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.
So check back next month to see how I’m getting on!
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