Last month’s Menopause Success Summit founded by Menopause Coach Catherine O’Keeffe and sponsored by Cleanmarine MenoMin was a huge success, attracting women from all over the world. The Gloss attended and selected some highlights …
Lorraine Keane kicked off the Summit with an update on her own Menopause Journey, which she has shared openly over the past six years. She first started to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in her late thirties.
“I had disrupted sleep, which made me extremely tired and irritable, with no energy and low libido, my hair was starting to fall out, and I had hormonal breakout acne. I ignored it all and suffered in silence because I didn’t know they were symptoms of perimenopause. But once I knew what they were, I started to take steps to manage symptoms. Sleeping through the night again had a fabulous effect on me!
“I’ve never had a hot flush and I still have regular periods, heavier and longer than they used to be, which is a nuisance. I believe, though, that if women have the right information to go through menopause as best they can, they have their best life to look forward to – including life without periods and wearing a white suit without fear!”
Lorraine said she recently experienced some anxiety in the lead up to a live event – her first since the start of the pandemic.
Catherine O’Keeffe and Lorraine Keane
“It was not like me – I’m a confident person, but I found myself a little nervous and overwhelmed. I said it to Peter and the girls over dinner and my 14-year-old said: ‘Mum? Really? You can do this in your sleep.’ I know anxiety is one of the symptoms, and that makes me feel better. And after 30 seconds on stage I felt like myself again. When you know it’s a symptom of perimenopause and menopause, you know there are things out there to help and that you are not going mad.” Like many women, Lorraine acknowledges that work is where symptoms of menopause can be hardest to manage. “I add my voice to the call for more supports for women in the workplace,” she says.
Wellness Warrior Catherine O’Keeffe, Menopause Coach and Founder of the Menopause Success Summit, spoke about the need to encourage menopause-friendly workplaces, and how that process starts with the normalising of menopause by speaking about it openly.
“Every woman is different,” she said, “but we all need support through menopause. Whether you are at the peak of your career in a leadership role, or on the factory floor, or a nurse in a busy hospital, you may be experiencing symptoms, while at the same having to juggle the responsibilities of elderly parents and your own children.”
Catherine emphasised the need for employers to help women through the menopause through practical support, education and understanding.
“Employers can start by asking what are the key symptoms that are making the working day more challenging,” she said, “and then look at what can be done to help. By far the most challenging symptom women report is brain fog, followed by anxiety and reduced confidence.”
Amongst Catherine’s top tips for women to manage their menopause at work were to practise breathing and other techniques for stress relief, to avoid triggers such as caffeine before meetings as they can exacerbate bladder anxiety and brain fog, to ditch perfectionism, and to prioritise sleep.
Catherine O’Keeffe, Dr Mary Ryan and Lorraine Keane
Dr Zoe Williams, NHS GP, and the resident doctor on ITV’s This Morning spoke about the power of exercise and good nutrition in managing menopause. Whether or not women are taking HRT, she explained, they can improve their symptoms by making adjustments to their lifestyle. They can also mitigate against the health risks that develop in mid-life – such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and the laying down of visceral fat that is linked to Type 2 diabetes, and breast and colorectal cancers – by ensuring they take physical exercise and focus on good nutrition.
“Essentially, women should be following the principles of a Mediterranean diet that includes poultry, eggs and dairy, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, pulses and legumes, and at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, as well as cutting down on red meat and highly processed foods,” she explained.
“It’s important to get plenty of calcium, and to include plant-based foods derived from flaxseed and soya which contain the phytoestrogens that can provide some relief from symptoms. Women should also cut down on caffeine and alcohol, both of which can stimulate the vasomotor symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats.”
From New York, neuroscientist Dr Lisa Mosconi, Director of the Women’s Brain Initiative, Associate Director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical School, spoke about the impact of menopause on the brain.
Dr Mosconi is the author of the best-selling books Brain Food and The XX Brain and advocates a holistic approach to menopause and brain health involving exercise, stress management and a largely plant-based diet.
Women’s brains age differently to men’s, due to the decline in the brain-protective hormone oestrogen, and Dr Mosconi says clinical evidence shows a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can help to protect the female brain, while working to combat stress and improve sleep. Cold water oily fish such as mackerel and sardines are good sources of Omega-3s.
The feedback from participants in the Menopause Success Summit was hugely positive, and there is a real sense now that the topic is no longer the taboo it once was but finally out in the open and up for discussion – a great and important step forward for women’s health.
Cleanmarine MenoMin’s synergistic formulation is ideal for women in perimenopause and menopause who want to feel good every day. Cleanmarine MenoMin contains Omega-3, Biotin, Rosemary Extract, Soy Isoflavones with B Vitamins and Vitamin D3 to provide nutritional support aged 40+. Vitamin B6 helps regulate hormonal activity and along with Vitamins B1 and B12 it contributes to normal psychological function. Vitamin B2 contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and normal energy-yielding metabolism. Vitamin D helps maintain healthy normal bones and supports the normal function of the immune system. Cleanmarine MenoMin is available at pharmacies and health stores nationwide, learn more at Cleanmarine.ie.
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