AD INFORMATION This content has been created as part of PAID PARTNERSHIP with Shionogi B.V. for the UK launch of their product Femal. As part of this partnership, I was given a three month supply of Femal to trial.
Menopause is an inevitable change, but with Femal, you don’t need to press pause on life.
What do you think of when you hear the word ‘menopause’?
Does your mind’s eye conjure up images of older women struggling through hot flushes and night sweats? Or maybe it doesn’t bring up any images in particular. After all, the subject is still quite taboo, and women don’t really tend to talk about their experience of menopause.
But I think that it’s time for a change.
I think that we should embrace this time of our lives, and see the changes as something positive. Mid-life is an exciting time – let’s grasp the opportunities that come our way, and not push pause on life while we ‘go through the change’!
So if we’re going to embrace the menopause, we need to inform ourselves about the changes going on, how they affect our bodies, and what we can do to help ease the symptoms. And that means we need to get talking about the menopause a whole lot more.
Express your Femal
Recently I was invited by the Femal team to spend a day in London with a truly fabulous group of women: Vicki from Lifestyle Maven, Amanda from Online Stylist, Ashley from Lazy Daisy Jones and Pamela from Smarter Change.
In between having our hair and make-up done for the shoot, we talked about our experiences of the peri-menopause and menopause with Specialist Menopause Nurse Kathy Abernethy. We found that although our experiences have been very individual, we have a lot in common.
We’re all confident, capable women with busy lives and a lot that we still want to achieve. So we’re determined not to let mid-life be taken over by the menopause.
My personal Peri-Menopause story
I first noticed symptoms of the peri-menopause in my early forties, but like many women, I had no idea that’s what they were.
I first experienced changes to my periods. My cycle got shorter, and my periods became heavier. I went to my GP and who said that it was ‘normal at your time of life’. I went home feeling confused – what did ‘my time of life’ mean?
After a couple of years of that, the night sweats started. I would wake up in the night drenched with sweat, and of course as soon as I threw back the covers, I’d feel chilled to the bone.
Still I didn’t realise what was happening. I mean, it sounds silly now, I knew that my Mom and sister had experienced the menopause around 50, but I had no idea that symptoms would start so early.
I’ve never been a great sleeper but my insomnia got progressively worse – I’d regularly get up for the day around 3am.
And then the brain fog set in as well. I found it hard to concentrate on tasks, and would forget things regularly. List making became a vital part of my daily life.
One night, awake at 3am as usual, I started searching for anything which could tell me what was going on in my body. I even worried that it might be early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
And then I discovered that my symptoms were part of the peri-menopause. That it was all part of the normal cycle that my hormones would take during my life – I wasn’t going crazy.
But nobody really talks about the menopause, do they? We put a brave face on it, suffer in silence, keep calm and carry on. Which doesn’t help anyone when they’re going through the early stages of this process.
So let’s start talking more about what the menopause means, how it affects us, and ways that we can ease our transition into the next stage of our life.
What is the Menopause?
Strictly speaking, the word ‘menopause’ means the time when menstruation ceases. It is a natural part of the ageing process, which happens as oestrogen levels decline.
You officially reach menopause when 12 months have passed since the date of your last menstrual period. It’s not unusual for women to lose track of their periods and not realise when they actually reach menopause.
But what most people mean when they talk about menopause is actually the peri-menopause.
What is the Peri-Menopause?
Peri-menopause is a word that you may not have heard before. It’s a relatively new term, which describes the time leading up to the menopause.
This is a time when you may experience a rollercoaster of hormones rivalling that of your teenage years. Your periods may get heavier and closer together, and you may start to experience the symptoms that we generally associate with the menopause.
The peri-menopause can last up to 10 years before you have your final period, and you’ll probably experience a range of symptoms throughout this time.
When does the Menopause happen?
Usually menopause takes place between the ages of 45 and 55, and the average age for UK women to experience menopause is 51.
However 1% of UK women experience the menopause before they reach 40 years old, which is known as premature menopause.
If you know when your mother or sister went through the menopause, this may give you some indication as to when you’re likely to stop having periods. But it’s not an accurate test, just a rough guide.
Blood tests can check the level of hormones in your blood, but there’s no way to accurately predict when you will go through the menopause.
