feel unable to even talk to work colleagues. They're fearful that speaking about their menopause will make them look less capable in the workplace.
The survey also found:
- 80% of women going through menopause feel tired
- 77% have hot flushes and night sweats
- 70% lack libido
- 69% of women have gained weight
- 67% have aches and pains
- 65% of women believe they lack concentration
- 57% were afraid about the decline in their physical appearance
- and only 4% of woman were happy on HRT.
One hundred or so years ago, this wouldn’t have been a problem as women were not living much past 50, but these days, when women go through menopause at the average age of 51, and life expectancy is longer by an extra 30 or 40 years, it becomes a real issue. How can a woman possibly enjoy her life when it's so dominated by overwhelming symptoms?
Changing the conversation
In order to enjoy these bonus years, it’s vital we have the tools to effectively manage the often debilitating symptoms of the menopause and learn how to keep ourselves looking good and feeling well long after the menopause, allowing us to feel energetic, sexy again and full of renewed confidence.
Menopause remains a taboo subject and many women believe it has made them feel inferior, invisible, uncomfortable and less confident. It’s so important that we change the conversation and further open up the channels of communication to enable women to be able to discuss their transition with friends, colleagues and loved ones to ensure they can feel supported rather than suffering in silence. In order to do this, we need to understand what’s going on in our bodies and learn how to overcome our symptoms so that we can feel well enough to communicate. My 27 years of helping women to manage their menopause naturally, using nothing but science-based tools, confirm that once you have a much-needed midlife ‘refuel’ – by getting your nutrient levels back into an optimum range and balancing your hormone levels naturally – it’s possible to feel better than you can remember.
Let’s take Franchesca as a typical example. She began feeling extremely anxious when she was 43.
‘I couldn’t sleep and could feel my heart pumping in my chest and I couldn’t string a sentence together. I was eventually referred to a neurologist and was afraid I might have a brain tumour. I felt scared and overwhelmed and would curl up in a ball, feeling too afraid to go out of the house. I felt completely antisocial. I honestly thought I was going to die. I was fixated on what might be wrong with me. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see me. My hair, which was usually glossy and thick was lank and falling out, my nails were broken and short. Essentially, I looked like a different person. I was totally unable to make decisions and felt like I was just existing. I thought I was going out of my mind.
During a visit to my doctor the receptionist told me I was going through the menopause. I was completely shocked as I was so young. I wasn’t able to take HRT as my mum developed lumps when she took it and I also suffered with migraines so my doctor didn’t have much to offer. I saw a gynaecologist who thought I should try to get through it by myself. I was relieved when I was referred to Maryon Stewart for some alternative help by my Reflexologist. Maryon wrote a programme for me that included making changes to my diet and lifestyle as well as taking some supplements that had been through clinical trials. Within the space of two months I felt like a different person. I was sleeping again, my anxiety had gone and the brain fog lifted. My hair, skin and nails improved beyond belief and I begin to put on the weight I had lost. I feel better than I can remember and people I haven’t seen for a while comment on how well I look.’
Finding the right help
I'm on a mission, with Become™ to help women like Franchesca get through the menopause and feel well again, so they can embrace their lives. I’m beyond frustrated that women are left in such a terrible state, with grossly inadequate information to navigate what is merely a transition in a woman’s life, and certainly not the end of life as they knew it.