Menopause – The Silent Taboo

Last week, 150 guests attended our seminar, ‘Menopause – The Silent Taboo’ at Linklaters. The event was hosted by ITV’s Julie Etchingham, who was joined by a panel of medical experts and guest speaker, Kirsty Wark, who spoke about her own experiences.

Tackling such a taboo subject is so important and something we at Wellbeing of Women take very seriously. The Menopause will affect every woman and yet it is still a subject that we don’t discuss. Many women suffer in silence rather than seek help for symptoms that in some cases have driven them to leave their jobs.

There are approximately 13 million women currently peri or post-menopausal in the UK. 8 out of 10 women experience symptoms in the run up to their menopause and nearly half of those will find them difficult to deal with. A quarter of women will suffer severe symptoms that can last up to 15 years.

With figures like these, it’s no wonder Julie and Kirsty were driven to make programmes for ITV and the BBC to draw attention to and dispel some of the myths surrounding the menopause. They were both keen to share with our audience what they learnt whilst making their programmes.

The evening started with our CEO Tina Weaver, welcoming guests and introducing the panel before handing over to Julie Etchingham who spoke about the need for women to talk more about the menopause before sharing some of the facts she learnt whilst making her programme ‘The truth about the menopause’ for ITV.

Guest speaker, Kirsty Wark, spoke about her own “hard” menopause that led her to make her programme for the BBC ‘My Menopause and Me’.  Kirsty encouraged the audience to introduce themselves to those sitting next to them and then invited questions from the guests. It was a very lively start to the evening.

Dr Heather Currie, Chair of the British Menopause Society then spoke about what the menopause is and the most common symptoms women can expect before asking Professor Mary Ann Lumsden, Vice President of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and leading expert on the menopause, to talk about the latest research around HRT and its’ risks and benefits for women going through the menopause.

Julie Etchingham then opened the floor to questions to enable as many women as possible the opportunity to ask the experts.  It was obvious from the number of hands going up that HRT was one of the hot topics of the night.

Nick Panay, consultant gynaecologist at Chelsea & Westminster and Queen Charlottes Hospitals in West London and also a leading menopause expert spoke about testosterone as a treatment for menopause.

Professor Myra Hunter a Clinical Health Psychologist at King’s College London who is carrying out a research project funded by Wellbeing of Women into how better to support women in the work place talked about the role of cognitive behavioural therapy as a way of women helping themselves to manage some symptoms and also spoke about the important role employers must make in helping menopausal women at work.

The final speaker, Jackie Lynch a Registered Nutritional Therapist talked about the importance of eating lots of food rich in Vitamin D and calcium to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and taking the mineral magnesium to help with stress as well as regular baths in Epsom salts!

The questions kept coming with the audience keen to know what the latest treatments were to relieve menopause as well as what they should ask their GP to ensure they get the most up-to-date treatments.

We would like to thank everyone who came along to our event which was fun, informative and a great fact finding evening.  Thanks to our brilliant panel, Professor Mary Ann Lumsden, Dr Heather Currie, Mr Nick Panay, Professor Myra Hunter and Jackie Lynch.

We would also like to thank guest speaker Kirsty Wark for sharing with the audience her own menopausal journey and Julie Etchingham for doing a brilliant hosting and facilitating job for Wellbeing of Women.

Last but by no means least, we would also like to thank Linklaters for supporting this event and for being such a forward thinking organisation embracing taboo subjects like the menopause.