The peri-menopause lasts for several years before periods actually stop. You may experience symptoms for as long as 10 years before your final period, and for around 4 years afterwards. Some women also find that their symptoms continue for several years after menstruation has ceased.
So you may start to experience the peri-menopause in your early 40s, and this can feel a bit confusing. You might feel that you’re too young to be going through the menopause, but this is totally normal.
What are the symptoms of the Menopause?
Most women will experience some symptoms of the menopause, but the severity and duration will vary.
Common symptoms of the peri-menopause include:
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- low moods
- reduced libido
- brainfog (problems with concentration and memory)
- menstrual changes
Changes to menstruation can include the length of your cycle and of your period, the heaviness and consistency of the flow. You may also find that you experience PMT more during the peri-menopause.
The way that you experience the menopause is totally individual. The way that you feel, and how you cope with the symptoms will be different from even your closest relatives.
And sometimes you may feel that you need a little help with your symptoms, so that you can get on with your busy life.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one way that you can deal with your symptoms. If this interests you, it’s worth making an appointment to discuss it with your GP.
If this isn’t an option you want to explore yet, then you can try managing your symptoms through diet, exercise and relaxation therapies. You may also like to try alternative therapies such as Femal.
What is Femal?
Although it has been used in Europe for 20 years, Femal is new to the UK. It’s a one-a-day food supplement which can contribute to your wellbeing during the menopause.
If you would rather avoid hormones, then Femal will be of interest to you as it is hormone-free. Femal’s active ingredient is PureCyTonin®, which is purified pollen extract sourced from natural origins. Femal also contains Vitamin E.
Femal has been shown to support women through different phases of the menopause, which may include hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, low mood and insomnia.
It can take around 6-8 weeks to notice any changes but after 12 weeks of using Femal, 93% of women said that it was “very effective” or “effective” during the menopause.
How I express my Femal
Alongside the other women attending the day with Femal, I was asked to bring along a selection of items that ‘express my Femal’. In other words, the unique way that I express my femininity during this important stage of my life.
For me, travel is a vitally important way of expressing my personality during the peri-menopause. It’s always been important to me, from the very earliest part of my life.
But now, as my youngest son approaches the end of school, I’m finding that I have the time to travel more. And as I’m feeling more self-confident, I’m happy to explore new places on my own.
It was really interesting to hear from the other women about what they felt expressed their personality and femininity. Each of us had our own history, our own interests, our own priorities – lives that are truly individual, just as our experiences of the menopause are truly individual too.
Femal on Test: My review
I have been invited to trial Femal, to see whether it will help ease some of the menopausal symptoms that I’ve been experiencing.
I will take one tablet a day for the next 90 days, and I’ll be letting you know what improvements I see throughout the trial..
4 week update
I was feeling quite excited at the start of my trial of Femal.
Although my symptoms weren’t very severe, they were enough to leave me feeling washed out and quite down. I was really looking forward to seeing if these tablets would help, because I’m certainly not ready to consider HRT just yet.
The capsules are small enough to just take with water. I’m notoriously bad at remembering to take anything at the right time, so I was quite relieved to see that there aren’t any complicated instructions for taking Femal. And there’s no particular need to start taking them at any particular point in your cycle either.
I find it easier to remember to take tablets first thing in the morning. So I’ve been leaving the box by my kettle in the kitchen. That way, while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil for my morning cuppa, I can take my Femal tablet with a glass of water.
The information leaflet says that it will take 6-8 weeks for Femal to reach full efficacy, and it’s important to take it regularly as the effects build over time.
Right at the beginning of my trial, my body decided to treat me to some of my usual symptoms.
I’d only been taking it for 2 or 3 days when I was hit by a run of night sweats. For several nights in a row, I woke up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat and clawing at the neckline of my PJs. It’s really quite a scary thing when it happens.
I’m hoping whilst taking Femal, these will become less severe as they’re currently the worst part of my menopausal experience so far.
Also, a couple of weeks into taking Femal, I had my usual monthly PMT, which has definitely been getting worse in the last couple of years. My teenage sons know that it’s best not to cross me during those few mad days each month!
Hopefully I’ll notice a difference by the time I update you after the next four weeks.
8 Week Update
I’ve been taking the supplement for about 8 weeks and according to the leaflet in my box, it’s around now that I can expect to see the benefit.
