WHY WE CREATED ‘PERI-MENO-WHAT?! YOUR GUIDE TO PERIMENOPAUSE AND BEYOND’
October marks the start of Menopause Awareness Month. In the year since we launched Living M so much has changed in the conversation around menopause. With two prime time TV documentaries, parliamentary campaigns for free HRT and workplace policies to support menopausal women, it feels like real change is in the air. Finally, it seems we are starting to talk about menopause. It’s so important for women to be able to talk about their experiences to get the help they need and to recognise what is happening to them. There is still so much more to be done to raise awareness and understanding of this lifestage not just for menopausal women but for everyone. An important part of our mission at Living M is to normalise menopause and perimenopause. Which seems crazy given that 50% of the population will go through it but for so long it has been shrouded in secrecy and taboo. At Living M we want to help change that.
Perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms
The fact remains that so many of us find ourselves completely unprepared for the menopause. According to the Gen M Invisibility Report almost 50% of women had never even heard of perimenopause, the transition stage which is the lead up to menopause when we can start to experience menopausal symptoms. This stage can start much earlier than many women are led to believe and it can take a while to connect the dots and realise that fluctuating hormones are causing your symptoms. There are also so many symptoms of perimenopause – both physical and psychological that can affect our physical and mental wellbeing. The menopause isn’t all hot flashes and missed periods and recognising symptoms is key.
Had you heard of perimenopause?
We hadn’t when it started happening to us. Suffering from perimenopausal symptoms but being unaware of ‘perimenopause’ can be a very confusing time. When is started happening to us we put our many physical and psychological changes down to busy, demanding lives. In midlife we have a lot on our plates – ageing parents, teenage children, careers – it’s easy to attribute symptoms to the stresses of daily life instead of our hormones.
Symptoms have a tendency to sneak up on you – so many women report feeling blindsided by the menopause. This is exactly how we felt. Our bodies were changing, our skin was changing and all of a sudden we started forgetting things. When the penny finally dropped we were shocked. At first we were relieved that we weren’t going crazy and then came the questions. So many questions!
Why had no-one told us about this? Why were we so unprepared? Why hadn’t we been expecting this? How were we going to deal with it? Were we too young for this? What about HRT? We had so many questions and we realised just how little we really knew about the whole process of menopause. Talking to friends and family we realised we weren’t alone in our confusion. There are over 15 MILLION women just in the UK going through the menopause and by 2025 there will be 1 billion globally.
Living M was co-created with a brilliant community of women who were all as confused as we were. We all wished that someone could just hand us a guide to get through it. So we have created 'Peri-Meno-What?' - Your Guide To Perimenopause and Beyond' to answer some of the questions we had - a manual for the menopause if you like. So hopefully you don’t have to be as confused as we were.
Covering everything from symptoms to periods to HRT to skin changes to what we can do to help ourselves to the great resources available to us.
We hope you find it helpful and if you do, please share it with a friend.
Caroline & Siobhan
Co-founders of Living M