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GP and menopause specialist, Dr Sarah Glynne, joins Dr Louise Newson on the podcast this week to discuss menopause care after breast cancer.  The experts share more about the breast cancer steering group established as part of the Newson Health Menopause Society that is working towards producing a consensus statement to support clinicians and improve the quality of life for menopausal women who have had breast cancer. Dr Sarah Glynne discusses the importance of individualising the risk-benefit ratio for every woman when making decisions around treating the cancer and weighing this up with treating menopausal symptoms. Sarah emphasises the importance of talking through the implications of each of these considerations using a shared decision making process. Sarah’s three tips for women after breast cancer: Understand the risks and benefits of the drugs used to treat your breast cancer and what this means for you personally. Ask your oncologist for more information about your own breast cancer, if you are not sure. You can then use the PREDICT tool online for understanding more about your own cancer risks and what additional benefits any treatments may offer. Read about non-hormonal options to help your menopause symptoms and cancer recovery such as diet, yoga, or acupuncture. Try various approaches to find the ones that may bring some benefit to you. Vaginal moisturisers and lubricants may also help and these do not contain hormones, and there are other medications your GP may be able to prescribe for some of your symptoms such as hot flushes. If your menopause symptoms are severe and your quality of life is suffering, ask your clinician to explain the risks for you regarding your cancer prognosis if you decide to take HRT, versus the risks to your quality of life and long-term health if you choose not to take HRT. If you have genitourinary symptoms of soreness and dryness, vaginal hormones are very safe for improving these symptoms. Read information on the balance website and the book ‘Oestrogen Matters’ by Avrum Bluming, and make a choice that is right for you through discussion with your clinician using a shared decision making process.
In this episode, Sam shares her moving account of the journey she has been on for the last five years when, after a miscarriage and losing her father, things started to unravel and her mental health suffered. A difficult few years followed spent navigating depression, trialling several antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, and seeking help from psychiatrists to try and understand what was going on. At the time, Sam believed she was years away from becoming menopausal and through her own research sought treatment privately in the form of ketamine due to her desperation to feel better and function again. Through learning more about hormones and their effects on the brain and mental health, Sam has recently begun to take HRT and feels she has started on a more positive path to health and stability. Sam’s three tips for those struggling with mental health: Try and be assessed by a menopause specialist before accepting a diagnosis, medication or treatment from a psychiatrist – it may save you a lot of unnecessary suffering. If you do start taking HRT, be patient. It can take time and the dose and type may need tweaking before you feel the beneficial effects. Become as well informed as you can about your hormones and the menopause from good sources online. And talk to other women – you’re not alone.
Human beings are hard wired to adapt to unexpected life events but how do we manage this process alongside our natural need to control? Psychotherapist, Julia Samuel MBE has been interested in this question throughout her 30 year career supporting families with grief and bereavement. Julia founded the charity Child Bereavement UK and has worked extensively with families in the NHS and private sector as well as writing books on grief, family, and change. In this episode, the experts discuss human nature and our response to adverse life events and times of transition. Julia speaks of the importance of love and connection with others and about the impact menopause can have on relationships, family life and work. Julia’s tips for helping your relationship: Be aware of how you’re communicating in your relationship and look at what has changed Try and form a regular habit like going for a walk together to talk and listen to each other and make time to reflect Be aware of your own inner critical voices and turn down the volume on those. Turn up the volume of self-compassionate voices and practice being kinder to yourself Remember connection with others is key throughout our lives For more information about Julia Samuel and her books, visit juliasamuel.co.uk For support and information if you have experienced the loss of a child or care for a grieving child, visit www.childbereavementuk.org
Newson Health has recently appointed a Chief Medical Director to ultimately help more women improve their health. In this episode, Dr Magnus Harrison shares a whistlestop tour through his professional life so far as a Consultant in Emergency Medicine via New Zealand, Australia, and Manchester and his experiences in leadership at Stoke on Trent in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust’s ‘adverse mortality’ investigation. Via Harvard, USA and India, Magnus then oversaw the merger of Burton upon Trent and Derby NHS Trusts before the hardest time of his career to date – the COVID 19 pandemic where 8 staff members from his organisation lost their lives. Magnus discusses with Louise what he hopes to bring to the medical leadership and management of Newson Health and the key values that underpin his mission. Magnus’s aims for his leadership at Newson Health: I will be humble and led by professional curiosity to learn how to help more women I aspire to be a compassionate leader, will listen to understand, empathise and ask how I can help Kindness is essential and should underpin all that we do.
