Leading menopause expert and GP, and founder of The Menopause Charity and free menopause support app called balance, Dr Louise Newson, hosts the menopause and perimenopause information podcast, helping women receive unbiased, evidence-based, and holistic advice and treatment.
Every woman‘s experience of menopause is different and some may not find it a pleasurable or positive experience. Having menopause symptoms can really affect your life in a detrimental way and not enough women talk about their menopause. There is still much uncertainty about what the menopause means and how it can be managed and I hope my podcasts will empower you with the necessary information to make informed decisions regarding any treatment and lifestyle changes, and helps you turn your menopause into a positive experience that doesn‘t negatively impact your life.
For the latest free, unbiased, evidence-based information and advice visit www.balance-menopause.com, formally known as My Menopause Doctor.
135 - Tackling the Everest of menopause ignorance with Mariella Frostrup
Journalist and presenter, Mariella Frostrup, joins Dr Louise Newson for an energetic discussion and a whistle-stop tour through current insights and reflections on the way society approaches the menopause. Mariella talks about why she is ‘still banging on’ about the menopause, why you needn’t be afraid of HRT, and why it’s time to stop the silence and shame that surround it.
In 2018, Mariella presented one of the first documentaries on the menopause and broke the taboo of celebrities speaking honestly about their own experiences. Mariella’s recent book, ‘Cracking the Menopause: While Keeping Yourself Together’, separates the myths from the reality and offers expertise, hope and advice for all affected by the peri/menopause.
Mariella’s 4 hopes to improve the experience of menopausal women:
Knowledge is our armour; we each need be more informed individually so we can combat the myths and ignorance we will be faced with.
We need a trained menopause professional in every GP practice in the land and an invitation from the NHS for every woman to come for an appointment before the average onset of perimenopause, to let her know what will happen and how she can get help.
There should be menopause groups everywhere, so everyone can find support and we should all educate our daughters about it.
We need to ensure women are supported in the workplace so they can remain the valuable and experienced team members that they are.
Find out more about Mariella’s work at www.mariellafrostrup.co.uk
‘Cracking the Menopause: While Keeping Yourself Together’ is published by Bluebird.
134 - Advice from James Smith for exercise and nutrition in the perimenopause and menopause
Popular online personal trainer, James Smith, admits he only read Dr Louise Newson’s most recent book to check out the literary competition when their new books were released back-to-back. He bought a copy and read it on holiday and while he may have got some funny looks for his poolside choice of reading, James discovered many new insights about the perimenopause and menopause that he knew would really help his female clients in their quest to reach fitness and weight loss goals.
Louise and James discuss the common pitfalls many people go through when trying to exercise, perhaps out of obligation or to lose some of that midlife spread around the middle, and they warn against the plethora of misinformation on the internet about nutrition and training.
James’s 3 exercise tips for you:
Ask yourself ‘how much do you want to train on a daily basis out of 10?’ If your answer is below a 5, don’t train but ask yourself ‘why?’ and tackle those things first, whether it be stress, lack of sleep or nutrition. Understand why you’re not motivated and fix that first.
If you want to lose fat and/or manage your calorie intake, figure out your daily allowance and x7 for the week. You can overconsume on the weekend if you wish, but then divide what’s left by 5 for the days in the week and you’ll be surprised by how low it is. You will get a clear picture of how much you’re overeating on the weekend and it may make you think again about patterns of over-restricting then binging.
Pick any exercise that you like and find rewarding, there isn’t a hierarchy of the ‘best’ ones, you have to enjoy it and want to do it.
For help with a personalised exercise programme and meal plans, check out James’ website at www.jamessmithacademy.com
James’ bestselling books, ‘Not a Diet Book’ and ‘Not a Life Coach’ are published by Harper Collins.
133 - Recognising and getting help for your perimenopause with Dr Rebecca Lewis
Dr Rebecca Lewis, Clinical Director at Newson Health, returns to the podcast for the first episode of 2022 to discuss the perimenopause with Dr Louise Newson. The experts explain what the term means, what’s happening to your hormones during this phase, and how it can be diagnosed. Rebecca offers practical advice on how to speak to your healthcare professional to convey the range of related perimenopausal symptoms and raise the issue of hormones.
Find out what your increased health risks are when your hormones change and what you can do to mitigate these risks. The perimenopause is discussed as an opportunity to take stock and consider introducing some small changes to your lifestyle that will improve both your physical and mental health.
