Keep talking menopause, we are!

It’s been a very busy few weeks for PeriMenoPost.

Last week was a week of firsts!

First Client – Instagram workshop.

Launching PeriMenoPost website.

PeriMenoPost speaking at a Well Woman Event – BellaVou Clinic – to raise awareness and starting the conversation about menopause.

Digital mum peer group meet up in real life #queensofthesocialage

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#QueensOfTheSocialAge

Digital Mum peer group.

@bemighty

@littlecambs

@socialfolke

@annamartinmedia

@perimenopost@lornaivemedia

@sketch @digitalmums

Sketch was the meeting venue for our “in real life” meet up during the weekend, what a very suitable social media venue! We absolutely loved it!

We had alot of fun, ate delicious cake, bubbles, G&T’s and alot of catching up to do.  We had planned an afternoon tea to celebrate our passing and qualifying of the Digital Mums Social Media Strategist course.

These super talented ladies are awesome!!! Now firm friends and work colleagues within the world of social media management. We missed you @beautiful_iow  Next year, going to be a yearly meetup!!

All through our training we helped, supported and encouraged one another.  Pushing each other well and truly out from our comfort zones, helping each other with strategies and all whilst learning new skills. I could not have wished for a better peer group to be placed with all through our social media training and campaigns with digital mums!

A pleasure to have been placed in such an awesome peer group! Wahoo ladies!!

@socialfolke –  All things social in Folkestone, Kent.

@bemighty  -For working mums and flexible working.

@annamartinmedia –   Super Social Media Strategy for business.

@littlecambs – the go to guide for little people in Cambridge.

@perimenopost – Menopause awareness and community.

@lornaivemedia – Social Media Strategy for business.

@thisbeautifulisland   – A great guide to Isle of Wight.

@digitalmums – #learnin

I want to say a massive thank you to my fellow #queensofthesocialage and wish them all the very best of luck for their future social media careers. #socialmediastrategist

PeriMenoPost was asked to join in with questions and answers for @Bellavou Pantiles, clinic of Tunbridge Wells for their Well Woman Event held last week.

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It was an absolute pleasure to be included with the fellow guests and speakers during the evening. The event was held at Salomons Estate in Tunbridge Wells. Over 50 women turned up to listen to talks about womens health from a selected panel of speakers, a friendly, fun and informative evening.

The evening was a big success! A series of events will now follow, the next event will discuss menopause, we will be there to keep talking and breaking down the taboo and stigma surrounding menopause.  The event will be held on the 7th of November 2019. To book your place email events@bellavou.co.uk 

Come and say hello!

Dr Marilyn Glenville discussed how to balance hormones naturally with nutrition and a life style of self care.  Reducing stress and eating a well balanced diet, supported with good vitamin and minerals. Dr Glenville explained how womens health can be affected by nutrition, stress and with help from the Glenville Clinic you can manage symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms and would like to have a consultation, contact the clinic;

www.marilynglenville.com

skype or phone consultations call 01892515905 reception@glenvillenutrition.com

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Dr Marilyn Glenville Phd

Glenville Nutrition

Dr Gail Ball Spoke about the Well Woman Clinic,  that is offered at the BellaVou Pantiles Clinic, in Tunbridge Wells. 

Dr Gail Ball offers a personalised well woman screening to meet your needs.  To book your consultation and to find out more – contact hello@bellavou.co.uk

The Well Woman Clinic offers a well woman medical consultation, menopause management, Family planning and sexual health advice and personalised treatment.   If you are expereincing symptoms contact BellaVou today to make your appointment with Dr Gail Ball.