The focus of this year’s World Menopause Day is cognition and mood. In this episode, Dr Louise Newson talks to Dr Clair Crockett, a GP and menopause specialist with an interest in mood, mental health and hormones. Clair’s interest in the topic stems from her own experience of escalating anxiety, low mood and intrusive thoughts in the premenstrual phase of her cycle during her mid-to-late 30s. Through her own research, she looked for ways to help her symptoms including through lifestyle changes, supplements and antidepressants. While these all helped some aspects of her mental health, it wasn’t until she began taking HRT that the premenstrual mental health symptoms eased. The experts discuss the importance of considering hormones when helping women experiencing mental health problems and outline some of the ways they are working to improve education about menopause and mental health amongst healthcare professionals. Clair’s tips to women with mental health symptoms in perimenopause and menopause: Track your symptoms and periods, the balance app is a good way to do this. This will make it easier to relay to your healthcare professional when you see them. Ask who has an interest in women’s health in your GP practice so you can see the most appropriate person. Tackling mental health in perimenopause and menopause is multi-faceted, it can take a while to get it right through a combination of taking HRT, your food choices, exercise, and doing work that inspires you. Make peace with your body image and don’t let it stop your progress. If you’d like to read more about Clair’s personal experience of mental health and hormones, you can read her story here.
On World Menopause Day, Dr Louise Newson has recorded this special edition of her podcast on her own. She describes her medical career to date and her reasons for doing what she is doing. She discusses her interest as an undergraduate and postgraduate and also talks about her lack of menopause training during this time. Louise has a medical degree and also a degree in pathology which is even more relevant when thinking about the menopause as a systemic condition in which the low hormones, especially estradiol, affect all the cells and organs in the body. During this podcast she talks openly about her reasons for setting up a private menopause clinic and how the clinic has enabled her to finance the free balance menopause app and also the free Confidence in the Menopause education programme for healthcare professionals. She clearly states this is the beginning of her journey and she has much more work to do. It will be very interesting to watch and see how the next year unfolds for menopausal women. Her three take-home tips are Work as a team - communicate with others and share your knowledge and experience Ensure information you receive is evidence based - there is plenty of really good quality information both on the free balance app and the balance-menopause.com website Be positive – working together to make a change will enable women to have better future health
In this episode, Georgina talks openly about her struggles to get a diagnosis for her erratic periods since she was 15. In her early 20s, her concerns around fertility were brushed off and she acknowledges she didn’t have the strength and resolve to pursue the issue. Georgina then began to experience low mood, muscle fatigue, joint pains, hot flushes and night sweats. When her mental health dipped further, this became the tipping point and with the help of a supportive mother, Georgina pushed for a formal diagnosis and treatment for her debilitating symptoms. Dr Louise Newson explains the impact of premature ovarian insufficiency and the risk a lack of hormones presents to your future health. Georgina shares the struggle she went through to access the right type and dose of HRT and reminds others to advocate for yourself to get the right help. Georgina’s three tips to young women: Talk openly with other women about periods, sex and vaginal dryness to understand what is and isn’t common Do your own research about your symptoms and the menopause to get enough knowledge to advocate for yourself Be patient with your HRT and give it time to work
Dani Binnington was diagnosed with breast cancer as a young mum at 33. For the next few years her life did not feel under her own control amidst countless medical appointments, treatments and surgeries. After discovering she carried the genetic BRCA1 mutation, Dani chose to have a double mastectomy and at 39 she opted to have both her ovaries removed as several family members had died from ovarian cancer. Previously a jewellery designer, Dani then embarked on a change of direction towards yoga and healthy living, and she now offers programmes for women on menopause after cancer. Dani is on a mission to empower women to learn about their choices, seek out specialist menopause care and her goal is for every women to have the conversations with healthcare professionals that they deserve. Dani’s tips for women after cancer: Talk about it with the right group of people that understand what you’re going through Make time for yourself to check and understand your symptoms Continue conversations with your healthcare team and ask for specialist menopause care Learn all your treatment options, including hormonal and non-hormonal treatments, complementary therapies, lifestyle management, and how to avoid triggers. Don’t sit back, show up for yourself and be empowered. Be active in your own recovery. Visit Dani’s website at www.healthywholeme.com And follow her on social media at: www.instagram.com/healthywholeme/ www.facebook.com/healthywholeme The Menopause And Cancer podcast: Listen here on Apple https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-menopause-and-cancer-podcast/id1631842514 Listen here on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/3OhAwupemqzdI6sCXCZLSX?si=DsriNnCXSIee6i10Cd4kww