Rebecca’s 3 top tips if you think you might be perimenopausal:
Take control and think about balancing your hormones and protecting your future health
Get a diagnosis earlier rather than later, download the free balance menopause support app and start tracking your periods and symptoms
Consider HRT to help your symptoms and feel better, and then you can look at making changes to your lifestyle that will benefit your future health and wellbeing.
132 - The benefits and pitfalls of evidence based medicine with Jonathan Underhill
Pharmacist, Jonathan Underhill is a consultant clinical advisor for the Medicines Optimisations team at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). His work is focussed on evidence-based medicine but, as he explains, this is more than simply telling people what to do. One of the particular focuses of Jonathan’s work is the process known as ‘shared decision making’ between the clinician and the patient and he’s interested in how you involve a person in choices and decisions about their own healthcare.
Jonathan outlines some of the reasons NICE was originally set up – to reduce uncertainty and variation in prescribing – and with Louise, he evaluates whether this has been the outcome 6 years down the line, after the release of the NICE guidelines on menopause diagnosis and management.
Jonathan’s tips for shared decision making as a patient:
It’s OK to ask questions.
If you need it, take someone with you that you trust who can listen and advocate for you
And for healthcare professionals:
David Haslam’s (former Chair of NICE) consultation skills advice for doctors were basically ‘shut up and listen, show empathy, and know something’. If you can do these 4 things well it will make a big difference
Practice your conversation skills as a clinician. You can learn to communicate better with your patients.
The NICE guidelines on menopause can be read in full here and more about shared decision making can be found here.
If you are a healthcare professional, the following link offers 4 hours of free online learning in shared decision making from NICE and Keele University:
131 - Joining the dots through research and education with Lucy Chatwin
In this episode, Dr Louise Newson is joined by Lucy Chatwin, who is responsible for the not-for-profit organisation, Newson Health Research and Education. Lucy has had a portfolio career that has taken her through environmental science and operations, through human resources and management into health, in particular service improvement and transformation roles in the NHS. Her last role in the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network focussed on supporting the adoption of innovation into health services to improve health outcomes for people. Lucy is perfectly placed to bring together the often diverse worlds of industry, academia, and clinical organisations to drive improvements that will make a real difference to the lives of people in the perimenopause and menopause and those around them.
Lucy discusses the range of opportunities for innovation in menopause research, education and management and encourages those working in health and academia to ‘think hormones’ as an integral part of their practice. A key catalyst for this is the soon-to-be launched Newson Health Menopause Society that Lucy is leading on. The society will provide a global arena for integrating and energising research, driving education and upskilling professionals working in the field of menopause care.
Lucy’s tip for women is make time for yourself to unpick what is going on if you think you may be perimenopausal, don’t just assume it’s down to other things. Download the balance app at www.balance-menopause.com to help understand your hormones, the impact they’re having on you and how to get help for your symptoms.
Lucy’s tips for healthcare professionals:
Connect with other interested experts outside of your specialty, this is often the best way to expand your thinking
Make your mantra, ‘could it be hormones?’ If you treat women, don’t underestimate the influence of changing hormones in so many health conditions and presentations.
Register your interest in joining the Newson Health Menopause Society at www.nhmenopausesociety.org and follow them on Twitter at @NHMenoSociety or LinkedIn at Newson Health Menopause Society.
130 - ‘It‘s a scandal that more isn‘t known about the menopause‘ with Dr Richard Hull
Dr Richard Hull teaches philosophy at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Due to a coming together of work life and home life in lockdown and his wife’s experience, Richard began thinking and writing about the menopause from an ethical and philosophical perspective. As an issue under our noses all the time, he was astounded that more isn’t written about it, and he queries the lack of ethical concern for women regarding this time of life and the impact on those around them.
Richard discusses with Dr Louise Newson the importance of raising awareness of perimenopause and menopause, sharing accurate information, training healthcare professionals and empowering women with the right knowledge to recognise what is happening to them and to get the help they need through treatment.
Richard’s 3 hopes for change:
Personal and public awareness of the impact of the menopause is crucial
For everyone to have the confidence to seek support in all its forms and find out about HRT
Talk more and spread awareness and knowledge with others. The more people are aware, the less it can be ignored.
You can read Richard’s article on the menopause here. Richard’s wife, Jaany, has written about her experience here.
I think this is a very good podcast but.... I would like to see some discussions on side effects women may have when on HRT- especially when starting - it’s frustrating for those of us that do have side effects so would like some podcasts on this - thank u .