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Dr Gail Ball

Pip Salmon is a specialised womens health physiotherapist.  Pip spoke in a very approachable and kind manner about how important it is to keep exercising the pelvic floor.   A very helpful and informative talk, with easy to do exercises at any time to help you regain pelvic floor strength if you are suffering from stress incontinence.  If you are experiencing symptoms contact Pip to make an appointment  https://www.mtw.nhs.uk/service/physiotherapy/

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Pip Salmon – Womens health physiotherapist

Sandrine founder of @sandrinespiltes lifestyle discussed her honest account of  her journey and how pilates has helped her to regain her pelvic floor. Sandrine stressed how important it is for women to exercise and strengthen the pelvic floor especially after child birth and heading towards menopause.  Sandrine encouraged the audience to join in with a pelvic floor exercise that she uses within her clientele at her studio to help them regain pelvic floor strength.

To book a class at Sandrines Pilates www.sandrinespilates.co.uk

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Sandrine Gasnier

Founder Sandrines Pilates Lifestyle

Sue Hutchings, owner of Knowle Grange Health Spa in Frant, Tunbridge Wells and her team of assistants were ensuring everyone was relaxed and comfortable for the evening.  Sue and her team offered a range of mini treatments and massages throughout the evening. Ladies were treated to a very relaxing treatment and the room smelt absolutely divine!  To book a treatment contact https://www.knowlegrange.co.uk/

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Sue Hutchings

Owner Knowle Grange Health Spa

Sam Evans @samtalkssex and Founder of Jo Divine, a company that is extremely passionate about raising sexual health awareness and providing information on a wide variety of sex toy aids.  Sam gave helpful and informative advice to women about the importance of being aware of one’s sexual health. For further information contact Sam Evans at www.jodivine.com

Nikki Pinkney offers Manual Lymphatic Drainage therapy and deep oscillation therapy within BellaVou Clinic, Nikki offered helpful advice during the evening.  Nikki is passionate about the effects of manual lymphatic drainage therapy to help patients post surgical surgery with patients recovering at a faster rate, providing a holistic treatment.

Contact Nikki Pinkney www.rejuvenate_mld.co.uk

As PeriMenoPost we gave helpful menopause friendly advice.  Discussions with women about the different stages of menopause and how raising awareness locally was our mission.  What we will be offering to the community in the format of menopause friendly workshops, meet mighty menos -coffee groups and social media management for menopause friendly products to local businesses. We will be present at the next BellaVou event, book your place at events@bellavou.co.uk  Come and say hello.

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PeriMenoPost and Pip Salmon

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We feel there is still a very long road to go to breaking down the menopause taboo.  The current and younger generation of women believe that they are no where near menopause and have not even heard of perimenopause.  The older generation do not want to talk about it.

Younger women are not aware of the 34 menopause symptoms,  they also do not know of perimenopause. This is in part due a generation of women with  the lack of education and information from school sex education and with no information from GP’s. This has to be addressed.  Older women have a sense of feeling that they are too old and do not need to be given advice. They feel they have managed and have gone through menopause and it is all final and that they do not need help.  The older generation of women between Friends do not talk to each other about menopause. This is so sad and must be so lonely, this has to change and women of post menopause age must be helped to feel accepted and advised that there is help for them if they are suffering from symptoms and where to access the correct treatment.

Perimenopost wants to be here for all women of all stages of menopause early, perimenopause, menopause and post menopause.  Women supporting one another, no one should sufffer in silence or be alone. As women we all experience menopause at some point in our lives, we must all support one another and help one another at a time when one needs supporting the most.

Our main goal  is that the current women of the menopause age generation and younger women, are made aware of the symptoms and treatments available to them, to be able to talk about menopause openly and to feel accepted. 

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#UndoTheMenotaboo

This weeks Real Life 60 seconds guest is Aline Boblin, Aline is a menopause advocate and travels in her newly acquired broomstick! Read Alines incredible menopause journey and her interview. 

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Aline Boblin #MenoWarrior

PeriMenoPost 60 Second interview with real life #Menowarriors 

I’m Aline Boblin, 51, French expat firmly grounded in the UK for the past 30 odd years, mother to a wonderful 22 year old daughter, single, a strong advocate of volunteering, and completing my Menopause journey recovery.