Content warning: This episode contains discussion of suicide Vanessa had always suffered with PMS and struggled with her mood and emotions after the birth of each of her children. After her fourth child was born, Vanessa’s mental health took a severe turn and she became suicidal. When her husband intervened and insisted she received specialist care, a psychiatrist realised how unwell Vanessa was and this was the beginning of an eighteen year journey of taking medication and receiving mental health support, including spells of inpatient care. It was all Vanessa could do to wake up every day and look after her children. Vanessa had wondered whether her mood was linked to her hormones as she would have 2 good weeks in every month before two bad weeks would inevitably creep in. In more recent years, friends persuaded her to see a menopause specialist and begin topping up her declining hormones and, as Vanessa explains, this has been lifechanging. Vanessa’s advice: You may not be well enough to go and ask for help yourself, allow family and friends to support you with this. Don’t always accept everything you’re told by healthcare professionals, challenge thoughts and negative attitudes towards mental health and the link with hormones. We develop lots of coping strategies to mask how we are really feeling. Don’t carry on hiding how you really are, speak to someone. Help is available if you are struggling. Please contact the Samaritans by phone on 116 123, download the Samaritans Self-Help app or email jo@samaritans.org
Dr Taher Mahmud is a rheumatologist from London who has the ambitious plan of eradicating the bone weakening disease osteoporosis by 2040. Osteoporosis is a common disease, particularly for women around the time of the menopause, but with the right nutrition, exercise and hormone supplementation it is possible to prevent loss of bone tissue and even reverse osteoporosis if it has developed. The experts discuss this worldwide preventable problem and some common misconceptions about bones. The discussion covers the challenges of current healthcare systems in getting accurate information about your bone health and the importance of raising awareness of how preventable osteoporosis is to all individuals. Dr Mahmud’s tips: Take time for yourself, think about your body and your health and value it It is easy to diagnose osteoporosis and treat it, however… It is far better to learn about your bone health and do what you can to prevent osteoporosis To learn more about your own risk of osteoporosis, visit www.sticksandstones.org.uk Dr Mahmud is based at the London Osteoporosis Clinic, for more information visit www.londonosteoporosisclinic.com
Janet Birkmyre began her career racing as a track cyclist in her mid-30s and won her first elite medal at the age of 40. She went on to win three elite National Championship titles and multiple masters World and European titles.  Now at 55, Janet is continuing to improve her times and fitness, and she is a champion of women continuing to enjoy and excel at sport at any age. In this episode, the conversation covers Janet’s experience of perimenopause and menopause and taking HRT. As an elite athlete however, there are sanctions for Janet if she takes testosterone replacement as there are currently no exemptions to the regulations for therapeutic use in women, only for men. Janet shares her frustration at the unfair choice imposed on her of continuing with the sport she loves and excels in or replacing her low testosterone levels to help with her ongoing menopausal symptoms. Janet’s three positive steps to improve health through exercise: Enjoy being active – make it fun Exercise with a friend – you will motivate and encourage each other Don’t be self-conscious or compare yourself with others – we come in all wonderful shapes and sizes. So whatever you look like, whatever you’re wearing, be active and enjoy it! Follow Janet on Instagram @janbirkmyre_torq_track_cycling
Dermatologist, Dr Sajjad Rajpar makes his third visit to the podcast this week to separate the facts from the fiction about skin changes in perimenopause and menopause and debunk some of the messaging around recent skin products marketed for menopause. Dr Rajpar explains the importance of estrogen for skin and how HRT can prevent and heal damage to skin tissue such as leg ulcers, for example. The experts discuss the negative impact of skin product marketing on initially younger women and now menopausal women, and unpick some perceptions about what a ‘menopausal’ face cream will and won’t do for your skin. Dr Rajpar’s three tips for problematic skin: For dry and irritable skin, avoid foaming and detergent based cleansers and use very gentle cleansing products or even a moisturising lotion to wash with. They may not lather or bubble but they do adequately remove dirt from your skin. Use a good moisturiser once or twice a day, consider a lotion in the day as it is lighter and use a cream at night. There are creams containing active ingredients that don’t have to rob the bank. Look for ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and sunscreen. You can visit Dr Rajpar’s website here www.midlandskin.co.uk and follow him on social media @dr.rajpar_dermatologist on Instagram.
