I haven’t seen the documentary The Insider’s Guide To The Menopause (BBC 2 SCOTLAND) because I can’t get my BBC iplayer to work where I live in Tanzania. I have however read and shared the article written about it. It came through on my feed yesterday from Nicola Sturgeon, which was wonderful. Some of you may have seen the article and the documentary and others of you may not have read or seen either. Well done to Kirsty Wark for making it and “outing” herself in that way. It must have been hard to do that as so much of what she says is so personal.
Any exposure to the lifecycle issues women over 40 face has to be a good thing. I would also add a couple of other thoughts. I agree with Kirsty when she said she prefers to call it the change. Absolutely – menopause is simply the name for a physical state women are in for about 35 years on average. From one year after their periods stop until they die. Puberty is also a physical state humans go through which lasts about ten years.
To me, what changed my focus from my ovaries and tubes and my lower body tackle ie. the peri-menopause as a physical process and a rather ghastly one at that – was Dr Christiane Northrup. I heard her on a podcast saying that we women over 40 have a choice to become ageless goddesses or not. I was intrigued. She said and I paraphrase here, that we should not get sucked into the media cult of youth hype but embrace our ageing. The best bit, which I love, was her analogy of women as we age reverting to become mouthy 12 year-olds but with wisdom and credit cards. I suddenly felt I had a purpose again which after feeling extremely crap for a long time, was very reassuring. So based on her and that one podcast, I now feel it is my job on the planet to bang on about women taking better care of themselves….marvellous.
As many of you know, I was appalled when I learned I was in peri-menopause as I had never heard of it. Thousands still haven’t. As I look back though, worse was my own ignorance, which is at a societal level of how women age and our role on the planet once the “reproductive phase” is over. Traditional societies revered the elderly as founts of knowledge and wisdom. They did have a role and a clearer one than we do in our western culture. Women over 40 need to fight back and TAKE that space which is rightfully ours in the world to make our planet a better place. In the words of the famous chinese proverb – Women hold up half the sky.
To do this though we MUST be in better health than we currently are. Stress and depression in women is double that of men. This is often because of all the extra burdens which we carry throughout our lives – at work as well as within the household. We are hit by a double whammy in that we don’t take this space often because we are too tired and lack energy or are worried about how big our bums are. It isn’t really about whether to take HRT or not to take HRT. It is that we all need a huge big kick up the pants to make the lifestyle changes in our 40s as a matter of urgency especially if we have been putting them off in our 20s and 30s…
If girls at school were taught about the different phases they go through in their lives, and if women were taught when they went for smears about what to expect – this would help. But for now there is nothing. Dr Tara Allman specialises in health care for women over 40 because there are hardly any doctors who specialise in women’s health over 40. That is right. Once reproduction is over that is it really.
Did you know the NICE guidelines for the Care and Management of Menopause were only introduced into the UK in 2016. 2016. I repeat… 2016.
I read or heard on a podcast – can’t remember which – from Dr Sara Gottfried – another of the great women doctors whose work I follow – that it takes on average about ten years for new science and new protocols to hit the GP’s office. TEN YEARS. We can’t wait for that gals…
Even if we are generous and it is only FIVE years, we still can’t continue to put our health in the hands of other people. It doesn’t mean we don’t work with doctors, but many of them are in the dark as much as we are. They are dealing with an avalanche of stress related disorders and chronic diseases. Many of which they suffer from themselves. Until doctors surgeries alter dramatically in the way they need to and include nutritionists, gym classes and meditation sessions, we have to take more responsibility for our own health.
The solutions are out there.
Get informed and stay informed.
Let’s do it!
Lots of love