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Aline Boblin #MeNoPause

#MakeMenopauseMatter

Lover of all things quirky, from burlesque and steampunk events, to pole fitness, to exploring the country in my campervan Broomstick, and ballroom dancing in aid of Cancer Research UK.

26 years of a great career in aerospace ended abruptly this year. My menopause journey is a great example of what has no need to happen these days.  An extremely challenging 7 years, a wealth of positives along the way, especially in 2019.

I’m back to being me; I’m passionate in raising awareness of Menopause and a great supporter of empowering women through information to make the right choices for themselves and preventing other women facing the same difficulties during their menopause journey that I faced. #MakeMenopauseMatter 

My personal challenge and focus are to see the volunteering I am doing in the Menopause arena lead to a paid employment in a philanthropic, fulfilling fashion, using the skillsets I have and feel re-energised to use and making a positive difference to menopausal women out there. 

Baby steps though. ☺

#MeNoPause

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1) Best Part of menopause? 

Reconnecting with my self, greatly through CBT, holding precious this self-awareness of my physical and mental self, re-engaging with my values and ethos. #StillMe

Another enrichment continues to be learning so much about health and medicine and hormonal impacts on our physical and cognitive health and so much more. I’m very grateful to the groups and forums and social media savvy women, and men, who share evidence-based facts.  They empower me and others in this field to take control of our future and our approach to the menopausal journey.

2) Tell us your best #Menomoment?  

Holding my first Menopause Café in Solihull in July 2019 with co-conspirator Lesley Byrne.

Such a heart-warming feeling to see women openly and emotionally discussing their situation and share in the way women do, reaching out for and providing support to each other.

More to come including with Diane Danzebrink

Undoubtedly, starting HRT and taking that step towards being me again.

Buying Broomstick my campervan and travelling with her this Summer.

3) What has been the worst part of your menopause?

Where do I start!

In 3 words: Losing my self.

There is indeed a very recurring theme to my journey ☺

I cannot summarise in a few words the myriad of symptoms and how they have impacted my quality of life, my emotional state, my cognitive abilities, and my general ability to deal with ‘normal’ life events and stresses, from my high powered job (I accepted redundancy after 5 months signed off by GP, the still bitter end of a 26 year career), to my relationship with my daughter (I lied to her about the gravity of insomnia and anxiety and working from home for about 2 months) and my now ex-partner, to my friendships and other family members (also lied to friends and family about the gravity of my situation, and stopped seeing many of them).

The most debilitating symptom was sleeplessness and insomnia over 7 years.

I stopped enjoying so much in life in those 7 years.

I know that, had I not been physically and mentally impaired by the peri menopause symptoms, I could have faced better all those challenges, and other family ones I have not shared here. I know it would have proved challenging and I would have had some usual ups and downs. And I also know I would not have lost myself and crashed in the manner I did end of October 2018 when Menopause overwhelmed me.

I am listing my symptoms below in the hope that it helps others realise the breadth of the way peri-menopause can affect a woman. 