This week offers a chance to revisit a previous podcast conversation – or perhaps hear it for the first time. Lucy Holtom is an experienced Ashtanga yoga practitioner who has a particular passion for helping with women throughout all cycles of life whether it’s to help manage the fluctuation of hormones during menstruation, postnatal recovery, or perimenopause and postmenopause.  In this episode, Lucy and Louise discuss the different types of yoga, individual practices and the benefits they can bring. Lucy explains how her interest and experience in well woman yoga evolved and how she supports women in the perimenopause and menopause. Lucy’s 3 tips for those interested in trying yoga for the first time: If you want to try a class, look for recommendations from others and chat to different teachers to find what’s right for you. Wear comfortable clothing – you don’t need to spend money on new yoga outfits, just wear whatever you can move freely in. Go with an open mind and enjoy! Visit Lucy’s website at www.livingyouryoga.co.uk Follow Lucy on Instagram @xxlivingyouryogaxx This podcast episode was first released in October 2019
Dr Pooja Saini is a Chartered Psychologist and Reader in suicide and self-harm prevention based at Liverpool John Moores University. Her work has a particular focus in suicide prevention in primary care and developing community-based interventions for high-risk groups. Since connecting, Louise and Pooja have been discussing the impact of perimenopause and menopause on mood, mental health and suicide and the many research gaps and unanswered questions in this space. In this episode, Pooja explains more about what is known and unknown regarding the effect of hormones on suicidal thoughts and outlines the research plan for a PhD funded by Newson Health Research and Education. Pooja’s tips for those with suicidal thoughts: Early intervention is key; seek help as soon as you feel you are not yourself Change your habits to do more of what you really enjoy Talk to your loved ones, family and friends. Don’t try and hide or mask it. If you need support, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 for free from any phone or email them at jo@samaritans.org Pooja's Social Channels Twitter Work Website Reference for BMJ article discussed: McCarthy M, Saini P, Nathan R, McIntyre J. Improve coding practices for patients in suicidal crisis. BMJ. 2021 Oct 15;375:n2480. doi: 10.1136/bmj.n2480. PMID: 34654729.
Dr Anna Chiles is a GP and works in an NHS practice in Gloucestershire and at Newson Health as a menopause specialist. In this episode, the experts discuss the range of symptoms that can occur in the perimenopause and menopause and the impact of these on daily life, and they highlight what can be done for women when symptoms persist for many years. Anna’s 3 tips for women who have struggled with symptoms for many years: It’s never too late to start HRT and have that discussion with your health practitioner. If you choose to try it, you don’t have to continue with it if you don’t like it. You don’t have to stop taking HRT when you reach a certain age It’s so important to keep active, for your independence, your balance, joints, and muscle strength. This goes hand in hand with hormone replacement.
Margaret Reed Roberts is an experienced social worker and educator who noticed a change in how she felt in her late 40s. Along with more obvious symptoms of perimenopause, such as hot flushes and migraines, there came a deterioration in her cognition – she struggled to initiate, plan and complete daily tasks and the mental load became unmanageable. A friend suggested there may be more than perimenopause going on and questioned if Margaret was neurodivergent. In this honest and insightful conversation, Margaret shares of the ‘relief and grief’ of being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and the impact she now understands ADHD has on her daily activity, home life and relationships. Margaret’s three tips for those who have ADHD or think they might have it: (provided after the conversation) Be informed. Knowledge is a game changer. You feel more confident when you understand and are better able to advocate for yourself. Challenge others where necessary, using your acquired knowledge and pass that information on. Don’t be alone; join support groups, talk to empathetic friends and family. Tell your story. You and your story are valuable, not everyone will listen or care, but the more we talk, the more we break taboos and stigma. Follow Margaret on Facebook Twitter: @geordiereed
