Confused about what it is, when it happens, what the symptoms are and what on earth is HRT? You are not alone. These are all questions Lorraine Candy and Trish Halpin grappled with on a personal level, and set out to find the answers to, in their podcast Postcards From Midlife. Interviewing experts such as Dr Louise Newson, Dr Shahzadi Harper, Dr Paula Briggs and wellbeing expert Maisie Hill, they learned that a woman is in menopause a year after the date of her last ever period - the average age for this in the UK is 51. For up to 10 years ahead of this, she can be in peri-menopause, when her oestrogen and testosterone hormones gradually begin to fluctuate and decline. 

Because we have oestrogen receptors all over our bodies, there are, at the least, a whopping 39 symptoms that can result from these changes, from headaches, joint pains and night sweats to dizziness and loss of libido. Plus many symptoms that affect mental health including increased anxiety, low mood, brain fog, forgetfulness, anger and depression. Like Lorraine and Trish, many women have no clue that peri-menopause is to blame for the often debilitating physical and emotional symptoms they start to experience in their forties, which can have a huge impact on their daily lives. The problem is, women aren’t taught about this, as a society we don’t discuss it (hot flush gags aside), and most GPs have little or no training at all in menopause (remarkable and shocking given it will happen to 50% of the population).

All of the guests on the podcast talk to Lorraine and Trish openly and honestly about their personal experiences of peri-menopause, from the moving - TV presenter Davina McCall - to the devastating - author Marian Keyes. These discussions empower listeners to be open about the subject, to recognise signals in order to receive the correct help and treatment physically and mentally, and to have the correct, up-to-date facts about HRT. Body identical HRT is now safely prescribed and has the same risk of breast cancer as drinking up to two glasses of wine a day. It is also an important medicine prescribed to prevent osteoporosis, heart disease and dementia, yet women are still confused about this life changing treatment.

The podcast explores all of this in detail. 

Postcards from Midlife episodes

We recommend listening to these episodes If you want to find out more about the menopause
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