  • sleeplessness and insomnia for 7 years – this proved the most destabilising symptoms, the pillar that crumbled and took away my mental, cognitive and physical strengths.  The impact on work was exponential and became catastrophic. I use many sleeping techniques including bedtime routines, healthy eating, meditation and more. These great tools and healthy habits weren’t enough though. HRT made such a positive difference. I now sleep through the night again and from 2-5 hours a week, my health monitoring partner FitBit tells me I sleep on average 6 hours a night. Result!!!!
  • anxiety for 6 months – Despite resisting my GP for several years, I even took antidepressants end 2018 out of desperation, which didn’t help, at all – I came off them gradually once HRT had stabilised most of my menopause symptoms and I was therefore more rested and stronger to face the withdrawal side effects.
  • low mood and irritability frequently over 5 years – back to their pre-peri-menopause so yes, still around but at much more acceptable levels, especially according to those around me ☺ 
  • brain fog most days for 5 years. This is pretty much gone although I can feel at times how sensitive I am to changes in estrogen levels and progesterone levels and how that impacts my cognitive abilities. This said, I am now mentally equipped to deal with these.
  • loss of self-confidence increasingly over those 7 years – I now have my mojo back! World beware…
  • poor concentration and poor memory for past 7 years and I accept that this still occurs at times though under control now 
  • joint pains all over my body for 18 months, to the point of crying in pain at night sitting on the floor in the room farthest away from everyone so as not to disturb their sleep. This is at bay unless I reduce my estrogen gel by accident and as long as, for me, my Mirena coil is less than 4 years fitted (recommendation is 5 years, but that hasn’t worked for me). Eating lots of fish too and taking supplements for joint care, cause every little helps!!!  Love the fact that I can now exercise and be more active without paying the price pain wise too.
  • dry itchy eyes for 3 years, this has now stopped and my ophthalmologist was amazed at the positive change in my eyes though not surprised once we discussed hormonal journey and estrogen use. Obviously all those little fishes eaten help too ☺
  • palpitation for 8 months, went away on its own before HRT but did get me into hospital briefly. I have my GP at the time to thank for helping work through the emotions these created and mindfully conquering them. Mind over matter can prove powerful indeed.
  • tension headaches most days for 7 years, now off the blood pressure medication I took for it for so many years to alleviate the symptoms. Greatly in my non-medical professional opinion linked to the lack of sleep. So energising to see that one go! 
  • extremely heavy periods, rending me unable to work from the office or travel for work for 3 years; the situation rendered me so on edge, making me feel stressed, and anxious about managing work and such a noticeable problem, keeping change of clothes with me, dreading standing up from my seat in case I flooded; this was remedied through using the Mirena coil
  • itchy skin to the point of waking up scratching to blood. 2 long episodes over 7 months now gone. A horrendous summer of even less sleep and so many tears and emotional breakdowns. I was even referred to a consultant for this.
  • hot flushes and night sweats on and off over 7 years now gone. This was one of the least of my problems.
  • louder tinnitus for 7 years much improved now. I would never have thought fertility hormones played a part in the inner ear. The more fool me!

Oh the things I’ve learned medically on this journey! I absolutely love that side of the Menopause!!!!

4) Have you taken the NHS or Private Health route to treat your menopause?

Both 

The NHS route proved painful, partly helpful for some symptoms but I was not treated properly as each symptom was taken in isolation over 7 years since 2012, some of them successfully patched up. I ended up seeing several consultants, taking a myriad of medicines to address what was in fact due to fertility hormone imbalance, including some HRT elements but without GP aiming for menopause HRT, and not using the options I would have chosen had I been offered accurate information on options, their risks and their benefits.

Then the Private Health avenue, which I reached out to after crashing emotionally and physically, and with timing corresponding to the end of my own personal research in what turned out to be the best option for me, HRT.  I am so appreciative of the work Dr Louise Newson does and her wonderful team at her private clinic. So many synergies came out of going to her clinic’s open day this time last year.

5) Have you been supported within your workplace?  

The short answer is a resounding NO. 

Arguably, I also did not reach out to onsite out-sourced occupational health practitioner which my employer was keen to point out. But I was so determined to beat what was happening to me myself, to not show any weakness at work to my management, my peers, my team.

My employer, especially my management, was however unable to appreciate the impacts of increasing symptoms.  I chose with GP’s support to work remotely and reduced hours to tackle my recovery. Comments were made to me ‘so, when are you coming back to work’ although I was working still, followed by ‘you know what I mean, when will you be back to normal’. Those words really stuck with me and hurt me and made me feel so inadequate and ashamed for not being able to cope. They angered me. They broke me. I still resent them.

Eventually, this toxic situation pushed me to accept to be signed off work in January 2019. It lasted almost 6 months. This was both tough because it removed a huge sense of purpose and affected my self-esteem, and also greatly beneficial because I eventually allowed myself to fully reach out to psychologist for CBT and to start physical recovery that HRT had started to induce through rebalancing hormones.