One thing that did concern me about trialling Femal is that I was unsure whether it might affect my hayfever. I only started experiencing pollen allergy in the last 10 years, and my symptoms get quite bad at the height of the season.
The active ingredients of Femal are extracted from grass pollen grown in Europe, and the outer shell of the pollen grain is removed during the production process, which is the part of the plant that is thought to be the culprit for our itchy-eyed, runny-nosed hayfever.
I’m happy to say that I haven’t had any allergic reaction to Femal. In fact, no allergic reactions have so far been reported with Femal to date. But if pollen allergies are a concern for you, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before you start taking Femal.
As you can imagine, I’ve been doing a lot of self-scrutiny over the last few weeks. Am I less irritable than I used to be? How have I been sleeping? Are night sweats still an issue?
The night sweats definitely don’t seem to be causing me so much of a problem these days. Last month I had a run of night sweats that reminded me why I wanted to trial Femal, but this month they haven’t been as bad.
I did have three nights where I woke up feeling warmer than usual. But it wasn’t a full-on, drenched with sweat and chilled to the bone, night sweat.
My insomnia seems to be a little better as well. I still wake up around 3am most nights, thanks to Charlie the chihuahua needing his mid-night wee. Until recently that was often my cue to get up, which makes the day feel very long indeed!
But now, I’ve noticed that I’m getting sleepy again after I’ve been awake for an hour or so. And that I can drift back off to sleep for a few more hours.
Now, being awake in the night for an hour or two might not sound great to you. But for me, it’s certainly a big improvement. I’m keen to see how my sleep patterns change over the next four weeks.
And I do think that my mood has improved over the last few weeks as well. My period arrived with very little fanfare this month, whereas my irritability has been off the scale in the last couple of years. I’m still quick-tempered, don’t get me wrong, but now it doesn’t feel like my worst moods are linked to my hormones.
So check back in four weeks time to see how I’m getting on as I come to the end of my 12 weeks trying out Femal.
12 Week Update
It’s time for the final Femal update. I’ve now been taking this one-a-day supplement for nearly three months, and I’ve definitely noticed a difference.
Before I started taking Femal, I was experiencing night sweats several times each month, while brain fog was making my daily life a complete nightmare. I was also suffering from mood swings that took me from very low moods to flashes of anger. They were probably making life a nightmare for my family as well!
Taking Femal has become a part of my normal daily routine. I will admit that I’ve forgotten to take the tablets from time to time – I’m notoriously bad at remembering to take tablets!
But because they’re a one-a-day supplement, and you don’t have to take them on an empty stomach, I’ve remembered to take them most days.
I haven’t had any night sweats in the last four weeks, and my sleep is definitely more regular these days which means I don’t feel so tired.
Before I started taking Femal, I was finding that my temper would flare up at the slightest provocation. And with two teenage sons living in the house, it sometimes felt like they were permanently trying to provoke me.
And after I’d lost my temper, I’d often be plunged into a very low mood. It felt like I was on a permanent rollercoaster of emotions.
In the last three months, my mood feels more measured. It’s true that I still get annoyed when my youngest son stashes half of our glasses up in his room, or when my laundry mountain reaches Everest proportions. I’m only human, after all!
But now it feels like a slight annoyance, rather than a deliberate attempt to wind me up. And my family have definitely noticed a difference!
So, would I recommend Femal to other women in the peri-menopause? And the simple answer is a resounding ‘YES!’
But it is important to remember that this is my personal experience. Femal has been shown to support women through different phases of the menopause, which may include hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, low mood and insomnia – however, what works for one woman may not work for another. If you’re looking for a food supplement to support you as you go through peri-menopause and menopause, give Femal a try – let me know how you get on!!
I have already placed an order for more Femal. It was really simple, and you can get a discount if you buy multiple packs. And I love the fact that I got a text message letting me know when my order had been dispatched.
I plan to continue keep taking Femal, unless I feel that my peri-menopause symptoms start to require any further assistance.
Thanks to Femal, peri-menopause now feels like a far less daunting stage of life. I’m feeling much more confident about my ability to cope with what life brings over the next few years
Femal is available online from www.femal.co.uk, priced at £26.20 for 30 days supply.
Job Bag Number: PP-UK-FEM-0066
Date of Preparation: April 2019