Susie Crowe is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist who is passionate about advocating for and empowering women to understand their bodies and supporting them to make choices about their medical care and their lifestyle. In the midst of the pandemic, Susie noticed fatigue creeping in and put it down to burnout from her busy job. When she began having night sweats and saw her doctor, the menopause was the initial diagnosis suspected but there were no other symptoms of perimenopause occurring. Susie became more unwell and after months of having normal blood tests, further investigations revealed that she had non-Hodgkin lymphoma – a type of blood cancer. In this episode, the experts discuss women’s experiences of sudden onset menopause after treatments for cancer and the benefits and safety of HRT. Susie’s advice to healthcare professionals: Listen to your patients as they know their bodies best Have empathy for a women’s menopausal symptoms (as they may be worse than those from the cancer or side effects from treatments) and she may feel very vulnerable Prioritise personalisation and choice by providing the right information and encouraging your patient to make their own decision based on what’s important to them and their life. Follow Susie on social media: Twitter @susannacrowe Instagram @theholisticobgyn
Farhana is an accredited family law specialist and mediator working with Family Law Partners in London. During her 20-year career, Farhana often noticed an unspoken element at play when helping women through divorce, but it wasn’t until she identified perimenopause within her peer group and those close to her that she appreciated the extent of the problem and was able to professionally decipher the impact of menopause on relationship breakdown. Farhana launched the Family Law Menopause Project to see whether any other colleagues in family law were factoring in this important element  and to raise awareness of perimenopause and menopause when it comes to family cases dealing with divorce, splitting the assets, children issues or domestic abuse. Farhana’s tips for family lawyers: Listen, enquire, and communicate. Look for cues and don’t be afraid to ask questions If you think a client is experiencing peri/menopausal symptoms affecting their relationships and wellbeing, invite them to see their doctor Factor the menopause into your cases. Pick a family process that suits the client, for example arbitration or mediation, and be sympathetic. Visit Farhana’s family law practice at www.familylawpartners.co.uk Follow Farhana on Twitter at @ShahzadyLaw @LawMenopause or lawmenopause on Instagram
Until a few years ago, Jill was in denial about her age, the menopause and what that meant for her future health. She had worked for 30 years as a fitness instructor and sports massage therapist; she was incredibly fit and had never given her heart health a moment’s thought. This abruptly changed in 2021 when Jill had sudden and severe pains in her chest and after some doubt and misdiagnoses by the medical team in A and E, she was found to have had at least one significant heart attack, possibly more. Since then, Jill has had ongoing intermittent chest pain, especially when having hot flushes, and she realised her continued cardiac symptoms were potentially linked to her changing hormones. Dr Louise Newson explains the link with estrogen deficiency and cardiac symptoms, and the increased risk of heart attacks after menopause. Together they discuss gender bias in heart research, the difficulties diagnosing heart attacks in women, the possible reasons for poorer outcomes compared to men and the cardiovascular benefits of HRT. Jill’s 3 tips to women if worried about your heart: Listen to your body, you know it best Do your own research, such as balance-menopause.com, Blood Pressure UK, British Heart Foundation websites Have someone with you at appointments, or over the phone if not in person If you know there’s something wrong with your heart, ask for a troponin blood test You can read Jill’s story here
Dr Devika Patel joins Dr Louise Newson in this episode of the podcast to share how a chance encounter when overhearing an educational webinar on the menopause was a light bulb moment for her practice as a psychiatrist. Devika takes us through her journey of how this knowledge from learning about menopause has transformed the psychiatric care she now offers to her patients. Devika’s 3 tips for those with mental health challenges who are in perimenopause/menopause: Don’t forget the important lifestyle changes (healthy diet, exercise, reduce stress, improve sleep and have meaningful connections with others) apply to mental health just as they do with menopause. When seeking help, go with your own data to your healthcare appointment. Track your moods with your cycle and really make any links clear to your clinician. If you don’t feel your healthcare professional is the right match for you, see someone else and advocate for yourself. Website/socials details – Instagram @drdevikapatel Twitter @drdevikapatel Podcast: “Our Extraordinary Stories with Dr Devika Patel”
Comments (4)

Bridie Begbie

but also howml many GPs/nurses suffering covid burnout are also perimenopausal! Putting women's health issues will also help a number of health professionals...

Oct 4th
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Rachel Walski

Thank you for a wonderful, reassuring and informative podcast. It addressed so many questions I've had about HRT.

Mar 10th
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Melanie Guerrero

Thank you

Sep 4th
Reply

Maria Haggarty

Thanks for this podcast. I was particularly interested in the point regarding the contraceptive pill. When I was younger I used a variety of contraceptive pills and none of them ever agreed with me. I was offered the mini pill for my perimenopausal symptoms but refused. Now on HRT, tweaking up my estrogen levels as I wasn't feeling any difference. Hopefully it helps. Thanks for your work for making menopause matter. Maria

Jul 31st
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