I have since then accepted redundancy.

6) HRT or natural/alternative treatment for Menopause?  

For me, HRT despite being a strong advocate of alternative medicine which I have used and still use extensively for over 30 years. HRT gives me today my quality of life back as well as long term protection against heart disease, bowel cancer, diabetes, vaginal and eye dryness, joints and muscles pain, osteoporosis and much more. I lead a mainly healthy, usually active life which research shows alleviate potential slight risks. 

Alternative treatments can prove greatly helpful when be used in conjunction with HRT too.

HRT wise, I have a Mirena coil for progesterone, I take 4 pumps of Estrogel a day (2 am, 2 pm), I also take testosterone, one pump of Tostran twice a week. I take supplements too, key ones being magnesium, vitamin D3, fish oils and multivitamins.

I am not however a medical professional and therefore I would not state that HRT is the one and only option, nor the best option, for all women. The choices on menopause symptoms managements are numerous. Each woman has her own health history. Each woman should be able to review her options, to make an educated decision on the best option for herself, and to give informed consent for treatments with the support of knowledgeable medical professionals.  

7) What advice would you give to a younger you prior to Perimenopause and Menopause?  

Educate yourself early on the potential challenges of menopause and watch out for the signs. 

Keep strong and feel empowered to be your own advocate as soon as you realise your peri menopause phase may start.

Do not let your quality of life be impaired. 

Do not suffer in silence. 

Help is out there.

8) Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?  

Oh that’s a tough one. I don’t tend to project myself in this way ☺

Enjoying life, that’s for sure!

Probably travelling in my newly acquired campervan, Broomstick, with a partner by my side, or not, and still working as a leading advocate of making menopause matter, rolling this out on an ad hoc basis through meno meetups in the community and workshops in the workplace as I think the journey to enlightenment on the Menopause front will have progressed extensively in next 10 years and will only require intermittent interventions.

Or something else. ☺

9) Who would you like to give a shout out – mention too? Who has been supportive and instrumental in helping you through menopause? 

My wonderful daughter Eloïse who believes in me even when I don’t.

Joanna Corscaden, a significant contributor to the foundation of the Anne Robson Trust, who has been a rock of a friend for over 40 years and especially so in past 24 months.

Sarah S who identified when I was in need for support as exhausted and showing increasing signs of incoherent behaviour and called up a girlfriends meeting to get me to seek help.

Lesley Byrne who I met at Dr Newson’s clinic and who empowered me to focus on myself when all went pear shaped at work and I hit rock bottom.

All the women who dedicate their life to making a difference and their online resources and forums available for women like me to reach out to. 

To name but a few

Diane Danzebrink for her passionate #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign and www.menopausesupport.co.uk help site

Dr Louise Newson for her relentless work in Menopause health at her Stratford upon Avon Clinic, her information site www.menopausedoctor.co.uk, her recent and easy to grasp new Menopause guide book

Jane Lewis for sharing such a personal story in Me and My Menopausal Vagina and her dedication to preventing vaginal atrophy happening for other women www.mymenopausalvagina.co.uk 

10) Who is your favourite #Menowarrior? 

Myself. 

A short statement so much more charged in emotions than it might read.

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Aline is wearing our #UndoTheMenoTaboo T-shirt- Looking forward to hearing all about Aline’s travels.

Thank you Aline for your honest and moving account of your menopause journey.  We salute you!! Your journey will help other women to recognise symptoms and gain medical help.

Wishing you a very happy journey ahead and looking forward to hearing more of your travels with broomstick and to many more philanthropic stories. 

If you would like to win a t-shirt like Aline Boblin, if you have enjoyed reading this weeks blog.  Retweet our post to be in with your chance to win yourself a T-shirt and be our real life meno 60 seconds interview guest! 

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Have a great week Menos, keep smiling and talking to one another.

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